From day one of our engagement, Cody and I agreed that a wedding is a truly special day – but it is just ONE day. With that in mind, it was easier to set some guidelines that gave us a personalized wedding on a budget.
Our top three priorities when we were planning our wedding were:
1) A wedding is only a day – a special day, but ONE DAY.
2) We wanted it to be a reflection of us and our personalities.
3) We for sure were not going to spend the outrageous amounts of money we saw as the “average’ for wedding costs.
Compromising on location
The first way we saved money for our wedding on a budget was by compromising on a few things. For example, we really wanted an outdoor reception, but when it came down to it, we weren’t willing to risk the stress of worrying about temps and weather to go for it. (. . .that and all the outdoor places were already rented out on the day we wanted to get married.) The compromise was that we brought the outdoors in by renting a large open space and bringing in fun yard games like this giant jenga!
Another way we were able to stick to a wedding budget was by shopping around for a dress!
My girlfriends helped me do some research on dresses and local boutiques to know where I could look for the best deals.
I was able to snag this beauty at a fraction of the cost because it was the last one of that style! And budget-saving bonus tip: we didn’t require a specific dress for the bridesmaids. Instead, they were able to buy their own dress in our wedding colors, in a style they will actually wear again!
I LOVED my dress, and looking back, I’m also glad that I didn’t spend a total fortune on it!
We found out that in some cases, cupcakes are a lot cheaper than cakes! PLUS they are already cut and ready to serve!
My amazing bakery-momma from Wartburg made this for us. She gave us a great deal that helped us keep in line with our wedding on a budget. They were INCREDIBLE and matched our wedding colors perfectly!
I don’t like flowers.
They’re pretty and all, but I’m just a plant murderer, and they sometimes make me a little sniffly.
The mere THOUGHT of picking flowers for our wedding stressed me out, so we went with fake flowers in cute mason jars (I know, I know, but it was toward the beginning of the mason jar craze so it wasn’t totally overdone yet ????). It took the stress out, made it so we could have the flowers ready to go weeks ahead of time, and saved us money!
Timing and Food!
I’m the worst at staying up late. Like, if I could go to bed at 8:30 every night, I probably would. So when it came to planning our wedding, we had an early afternoon wedding! It was perfect timing for me to stay a functioning human the whole reception, but made the timing weird for meals.
That was just one of the million things we considered when picking our meal for our reception:
1) We wanted it to feel like a picnic since we were bringing the outdoors in.
2) I’m not really a fan of fancy sit down meals. They are fun sometimes, but I’m just not a formal person!
3) We love Mexican food. Like…a lot.
4) We wanted to thank our guests for celebrating with us!
After much consideration, we went with a big nacho bar! We made all the food ourselves, with the help of our family and wedding party (including our homemade salsa!).
There was something really special about spending time perfecting our salsa recipe and preparing it ahead of time to feed the people who came to celebrate us!
We were also blessed to have members of the church choir I directed step in and help keep the buffet line running.
It was laid back, fun, and perfectly US!
More thoughts on our wedding on a budget
Some other special touches that were unique to us:
–Cody’s brother made us a logo for our wedding (does it look familiar? we still use it!)
-We set out coloring books (including personalized ones we made ourselves) at the reception
-Our table numbers included pictures of us at that age! So for table five, there was a picture of me as a five year old and a picture of Cody as a five year old!
-We lucked out by having dear friends with the skills and equipment to DJ our wedding. It saved us money AND gave us the ability to create our own playlists for the reception!
PS. One thing we did NOT compromise on was photos. The photos will last forever and we wanted them to capture US perfectly. One:One photography is one investment we don’t regret!