Getting the Wedding of Your Dreams Without the Nightmarish Costs
‘Getting the Wedding of Your Dreams Without the Nightmarish Cost’
By Bibi Coe Crawford
The old adage “you get what you pay for” only applies to planning a budget wedding if you do not have an imagination and resources. So rest assured because I have both in abundance and I am willing to share. If you can reason, then you can figure this out “where there’s a will there’s a way; it’s as easy as pie.” Okay so I got a little carried away on the old sayings, but “the truth shall set you free,” oops there I go again. All right last one if you “put your best foot forward” you can use some ingenuity, crafting skills, and thrifty purchases to plan and instigate one heck of a wedding, without ‘breaking the bank’. To be accurate those last two were technically idioms, so I still have one coming.
The first things you want to do is truthfully assess your budget and your skill set. Set aside expenditures for the items you will not be able to cost effectively duplicate when there is a budget friendlier option available. Next, you need to determine the type of ceremony and reception you will have. This will let you know which items will go onto your ‘purchase readymade’ list, and which will consequently go onto your ‘purchase and alter’ or ‘purchase and craft’ lists. Assess which area(s) you will definitely not compromise on, such as location(s), wardrobe, alcohol, flowers, décor, vendors, the menu, and the wedding cake. Once you determine all of these things, start the true planning.
Let us say you have a small budget of $5000 to $6000 and you want to have a semi-formal wedding with 150-200 guests. You want the ceremony to happen outside and the reception to be close-by indoors. You have decided to go with silk flowers because of your tight budget. Note that live flowers are doable on a tight budget; you just have to follow a couple of tips. Buy in bulk, buy in season, and buy copious amounts of fillers, and gypsophila; this will make your arrangements show plush. Of course, you could get away with a vase brimming with fillers alone and have it appear lavish, and mixed foliage arrangements can be designed to look very polish. Here are some web sites, which offer reasonable prices on their live flowers www.growerbox.com , www.fiftyflowers.com, and www.theflowerexchange.com. But if you are determine to use silk flowers www.usifloral.com , www.afloral.com, and www.crafta.com are excellent cost effective sites in which to do so, and crafta has spectacular bling bargains that you could utilize to give your silk arrangements pop.
You say, “Bibi there is still a lot left to plan” and rightly so. Such as chair covers and sashes, table cloths and overlays, and let’s not forget the napkins, oh my. There are an assortment of partial chair cover patterns that can become a do-it-your project; but keep in mind ‘skill set’ because you could spend time and money on a disastrous project that may not fit properly or look horridly embarrassing. Chair covers and sashes can instantly make any setting more attractive, but they can also be quite costly. Try online purchasing; yes purchasing, there are many sites that offer better deals than some rental companies, such as www.linentablecloth.com , and www.tableclothsfactory.com. These sites also provide the other linens at a cost conscious price. Search ebay.com and craigslist.org for items that are gently used or you may even find some surplus items never used and be able to get them for a steal.
When choosing your menu keep in mind that you are on a budget. You do not have to have the choice cuts of meat and the most exotic dishes to celebrate your day. A well-prepared meal is not only delicious but can be obtained on a budget. In addition, contrary to popular belief, serving heavy hors d’oeuvres or appetizers are ‘NOT’ less expensive than providing a carefully thought out meal. Chicken and fish are both inexpensive when purchased in bulk. Rice is not only economical but also versatile and tasty in any number of preparations. Canned and frozen vegetables with the correct herbs and spices are virtually indistinguishable from their more costly fresh counterparts. Explain your budget concerns to your caterer and they will make comparable suggestions if your palate is more expensive than your wallet. Depending on your budget, and or reception site restrictions, do not hesitate to ask your family and friends to prepare a menu item that you are willing to purchase the ingredients for to cut cost. Many budget brides choose this option, it not only saves money but it eliminates the chore of having one or two persons tackling the preparation and transport of a full menu for so many people.
Da, da, da, da…. The wedding cake! The wedding cake is quite often the piece de resistance and an entail part of a wedding reception, for many couples. However, not all couples are willing to splurge and invest the amount of money it takes to make the spectacle such a cake calls for. An elaborately appointed cake is taste specific; and frequently just as many couples choose the colossal tribute to cake art and construction as choose the modestly designed cake. Numerous couples select not to go tradition with either substance or structure when deciding wedding ‘cake’ options. There is everything from cupcakes to an array of individual cakes, cookies cakes, brownie cakes, or even no cake at all; yes; no cake at all. “But guess who is coming to dinner? Pies, tarts and cobblers are following in the footsteps of the more popular candy, cookie, and chocolate fountain and fruit stations. The world she is a-changing. I for one am happy that the bridal industry has broken the mold. Every wedding needs to be as individual as the couple.
I would suggest that the areas you not compromise on would be the videographer and photographer, do your research and examine their portfolios before hiring them. However, if your budget will not allow you the freedom of choosing a top professional don’t be afraid to call colleges and studios to ask for the assistance of promising students or apprentices who are looking to make extra cash. There may be a local photographer who needs to build his portfolio and will give you an excellent discount, but do not be naïve, still check references. The same advice applies to your DJ, musician and singers. Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising so ask around and you will be surprised at the amount of information you will gather to help you make your decisions. Good luck.