It’s almost been officially six months since our big day (ahhhh, how has it been so long?) and as I look back at a selection of my favorite wedding moments, I think it’s important to share a few of the things that helped to make the day so successful. Not to toot my own horn, but I loved hearing my guests say that they were surprised a professional didn’t plan my wedding, or even better, they want ME to plan their big day! With all the hard work I put into making the day special, it felt so warm and joyous to know that everyone we invited loved our big day. Many have asked my secret and to only you all, I will reveal the secret sauce behind making our wedding so successful:
IF WHAT YOU’RE PLANNING OR DOING IS NOT GOING TO BE MEMORABLE TO YOUR GUESTS OR SOMETHING THEY WILL CARE ABOUT, JUST DON’T DO IT. DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME, ENERGY AND MONEY.
If you follow my cardinal rule of planning any event, you can truly be successful and the (good) talk of the town! Enjoy a few of my favorite secrets to cutting your budget back to align with this new state of mind.
CREATE TWO SETS OF INVITATIONS
Most people could care less what domes in the mail. For those special people who do, fork out the cash for the nice invites, but go cheap for those who may just toss it or you know aren’t coming. You’ll have to manage two separate invites going out the door, but in the long run, it will save you a lot of money and the heartache after of knowing your second cousin threw your $7 invite in the trash without RSVP’ing.
DON’T SPLURGE ON BRIDAL PARTY GIFTS
Save the cash early on and do simple cards for the bridal party ask “gift”. For gifts on the big day, give one special gift that they can use that day or use throughout their daily lives. Extravagant gifts that are special to you, like custom attire, may not be special to your party and may just end up in a drawer or worse, in a Goodwill bag, but custom vintage compact mirrors or even stylish jewelry would be sentimental.
EXPLORE NON-TRADITIONAL WEDDING DAYS
Yes, we’d all love to get married the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, but Saturdays and holiday weekends are prime time for wedding venues, making them the most expensive. Some venues give discounts for Friday or Sunday weddings, making these dates even more common in the industry in recent years. We had a Friday wedding, and even though there were a select few people who complained about having to take off of work (and didn’t plan to come regardless of what day it was), we made the accommodations perfect for our guests to feel comfortable and enjoy their now three day weekend.
AVOID STORE BRAND ACCESSORIES
Bridal boutiques and mensware wedding stores purposely jack up the prices from what the cost of goods is worth because they know you’ll pay it. That $1,000 veil can be found elsewhere or at a cheaper rate. If you know the style veil you love, check DIY sites or wedding outlets. Make sure to know the type of fabric and color that your dress is made of to match – if you have time, have your final dress ready to compare the accessories to before purchasing. My dress had a gorgeous matching veil that was $850, but I ended up purchasing a very similar one handmade from a vendor on Etsy and it was perfect! I also bought all of my jewelry on Etsy and my wedding shoes on clearance at David’s Bridal and DSW. All in, I spent less than half of what I thought I would have to pay from a salon!
BE STRICT ON YOUR STATIONERY PURCHASES
Don’t send save the dates unless your venue distance requires most of your guests to stay overnight or it’s on a date which guests need to take off, like a Friday. If your family, select friends or your in-laws are the only ones from out of town, send save the dates ONLY to those who will need to know well in advance. Additionally, business stores, like Staples, often have their own online studio where you can design an invitation or save the date, then have them printed at your local store in 24 hours for you to pick up – it’s usually half the price of the large design sites, like Minted.
DIY YOUR LARGE DECOR PIECES WITH PINTEREST
When planning our wedding, there were some really big and expensive decor pieces I wanted, but knew I couldn’t justify spending the money. One of those were acrylic seating charts to hang from the ceiling and large MR & MRS marquee letters in gold. After doing some research, I learned how to take the $200 acrylic sign from an online retailer for $20 with an acrylic sheet from the hardware store and a sharpie paint pen, and make faux marquee latter from large craft store cardboard letters for 1/3 the price as it would be to rent them! Pinterest is full of hacks to make your decor so much cheaper. Aren’t very crafty? Recruit your artsy friend to help!