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Valentine’s day was this month! Love is in the air! Hopefully, someone out there got their rock! With that in mind, I want to share with you how we made our wedding day special with a budget of $2,000. I don’t have the exacts anymore and prices probably have changed at least a bit over the last two years, so it’s not exactly the same but this should give you, happy couples, plenty to work with. With that in mind, my first bit of advice is priority rules the budget.
First Things First
When planning a wedding you need to brainstorm first – that is after sharing the news! Come up with ideas of how you want your day to go. Are there any traditions to incorporate? Do you have a date or theme in mind? Is the event going to be religious or not? Big or small?
Once you have at least a vague idea, and ideally a date in mind, then you can come up with a budget. This may lead to some tinkering of the plan. You may need to extend the date so you can save more money. At this point, nothing is set in stone and mostly just brainstorming ideas. Also, it’s a good idea to start gathering names and addresses of people you would want to invite. Start big it’s easier to cut down on invites that to add to a short list last minute.
Priorities are Important
It’s best when on a budget to plan in priority. This means you should make a list of things or actions that are important to you and assign priority to them. For example:
We put the priority on my wedding dress and our rings. In addition, you could say we had the highest priority of having a temple wedding – religious ceremony. Now, this we didn’t have to pay for we did have several other steps we had to do before we could go through with this and reserve a time for our ceremony but we’re focusing on the financial aspect of planning right now.
We went ring looking since Batman couldn’t tell me what he wanted and we needed our ring sizes. After window shopping, I learned that he preferred a tungsten ring. We both had a preference for simplicity instead of fancy. Diamonds or gold were off the table for mine as it clashed very badly with my skin tone. He ended up finding a silver ring with a small sapphire, which incidentally matches my engagement ring too! I got lucky and came across a deal and was able to get a solid black tungsten ring at very low cost. We both were very happy with our choices.
Now this one was hard for me. What I really wanted was to sew my dress with my mother. When I first got engaged (around Halloween) relations with my parents was very tense. It wasn’t until Christmas dinner that my parents actually acknowledged my engagement and finally talked to us about the wedding. At this point, the countdown was a little under three months to go.
Luckily, I hadn’t been idle in my dress shopping. As much as I wanted to sew my dress I still had no idea what would look good on me. I went with my mother in law to be to look at dresses. I was at least a bit ahead of the curve I knew some cuts of dresses would look horrible. (Gotta love Pinterest!)
In addition to having ideas for sewing my dress, I had a backup dress as well if it came down to it I could buy from a store. In the end, I got my wish. My mother and I sewed my wedding dress. The total cost ended up just a bit more than $100. It was very simple compared to some wedding dresses. We had chosen to do just one layer and one type of fabric. We did find that for the bodice we had to double up the fabric or else it wasn’t stiff enough and a bit see-through.
Lower Priority but Still Important
While my dress and the rings were a high priority, there were other things that were important to the whole event as well. We first planned what would most likely be the most expensive. For us, that was hotel costs and invitations. For invitations, we used Vista Print because at the time they were having a promotion. You can shop around on the web for other companies and compare prices and designs. Hotels we looked around we didn’t want to be too far from our venues but we wanted some distance as that put us a bit further from the bustling main city center and the more expensive per night hotels. We didn’t have a lot of accommodations we were looking for and in the end basically got none of them because we let my mother in law change our reservations. Learned from that mistake. Below is an example of what with some quick searching I was able to come up with as estimated numbers. Now, of course, there may be other things on your list but at least you know it can be done.
Basic “Save the Date” and nice formal invitation plus stamps
reception tableware $150
reception decor $200
Little Things that Pull it All Together
For us, our little things were flowers, cake, and food. Since the reception was in the evening and I had people offer to help out if they could – I took them up on their offers and asked if some would bring desserts. So in short, we had bbq weiners, fruit and veggie trays, and a lot of dessert options. Flowers were all fake. I found bulk floral pieces in blues and whites (our colors) and put together simple centerpieces. The vases and some larger flowers were from dollar stores. We also found water beads to fill in the glasses so they didn’t look so empty or knock over easily. This worked out well and added a bit of class to a plain table. Cakes we just went to Kroger’s bakery and got a small cake for us and sheet cakes for our guest. Luckily when my dear sweetheart went to order the cakes and was asked which way we wanted the blue and white frosting he had the sense to call me. Or else we would have ended up with a blue frosted cake and white trim. That might have been harder to get out of our clothes.
What more can I do?
So you may still come to the conclusion that your plan is going to be over budget. What then? The easiest answer is just to increase the budget, but that’s not the smart answer. I’d suggest looking over and reevaluating the priority and cost of some of the larger ticket items. We had to do that with the flowers. Originally I wanted real flowers and we looked around we tried to find options but in early spring and even more so around a holiday it was hard to find flowers fitting in the budget and in season. Try to find as many options before you settle on any decision. Pick your battles here wisely. There’s no need to be a bridezilla. Talk to people involved maybe someone knows something or someone. At least they can help look for a better deal. This also may be a sign that you need to cut something out – sorry ‘Dove Release’ you don’t make the cut.
What’s your wedding priority? Drop a comment below!
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