Saving money... Oh my. As someone who is not mathematically inclined, budgets were a new hair raising experience that my fiancé introduced me to. When I became more comfortable (and less often moved to tears by simple calculations), we became engaged. At first, my head was filled with fabric swathed tents which glow deep into the dusky night, twinkle lights sparkling against the rich satins. Eventually, I had to come back to a reality in which money is not a passing notion, but a very real indication of the things you can achieve for a soiree of wedded magnitude.
The first thing I realized is that a wedding is a pulling together of community resources. I began to talk to friends with specific skills, begging their talents at a low rate.
A friends father will cater at a family rate, 10 dollars per head.
My high school ceramics teacher has offered a cake topper that is both unique and meaningful, as a wedding present.
I will string together my very best necklaces to adorn my bridesmaids and myself, using swavorski crystals and seed beads in our wedding colors.
Even with these wonderful helper elves, there is still a large chunk of budget to be had. And there is also planning for the potential of the dear friends to have an opportunity to make real money that day, and begging your forgiveness for not following through with, thus far, uncontracted arrangements.
The thing I have noticed that can be most overlooked by a bride is entering contests. Many brides think it is not worth the time; but, it is one of the most beneficial things you can do to lessen your expenses. Even if it is the small things, those add up quickly. Some of my favorites are giveaways on facebook. Many companies will use facebook to promote their company, and giveaway things to get people talking. Victoria from HCC custom wedding garters gives away her pre-made garters she makes to give customers a base image for their custom orders.Creative Custom Card Boxes gives away a prize whenever their store reaches a certain amount of likes. Other companies specifically driven around weddings that have done giveaways on facebook are: Alfred Angelo (right now giving away a Tiara), Preownedweddingdresses.com (just gave away a year of delivered lingerie), Exclusively Weddings gives away many different item throughout the month, weddingsSource.com does a weekly giveaway, Favors by Dorina gives away a prize every so often- the list goes on and on. If you like certain pages, many of them are involved with other sellers, and will tell fans about giveaways.
Think locally. Use the resources available to you, in the sense that you will want things that are not out of season, and not out of local context. a couple of different things come to mind to think about when looking at this idea. When you are looking at your flowers, look at what grows locally, and in which season those plants grow. Also, many local artisans are willing to work with brides to create specific items that fit into your theme. Wedding events in your area are a great place to win free stuff, and receive deep discounts for your wedding. This not only happens at expo events, but at private events by local bridal salons. When you sign up to get information from many of these local shops, they will have fashion shows, and sometimes give away veils, dresses, or other accessories. This is actually how I won my wedding dress, which was retailing at $1500.00 US Dollars.
I talked to other brides, whose steps fell before mine in rhythmic padding down the aisle. Some of their advice is wonderful, and I want to share. One bride told me that If your venue requires you to use their catering service, you can customize a menu to minimize the price per guest. The same bride told me to maximize the benefits of a package deal from hotels if you are going that route, that it is not uncommon for the wedding coordinator to have a few discount tricks up their sleeves. Another bride let me know to discuss vendors with your chosen venue. They have preferred ones, and many will give discounts when they know you are going to the venue they are in cahoots with.
Within looking to other brides for guidance, is looking to blogs. I have found some wonderful budget blogs that are great ways to share and explore ways to save money. My personal Favorite is Carla's blog Bronze Budget Bride, which I can look at on facebook as well as on her personal blogging site. others I have found (also through facebook) are Weddingbuzz, FindIT- for weddings, and the budget savvy bride. they are a great place to learn from other brides and professionals alike, and get ideas and tips from around the world.
Another thing not to snub, as I have been noticing, it the power of the coupon. Especially in conjunction with do it yourself projects. These two things seem to be an effective means to a personalized wedding, that no two brides can achieve to be exactly the same. Michael's has percent off coupons they send frequently, and their wedding section is fairly robust.
I think what I will leave you with is a few website that have been looking to be the best value. 123print.com has amazing prices for paper goods relating to weddings, as does vista print.com. Also, etsy.com has some amazing handcrafted goods that can be well priced. In short, shop around, carry your coupons, and at the end of the day be flexible. I hope you have a wonderful planning experience, and a good day.
~Amanda the Aggie Bride