Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wedding Wednesday

I'm stealing this idea because I saw it on a friend's blog. My love of all things wedding has not diminished or quelled. So why not embrace it? With spring and summer just around the corner, I want to highlight unique weddings I see and offer my advice as someone who has been married almost 2 years! It feels amazing saying that!
1st piece of advice - make your wedding unique. a country club or venue overlooking a lake or garden was not our idea of our dream wedding. We wanted something lofty, urban and and a place that represented the city. I didn't want industrial or rustic; I wanted some elegance and softness. Having our wedding in a loft isn't unique, but it was to us and our families. Most of the weddings we have attended have been church weddings followed by a reception at a country club, hotel, or church basement. To us the loft was perfect and symbolized our love, as we met in Dallas!
Don't be afraid to add personal touches. We included lots of homemade items such as our guest book quilt, handmade soap favors, homemade wedding dress, bouquet arrangements , homemade invitations, programs, menus, etc. They took extra time (which is why we had a year and half long engagement), but they were fun to make. We also saved a ton of money! They were also things that were important to us and represented us as a couple. Many of the things now adorn our new home.
think of your guests - everything we did we had the guest in mind. we had our wedding in one location because both Mr. Soup and I hate going to weddings where you have to travel to a separate reception venue that is super far from the ceremony site. We had tons of good, comfort food because we hate going to weddings with not enough food and weird food that nobody likes. we had lots of alcohol because, let's face it, most people go to weddings for the free booze. Think about the things you like at a wedding? For me it's the food and drinks. I also like convenience, especially if I'm an out-of-town guest. Remember, your guests are driving/flying to your city, possibly staying in a hotel and/or renting a car, buying you a gift, and giving up their day to spend it with you. Treat them right!
cut costs where you can - I already stressed the importance of DIYing your wedding, but really sit down and scrutinize what you need and don't need (in fact no one NEEDS a wedding, but you get my drift). Really determine what is important to you as a couple. For example, Mr. Soup and I easily could've rented out a community center or park for under $500 and had a great wedding. However, our downtown location was very important to us. It was a splurge, but it was something I don't regret (and we didn't go in debt for it). We probably could've gone without a DJ, but my mom really wanted to ensure that she got to dance to Akon over and over. We could've just hooked up an iPod to speakers or just had an afternoon reception without dancing (which would've cut our catering and alcohol bill down a lot). We were very lucky that our parents contributed to the wedding financially, but I think if they hadn't we still could've had a lovely, elegant wedding within our budget.
research - I cannot stress enough how much one needs to research and ask for referrals. For example, I was at the dentist and just happened to mention I was getting married and found out that my dental hygienist made wedding cakes out of her home. my former co-worker played the harp. Both of them were available at a lower cost than what we anticipated spending. We really wanted to have our wedding catered with good food. So many caterers wanted to charge us an arm and a leg for a heavy hors d'ourves meal (plus they wanted to charge us $40 just to taste the food). We met with a local restaurant and for half the price we received a full buffet meal plus appetizers. They also served the alcohol (which we bought in bulk at a discount liquor store) and provided the mixers. Every time we met with them to go over food pricing, they would feed us or send us home with food. I know hotel weddings can be expensive, but the hotel at which we had our room block was perfect for our rehearsal dinner and less expensive than most places we had looked. Plus, it was convenient for our 35 wedding party guests and relatives. We were so lucky to find all these great vendors for our wedding. How did we find them? Well obviously some fell into our hands. I also went online and read reviews of everything I could. I asked local girls on the Knot website. I asked for teacher discounts and college-student discounts. If I couldn't afford it, I made it or borrowed it or had my mom make it.
I had a lot of fun planning our wedding because it truly was a representation of Mr. Soup and I as a couple. I realize not every girl is like this, but for me our wedding day is something I wouldn't trade for the world.
So, next Wednesday (or the next Wednesday that I update this blog) I plan to post some cool weddings I see (budget friendly, of course). However, today I want to add a link to this website. Budget Savvy Bride. She offers tons of advice on how to have the wedding of your dreams on any budget. There is also a section for real weddings. you can search by locations or by cost (anywhere from $1000 to $20000 and above). I love reading the ones that come under budget. Mr. Soup and I came under our budget by about $2000! We were very proud of that!
Here's our wedding breakdown. We alloted $15,000 and spent around $13000, but honestly, I think we could've done it for $7,000. I also realize the term budget-wedding is subjective. I realize that $13,000 could be a dream wedding for some or not enough to others. For us, it was perfect. I don't post this on here nor to have someone throw me a pity party. I post it so that it's possible to have a wedding with any budget! So, if you have pics of your wedding and want to share how you were able to have your dream wedding, what made it unique and advice, let me know and I'll post it here!
$13250 breakdown
Venue $4500 (we got $500 off with teacher discount)
Catering $2600 (120 guests, appetizers, buffet dinner, bartending, cake-cutting,etc.)
Alcohol $700
Photographer $1200
DJ $750
Harpist $200
Officiant $250
Flowers, decor $200
Paper $300
Wedding Bands $800 (platinum bands from Sam's Club)
Gifts $200
Wedding Dress $350 (for fabrics, etc.)
Rehearsal Dinner $1000
Misc. items (flower girl dress, ribbon, veil, other crafts) $200
total = $13250
We received about $7000 in financial gifts from our parents, so we ended up coming up with $6000 on our own. I didn't include our honeymoon because we took it a year later and I think my hubby spent about $1200 on that.

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