Well, the Fall wedding month of October has passed, but I still feel that many females will benefit from this post today! Some of you may be in the same boat that I was when I planned my wedding a little more than a year ago….the same BROKE boat! Getting engaged was quite possibly one of the most exciting moments in my life! The feeling is euphoric! Everything kind of just stops and all eyes are on you, waiting to answer that question. Needless to say, I said, “YES!!!!” I’ll save the details for another day, because today I’m here to tell you how I planned a “less expensive” wedding and got the biggest BANG for my buck! Now don’t get me wrong, it was still expensive in my eyes, but my husband and I paid for a lot of it on our own, and didn’t put a lick on credit! And guess WHAT?!?!!? It was still magical, beautiful, memorable, and everything I wanted!
First things first:
THE DRESS: I still got the magical dress shopping experience at a high end boutique! We just changed it up a bit! My budget was $500. I know, most girls wedding shoes cost that much. This girl was determined! I’m that person that enjoys the thrill of finding a good buy at the Good Will and OWNING that yellow sale rack! No shame in my game! Some can call me cheap, I just say resourceful and fabulous! So we hit up Vocelle’s Bridal in Tallahassee, FL. It was my sister and my college friend, Katie! We got our white wine and tried on multiple dresses! They were a minimum of $900! How was I going to find a dress HERE??? I was determined not to go to the typical bridal stores because I wanted something unique and different….like me 🙂 They tried to work with me, telling me I could buy the model, or they could call a different store for something similar and cheaper. I was feeling hopeless. It was then that my bridal consultant had an idea. She asked if I would be open to trying on a “bridesmaid dress?” I was opened to the idea, but didn’t know how she was going to find a bridesmaid dress in the color and style I wanted. I was looking for a lace top with an empire waste. I wanted it to be somewhat simple, as I was having an outside wedding. I wanted an ivory dress, and something that would look good with my homemade sash. The consultant brought out THE dress! I could not believe they had a bridesmaid dress like this! It was simply perfect in all ways! I tried it on with a veil and I knew that this was it! I hesitated because we didn’t ask the price yet. She looked at me with an excited smile, squeezed out, $189!!! I could not believe it! No one on my wedding day ever knew I bought a bridesmaid dress and it was WAY under budget. Ivory, lace, and fabulous! I felt beautiful in all ways!
THE VENUE: This was our splurge. $3,600! We took a risk with this because it was outside, but I wanted this venue so badly! It was on a beautiful farm with a beautiful barn, trees, pond, and mountains in the distance. It was absolutely breathtaking! It included chairs and tables (with white table cloths), along with two bridal party suites, decor items in the barn, a day-of coordinator, and lunch for the bridal party. It was a good deal for what it offered! The day was absolutely stunning!!!!! Blue skies, outdoor fire pit, party lights, and the perfect company!
BRIDESMAID DRESSES: I had my bridesmaids pick out their own, navy, lace dresses. I didn’t care, as long as it fit that criteria! I have spent so much money on dresses in the past that I will never wear again! I wanted my bridesmaids to find a dress that they loved, will wear again, and feel good in! I had them all in nude, flat shoes with earrings I bought for them from the JCREW factory outlet. They looked stunning!
MUSIC: For the ceremony, I had two amazing friends from college come and play ceremonial music on violins! This was so special to me because both of the people who played were a big part or my college experience! It meant so much having them there to play as I walked down the isle! I paid them together, $250. It added way more sentiment to the ceremony! Our DJ was “ Just in Time” DJ services out of Carrolton, GA. They provided setup, 2 MC’s, and our own selected playlist! They were awesome! $500 for the night!
FLOWERS: We were so fortunate to have these done by my husbands Aunt! Daisy Patch Flowers of Bowden! We had hydrangeas, peach and pink roses, and baby’s breath. It was a stunning day! I made all of the wedding table decor! Spray painted over 100 wine bottles and individualized them all! I bought the burlap table runners off of a site called “Tradsey” that resells wedding items! 30$ for all 15! SO inexpensive in comparison to new ones! We ended up paying her because it was an amazing gift of her time and art! $300 was nothing in comparison to most florists! We were lucky to know a florist and have her as family!
PHOTOGRAPHY: Yep, cut some more corners here! I had a sweet friend from college that I offered 500$ to come be a part of my day and take photos! Everyone thought I was crazy for doing this, as photos are the only way to remember your day! Let me tell you….she did AWESOME! She always had a knack for photography and I trusted her for our day! Between her own photos shot and everyone else at the wedding who owns a nice camera (which is like everyone today!), we got some amazing photos to remember our day! I saved at least 1000$ on this! THANKS ALYSSA!!!!
FOOD: We used “Joshua D” catering out of Carrolton, GA. We knew him personally and got a decent deal per person. It was AMAZING BBQ! Sides, drinks, PLASTIC ware (yup, shout out to GLADWARE, what whattttt), plates, and service! $1100 for 140 people! Just amazing! No fancy things, just music, good atmosphere, and good company! The cake was made by a friend at work for $150 and was absolutely delicious. I ordered the topper off of Etsy ( along with my veil and earrings :)).
DRINKS: Some people feel alcohol is a must. My husband and I both drink, but in respect to family, we did not have alcohol at our event. That cut a HUGE cost. When people know a head of time you won’t have alcohol, they will find a way 😉 So I wouldn’t sweat it if there is any reason you can’t have it. It is still an amazing night! We was drunk on LOVE!
Our day was amazing! Guest arrived and were able to hit up a coffee bar, complete with personalized “Rowell” coffee sleeves. They were able to walk over to the site and take their places on decorated wooden benches in the field. We had a friend donate their vintage red Chevy to take me out to the isle! I walked down with my Dad in my (altered and accessorized 300$ final) dress, and was facing my groom! Surrounded by family and friends outside, under a beautiful tree with clear blue skies. It was a crispy, cool 60 degrees. We said our vows and exchanged rings. We made it over to the reception where we ate, danced like crazy people, and mingled with our guests! We had so much help the day of from friends and family, allowing things to move smoothly! We were sent off with sparklers and headed on our way! It was a BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING day. All Totaling under $7,000!!!!!! I am proud of not spending a fortune on my day! Many feel because it’s their wedding day, they have to blow every penny they have to put on a party that will rip them of all of their savings and max out their credit cards! Coming out of that day without out a bill to pay towards it was just as amazing as the day itself! Don’t be afraid to cut corners! Don’t be afraid to ask friends for services and goods! Many would be happy to help at half cost! Use your resources. Ask around. Negotiate. And don’t be afraid to think outside of the “Wedding Box!” When you have the word
“ bridal” or “wedding” attached to anything, it doubles in price! PINTEREST can be your best friend and worst enemy! Bring out its good!
Lastly: DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF!!!! Many of my friends had these amazing, beautiful, and glamourous weddings! A lot of them were blessed to have family pay for them or help them significantly! Not everyone is in that boat! That is OKAY! You’re wedding still has the potential to be beautiful and fabulous, just like you, on a small budget! BE SMART. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX! and…..HAPPY DAY!!!!!!!!!! Much love!