Monday, April 07, 2008

Wedded Wisdom, Part 1

I've asked my sister-in-law to share a little advice on how she stayed on budget and still pulled off a gorgeous wedding! She's an avid DCNearlyweds reader who lives in Atlanta. We see so many weddings with crazy budgets that look amazing, so I wanted to share a beautiful real wedding successfully executed on a real budget. Keep in mind that James and Leslie hosted almost 140 people.
click photo to enlarge
When my sister-in-law, Miss Shirlington, asked me to share some of the money-saving and DIY tips I picked up while planning my August 2007 nuptials, I was more than happy to oblige. I so thoroughly enjoyed the process that I truly wish I could do it again!

I had an average budget and number of guests for my Northeastern Ohio wedding, but I've also been known throughout my life for having champagne taste on a chardonnay budget. Even so, with careful spending and a little extra time, I still had everything I wanted without going over my limit. The key is remembering the appropriate time to apply that money-saving attitude based on your goals for the day. Awesome deal on centerpieces? Great! Awesome deal on my cousin's mother's sister's aunt the photographer? Not so much.

Here are some pointers on items that not only saved money, but were fun projects that created memorable details of the day.

The Do-It-Yourselfer

Whether you're into it or not, we all can admit that scrapbooks not only pretty, but a much better way to look back at your shower, bachelorette party or wedding than sorting through a stack of photos. At both of my showers, there was a table of papers, scissors, stickers and embellishments, and everyone who came was asked to make one page. They left personalized notes and advice, and we took a photo of me with each guest. All you have to do is print the photos, glue them in, and voila! Instant scrapbook!

I don't have a picture because, well, it's still not done.

For a guestbook, I made a small scrapbook with one matted photo of James and I on each page. It was a nostalgic item that showed us throughout our relationship, and it was a great read after the wedding. Additionally, our friends and family enjoyed leaving us notes sharing their memories about the photos.

The Bargain Hunter

I paid extra attention to holiday sales, especially decoration-heavy celebrations such as Christmas, and other special-events. Unfortunately, the time of year your wedding is in and how much time you have to plan can sometimes determine how effective this strategy is. You may not have planned on clipping coupons for your wedding, but I found that it was worth my time. Ask your mom, FMIL, sister, MOH, etc. save you the coupons, too. Using e-mail and circular deals from stores such as Jo-Anne's and Michaels equaled 40 to 50 percent off all my invitation kits, bubbles, pew-bow holders, guest book, scrapbook, centerpiece beads and veil pattern and supplies.

Centerpieces & other reception table decoration:

Chargers: $25 for 20 gold chargers on after-Christmas clearance; Kirklands Home

Candles: $150 for 20 each of six, eight and 10-inch ivory, unscented candles on after-Christmas clearance; Pier 1 Imports

Beads: $25 for 5 bags using coupons; Michaels

I also visited two Ohio-based wholesale craft stores, The Flower Factory and Pat Catan's. If you don't know where to find one of these in your area, ask teachers, artists or crafty people for advice. They have an immense supply of nearly everything , be it for weddings or not. Make sure you have a good idea of what items cost at other craft and decorating stores, though, as not everything is a deal. These stores are where I purchased my aisle runner, memory candle and holder, tulle ribbon for pew bows, cake topper and ribbon for programs and place cards.

Mirrored Initial Cake Toppers: $10; Pat Catan's


More to come on Leslie's Invitations, reception cards & response cards, Programs, Place cards, and Veil in the next post!


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