It is hard to believe that I have been married for 3 years today. Seems like just yesterday I was planning my big day. I loved my wedding. We did it on a pretty decent budget and it turned out beautiful. While it was a little stressful, my budget wedding planning ended up being so worth it in the end. Deciding where to splurge and where to save can be so confusing, but you can have a beautiful budget wedding if you just stay focused.
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Budget Wedding Planning
Three years ago today, I walked down the aisle and married my best friend. The whole thing went off without a hitch, and we didn’t put ourselves into debt. We had our dream wedding on a budget, and you can too. Budget wedding planning isn’t always easy, but once you know where to save and where to splurge, you are well on your way to replicating my success.
Saving For Your Wedding
I can’t stress enough how important it is to save save save for your wedding. It is so easy to just use a credit card and pay for it later, but I promise you don’t want to do this. The sooner you can start saving, the better. As soon as you know you are getting married, start putting back a set amount of money each paycheck. The amount will vary depending on your specific budget, but some is always better than none.
Once you start saving, you will need to create a budget and stick to it. This is important, because it is extremely easy to go over budget on a wedding. Maintain your impulse control! Write everything down and stick to your budget. I like using Excel spreadsheets to keep all of my budgets, but use whatever works best for you.
Where To Save
Now that you have your budget planned out, you can see where you can save some money. There are so many things you can do that will significantly cut costs but still end up looking beautiful.
Flowers are stupid expensive, especially for a wedding. You can go the traditional route, but plan to spend some big bucks! I ended up having minimal flowers at my wedding. For my bridesmaids, I got artificial flowers from the Dollar Tree and made their bouquets. Honestly, they turned out great! For my own flowers, I actually went to my local Publix and bought fresh flowers the morning of my wedding and we put them together into a bouquet. We wrapped the bottom with some burlap and seriously, you can’t even tell they were grocery store flowers.
I love a good centerpiece, but budget wedding planning calls for some things to be done rather inexpensively. Our wedding was kind of a rustic theme, so instead of buying expensive and elaborate centerpieces I made my own out of mason jars. It was cheap and relatively easy. Most of the supplies were purchased off of Amazon. While mason jars might not fir with your theme, all you need to do is browse Pinterest for a bit and you can find some fabulous DIY centerpieces.
One place I really saved was on my wedding shoes. I wanted very specific shoes, but could not find ANYTHING for less than $300 and I was not willing to pay that much for shoes that I was going to wear one time. Thankfully, I found exactly what I wanted on Amazon for a fraction of the price! I got my beautiful white sparkly boots and they really were the star of the show. Now, no matter what shoes you want to wear, you can most likely find them on Amazon or on some sort of sale. Just remember, you will most likely wear these one time only.
Aside from the rings, I went pretty inexpensive on my jewelry. My earrings were from Amazon, really similar to these, and my necklace was actually my “something old”. The necklace was my grandmother’s, so it was rather special but it was not actual precious gems. Of course the rings were real, and honestly, that is the only piece of jewelry anyone will really be looking at anyways.
I had the option of adding an open bar to my venue package, which I declined. It would have cost a significant amount more. Not that I am against drinking, I enjoy it myself, but to save some cash, we had a cash bar. Guests were able to buy drinks as they liked, and no one seemed to be bothered by it in the slightest.
I am by no means a makeup artist, but I did my own for my wedding. When it comes to budget wedding planning, hiring a professional makeup artist is something you can really save on. I went simple and classic, something where I looked like myself but a bit more put together. If you want to improve your skills beforehand , just binge on some YouTube videos and practice at home.
Yes I know, the cake is important but hear me out. Wedding cakes are expensive! I was not about to drop a couple hundred dollars on some cake. There are a lot of ways around this though. You can get a simple tiered cake from your grocer and decorate it yourself with edible flowers. Or, you can do what I did and find a friend who likes to bake! My really good friend made my small cake and all of my cupcakes for me at an amazing price. She isn’t a professional, but I think they looked amazing, and I promise they tasted divine. We ordered the cake topper from Amazon, because I do have an obsession with the Willow Tree line of statues. My father in law made our cake stand, and it has been used in family member’s weddings since then as well.
Where to Splurge
Since we have discussed where you can save on your wedding, I think it is only appropriate to talk about where to splurge. While this is only one day, it is your day and some things you just want to be magical.
So some people might want to save on the dress, and I totally get it. It can be an awesome way to save money but personally, I wanted to go big on my dress. Now, my version of “going big” may be much different than someone else. While you don’t need to know the exact price, just know that it was a David’s Bridal dress that wasn’t on clearance. I fell in love with the first dress that I tried on, and knew it was meant to be. My mother actually paid for my dress, but I would have done so myself either way. The dress made me feel like a princess, and to me that was worth it.
Hands down, the most expensive part of my wedding was my venue. While it was hefty, in reality it was worth the price for what I got. Since I chose an all inclusive venue, they took care of the food, the bar, the ceremony set up, reception set up and I even got a day of coordinator. I feel like if I would have had to pay separate businesses for all of those, I may have ended up paying more. The venue I chose also allowed for payments. I made monthly payments on my account until it was paid off prior to the wedding. I highly recommend finding an all inclusive venue even if the price tag does seem a bit high. It will pay off in less stress on your end.
I highly recommend getting a good DJ. Nothing against your friend with an Ipod, but a great DJ can really make your night more special. This isn’t just someone playing music. He or she will engage the guests, and make everyone want to get up and dance. My DJ was the best, and if you are in the Central Florida area check out Jen from A Shining Star Production. Seriously, she is amazing. I have known her for years and worked closely with her when I was a bartender. She had beautiful up-lighting and was so engaging.
These are the photos you will want to look at and display forever. So you don’t want your good friend with a point and shoot to take all of your pictures. Hire a good professional photographer and I promise you won’t regret it. Literally the only thing I do regret is not booking more time with my photographer.
Since we are ending on the topic of photography, I will leave you with a few of my absolute favorite photos from my wedding day.
I also want to know about your wedding! Did you budget? Where did you save and where did you splurge?