My fiance and I got engaged in Negril on November 8, 2008. By the end of that week, we knew one thing - This was the place we were going to get married! Though we didn't formally announce it, or put money down while we were there, it was pretty set in our hearts. But our minds were a different story! The hotel that we knew we wanted was The Rockhouse, where we stayed for the end of our trip. What threw us when we got back and started planning were the food prices - wow. We'd eaten there for most meals and knew that they had the goods to back up the cost, but if we wanted to make it happen, we knew that the rest of our budget would need to get creative.
My future hubby and I make a great team. He's business oriented, and quickly got to work planning our budget, with the biggest chunk going toward food and drink. In fact, that seems to be about 60% of the budget (you'd have to ask him, since he's the numbers guy!). There are a few other must haves for our wedding, most importanly - safe and reliable transportation for our guests. We are paying to transport our 75 guests from the airport in Montego Bay to the hotel in Negril, a 90 mile trek. I could get a high priced designer dress, but at the expense of my closest friends and family? Not an option!
Now, the rest of the elements were important, but less of a priority. My dress - Since looking at wedding boards, magazines, you name it, I have been drawn to Nicole Miller gowns. Simple, modern, and high quality, I knew her dresses would be a good match. I confirmed this by trying a couple on, and took to the web to find the best deals. I chose a dress on the low end (perhaps the lowest!) of her prices at $575, and bought it new with tags on ebay for $299. You can't beat that! For footwear, I decided on a pair of jeweled flat sandals (Charles David - Tiara, in camel with blue stones) because they would compliment our wedding colors, and be totally wearable with jeans, dresses, skirts, and even a fancy bathing suit coverup in the future. My groom is going to wait for a killer sale at Mens Warehouse or similar shop, and pick out a light colored suit that would work for not only our wedding, but events year round and job related functions. We live in Florida, so we can get away with our summer clothes all year long!
Our attendants seem to be happy with our budget saavy choices as well. For the men, my fiance picked up 7 silk embroidered camp shirts from a Tommy Bahama outlet, and at 40% off of outlet sale prices, got a great deal. This is part of their gift, also. They do not have to worry about renting a tux, or buying anything too specific. As long as they wear a pair of clean khakis and brown shoes, we are all set for the event. The ladies are being tasked with something similar. I have 7 bridesmaids, and I never once even entertained the thought of dressing them alike. They will all wear a blue dress, knee-ish length, of their choosing. My inspiration is the ocean - the blues vary and look absolutely beautiful together. I hope that my girls can pick a dress in their price range, that flatters their coloring and proportions, and wear it again and again.
The rest of the details (like flowers, decor, etc) are part of our wedding package w/ the hotel. Anything else I'm leaving to nature - on a cliff overlooking the ocean, very little is needed to give ambiance. I'm DIYing all of the details, too. I'm a designer, and created our invite suite for less than $200 with postage. I'll be handmaking our guestbook also, using our wedding logo from the invite as a cover for our book. I'm going to reuse our bouquets for the tables, and handmake a photo booth backdrop out of fabric and bring some fun props along for giggles! My gifts to the girls are going to be from Etsy, so that when I do spend money, it supports other artists like myself. Plus, they have pretty fair pricing also and I think that handmade thoughtful things go so much further.
I have much more money saving things in my future, but since we're still six months out, they haven't come up yet. I've found so much inspiration on the web from other frugal brides that the possibilities are endless! I think our affair will be classy, laid back, and FUN! It's a destination, though, and I understand the sacrifice our guests have made and will make to attend, so the bulk of our budget goes to making everyone feel happy and comfortable (and well fed!). I feel that when everyone is happy, my DIY stamped in-room bags and other less expensive details will be well worth it. No one will leave thinking I'm wearing an ebay dress - I hope they remember the good times and come back with us for a 5 year reunion! :-)
Peace and love, mon!