I think the first thing to do when you’re working on a budget is to ask yourself what’s really important to you. In my case, I wanted to throw a great party for our friends, and I wanted a beautiful outdoor setting. We chose March 18th, 2006, because it gets hot early in Texas and I wanted our guests to be comfortable. I was lucky enough to have friends with a large, wooded property, and so the first thing we saved money on was a venue. We did incur some expense in rentals for tables, chairs, and other necessary items, but obviously this was a big help. Instead we put our money into catering and bar, offering guests sauteed-to-order pasta with veggies, chicken, or shrimp from a service line that went surprisingly smoothly. Chef Ron was a hero! And truly, my friends pitched in to help everywhere. I had friends volunteer to help with the bar, DJ, officiant, & photography! And really, this made my wedding all the more special to me because I felt like it was such a gift from my community. So obviously, if you’re working on a budget, the first thing to look at is what resources you have available to you in your community. Part of the trick to this is not getting too attached to specific details & keeping in touch with the big picture. Why are you having a wedding in the first place? To celebrate with family and friends or to put on some kind of show? Don’t feel like you have to do it just like the magazines. After all, this is your day & what you say goes!
So after you figure out what items you may be able to get help with, you still have to figure out how to stretch the rest of the dollars you have. I wanted a lot of flowers, but I definitely didn’t have a large floral budget. So I decided to make a number of silk floral arrangements to decorate the gazebo & tables, and I hung ribbons with little tufts of flowers and bells from the trees all around. We also had a maypole, and all the ribbons blowing in the breeze were truly lovely. I highly recommend Arne’s for all your wedding supply and silk floral needs. Still, I did want real flowers for the bouquets and boutonnieres. Another friend of mine had quite a bit of floral design experience, so we bought the flowers wholesale and made preparing the fresh flowers part of the bachelorette party.
I stubbornly refused to cut my 200 name guest list, so I had to find other ways to save money. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, we ordered tres leches cakes. I’ve also seen people opt for cheesecake instead of a traditional wedding cake. Still yummy to me!
Ultimately, you want your expenditures to be in line with your priorities. And since the memory of your wedding day is bound to be a priority, make sure you budget for a professional wedding video. Very good wedding videos can be had for as little as $500, and preserving the memory of your romance is an investment in your marriage, allowing you to look back and enjoy all of the other investments you have made in this special day.