We’re having a $5000.00 wedding, so I know it is doable!
One of the BIG ways we’re saving money is by having a morning wedding with a brunch reception. We chose brunch because my Fiance and I lovelovelove eggs benedict, pancakes, and all the other lovely brunch foods (focusing more on the breakfast side of brunch). This also keeps our alcohol costs down, as people aren’t going to drink nearly as much at a brunch as they would in the evening. We’re actually only serving mimosas, and have Baileys and Kahlua on hand for coffee.
We’re also going in a direction that seems to be neglected in wedding blogs, but that still happens ALL THE TIME in real life. We’re having our reception in the parish hall. Community and church halls seem to have gone out of fashion in blogland, but that’s only because they aren’t as pretty as a more contemporary venues like art galleries or restored barns. I have never been to a wedding that didn’t have a community hall reception, so I don’t think it’s a big deal. Going this route means we’re doing a lot in terms of decor, but I know we can still have the vintage butterfly tea party reception I’ve been dreaming of.
Barter. Trade. Ask around. Hire a student. Look for vendors that don’t normally do weddings. Our wedding is a community event: my Maid/Matron of Honor designed the invitations, a friend from college is doing photography (she’s a fine arts grad looking to build her portfolio), another friend is doing hair and makeup, my sister is baking cookies for favours, my aunt is baking the cake, my mother is creating the centrepieces. Instead of buying bridesmaid dresses we’re making them. My dress came from a consignment shop, my jewelry is all borrowed or pieces I already own. I’m not bothering to buy a new dress for my shower or rehearsal dinner, I’m going shopping in my own closet.
However, when you rely on others, you have to give up control. I chose the famous Martha Stewart butterfly cake as inspiration, but I don’t know if it’s going to look the same, and that’s okay. We’re borrowing tea cups from all my aunties to use in centrepieces, but my mother’s vision and my vision aren’t the same. It’s not easy to give up control, so depending on your personality it may not be the best idea. I’ll admit it, I’ve shed some tears, but at the end of the day I’m getting married to the man I love, and that’s what matters. Don’t let yourself lose sight of the big picture. The wedding may not be 100% to my original vision, but I’m involving my family and community in a meaningful way, and that’s what matters to me.
DIY is great, but only do it if it’s something you enjoy, or involves a skill you want to learn. If you think it’s going to be too much stress, forget about it! Also consider that DIY isn’t always cheaper than hiring a pro. You have to consider equipment, material, and your own time. I personally have done very few DIY projects, choosing only ones I like, and that I know I already have the skills to do. I made my hair accessories, I cut out hundreds of butterflies from old greeting cards, I sewed flower pompoms, and I made the ring pillow and flower girl basket. That’s it for this bride, my sanity is worth much more than a bunch of details that will soon be forgotten anyway.
Pick what is important to you, and budget accordingly. In my case, the dress wasn’t a number one priority. I bought a simple dress from a consignment shop and made it mine with accessories. A Princess Lasertron bouquet WAS important to me, so we budgeted accordingly. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to afford Princess Lasertron accessories for everyone in the wedding party, so I contacted her to see if we could work something out. Sure enough, we arranged that she would make my bouquet, and I would buy supplies for corsages, boutonnieres, etc. Don’t be afraid to talk to vendors to see if there is a way to make your vision happen.
-Consider having a Friday or Sunday reception
-Look for non-floral alternative (paper flowers! fabric flowers! no flowers!)
-Get rid of unnecessary details. Favours, programs, menu cards, corsages for every last family members, Save-the-dates, uplighting, etc
One last tip: know when to stop reading wedding blogs. Seriously. They can be a great source of information, but they can also be a great source of heartbreak. With a million gorgeous weddings posted here and there it’s all too easy to compare and feel “mine isn’t good enough.” I sometimes feel like crap because the reception is in the church hall, and I fear that everyone will judge me. Then I remember: I’ve never been to a wedding that didn’t have a community hall reception. We’re still going to have a great time. If anyone judges me or my Fiance because of this, well eff them. Don’t let yourself become obsessed with the weddings you see on the internet. Stepping away from wedding blogs is a good idea every once in a while.
It can be done!