So you’re engaged and ready to tie the knot! Everyone wants to know if you’ve set a date, if it will be a big wedding or small, and who will be your bridesmaids. As a fairly new blushing bride myself I know how much fun it is to plan for the big event. It can also be a stressful time as far as money is concerned, trying to please everybody and make yourself happy at the same time. But remember this should be one of the happiest times in your life; don’t let the aggravation ruin it! You can definitely cut back on a lot of frustration now and even more so later if you take your time and use your money wisely. Here are some things my husband and I did. Now keep in mind we kept it really, really simple but even if you want a big wedding many of these tips will apply to you too.
First off, what you and your fiance want for your wedding and honeymoon is way more important than what anybody else wants. Its your day, not everyone else’s. Don’t go crazy spending money on things you don’t even want to live out somebody else’s dream or idea. First thing, the flowers. I made my flowers and my bridesmaids’ flowers myself, and guess where I got all of the materials – the dollar store. It was not only really cheap but it was easy and didn’t take me long at all. All I did was pick out several matching flowers for my bridesmaids and then a different matching set for myself. I got some ribbon, cut off a piece, and wrapped them together. No one knew the difference either. While pre-made bouquets are stunning and don’t require any work they are very expensive. Realistically now, what are you and your bridesmaids going to do with these flowers after the wedding. Put them in the closet or the attic probably. Why spend literally hundreds of dollars on them when you’re going to use them one time and they’ll look just as good homemade. Keep this in mind with other wedding decor as well. A friend of my mom lent us tons of decorations for free for the reception because her daughter just got married. Look at yard sales and thrift stores and check the sales at stores like Hobby Lobby that carry wedding decorations.
Second thing to consider, your wedding dress. Now I know every bride is different and what’s a different thing. But we all have one thing in common, we want to feel beautiful and special on that day and we want to wow our man. This probably won’t happen often but I got the most gorgeous wedding dress from a consignment shop – brand new, never worn, and it was only $24. Seriously – tube top, long train, beautiful detailed beading, no alterations needed for that price. I realize God was smiling on me with that one, however don’t rule out consignment shops, thrift stores and yard sales. Say what you want but if I had to guess the price of my dress in a store from the looks of it, it would probably cost $800. No lie – see for yourself. I felt just as much, if not more the pretty princess in that dress knowing I got it for a steal. Don’t confuse the price of a dress with its worth. The more money you save on your dress the more money you will have for other things later when the wedding ceremony is over. When it comes to shoes and accessories I recommend the same thing. I got my wedding veil from Hobby Lobby for $10 and wore shoes I already had.
On to number three, the photographer. I will be the first one to say you want excellent pictures for your special day because its not a day that repeats itself. However, nowadays with the popularity of social networking there are many freelance photographers out there with very reasonable prices who are excellent at what they do. My photographer was a friend and co-worker of mine who takes pictures on the side. She did a fantastic job, was very patient and captured exactly what I wanted. Many big-time photographers are going to charge you an arm and a leg for pictures. Also as I said what my husband and I did wasn’t traditional; the actual day we got married it was just us, the preacher and my parents in their living room. We went on our honeymoon and when we came back we did the wedding photos just us and my “bridesmaids” and then had a small reception with a few close friends and immediate family. That being said the pictures turned out great because we took them on a day set aside for just that. We weren’t exhausted and agitated with the whole big wedding business.
Tip number four – the bridesmaids and your groom. For our wedding pictures my husband wore a white button down shirt and black slacks. In my opinion he looked just as handsome as he would have in a tux. I told him we didn’t need to spend money on a tux just for pictures. Also for my bridesmaids I just told them to wear a black dress of their choice. They all loved it because they didn’t have to spend crazy money on a dress they would end up wearing once. They can wear those dresses again and again and they also looked so beautiful because the dresses were of their choosing that fit their style, personality and figure. Also for their bridal party gifts I just bought each of them a monogrammed beach bag with their first name on it and filled it with little things I found on sale. Instead of spending way too much on their gifts, get them a nice monogrammed bag and find things on clearance that are practical yet fun to fill them with. Also I suggest using their first names instead of initials because when they get married that may change. I filled their bags with hand sanitizers, lip gloss, Kleenex in cute boxes, and pretty bookmarks, etc.. They all loved their gifts.
I hope this helps someone out there save some money and stress too. Remember, your marriage is about more than the wedding, and you want to have money leftover after wards to continue taking trips and doing fun things as you start your lives together.