Friday, February 5, 2010

Guest blogger - How to Plan a Fabulous Wedding For A Bargain!

Please welcome our first guest blogger! - Christin from A Classy, Southern Bride!  My blog is all about doing things on a budget, so I thought what is more appropriate than how to plan a fabulous wedding on a budget!


As a bride-to-be planning an October 2010 wedding, Beth so kindly asked me to do a guest post on planning a (fabulous!) wedding as budget-conscience as possible. I have always been a bargain shopper and love finding ways to save. I don’t believe in compromising what you want for your big day, but with a little research and effort, you can find LOTS of ways to cut costs and still have the wedding of your dreams.

1. DON'T hire a wedding planner. This may sound crazy to some of you, but with the help of a relative/best friend/maid of honor, some wonderful wedding blogs, lots of magazines, and a detailed Excel chart to help you keep track of everything, you can plan a wedding on your own. Trust me, we are planning on having roughly 300-350 people attend our wedding, and I have planned every detail on my own. It’s definitely possible.

2. RESEARCH venues very thoroughly. One reception hall wanted 24K (yes, you read that right), but we ended up finding a more beautiful space for a very small fraction of that. It just took a little bit of time and patience.

3. Do some DIGGING for your entertainment. Most bands and DJs (at least in my area) are managed by an entertainment company. By finding a band or DJ independent of a management company, you can expect to pay about half the price (I did!).

4. FORGO the sit-down dinner. With as many guests as we are having, we decided to have a buffet-style meal. Not only are we doing it buffet-style, we decided to have dishes that demonstrate who we are as a couple. For instance, I’m having a shrimp and grits station since I’m Southern, and my beau is having a Philly sandwich station (his all-time favorite!). Not only will it save some major money, but it will be more “us.”

5. INCORPORATE lots of DIY projects. I definitely don’t consider myself crafty, but I’m doing lots of DIY projects for my wedding. Guests will love the personal touches, and in most cases, the projects will save lots of cash.

For anything you need printed (notecards, save-the-dates, thank you cards, etc.) I highly recommend Vistaprint. Check out their daily specials online and catch the product you need when it’s 50% off or more. Blurb is also a great site where you can design your guestbook.

6. BUY online. Find your dream dress and know what size you need in a brick-and-mortar store. Then, see if RKbridal(dot)com offers your dress/designer in their “No Frills” online ordering program. If you order online, the price is significantly less because they don’t have to provide in-store customer service or free alterations (several women I know have used this for their wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses and have been extremely happy). RK Bridal also beats any competitor’s price by 5%. I was planning on using this site, but they don’t carry the designer I ended up choosing.

7. SHOP sale racks. I found my blue Jimmy Choo wedding shoes on Jimmychoo(dot)com for over 50% off. I also found my bridesmaids’ shoes at DSW in the clearance section. For showers or engagement parties, Neiman Marcus has a last-call clearance section online. And of course, there is always The Outnet, where you can find designer clothes and shoes at a fraction of the retail price.

And... the splurges.

1. HIRE a day-of coordinator. The $200 or so you will spend on this will save so much headache and stress on your wedding day. Let someone else take care of the details.
2. PHOTOGRAPHER. My beau and I agreed that photography is EXTREMELY important to us. After the big day has come and gone, all we will have left are the memories and photographs. We chose Josh Malahy. Check him out if you need a photographer!If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at classysouthernbride(at)gmail(dot)com. Or if you want more budget-friendly wedding ideas, check out my blog jrandchristin(dot)blogspot(dot)com!


Abby said...

Totally agreed! Splurge on a photographer and do as much yourself as you can. My mom and I did the centerpieces at the reception ourselves, as well as the printing, etc. You can save SO much if you're just willing to invest a little elbow grease. Plus, the wedding feels more like yours, instead of something impersonal created by a planner who barely knows you.

Kristin @ the Waiting Game said...

Very helpful post! Thanks, Christin!

christi said...

these are some great tips. we married in december 2007 and i planned our entire wedding. it was full of diy projects, too. we made a smallish budget go very far!

a few comments i had that i ran into with our wedding and pennies.

1. photographer: spend money here. you'll have the pictures forever. we ended up hiring a decent one and then adding a second up and coming one for $200 and she shot everything the day before and wedding day.

2. skip the videographer. if you really want your ceremony taped, set-up a camera and ask a friend. we don't have either and i don't feel like i missed anything. our pictures say it all and i love that!

3. flowers: use what is in season for your area. also remember that flowers of the same variety clustered together make a BIG impact. think gerber daisies and babies breath (see my blog for a baby shower i hosted using babies breath as the flower). if you're a fall wedding think hypericum, eucalyptus, cosmos and ranunculus.

4. centerpieces: they don't always have to be huge floral arrangement. a centerpiece of a large grouping of votive candles ( with rose petals scattered is stunning. (best buy for rose petals is 6000 rose petals for $140. 6000 rose petals goes far!).

5. decide where you want the impact to be: we had twinkle lights in the rafters of the barn where our reception was; grapevine wreaths on the doors with inexpensive floral added and rose petals on the dance floor.

6. your dress: don't think you can't get an amazing dress on a budget. many designers are copying other designers with a few changes. and remember to check ebay and weddingbee classifides.

7. alcohol: we did beer and wine only. ask your venue what the corkage fee is and then compare the total cost of buying their wine and bringing your own. we spent 1/4 the price on beer and wine by bringing our own and paying the corkage fee vs buying all alcohol from the venue. take advantage of bevmo's 5 cent sale.

8. hire a doc. it's worth it's weight in gold.

9. i didn't buy expensive wedding shoes (nine west) and i'm glad i didn't i only wore them for the ceremony and photos! i put flip flops on for the rest of the night -- and no one had a clue!

10. entertainment: we went the dj route simply because of cost. give your dj a good list of music to play.

11. lighting. do soft lighting. while colored lighting is great, it is not necessary. our venue put a light on our cake (a huge no no, it should always be a pin drop light) and by the time we cut it, the frosting was a little melted. oh well, it still looked and tasted awesome!

wow, that is the longest comment ever!! i do love wedding planning and finding deals!


Andre Nievo - Vermont Weddings said...

And you this way ahead of time, right? Perhaps a year is safe.

Kristin said...

50% off Jimmy Choos??? Holy cow!