That’s about all I thought for three weeks after Nate popped the question. Skipping through cloud-nine, the reality of wedding planning really didn’t sink in for a bit. Of course I immediately commenced intense wedding pinning and it got a little crazy. After the initial excitement started to subside, however, I started really thinking what I wanted out of this wedding. Hence my list of priorities developed.
I consider myself a practical person. I get that weddings should be a special occasion, and believe me I want that, but I also think they tend to be a little to overdone sometimes (but hey, if I had the money I’d probably throw a pretty elaborate event). Yes, it’s a once in a lifetime event, but at the end of the day all that matters to me is that I’ll be Nathan’s wife and he will be my husband. ❤
Mushy stuff aside, I eventually sat down and thought about how much I wanted to spend. Now my budget is rather petite–$5,000 to be exact. I set it this small for a number of reasons I’ll discuss in another post, but with such limitations comes a need to set priorities.
For me, my absolute must have/splurge item is a professional photographer. I hang photos everywhere and love looking back at them in my everyday life so I know this is important for me to spend a little extra on such a special day. While it’s definitely my biggest ticket item, I was able to find a good deal! So this came in at $940, which really is miniscule for most weddings, but again in terms of budget is basically a fifth of the cost. To save some, my Aunt, who is incredibly talented, took my engagement photos. She did do my sister’s wedding for free, but I really wanted her to be able to just relax and enjoy my wedding so I went ahead and hired someone. However, see if you don’t have family members or friends who could give you a good deal!
Honestly, this wasn’t the biggest thing for me. I actually contemplated sewing my own for under $100 for a while. However, I’m glad my mom went a little crazy and convinced me to look over my original $300 allotment of money for my dress. By current standards, my dress was super affordable, but in terms of my budget this did take up a good chunk. I’ll share my dress shopping experience another day. Total, my dress cost $730. My mom is going to make my veil (it’s really easy) and I’m not going to spend more than $50 on any accessories/shoes so that puts me at $780 total.
Rentals and Attendants
So Nate has a gorgeous suit already and some Air Force blues, so he will wear one or the other with saves some $$$. Also, I’m having my bridesmaids and groomsmen provide their own clothing so that will be another budget save. However, I don’t want them to spend a fortune so I’m just choosing a color palette for the girls to match with any long dress of their choosing and I’m going to search for some deals for the guys. In the end, I might spend $100 total on bridal party gifts in the form of ties and/or jewelry.
While I’d love to get married at some of these wedding venues you see in bridal magazines, they generally cost twice my entire budge or more! It’s important to me that its a pretty place so I did quite the search to find it. If you look hard you don’t have to sacrifice, just keep an open mind! I’ll share my venue search another day, but I got mine for a full day for a whopping $100, which my grandmother graciously paid. Therefore my venue comes in at $0 for my budget.
Here I’m pretty lucky. My sister and I love to bake and decorate cakes so we are just going to make it. But if you can go without a crazy cake maybe you can ask a friend or family member to make one for you! Between buying a cake pan and some mixes I’ll probably spend no more than $50 on the cake.
This is where I’m saving a ton of moolah! I don’t want a large formal meal so I’m going with a cake and punch reception so I don’t have to cater! I’m planning on no more than $200 going towards this.
Flowers and Decorations
I want nine gazillion flowers at my wedding! Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut I definitely can’t afford that so again, I like crafts so here’s when some of my DIY skills come in! I’m making the flowers out of coffee filters. We made roses for my sister’s wedding and they were gorgeous, so I’m doing the same just in greater quantities and more variety. Throw in a few other costs for ribbon and I’ll probably come out at $150 if I go crazy.
I think this is a great place to save money. I want lovely invitations, but if I cut the save the date cards and make them simple I should make it out with under $300 in costs.
So that’s where I’m at on a couple of major ticket items. I chose my photos and dress as the most important things within my budget so I know I’ll be happy with those splurges at the end of the day. Currently the big things for my wedding are coming in at about $2,520, so that gives me some good wiggle room! Of course there are loads of other little tiny costs. I highly suggest finding a budget chart as they help you breakdown the costs. Mine is actually just a premade template from Excel. I hope to fill you in on how I’m planning this and let’s see if I can stay under my $5,000 goal!