Tips to plan a budget-friendly wedding

I LOVE weddings!  I’m not much of a crier, but for some reason weddings always get me.  I cry all the time at weddings!  Probably because they’re such a happy time and there’s always so much love in the room.  Weddings are amazing!  Jesse and I started the wedding kick off in our family.  We got married in October of 2016, then both of my parents got remarried in 2017, finally my sister got married in September of 2018.  My family always jokes that we should start a wedding planning and decorating service, because we got pretty good at throwing weddings in the last few years.  After all that, I’ve definitely learned a few do’s and don’ts and have found some ways to save a few bucks on that big day!

Weddings are supposed to be the happiest day of your life, but often times, they can cause some of the most stress in the beginning stages of a marriage.  One thing that KILLS me, is how much money the wedding industry makes.  It’s insane!  According to, American spend on average $25,764 on their wedding day!  That’s more than a car!  That’s a decent down payment on a house!  That’s not including their honeymoon or other expenses, that’s just the wedding day….. IT’S RIDICULOUS!  I mean, don’t get me wrong, if you have the money to spend that amount, by all means GO for it.  However, what I do find ridiculous, is how people GO INTO DEBT, because of one day.  Now, I could go on about that mindset all day and why Americans believe we need to have the PERFECT wedding day and all the PERFECT items (stinking advertisements).  Women are flooded with finding the perfect wedding and comparing weddings.  Just look at all the shows like Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings, etc, etc…  Don’t get me wrong, I do love watching those shows, but I refuse to compare my wedding to those.  There is no comparison.  Each and every wedding is completely unique because the love that surrounds the weddings are completely unique.  That’s what it should be about.  At the end of the day, you marry someone you love and enter into a completely wonderful and binding union.  If you’re planning a wedding, don’t lose sight of that.  It’s about the union, not the stuff and it’s definitely not about impressing the guests.

Let’s recap.. What’s rule #3 when it comes to budgeting?  (Click here to recap the other rules)  Rule #3 is to COMMUNICATE!  Ok, so trust me, I had the wedding pinterest board for YEARS before I finally settled down.  However, now that you’re about to enter into one of the biggest commitments of your life, it’s no longer only about what you want.  You need to learn to communicate, and planning the wedding is pretty good place to start.  Talk to your fiance, learn what they want, include them (If they don’t care about the decorations then fine) but!  DEFINITELY COMMUNICATE about the money being spent.

First, Jesse and I talked about some things we were okay with splurging or putting more money towards.  Then we looked at some wedding lists to see what things we absolutely needed to spend money on, and what areas we could cut out or do on our own.  Finally, we recruited A LOT of help with our wedding preparations and put in a lot of hours and hard work to stay within our budget.  Now, Jesse and I are different than most people and I get that.  Here’s some idea for what we did with our wedding that can hopefully help you to find areas to save some money as well.

When you are talking and communicating about your wedding, each of you pick some big ticket items that you’re okay with spending more money on, or maybe you want the bulk of your budget to go towards.  Here are some examples of more pricey items that will take up a lot of a wedding budget: Venue, Photographer, Dress, Food/Catering, Drinks, DJ/Band, Rings.  Out of these items, Jesse and I agreed that we wanted the bulk of our money to go toward the photographer and the venue.  We wanted to have some really good pictures, because we know those were memories we wanted to keep looking at forever.  We also knew we needed a large venue because we had a HUGE invitation list (I mean, we got to a point where we were hoping that people would RSVP no…. anyone else ever been there?)

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!  Do you have close family and friends that can play instruments, that would be willing to work during the wedding or have certain jobs, that are crafty and can help you with preparing center pieces or decorations or bouquets?  How about family that would be willing to make food for the wedding?  One thing you will find, is that family and friends are always willing to help, even if you haven’t talked to them in a while or you’re not as close with them.

Put those pinterest boards to good use!  Even if you don’t think you’re very crafty, I’m sure you’re underestimating yourself.  Or, maybe you have a friend or family member who is very crafty!  Don’t be afraid to ask them for help! 17192490_10154575225366359_7479485958260932886_o  Decorations, center pieces, bouquets, boutonnieres, these are all things you can make yourself!  It’s really not that difficult, you can even have your bridesmaids all over to help put things together!  It’s a good time to get to know each other and get some work done!

When looking for your dress or rings, don’t be afraid to buy second-hand.  There are many bridal shops out there that sell second-hand dresses, you might even get lucky at a local consignment shop.  You can hire a seamstress to customize the dress too!  Think outside the box when it comes to your wedding dress, and if you know you can’t afford it then DON’T TRY IT ON!  It’s so easy to fall in love with something that’s outside of your budget.  Save yourself the heartache.  If you’re patient, I’m sure you will find a dress that simply is perfect for you.  17191720_10154575215351359_616430317787139523_o.jpgI found my dress at a small shop in Lynchburg, Virginia called Church Street Bridal.  My mom and my sister also found their dresses here.  If you want to find an absolutely AMAZING dress at extremely affordable prices, then I would definitely suggest taking a road trip.  They get dresses donated from Kleinfeld’s and other bridal stores and the money they make helps to support the YWCA.  For the rings, check out local jewelers look online.  Jesse found my engagement ring on Etsy and he customized it for me 🙂  I LOVE it!  We also found our rings at a local jeweler that people will sell their wedding rings or engagement rings to.

Before you even begin making anything, have a game plan.  Take the time to sit down and make a list, think through each aspect of the wedding, from beginning to end, and brainstorm with your maid of honor and significant other to make sure you’re not forgetting any important detail.  Make a list for each main event, then break down those events to make sure you don’t forget anything.  I’m a planner and a list maker.  When I was planning through our wedding I was working full time + over-time some weeks, and coaching volleyball about 20 hours a week.  I had an extremely tight schedule and really had to plan my days to the hour in order to get all the decorations done.  Creating this original game plan SAVED MY SANITY!  Having a game plan is very important, and if you make this list early on, it can help you to stay on budget, stay focused, and hopefully cuts down the stress.

Finally, and probably most important of all, if you can’t afford it then don’t buy it or try to think of another option!!!  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!! Do not go into debt over your wedding.  Trust me, your wedding day will be beautiful!  In a few years, the guests won’t even remember those favors your had, the food you had, the flowers, the decorations.  Honestly, those minor details that we stress about so much, often don’t even get remembered later.  Whenever I’m with friends or family and our wedding comes up, the things I hear that they remember the most is #1 it was cold (it definitely was because it was an outside October wedding in PA)17192349_10154575202146359_8777987493442085559_o #2 The games we had during the cocktail hour and the dancing that happened during the reception #3 The shoe game 🙂 17191621_10154575199366359_6716443487674667768_o and #4 how different and unique our wedding was in general, because it seemed to match the personalities of me and Jesse perfectly (which was my whole goal!).  I wanted everyone to feel comfortable at our wedding.  I didn’t want them to feel like they were at a wedding, but at a get together where they could relax and just have a good time.  I don’t like going to weddings and feeling so put-together, so I did not want our wedding to feel like that, and I think we succeeded.

Now, I’m going to be writing another blog about our goals for our wedding and how we specifically saved money.  I was going to add it into this post, but it would have been reallllyyy long.  So I’m going to make a part 2 for saving money during your wedding and let you have a sneak peak into our big day!

Thank you for reading and congratulations if you’re reading this because you are planning a wedding soon!  I wish you all the happiness in the world on your big day and everyday after!

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