Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I got an email from my aunt today telling me my cousin couldn't be my junior bridesmaid. Apparently with all of her dozens of sports camps blah blah blah, they can't afford to come down for it.

I'm a little, nay, a lot hurt. This is my favorite aunt, and my favorite cousin. The only cousin on my father's side that I bothered to invite simply because I have too many cousins.

I understand, I mean the economy is tough and money is tight. I just got laid off myself (on the six months till the big day day no less!) so you don't need to preach to me about not having dough, blah blah blah. I'm about to go file for unemployment today, and thinking about how we're going to pay for the wedding after all this makes my stomach hurt. I'm sure a few of you can relate.

In lieu of all this, I've made a mental note of what can be sacrificed. Flowers are getting nixed - I'll likely be doing everything myself sans the alter flowers, and the centerpieces. I'm not a big flowers person anyhow, I want to spend that money on other things like our honeymoon to either Ireland, Spain or Italy (still being debated). The Church, reception site are all pretty much set costs, I've been dragging my feet on finalizing the vendors, we've been fighting with the hotel room block for a couple weeks now. I'll probably do the invitations myself, especially with all this free time on my hands.

My mother suggested I just "plan my wedding full time." Riiiiiiight mom. 'Cause I can afford that....I understand that there are many brides who definitely feel that it could be a full time job and maybe in three months I'll feel the same but right now? M'eh.

Recently, I read in the Wall Street Journal that the average cost of a wedding is down from $28,000 to $21,000. We're looking to keep our budget at about $16,000. Shortly after getting engaged a friend of mine told she'd be surprised if we could have the wedding for under $20k. Of course hers was $50k at a high end hotel in Boston paid for by her parents...so the comparison is a little unfair. Still $16k is a decent chunk of change, but with our guest list and "must invite" people, it was hard to get much lower than that - especially in DC. There are tons of ways to cut back costs, but which ones are really worth it? At what point do you sacrifice quality for something budget friendly??

So freaders, what are you doing to cut back costs? If you or your Fiance have been recently laid off how are you accounting for that money if you're paying for the wedding yourself?

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Blogger Gabrielle said...

We're in a similar situation, although the wedding isn't for another year and 1/2. I was laid off before we got engaged and have been doing a good job (I'm amazing myself) of pinching pennies. Personally, I have resisted any unneeded purchases (no buying a new pair of jeans "cause they are on sale", magazines, etc.) Also, when I go grocery shopping, I stick to a list. Since I got laid off, I've been doing part time work in my field.

As it turns out, just as I got laid off, my FH got transferred to a new city so I'd have to start over any way.

As far as saving on the wedding I have thought about eliminating things I don't find essential to the day.. a videographer (why? so I can watch it once? My cousin had one and she won't even let anyone watch the final video!), seating cards (instead I'm going to do seating lists), flowers flowers flowers (a friend of mine got married and had to have spent like 10,000 alone on flowers. I don't think many people really notice. I'm doing candles for centerpieces, and smaller bouquets for my bridesmaids. I've actually considered doing all baby's breath or other small fillers. In one big bunch they can be stunning!) and finally negotiating with the venue. The package we are looking at includes table wine service. Not everyone will drink wine, so we are working to get that changed to an extra appetizer or extra time at the bar. The package also includes a cocktail reception exclusively for the bridal party, we are working to make this something else too!

Don't do everything "by the book". Sit down and consider what is REALLY necessary for you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I got engaged about a month ago and my fiance has been out of work for the past three months, though he has an interview today! Right now we are shooting for a May 2010 wedding but until he gets a job it's hard to determine a budget.

We are definitely looking into cutting costs by printing our own invitations, buying the flowers wholsale and arranging them ourselves and having a friend of the family bake the cake (it's her side business). The biggest issue I'm having is finding a reasonably priced venue in the area that is still nice. Any suggestions??

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger style-for-style said...

ha, our budget is 5,000, and there is another blog floating around with a 2,000 wedding budget.
the trend is doing more on less for sure.

It just depends on whats important (you said flowers weren't) and it depends on how crafty you are.

can you sew, screen print, bake, how about the people you know?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 11:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'll be seriously impressed with a $16k DC wedding... from what i hear about prices up there i can't even imagine...
we've budgeted for $20k with 80 guests but i'm shooting for $15k and think we'll end up somewhere in the middle. i'm the only one with a job since fiance has been out of work all year.
there are so many ways to save money on a wedding it's silly. i say can the flowers, that's a big one. my girlfriend had a gorgeous wedding where the only flowers were bouquets & bouts and no one noticed. while it would be lovely to have all those fabulous little details those are the easiest things to cut out because no guests will ever notice.
we bought our invites at target on the discontinued shelf... they'll cost us $17.99 + ink... there are so many ways to save!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I am a wedding vendor myself (a photographer) and also a bride to be who is deep in the planning process. We set 2 goals for our wedding.

