However, I'm not going into ridiculous amounts of debt for this day. (Cue collective gasps from all the bridal magazines on the floor.)
We want a beautiful wedding. We want to celebrate with our loved ones on a beautiful spring/fall/winter day (we're clearly picky with the seasons here) and enjoy a plethora of good food, good alcohol, and lots of laughing.
We also want to finish paying off our vehicles (so close!), B's student debt (not so close), want patio furniture and re-tile the master bathroom (Seriously, there is carpet. What were the previous owners thinking?!) We also want to add a second security door and to continue to build our savings. We plan on children in the future and from what we've heard, those munchkins are expensive! So much of this wedding event will be carefully planned and done as inexpensively as possible...and I have no problem with that.
I will shop the sales. I will use coupons. I will attempt to make things on my own (provided it's a wise move.) I will attempt to use things I already own and purchase things for the wedding that I can use again.
Once I've made up my mind on something, I'm not going to continue shopping around. I think that's the most reasonable way to approach this process.
I'm trying to merge my pinterest & bridal magazine ideas with the very real-world concept of a budget.
How we're saving money:
1) The time of year.
We'll be getting married during the "off season". We want an outdoor wedding when it's not ridiculously warm outside, so our wedding range is Oct/Nov 2016 and Jan/Feb/March 2017. We'd toyed with the idea of a New Years Eve wedding, but then realized how incredibly expensive hotel rooms, even off the Strip, would be for our out of town guests. (You're all welcome.)
2) The guest book.
I didn't want to buy something that we'd rarely look at again, so we decided on a large S to hang in our home.
I looked at custom metal and wood S's online and they were upwards of $80 a piece. Considering we're getting two (one for the guest book and one for pictures), this wasn't a reasonable request.
I picked up two unfinished 2 foot S's at a craft store for under twenty bucks (total, not each).
I'll paint them myself once we've picked the wedding colors. I've still got left over stain from redoing the cabinets, so I am thinking of staining just the edges to give a more vintage, rustic look. As an added bonus, they already have cut outs in the back for hanging, so there is no need to drill into the sign and risk breaking it.
I'll pick up some markers for the reception and call it a day. Total cost? Maybe $50. It was a little more than some of the cheap guest books, but it's something we'll enjoy in our home so it's worth it to me.
We'll hang the signed S in our hallway for our gallery wall and hang on to the other one for future family photos. I assume it will be painted a light color, so I can always repaint it later.
I did find this sign today:
I'll be using it at our engagement shower, possibly wedding shower, and again in our wedding. Three uses for $10 seems reasonable! I could always repurpose it in the guest bedroom/bathroom once we're happily married. (If you couldn't tell, I'm all about reusing things and getting the most out of what I buy.)
I love the font (and that I could use a coupon when buying it!) and will paint the frame to match the wedding colors...or leave it as is, I haven't decided yet.
3) Table Numbers.
Disclaimer: I love these numbers from an Etsy shop. If I could justify spending eighty dollars on them, I would.
However, I can't. Try as I might, I can't justify that much, especially when there's not a logical way to reuse them in the future. They'd look pretty darn silly sitting around my house and would quickly get broken in my classroom. I even looked online to see if someone was selling their gently used ones and they still want sixty bucks for the set. They are beautiful, but not quite doable.
So instead, I think I will find a way to use these cake toppers:
And wine bottles, chalkboard paint, flowers, and ribbon to craft something like this:
I don't have a clear image yet of what I'd like to do, but I do know I have a few empty wine bottles that I've been waiting to craft with! I also know that if I asked my bridesmaids to help me drink wine for the sake of the table numbers, they'd gladly rise to the occasion.
I know there will be some cost in the table numbers. I think the cake toppers are $3 a piece, so I'll either buy them slowly with coupons (another advantage of having a long engagement period!) or wait for them to be on sale. There will be a cost in chalkboard paint (which I'm sure I'll use for many other projects) and burlap, ribbon, or flowers, but it will definitely be less then $80. Plus I won't feel bad if at the end of the night they get tossed because there was minimal financial investment.
4) The vase.
I loved this idea:
However, the vases I found online were a tad ridiculous. One customized vase was $150 (Seriously. It was white with the couples' names and wedding date...that's all.)
However, being the sane person that I am who is trying to avoid bridezilla-like actions, I found this one at Target for $7.
I picked up a three pack of metallic sharpies (which I obviously will use again), some fake flowers (they were on sale) and tada! Total cost? $15. (Which is totally within the budget.)
Guests at our engagement shower will sign the vase and we'll have a pretty new meaningful accent piece in our home. Because I'm worried the signatures will rub off in the dishwasher, I plan to put fake flowers inside instead of real ones. Problem solved!
5) The engagement party.
I could have ordered fancy invitations online or purchased the pre-made kits, but I don't have access to a printer until mid August and that doesn't give enough turn around time.
So instead I found these non-wedding invites:
I purchased some metallic sharpies (different from the vase ones, these are thinner) and will be hand writing them myself. (Thank goodness for years in Student Council, as a RA, and as a teacher because I've perfected my "nice" handwriting with many, many signs over the years.)
The colors (black and white) blend really well with the serving dishes and decor we already own. Conveniently, many of our serving dishes are also polka dotted, including the two new ones I picked up today. (Thank you TJ Maxx for having reasonably priced polka dot dishes!) The gold accent won't be hard to play up and picking up black and white plates will be a piece of cake. Plus the color scheme is classic but still fun.
B is just pleased I didn't bring home something floral or pink. I did call him from the store to run the color options by him and he agreed on the black and white option. (I want him to feel included in this process but I also know he trusts me and doesn't want to be involved in every discussion.) He made some sassy comment about the polka dots, possibly because I also found this gem (on clearance!):
But again, he's marrying me and the polka dots come with.
We'll be picking up some sandwich platters, appetizers, and cupcakes from Costco the day before the engagement shower. I have some out of town folks who I know can't attend, so I'll be planning to celebrate with them when I'm in AZ (parents #2, you know who you are!). I know my brother and his gf can't attend (because they're watching my mom's dog so she can come out) and my MOH can't attend because she's on the other side of the country, so I'll just frame large pictures of them so they can be included. I see a few drunken selfies with the pictures, so be prepared!
I'm sure there will be many more thrifty short cuts as the wedding planning process continues, so stay tuned!