Budget Savvy Bride: Making Things Personal
My adventure to create a $6,000 dream (community article)
A wedding for 150 all under $6,000, impossible? I think not! It is so very possible to have a perfectly gorgeous wedding on a gorgeously small budget.
When my husband and I got engaged we knew off the bat what we wanted our wedding to convey, US!, Personality, love & a way to give back even though it was 'our day'.
As I tell you the story of our planning and special day, I will highlight the things that I found most important when planning a budget wedding.
1. Make things personal, don't go for the typical. When you think out of the box or look at venues that aren't generally used for a wedding, rental prices can be much lower.
Since we wanted to incorporate things that really projected who we are we decided to get married on the University of South Carolina Horseshoe in Rutledge Chapel. It is the oldest building on campus and is simply beautiful with so much character. My husband was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina and an avid Gamecock fan, so what better place than right on Campus?
Beautiful huh? and here is a snapshot of the inside:
So what did this site cost us? A whopping three Benjamins. Yep $300. And lucky for us because our wedding was on a Sunday we did not have to stick to the normal 2 hour limit.
2. Saturday is not the only wedding day. Friday nights and Sundays are perfectly acceptable and incredibly lower in price.
Moving on. One of the most important things for Eric and I was a great photographer, but after recieving numerous quotes I realized, what we were looking for was really going to cost us, until I stumbled upon Christina Heaston (my saving grace!)
3. Consider photographers (and other vendors) who are up and coming. Often times if someone is trying to build there portfolio and will cost much less, but still be just as talented.
Photography: $975 which included 2 photographers, all day coverage & a disc with rights to us that included ALL the images taken that day.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day to show off Christina's amazing talent:
She captured our personalites perfectly.
One of my favorite purchases during the planning was our flowers. I wanted summery, bright & fun flowers for the wedding and my Matron of Honor helped me decide on sunflowers and snapdragons for the bouquets and an assortment of button poms and spider mums for the various medicine bottles and antique holders.
The grand total for all the flowers used on the wedding day was around $200. My wonderful bridesmaids put the bouquets together and they looked fantastic.
4. Buy your flowers wholesale and consider local markets for your flowers.
Websites like Growersbox.com offer free shipping with your order and have an assortment of 'wedding boxes' to choose from.
We used burlap to tie the bouquets and on mine I had an elephant brooch in honor of my husband's late grandmother who loved elephants.
5. Use your social network.
I really wanted a wonderful candy bar, but wasn't sure one would fit in the budget. Little did I know that a woman at our church had established a side business setting up candy buffets for numerous events. For $240 people she set up a gorgeous candy buffet with enough for people to munch on at the reception and take home a goody-bag filled with wonderful treats as their favor.
6. Friends are HUGE!
If you have friends that you know would be great at helping with certain things, don't be too shy to ask. I had three amazing girlfriends and 6 ushers from my church help with wedding day set up and coordination and another friend who runs the PA system at church work the sound for the ceremony.
7. Utilize craigslist
Sounds weird huh? I actually found my DJ on Craigslist for $200 and he was stellar! From beginning to end he kept the party going. Know what else I found? Our caterer! It was an up and coming catering business and because we were one of the first clients we paid $10 a person, which came out to $1,500. Think you can only get terrible food for that? Here is what we had and it fit our souther affair perfectly!
Chicken Salad Puffs on homemade butter croissant, Variety of meatballs, Strawberry tree and assortment of fruits with sweet dip, chopped barbeque with two sauces, roast beef carving station, honey roasted potatoes, & pasta salad.
So check out Craigslist, who knows what you will find. Under the Services section on Craigslist there is an 'even' section and a 'creative' section. Check it out, you'd be surprised what you can find.
8. Incorporate things YOU love, not what has become a wedding 'norm'
My husband has been and avid Toms Shoes lover from the time they were created. For every pair you buy, Toms will donate a pair to a child in need. So when the wedding planning began, one of my husband's first requests was Toms! How could I say no? What a perfect way to tie in something we really love & give back at the same time!
9. Do-It-Yourself! Go on, don't be scared!
With the help of my husband, bridesmaids & mom I was able to do so many projects myself. Not only was in money saving, it was fun! I loved hunting through antique stores and searching online for tutorials and pictures of what I wanted. The more you try and enjoy it, the less it seems like a HUGE task. Here are some do-it-yourself projects from our special day.
I found this feather at a fabric store for $2.50. I attached a haircomb to it and bam, perfect hair accesory.
Flower hairpins for my bridesmaids
Our ceremony table.
Our programs & well wishes made from recycled paper.
Our rustic pew decorations
I bought window panes from the antique store and used chalkboard spray paint to make these beautys. We had one on the candy buffet and one for the gift/guestbook table.
Well there you have it my top 9 Budget Savvy Bride tips.
Curious to know how much we spent on the whole day? Drum roll please...
So there it is in a nutshell, DIY, search craigslist, and utilize your social network! Enjoy your planning and I hope my tips and guides help you to be Budget Savvy Bride :) [I'll leave you with one final picture, my favorite of the day]