1. To be ecologically responsible.
2. To be financially responsible.

I think prioritizing things is key. For me photography was my number one so that is my big splurge.
My second biggest splurge is a Day of Coordinator. Since our wedding is SO DIY and at a unique venue I feel this was a total must have for us.
We found the venue of our dreams and luckily it is in the National Park System so our money is going to a good place and the rates are very low.
I am not doing florals at all. Going to have a chain restaurant cater BBQ (very rustic style wedding).
We have a friend who's a baker in PA and she is doing our cake, no discount but her rates are much more affordable because her market is not DC.
A friend who is a stylist in NJ will be doing my hair.
A local girl who rocks is doing my makeup.
Because of the style of my wedding and my personal style I have opted to have a dress made. I received a quote form a girl in California and it will be right around $750. I am doing invites & decor myself. We went with a DJ over a band.
My best advice is to think outside the DC Wedding box. There are plenty of vendors who would love to help you. Just think creatively!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

1. Consider a lunch time reception

2. Cut down on flowers as much as possible. Try to find favors that double as centerpieces!

3. Send out ecard invitations or if you are making your own check out the brides collection at Michaels. With the 40-50% off coupons you can get them for less than a buck each! Or if you want to get your own paper...try Kelly Paper and print them on your printer

4. Check out asian vendors...they always have the best prices. suit rentals, printing, flowers, etc. Most of them speak broken english but they can communicate well enough. I am vietnamese but my viet is really bad so I always speak to them in english...they want your business!

5. Avoid making escort cards/placecards and just have 2 people with a list of names/table #s to tell people where they are sitting

6. Use an ipod for music, a family friend for the emcee....or like us have the bridal party take turns emceeing throughout the night

7. bridesmaid dresses - i bought mine at nordstrom online on sale...25 bucks each!

8. wedding dress. i got mine for 200 at david's bridal

9. Make your own bouquets. Find out where they sell flowers wholesale and practice arranging one yourself. There are many DIY tutorials online

How many people are you having? I'm having 250 and my wedding will be under $20K...and I live in LA! It's definitely doable. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 1:19:00 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

While I am not... repeat not engaged :)...

I agree with you about the flowers.
I don't even like them all that much to begin with.

I love the idea of making your own invitations.. who knew those were super expensive too!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 2:22:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Here's a helpful suggestion... To save money, I found a really reasonable stationer! I had my invitations made by a local vendor who is a grahpic designer, but since she runs her business out of her house, her prices are MUCH more reasonable. She designed exactly what I wanted and came in right under my budget. She could easily design something custom for you and your fiancee and meet a tight budget. Her website is camispaperie.com, or email is cami@camispaperie.com.

Good luck planning! Keep your head up!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 7:14:00 AM  
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009 7:54:00 PM  
Blogger AmyJean {Relentless BrideĀ®} said...

I think Mrs. Tulip from weddingbee did hers IN dc for less than 10k. We can do anything we put our minds to! Good luck dear! you can totally do this!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 8:22:00 PM  
Blogger Only One Heidi said...

@ Alexis - ooorrr we could not hire a stationer at all and use fiance's cousin who will do it for free! File stationer under my opinions of videographers - unnecessary expense. Thanks for the suggestion though!! :)

@Julie - hiiiii! Yeah flowers def not my priority, neither are invitations really. Thats why i plan to do them myself

@Kim - those are all great suggestions but if i was ever invited to a wedding via some form of evite I would instantly rsvp no because to me evites are tacky (for weddings) (no offense). We're still wavering on an ipod wedding but i have serious music ADD so i think it's best left to a dj. I've been looking for good deals on dj's - a friend of mine got hers on a deal for $250!!

@Jenn - thanks for the suggestions! We're trying to make the reception the biggest expense, something we want to spend money on, everything else we're willing to cut costs on - flowers, dj, no videographer, our photographer is amazing and affordable, it definitely helps that we have family helping us which makes this all possible.

@notsojenny - invites from target for $17.99?! That's awesome!!!

@laura - ish. a big ish. I definitely follow those blogs though!

@SG - depends on what size you need. we finally settled on Capitol Hill Club - while they have a $10,000 minimum, our guest list isn't so big that the way we priced everything out we barely hit the 10k - plus taxes and fees puts us at ~13k but we managed to cut out transportation which we would have needed at the other reception venue - a place where we cut out everything we wanted to keep costs down and still hit 10k so really it's a wash but it all works out in the end. At least it's half paid for! Look outside the box for reception sites - restaurants that might have nice rooms (then you're not paying say for servers/bar tenders which some places charge for), outside the city maybe, it really depends on what you're looking for. THere are definitely budget friendly places in the city - as was mentioned above - if you're willing to look outside the box.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 8:24:00 PM  
Blogger Naibik said...

Hi if anyone needs help wedding planning in the DC/Baltimore area, I am available. I am trying to build a portfolio so I dont charge a thing at the moment, but it would be nice to be compensated for gas or so. How can I do this . Because I am passionate about all things wedding related. More about me-I am a sometimes lawyer and a mother of three girls, two teenagers and a very busy two year old. But my heart seems to be in the wedding planning arena. So if you are a nice, friendly, easygoing or anxious:) bride who needs assistance, please let me know. By the way I love the growers box for wholesale flowers. They even have this thing called wedding in a box which is really cool. Also check out your local parks and recreation for locations, this is not only a less expensive alternative, but you may also be likely allowed to bring in your own caterer, another money saver. I can be reached at kgreene490@aol.com. Thanks!

Sunday, March 22, 2009 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger artfoodboozeDC said...

We are in a similar situation because although our income is pretty good, over half of my paycheck every month goes to student loan bills - i.e. my fiance pays for EVERYTHING.

We've basically negotiated the crap out of our vendors. We're also doing only cocktails and hors d'ouevres for our reception. We're choosing greenery over traditional bouquets and flowers (MUCH cheaper), and centerpieces that double as favors.

So that we can be safe in knowing our date is booked with our vendors, we have negotiated the initial deposits/booking fees sometimes down to half of the initial asking price. This has given us more wiggle room.

We also purposely chose a March wedding, which so far (after only booking three vendors), has already saved us over $3,000 - because vendors have lowered their prices for our out-of-season wedding.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 3:19:00 PM  

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