Weddings are not cheap and society puts added pressure on having an extravagant wedding. Here’s the catch though – it can come with a hefty price tag. Of course, you want your special day to run flawlessly and to be nothing short of perfect – fortunately, it can be possible on a budget! It is, however, important to remember that your wedding day is a celebration of your love, with your partner – not to impress everyone else. Bride-to-be, do what makes you and your partner the happiest and the most comfortable!
To help you through this exciting time, here are some tips and personal experiences that will help you plan your special day, on a budget.
BE YOUR OWN WEDDING PLANNER
You’re not alone! Many brides, whether it be for budget reasons or just their love of DIY, decide to plan their own weddings. I am not saying that this will be ideal for everyone but it is possible. I planned and co-ordinated my own wedding from top to bottom and I have no regrets. The day was above and beyond my own expectations with no nasty and unexpected surprises! But, as any experienced bride and professional planner will tell you, it’s a whole lot of work. With endless amounts of decisions, looming deadlines, budgets to manage, and mile-long to-do lists, planning your own wedding is no simple feat. So where should you begin if you’re the planner, the executor, and the bride? Right here, ladies. I have you covered.
MAKE A VISION BOARD
It’s not uncommon for the bride-to-be, to be found on Pinterest at every waking hour, after a recent engagement. It may seem overwhelming as Pinterest has endless pages of ideas, but just keep pinning everything that you love. My suggestion is to set your Pinterest board to ‘secret’ – you don’t want everyone stalking your profile to check on your colour theme and DIY hacks.
You will probably hit a point where you think that you have browsed every single pin available and that’s okay. My next suggestion would be to go through your board and select your absolute favourites in each section. Save these into folders on your phone or computer. Examples of folders may include ‘dress, hair, flowers, DIY décor, bridesmaids, venue, food’ and anything else that you think is relevant. You should sense a strong theme emerging.
Once you have found an emerging theme, (mine was romantic, vintage, pastel, feminine) then start to create a vision board for yourself, such as my example below. Use this to keep you guided in the next few phases of planning.
CREATE A WEDDING BUDGET
I cannot stress how important it is to do this at the very beginning of your wedding planning. This will guide your every choice and purchase from here on, leaving you with no unexpected bill, that you may not be able to afford.
It’s all in the details, ladies! Include every little thing that you may think you will need to spend money on. It might be paint for your DIY décor, it could be that extra piece of lace to add on a borrowed veil or maybe even a gift for your bridesmaids – include it all because, trust me, it all adds up at the end! Remember to also check where your funding is coming from. Nowadays, it’s common for the cost to be split three ways – your parents, your partner’s parents and yourselves. Don’t however expect that this will be the case though, it differs for every couple depending on your financial status and relationship.
DON’T RUSH AND REGRET
I often hear of the bride-to-be scurrying around and making hasty decisions just because ‘everyone says’ to book everything in advance. There is no point in booking far in advance if you are not 100% happy with your choices. Make time to visit venues, to interview photographers, to try on dresses and to play around with your theme. You can always push your wedding out by a month, before you have sent any invites but generally, you cannot get those massive deposits back if you are going to change your mind and cancel your bookings.
SPEAK TO YOUR RECENTLY MARRIED FRIENDS & FAMILY
Listen to what your friends and family say. Chances are, they will help you to save a lot of money that you were going to spend unnecessarily.
Below are a few of the tips that I would recommend. *Note that these are my personal opinions, you may choose not to go ahead with the below.
- Do away with wedding favours – you are spending so much on your guests already, what added value do these really give? I often see them left behind, thrown away or passed on to the next person.
- Cut down on or don’t have bridesmaids & groomsmen – the gifts, the outfits, the hair, the prep, the accommodation. These are all additional costs and the day is supposed to be about you and your partner. Do you really need 10 other people standing up there with you on the day?
- You don’t need the most expensive photographer and videographer – if you research enough and interview potential photographers and videographers, you will find that the most expensive ones may not be the best option for you. My husband and I chose a middle of the price range photographer and videographer and their work was unbelievable!
- Make sure that you get all the venue prices upfront – wedding venues tend to be quite sneaky with the pricing that is shown to you upfront. It looks like the best price until they suddenly throw in costs for glasses, waiters, table cloths, lighting and use of different grounds within the venue. Oh dear, the price doesn’t look that great anymore and you have gone over your budget!
- Don’t spend thousands on a wedding dress – this is a highly debated subject but you only wear your wedding dress once! Why spend thousands on it and have it tailored to fit your every curve when you probably won’t be able to re-sell it. Look at potentially hiring a dress.
- Ditch the traditional invites – technology has made the speed to inbox so much faster so why wait two months for your wedding invite to arrive at your cousin’s house , on the other side of the world. They could receive their invites at a click of a button. Technology allows you to be so creative – you may even consider doing a video rather than a static image and you get to cut costs of postage, envelopes and paper.
- Create a wedding website – there are so many free wedding websites available. Let your guests know about your website and use it for extra details like gift registries, directions and for RSVPs.
GET ORGANISED AND MAKE A TO-DO-LIST
If you are not usually a ‘list’ type of person, then now is the time to try working with one. You will be able to source many magazines and online links that give you a month-by-month and week-by-week list to work through. They are extremely helpful! I also recommend that you do a second list that is fully detailed with clear timelines, for your wedding day. Include all details from the time you wake up to the closing of the venue. Distribute the list to your friends and family that are helping you set-up and work through the co-ordinations on the day. This was extremely beneficial for my husband and I on our wedding day.
BREAK TRADITIONS & MAKE IT PERSONAL
Have fun with planning your wedding and make it personal for both you and your future husband. You may want to be adventurous and have your puppy as the ring bearer, maybe do a ‘first look’ photoshoot with your partner before the ceremony or even alter the wedding vows. My husband and I had a more modern and romantic version of wedding vows and they held so much meaning for us. Your wedding should feel anything but generic, so keep only the traditions that mean something special to you. To make your wedding even more personal, come up with a hashtag that friends and family can use on social media to post photos with, making it easier for you to find.
FOCUS ON YOUR PARTNER
As women, we tend to take on all the wedding details and choices and our fiancés are left to accept them. Even though they may say ‘it’s up to you’, try to keep them involved and get their opinions. If you want to do something very romantic, then organise something for the day that is just for him – maybe an expensive bottle of whiskey in his room, a personalised ‘man cake’, a surprise boudoir photoshoot book of yourself or even a cute pair of socks for him to wear. It will let him know that you have thought of him and tried to make him feel special.
TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
As I mentioned earlier, wedding planning is no simple feat. Remember to take time for yourself because stress can lead to skin break-outs and unhealthy eating habits. Remember to exercise at least twice a week, eat healthy and pamper yourself. Easing stress throughout the planning phase will make you a calmer bride on the day.
I have so much more to tell all of you lovely ladies! If you would like to chat some more about my personal experience or even to share where you are in your wedding planning process, then please feel free to email me or comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!
If you missed my recent relationship post, here are some tips for a happy and successful relationship.