Alright, since I don't have anything terribly exciting to update and the photos are working again, I figured I would upload some wedding photos and talk about some ways we saved some $$$ while planning this year! Also how we saved some headache on the day of.
1. We kept the guest list low.
Both DH and I are a bit lucky that we don't have huge families, and I don't really talk to most of my family - so we were able to keep it reigned in pretty easily. I know that's not the case for most people, but having a guest list under 100 people eases the budget significantly. We also found it important to only invite people that we are truly friends with. Our parents didn't invite their friends, there were no third cousins we've only met twice. We paid for it all, and we called the shots. It was really nice, though, because we were able to actually spend quality time with the people we truly care about.
2. I bought a pre-owned dress.
The dress thing was a bit of an evolution - I had planned to go very casual, and bought a dress that was very pretty, for $30 online. After a few months, I started second guessing myself and shopping around a little more. I found the dress I ended up wearing (an Adrianna Papell) on a site called Tradesy.com - and bought it for $160. I spent another $80 to have it altered last minute (I bought it about 2 weeks before the wedding! haha). But I loooooooved it. I understand that the dress is such a huge part of a girl's wedding day, but I couldn't bring myself to spend an arm and a leg for something I would only wear once in my life. There are so many great options out there, and pre-owned is a great one.
Similarly, my bridesmaids dresses came from Modcloth - and were about $40 each.
3. We had a stock the bar party.
This was a friend's idea, and was GENIUS. Instead of having a traditional bridal shower, DH and I threw a stock the bar party. We got very few traditional gifts, and instead everyone brought a bottle of liquor. We didn't have to purchase any for the wedding, and the mixer package we purchased from our bartenders was incredibly affordable. We still have so much left over, too. haha. It definitely cut out a great bit of the expense - but we also had a venue where we brought in all of the vendors.
4. We DIY-ed most of the decorations.
We rented table cloths, but everything else was brought in. I purchased bulk lace and cut the runners myself. My MIL brought the jars with the simple white carnations. The photo frames are filled with vintage maps or illustrations of places DH and I have traveled to - or are special to us. I bought the frames over time from Pat Catan's and TJ Maxx. The prints of the maps came from my printer at home. We borrowed many of the other jars from friends who got married a few months before us, and the pie stands were borrowed as well.
Our guest book was an old Atlas - we asked people to sign a message near a place that was important to them.
I hand-lettered this chalkboard I got from Pat Catan's. Very proud of that one
5. We kept it casual.
Our wedding took place at a barn, so the rustic atmosphere definitely justified using disposable plates, silverware, and napkins. The rental place was going to charge us $0.25/fork - and I don't have the stomach for that, even with under 100 guests. haha. We also did BBQ for dinner, which ended up being about $16/plate. The very few bites I had were delicious. haha.
As far as flowers - I think we spent just over $300 at the florist - for my bouquet, 3 bridesmaids bouquets, the boutonnieres (6 all together), and 2 corsages for the moms. My florist was AMAZING, and though the bouquets are filled mostly with what they would consider "filler," they did them so tastefully. When she asked if I was "okay with hydrangeas," I thought of course I am! I requested some freesia be put in - but the rest was up to them. Natural and lovely. All of the flowers at the actual reception were just white carnations purchased in bulk by my MIL.
6. We spent where it was important to us.
Because we saved quite a bit elsewhere, we were able to spend a bit more where it was important. We didn't really do favors (MIL brought mints in little boxes, so that was that) - but we did spend an extra $100 for the venue to have a bonfire. We only spent $70 on desserts (pie is my fave!), but we made sure we had a great DJ (still very economical) so that our guests would enjoy the night. Our rings weren't expensive at all - mine was around $700 and DH's was under $200. But we were able to get a venue that was gorgeous all around, and rent extra time to prep the barn and take photos, so we had a piece of mind.
7. We had everything all in once place. On a Friday.
As a wedding photographer, I can tell you that there's nothing better than having the whole shebang in one beautiful place. We were able to get photos done quickly - and only hired our photographer for 6 hours, to catch the important parts (getting ready, formals, ceremony, highlights of the reception), our DJ covered our ceremony and reception, and cost the same as it would for a traditional reception. That, and our buffet opened right after the ceremony ended at 5pm - so we could forego appetizers during cocktail hour and get the party started quicker! We also swung by our local burger place and picked up 50 hamburgers on the way to the hotel so there was an afterparty meal as well. That is when I actually ended up eating. haha.
Having the wedding on a Friday wasn't what we intended to do originally, but ended up being the only day we could find a venue we liked. But it was fantastic. The ceremony started at 4:30pm, and it was a lovely, relaxed day. Our venue didn't give us a discount for a Friday event, but I know many do.
All in all, we spent under $15k. Still a big chunk of change, but it was exactly what we wanted. And an absolute blast. Our goal with the wedding was to make it personal and throw an amazing party that people really enjoyed. And if I say so myself, we absolutely killed it.
Hope you guys enjoyed the photos