08 April 2013

Wedding Season {Survival} Tip #1

I love weddings. I love going to weddings. I love being in weddings. But mostly I loved planning my own wedding. I think I may have gone through a short depression post-honeymoon because I missed the planning so much (I wish I was kidding! Depressed might be a little strong, but I did miss it.) It is such a fun, exciting, overwhelming time that hopefully you will never experience again.

I found joy in creating a vision, figuring out the details, and then remembering why I was putting so much effort into one day – because at the end of all the obsessing planning I was marrying the man God intended for me to spend my life with. It is such a beautiful thing it still gives me butterflies just thinking about it! [Hopeless romantic…guilty.]

However, I realize not every bride is going to be head-over-heels with the process of wedding planning… there is a lot to be done, a lot to think about and a lot of people to please. There were many days when the thought of elopement filled my mind and I was ready to grab Kevin and run off to some exotic location. But those were just short-lived bursts of frustration. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with elopement, it’s just not for me! No matter what style of wedding you decide to have, I implore you to enjoy it. Step outside the details, the “To-do List” and really remember to focus on the overall picture. Because if love isn't worth celebrating and rejoicing in, I don’t know what is.

Because I have been in the wedding trenches and survived, I thought I could share a few tips that helped preserve my sanity through a very insane time. Let’s be real – imparting all of my wedding genius (maybe a little over the top) on you at one time might be a little overwhelming.  So look for a wedding tip to be periodically mingled in with the normal DIY posts. These posts will touch on one “topic” so as to not overwhelm you and make you even more panicked than you might already be. If you have any specific questions/concerns, let me know! I will either answer you right away OR write my next tip on that topic. Hopefully these tips will be helpful or at least give you a different perspective, but if nothing else I’ll settle for a laugh at my expense over the many things that did not go according to plan for me and my wedding! You know, relieve some stress and all. So without further ado (because I can sense your ever increasing suspense!), here is my first tip.

TIP #1: Control Your Purse Strings, Have a Budget

Buckle up, I’m very profound.  Beware; this might be more challenging than you think.  I had never planned a wedding, let alone any event that could compare to this magnitude, so I had no idea what things should and would cost.  I learned quickly that wedding paraphernalia is expensive. You slap the word “bride” on something or associate the word “wedding” with any object [seriously, trashbags] and you can at least triple the price. Get ready. It’s so bad that one guy in my Wednesday golf group, whose daughter was getting married, started pricing items in units instead of dollars because 4 units doesn't hurt quite as much as 400 dollars.

Do your research as well as you can before you get started. Not only should you buy bridal magazines and pick up info from potential vendors to get an idea of what things might cost, but use resources that you have available to you…your friends! Married friends are great for providing “ballparks.” What does that mean? They are great sources for price generalities – the range that their wedding cake was in, dress prices, venues, DJ’s, limousines, etc.  At the end of the day, what they paid for their wedding is their business, but knowing price ranges can at least give you an idea of what to expect and that is extremely helpful.

Make a list of important/must-have items so you can better allocate your funds.  For example, photographs were important to me -- so I allotted more money than others might to that item. My thought was “after the day is over, the pictures you’ll have forever.” I wanted nice pictures. So I chose to cut things like engagement photos and save-the-dates because I knew I could live without those details. So know what is important to you! Side note: we had more people than we had planned for RSVP even without save-the-dates, just in case you were wondering.

Don’t be afraid to shop around. The first cake tasting I went to was fantastic. They were friendly & knowledgeable, and their cakes were beautiful.  However, when we picked our cake and she gave us a price (in the thousands for a 130 person wedding) I thought my mom might pass out. We had not “budgeted” that amount. Plan of action? We thanked her, took her card and decided we were going to look around before we committed that much money. Thank God we did! The next place we went we got our favors, cake, and a grooms cake (which I didn't think we were going to have) for less than the cost of the first cake. And I couldn't have asked for a tastier, prettier cake! Moral of the story? Don’t let people brow beat you into paying a price for something you aren't comfortable with.  As elated as you should be will be for this process, sometimes people take advantage of that.

wedding cakegrooms cake

When you finish outlining your budget, try with gusto to stick to it! I remember dress shopping, I had a budget of $1000, but less would be great.  Be careful – the crystals, tulle and overall wedding bliss stupor have a tendency to dazzle and do funny things with your ability to reason.  You might start to think dangerous thoughts like: “Oh, this dress is only $1200; $200 dollars over my budget isn't that bad!” Stop right there. Think of what that $200 could buy you: a veil, a portion of your invitations, bridesmaid gifts, etc. The point is, when it comes to wedding budgets, every penny counts and that extra $200 you want to overspend could go towards a laundry list of other things. The details add up. If you are going to overspend on a budgeted item, make sure you’d be okay if something else consequently gets crossed off the list!

Be creative! Just because the bridal magazines tell you it has to be done a specific way or your wedding will be a big fat failure…I’m here to tell you that it isn't true. Go against everything your first grade teacher taught you, color outside the lines! Whether it be going to a non-bridal store to get wedding supplies, DIY projects or finding a unique, less expensive venue or even putting your family to work (I did not have a wedding planner, my mom, aunt, grandma, and I planned our butts off. And with the help of awesome caterers, we got a pretty sweet wedding planned and executed!)

A good example of sticking to the budget (actually saving on the budget!!) -- My veil.  A veil from a bridal store can cost upwards of $100.  I paid $30 for mine. Bam! I went to a fabric store and bought a comb and tulle. Thankfully, a seamstress we know put the veil together for $20. You could probably put it together yourself, but with not having a wedding planner it was nice to delegate some tasks. Try to be inventive and your pocketbook will thank you later!

DIY Bridal Veil

DIY Bridal VeilDIY Bridal Veil

Okay, okay, truth -- I may have gotten a little carried away on the “this is what my veil looked like” pictures, but I got to reminiscing. One day you’ll be like that too, just you wait…

Hopefully this tip will help you tame the epic dragon that a wedding budget can be. Once again, if you have any questions on this topic or anything else, let me know! Remember: your wedding is a once in a lifetime occasion, so enjoy this time because at the end of it all, save-the-dates or not, you will be marrying your best friend! Stay tuned for more wedding tips and, in the meantime, happy planning, brides-to-be!!

Xoxo, Christie

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