Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wedding Week: Save vs. Splurge

Let's just get something out of the way - most weddings aren't cheap. Tyler & I wanted to have an amazing day, but we didn't want to start our lives together with wedding debt. So we pinpointed some of the areas we were willing to spend more on & then did our best to save, save, save on the other parts. For us, we wanted good food, plenty of booze, music, & a space big enough for all of our family and friends without whittling away the guest list. Working with the family members that helped fund our nuptials, we set a budget & it ruled all planning decisions we made. If not, things can get out of hand & quickly!

So where did we save the most?
1. DIY flowers - after getting a quote from a local florist for $4,000+ I had to reassess my flower design dreams. My stepmom mentioned using silk flowers & I immediately turned up my bratty nose. I associated silk flowers with icky 80s arrangements & funerals… not what I was going for. But then I found Afloral.com & had to eat my words (typical… you think I would learn!)
Turns out I could have all my flower dreams, for 1/5th the price & without having to worry about wilting! For about $750 I purchased all the flowers for the wedding (centerpieces, bouquets, boutonnieres, etc.) & was able to assemble them months ahead of time to cut down on last minute stress. Amount saved? $3,250.
In the market for silk flowers? I thought the peonies & anemones looked very realistic. Shop these: here, here, here, here & here. (our photographer didn't even believe me they were silk & they stayed fresh looking all day!)
2. Crafty family & friends - my sister made my veil & wrote on the chalkboards, my stepmom made my garter, my mom made the flower girl dresses, my aunt and cousin made our entry way picture (out of a vintage window, so cool!), my grandparents designed & made our Mr. & Mrs. chair signs, a friend made our cut cake, & two of my friends played the ceremony music. Amount saved? Family touches are priceless!
3. Affordable Wedding Party Attire - Asking your wedding party to pony up for bachelor/bachelorette parties, showers, engagement parties, gifts, flights to your wedding AND an outfit… that's not nice. We wanted to make sure that our friends enjoyed being a part of our party & still had money left in their pockets. The ladies got to pick out their own blush chiffon dresses & wore shoes/accessories they already owned. The gents wore charcoal pants and white button downs they already had & Ty gifted them their shoes and ties. All they had to pick up were $5 suspenders. Amount saved? Friendships.

4. Booze - we splurged on our venue, but they let us pick our own vendors, allowing us to save or spend as much as we wanted on these services. Some venues lock you into using their vendors, including wine packages that can start at $15 a bottle (& that's for the cheap stuff!) By sticking with only wine and beer & getting to buy it in bulk from our bargain liquor store, we saved big & everyone's cups stayed full all night long. Amount saved? $3,000+
5. Guest Favors & Sky Lanterns - the key here is to buy early & in bulk quantities if possible. We knew that we wanted mason jar guest favors & a Chinese lantern grand exit, so we bought these on the wedding off season & in bulk all at one time. You could also look for Groupons or re-sale items on wedding message boards. Total spent = $300. Amount saved? $1,000.
As I mentioned, we splurged on our venue, photography/videography & professionals to do our lights, DJ & photo booth services. The biggest thing is to sketch out what your perfect day looks like & then focus the most funds on the non-negotiables for making that vision happen. Some things are cornerstones of your dream day, while others (ahem, $2000 draping… true story) are going to only be noticed by you. 

Firsthand tip: When it comes to DIYs, DIY early, or do NOT DIY at all. For the sake of your sanity, do not plan on doing major DIY crafting the month before. Your friends, family & future husband will thank you!

Married people, what were your saves vs. splurges? 

all photographs, Jessica Ranae Photography.

20 comments:

  1. I am so glad to read this! We are trying to do the same thing with our wedding, splurge on the really important things and then do what we can ourselves or with some extra research to seriously save in other areas. I'm hoping to get all my diy projects done this summer to be ahead for our wedding in November. Thanks again for sharing!

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  2. WOW! I can't believe how much you spent on flowers! That was the ONE thing that I wish we gotten more for what we paid. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED our flowers, but we held off on flower centerpieces for the tables as it would have been too expensive. And I still paid more than you. I'm blown away by your flower arrangements, they look incredible. Our big saves were our DJ and photographer. We have a DJ friend who did it all for free as a wedding gift and our professional photogrpaher is a close friend and gave us an incredible deal, which was a huge bonus :) Thanks for sharing, and way to go on saving!

