Wedding planning on a budget

When it comes to planning your wedding, wouldn’t it be great to have an unlimited amount of money to throw the biggest celebration of your life? All of your thoughts and ideas can be brought to life despite the price tag and all you have to do is just whip out the platinum credit card and the money fairy will take care of the rest. Ah, what a wonderful thought and…. now…. back to reality. Unfortunately, most of the planning costs money no matter how much or how little. However, there are ways to save coin on things that don’t hold that much importance in the overall scope of the wedding itself. We want to bring some calm to your wedding worries on some tangibles that you might be thinking hold more value than they do in your pocketbook and also your guest’s memory banks.

One of the first steps you will want to take into account when wedding planning is orchestrating a guestlist. This means collecting multiple addresses of those closest to you so that you can spend time creating, waiting, and shipping out Save the Dates and RSVPs. While this is a necessity, the amount of time and energy put forth this early in the wedding process will exceed your expectations especially financially. The costs of stamps will surprise you beyond belief as you leave the invite in the hands of the postal service. The time you take to write out all of the addresses is endless and repetitive as you find yourself having to do it more than once. Keep it simple and look for alternatives to a piece of paper that sits around the house and inevitably forgotten until you remind your recipients to respond. Going electronic/digital will save you time and most importantly money while providing modern-day efficiencies such as gift registry links, guest directions to the ceremony, and whatever additional offerings there may be.


Wedding cake tastes great but can stale very quickly when it comes to the hole it leaves in your wedding budget. While a wedding cake is traditional, it has lost its luster over the years. The cost of a cake can get quite high. It also doesn’t help that many venues have a cutting fee that charges you every slice the staff has to make to serve your guests. This work of art is usually tucked away in a low traffic area of your reception site so you are forewarned that it might not get the attention you hope it to receive. A good alternative to save on costs might be cupcakes, a dessert, or doughnut bar to avoid those cutting fees as well as the cost of the cake in general.

Poppin savings instead of bottles

Another cost that coincides with a wedding cake is a champagne toast. Who doesn’t want to propose a toast to yourselves with a glass of champagne that you bought for the entire party? It all sounds great but much like the cutting fee there is a corking fee that usually goes along with the bottles you paid for and service fees of the pouring that go along with it. The best way to justify not doing it besides the finances is to remember that not everyone likes champagne anyways.

Flowers make everything more beautiful but there is a limit you can place that can definitely save you from going over the top. Flowers can add up quickly, especially when you think of how elegant everything would look by adding blossoms of color on all the little details. Yes, flowers give a nice touch but keep in mind you and your guests won’t remember the pretty combinations of carnations and daisies like they will the music or the food.

Much like the floral décor, the additional details of centerpieces and ala carte items like chair covers may sound like they would make a huge difference on the feng shui of the room but they too hold little long-term value. The idea of chair covers and maximum lighting sounds wonderful and looks great in your head but these items are additional costs that are not necessary and should be minimized. Centerpieces are a nice touch to the table but keep it simple to avoid unneeded expenditures. A good alternative is going to a consignment wedding shop to get bulk décor for much less.

As the old saying goes there is more than one way to skin a cat. So when you are looking at allocating your funds to wedding necessities think about the ad-ons that hold less value than your mind is giving them. Most people will say that they remember the food, the unlimited booze, and the DJ that kept the party going by setting the tone of the night and playing good tunes. Please keep in mind, this is just a guide. It’s YOUR big day, so if something holds higher priority on your wishlist then work around whatever that aspiration might be.

-Text The Bride

From engagement to organized bride-to-be

Mr. right pops the big question and it is even more dreamy than you imagined. You scramble to reach out to your close friends and family with unfathomable excitement about getting to marry the man of your dreams. The day or night of the proposal is a complete blur, you are swooning over your ring and the vivid highlight reel of how he proposed. All seems right in the world. Then as time slows down, all of a sudden thousands of thoughts frantically drive their way into your head about everything you have to do in preparation for the big day. Reality hits you the next morning or week as you start thinking about a multitude of things such as who to have in your wedding party, where to get your dress, how many wedding invites, all the way down to every little detail making you question your initial enthusiasm of the sound of wedding bells that turned more into anxiety-driven wedding worry.

Congrats, you have joined just about every bride who experiences anguish at some point in the wedding planning process. It’s now time to take a step back and realize that what you are experiencing is completely normal and remember that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time (you don’t want to actually eat an elephant before your wedding but after you will want to). With that in mind, here is a list of the bigger picture tasks that we consider the essentials of your first things-to-do list.

The first thing you will want to do is constitute a budget. Since most things in life aren’t free it’s imperative to decide what you want and what you can spend on throwing one of the biggest parties of your life. Establishing a financial outline will be a good guide to what is most important to you pending on where you see the value of allocating it.

The second thing is establishing what time of year you want to get married. This most likely depends on what season you and your beau would love to host your big day. Choosing a time of year instead of a specific week or month will help you work around the many moving parts of the availability of wedding venues, photographers, DJs and even holidays. When doing so it’s best to take into consideration the weather for outdoor pictures and more importantly travel conditions to ensure your guests can make it to your celebration.

Choosing a wedding date now leads to the last few pieces of the essentials puzzle. The ceremony location and venue are definitely top of the list. The earlier you can line up these locations the better chance you will get at landing your ideal wedding date and more at ease you will feel with that pillar in place. The venue will give you almost everything you need to know that will help organize how you want to do the rest. Venues have a list of what they can or cannot provide which in-turn lets you know what you can and cannot do. In most cases, this will be a larger chunk of your budget which leads to the remains of your finances and may help organize where and how you want to allocate the rest.

Setting the wedding vibe for your tribe

Food and drink are the next pieces that will be a good portion of your budget. Also, they are big contributors to what the guests remember most (or don’t pending on the copious amounts of alcohol your guests indulge in) about your wedding. Good food and plenty of alcohol can go a long way when it comes to putting on a good time. We all know the magic of booze and superpowers it has to get people to relax around others. Alongside the libations, delicious plates help set the tone for the rest of the night. The earlier you can get these decisions made in your wedding planning the better you will feel.

When it comes to establishing the vibe, the DJ or band that you choose is the other part of the equation. Knowing the particular music you want to play and finding the right person(s) you want to MC is highly important. The best DJs get booked fast so keep that in mind when you are trying to lineup the schedules of your big party.

The last thing part of the puzzle is the wedding photographer. That’s right, the person-in-charge of capturing proof of the day that became a complete blur to you and your now hubby. The photographer in some cases may have been booked before anything else when the thought of engagement pictures popped into your mind. Your photographer will become one of your best friends on the day of your wedding as he or she snapshots every highlight of your ceremony and celebration. That is why you want to make sure you get the right person to be available for the date you choose.

While your planning requires many more details as your mind creates, checks off and recreates your list, these essentials will help lay a solid foundation to engineering your ideal day. Once these are taken care of, the smaller items like the cake, Save the Dates, RSVPs, place cards, etc. will follow. If what you are reading sounds repetitive to what you have researched take that as a good thing. Take the time to ease your mind and remind yourself that you’ve got this!

-Text The Bride