When you first are engaged everything is so very exciting. You’re showing off your ring and pinning Pinterest inspired things every other minute of the day. But eventually reality comes into play and the dreaded “b” word comes into play. Planning a wedding on a budget is a wonderful prelude to marriage and making tough financial decisions together. Throughout my wedding planning process I learned five important lessons of where to cut corners, where to spend the big money and overall how to be blissfully happy with the end result.
Lesson One: Make Your Backdrop Count
I had my heart set on a Southern style wedding and spent the majority of my budget on venue & floral. Your venue sets the tone of your entire wedding; it’s the backdrop everything else is put up against. I wanted Southern charm, grace and service. I got exactly what I paid for. The Milestone had a phenomenal staff that made for a stress free day and everything we added or brought in fit the ambiance of the theme. When your guests arrive, the first impression of your venue will be the last thing they leave with. Make sure it’s memorable in a good way!
Lesson Two: Flowers Make a Difference
Flowers elevate your wedding from average to stupendous. When you meet with the florist, bring pictures of your venue, your dress, bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen’s outfits. Carry color swatches with you to every appointment you schedule with any vendor that is involved in the wedding but especially the florist. It makes it so much easier to communicate what colors you are expecting, the ambiance you’re hoping to accomplish and the overall feel of your wedding. Allow the florist to make suggestions of flower types but speak up if you really hate something. Let them get creative; chances are you will wind up with floral design that’s the talk of the town.
Lesson Three: Paper Isn’t Worth It
Sadly, I learned this lesson the hard way. Save the Dates & invitations are expensive. The printing, postage and time really add up. Save the Dates hang on the fridge for 3-5 months and then go into the recycle bin. As far as budget goes, this is a great way to cut costs. You don’t have to order an invitation out of the massive books. Give your printer a price range and ask for three designs that would fit within that budget. It might not be the linen paper with elegant script font in a two-tone raised ink…but it gives you freedom to spend more in other areas that will be photographed and remembered.
Lesson Four: Focus on the Details
Personal details make the day! Bring in traditions from both sides of the family, decorate with items that are meaningful and put an emphasis on the small things. Be yourselves and let the things that make you unique individually and as a couple shine through on your wedding day. Guests remember sentimental and well-done personal touches.
Budget Lesson Five: Don’t Settle
One of the biggest blessings that came out of wedding planning for me was learning the value of patience. My mantra became, “I refuse to settle.” I believe it should be every bride’s philosophy. Whether you have 16 months or 16 weeks, do not make a decision that you do not feel comfortable with. It’s okay to meet with four florists until you find one that really understands your vision. You don’t have to make decisions within the first 3 weeks you’re engaged. Take in your options, visit a handful of vendors and go with your instinctive feelings. If you walk down the aisle thinking how much you wish you had chosen a different bridesmaid dress but couldn’t find exactly what you wanted, you won’t be fully in the moment. Just as you didn’t settle for the groom, don’t settle on details.
Being engaged is one of the sweetest seasons in life but wedding planning teaches so many lessons. These lessons have served me well as a wife as well and I am grateful to have learned them. Love this season and be ready for the time of your life as a Mrs.!
From Bride to Bride,
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Thank you Emily for your awesome advice for brides to be! Your kindness and wisdom is greatly appreciated!
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