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  3. We are DIYing our favors, and I'm so glad we started early, because while it isn't an expensive project, it takes a LOT of time. Great advice, all-around, though! I've been trying to evaluate each decision by asking myself if I'll be the only one who will notice/care...and then deciding how much money it deserves based on that! SO far, so good!

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  4. Love that you made a lot of your items for your wedding.

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  5. Everyone tells me that favors are the least important part- most guests are fine with something small & affordable, so that's a big area to save in. I love the mason jars as a gift idea!

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  6. i love this!! saving is so important when it comes to wedding planning! and your day looks amazing!

    xxoo,
    nikki

    www.dreaminneon.blogspot.com

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  7. I LOVE handmade weddings, ours was very similar to yours, and we had our entire wedding for under 12,000 and it was more than I ever expected! We saved on almost everything we could. I think our biggest save was opting out of dinner and doing a later ceremony/reception with hor devours & little desserts. It also allowed us more dancing time, and time with our families!

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  8. In the market for silk flowers? I thought the peonies & anemones looked very realistic. http://0rz.tw/YAAeL

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  9. What a great post! I'm DIYing a lot of my wedding too, and everyone exclaims that I'm starting way early (it's in 11 months). I feel like I'm starting late!

    Question on the flowers. You said you spent $750 on bouquets, centerpieces, boutineers, etc. How many of each were you able to make with that amount?

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  10. this is so awesome to read. we are making these decisions now and are finding so many hidden expenses that can totally be saved on. i.e. veil! and doing your flowers yourself!

    ladies in navy

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  11. Thank you, this is so helpful! I am still considering the real vs. silk flowers thing, so it was nice to hear your take and how much you were able to save. I'll definitely be looking into afloral.com!

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  12. That's really amazing! I fear the cost of a wedding someday... and it is nice to know you can save so much just by taking talents of various people and working to put together a silk bouquet! My sister actually did silk bouquets too and you couldn't even tell they weren't real!

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  13. All wonderful tips. We started by making a list of what was important to us and of course my hubby & I had different things at the top of our lists. But we ended up figuring it out. I still kick myself for making my bridesmaids buy dresses that were pricey & that I'm positive they never wore again. Sorry girls!

    I will also say that when friends and family offer to help, take them up on it with caution. You know your friends and family and you know whose offers are hollow. So take advantage of the offers from those you know will come through for you. One of my bridesmaids did my makeup and I HATED IT. I wanted her to practice the night before but she was too busy trying to hook up with the best man! And I kinda knew all along that something like that would probably happen.

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  14. Your allergy-having sister also appreciated the fake flowers, and my bouquet is now looking just as lovely as it did on your wedding day, in a vase on my dining room table!

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  15. Good for you! Having the completed DIY projects around the house definitely adds joy to the rest of the planning experience!
    xx

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  16. I love that the amount you saved was "friendships." I've been in several weddings and thankfully, none of them have been over the top! But I know some gals who have spent a pretty penny to be in a wedding and sometimes...they weren't even that close to the person. All of these tips are great!

    26 and Not Counting

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  17. Thanks for this post, Jessica! I had no idea floral arrangements were so expensive until my boyfriend's sister recently got married. I'm definitely bookmarking afloral.com for future reference :)

    Jen
    witsicle - a life & style blog

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  18. I splurged on my dress, the food, and the rentals (I desperately wanted farm tables and there is only one place within a couple hours that has them)...thankfully the venue is free. But I'm starting to worry about all my diy's! So far, I only have candles made and my wedding is in a few weeks! I still need to make lanterns, centerpieces, bouquets, and other decorations! I think it's time to organize a diy party. :-/


    -Ash
    www.thenashvillianblog.com

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  19. I am forever thankful to you for your link to Afloral! I cannot believe your flowers are silk! They are BEAUTIFUL! I just got engaged in May so I have just barely tapped into planning... but I'm positive I'll be going with and saving a ton with Afloral! :-) Thank you!

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xx