My fiance and I are seniors at Western Michigan University. Our starving student status puts us in a financial pickle with student loans to think about on top of planning a spring wedding right after our graduation next year. Yikes! Luckily, we have a great circle of creative, talented, and helpful friends and family to ease that burden and lovingly aid in celebration of our union.
First off, my bestest friend and bridesmaid Kathleen happens to be the queen of graphic design. So, she has graciously offered to design and print our save-the-dates, invitations, RSVPs, programs, placecards and whatever other stationary needs we may come up with. Wow, what a lady. That probably shaves off about a thousand dollars!
Second, my beautiful, generous mother bought my dress and veil at a mom-and-pop bridal boutique that was having an 80% off sale. I got a $1500 dress for $300!!! Can't beat that!
You know what? There are so many blessings coming my way, I'm just going to have to start a list of all the budget friendly wedding options available to me (hurray!):
3. As an ordained minister, one of my fiance's best friends is going to be our officiant. Free of charge, of course.
4. Kathleen's brother is an award winning DJ in Detroit, and he's offered to DJ our wedding and we will practically have to sneak money into his pockets because he wouldn't dream of accepting any. Wow, again. That's probably another several thousand dollars saved!
5. Two of our best friends, Ali and Aliza, will be our (hobbyist) photographers for the ceremony and reception. They are amazing and both will have a different perspective of the day's festivities. They've told us to only pay for the price of film. Incredible. That cuts out major professional photographer fees and saves us the hassle of finding photographers we like and trust. What a relief!
6. All the day's event will be in the same gorgeous garden (that only costs $150 to reserve for an all day event!) so, we can use the same chairs and decorations for both.
7. The garden will be covered with flowering trees and lilacs, so not much extra is required to make it a wedding paradise. But for the reception, we were considering planting wildflowers in little recycled pots well ahead of time at our home and then making them the centerpieces and favors all in one (and all for the cost of seeds!).
8. For the wedding party flowers, I was going to brings together a combination of flowers from my garden (lilacs, grape hyacinths, tulips) and the grocery store floral department. This will save us loads on flower and florist labor costs. Whew!
9. For the bridesmaids dresses, I got a vintage dress pattern and gorgeous silky blue fabric I inherited from my mother's church (they were going to use is for curtains even though it's not curtain material at all!) and I'm going to have them made by a lovely woman I met at an antique store the other day. Not sure about her prices yet, but it's only the price of labor since the fabric is already there. She's also going to do my bridal fittings!
10. One of my mother's best and oldest friends is a vegetarian caterer who jumped up and down when I asked her to do our brunch buffet reception. I know she will only use the most eco-liceous local organic foods available from all her farm connections. And she'll give us a huge discount because she's like a second mommy to me.
11. We won't be having an open bar for our brunch celebration (it's going to be 11am in the morning, people!). But we will have mimosas and bloody marys along with coffee, tea, and fresh squeezed juices. So, that cuts down the cost significantly. Maybe another couple thousand?
12.Probably, the most major thing we're going to have to spend on is the rentals for our garden ceremony and reception. But we're shopping around for the best offers and hoping to get a local service to cut down on travel costs (and carbon footprints!).
13. Possibly the most exciting idea we've had about the wedding (besides getting married, duh) is the decision to not have a wedding cake! I know, it sounds weird but we don't even like cake and so many weddings I've been to there has always been too much of it left over after not enough people ate it. So, we decided to have pies! All sorts of different pies! And the best part about this idea is that we will ask our bake-happy friends and family members to bring a pie to share. We think this will go over well and not seem like we're mooching off of them (that's totally not our intention--I'll be making several pies myself probably) because we have a great support circle who love us and want to be as much a part of our new union. I see it as a symbol of that community we cherish--we'll all be sharing and enjoying each other's labors of love. Oh, I love this idea.
I think this wedding can be pulled off for about $5,000, depending on how many of these glorious people we invite. I'm sure I have more budget savvy ideas to come up with but I've got about a year to think of them. Maybe by then, I'll find a way to even MAKE some money off our wedding (just kidding!).