My SO and I aren’t actually “officially” engaged. He asked me to budget out tenative plans however because I am a wedding professional in an artistic field (photographer), and we’re going to be on a super tight budget. We know that people will be scutinizing our wedding photos (I mean it’s not like I will be taking them, but you know how people are) so our wedding will have to be inexpensive but beautiful. Not that i wouldn’t want it to be anyway, but since he knows I feel like everyone I show is going to be judging even harder because of my profession, he wanted to make sure we could throw a killer wedding on the cheap! SOOOO, I’m basically all planned out and just waiting for my little ring (which I’m fairly certain is hiding around here somewhere!) and to pick out a dress!
So, ways I chose to cut corners:
Our prospective venue is an outdoor pavilion on a lake. It includes picnic tables, food (clam bake style), “choice of 2 domestic beers” (not the classiest but whatever, free beer is cool), and there are bathrooms on site for a per person price.
We decided to just roll with the rustic look of the wooden picnic benches. It is an outdoor pavillion afterall. Had they been those terrible alluminum ones I would have ran in the other dirrection, but these are the old fashioned wood ones that are just lovely to me. We’re just leaving them and not even putting down table cloths. Our centerpieces will be vintage tea cups and vases that I’m picking up from thrift stores arranged along with vintage books and pine cones. I’m planning on getting white roses in bulk from sam’s club. You can get 200 of them for less than 200 dolalrs. Sam’s club is great for flowers!
We’re going to decorate the pavilion with lots of DIY doily garlands and tissue paper pommanders hanging from the rafters. also I’m getting bolts of burlap to decorate with (super cheap from gardening supply places. you can get like 100 yards of it for 75 dollars).
We’re allowed to bring wine, and hard alcohol, but in terms of “hard liquor” we’re just making two signature drinks in big self serve glass drink dispensers. We’ll probably make enough to refill each once, then that will be it for hard stuff.
We’re setting up an ipod for music with playlists. we’re kind of music snobs anyway, and no one we know is that into dancing at weddings, so it’s really just background music.
for bouquets I’m probably going to carry a big bouquet of dried lavender. Bridesmaids will likely pick their own purple dresses and carry baby’s breath bouquets. Dried lavender bouquets can be found on etsy for under 20 dollars, and large quantities of babies breath can be purchased from Sam’s club for under 50. I’m also gonna grab an extra dried lavender bouquet or two and work sprigs of it into the center pieces.
A friend is getting ordaned and officiating out wedding, and my sister and her husband who play guitar will provide the ceremony music.
We’re going to make our own invitations (i’m proficient with graphic design) and save the dates. Our STD will be post cards to save on postage. Also, vista print does 50 free post cards for your first order. I’m going to order 50, my SO will, and my mother will, and we’ll get our STD cards free! We’ll also have no response cards in our invitations. We’re going to set up a website with dirrections to the venue, rsvp information, registry info, etc. so people can just rsvp there. One thing we are going to get is calligraphy, because my sister is a calligrapher.
If you’re doing an outdoor diy style venue, or backyard wedding, the name of the game is details. Little mason jars full of paper straws for drinks aren’t expensive to put out, but look great sitting on the bar next to a vintage ice bucket you picked up at a thrift shop for two bucks. People forget they’re in someones yard because little details transform it into some posh vintage french garden. That’s what it’s all about for me anyway.
Things I definitely will NOT be skimping on:
a photographer: pictures are what lasts forever. this isn’t just my profession speaking
getting my hairs did. Doing it yourself day of is just a stressful disaster waiting to happen.
a killer dress. a bride should feel like a million bucks on her wedding day. even if she’s going to a courthouse.
a day of coordinator. if you’re going the DIY route you need one of these, otherwise people start asking YOU all of the big questions, and you should be able to sit back and relax! Even offering a college student who has worked in catering before two hundred bucks to play your DOC will work so you don’t become everyones go to gal.
I hope any of this has helped. I’ve worked so many weddings and seen so many brides have nervous breakdowns behind closed doors I feel like I’ve really learned where to cut the fat and where to splurge!