Happy Wednesday, friends! I’m SO happy to have the day off today. We’re actually setting out to the ‘burbs today with my MOH, Ben and Ben’s mom to do our food testing with our potential caterer! I took the whole day off of work and I couldn’t be more excited. But that’s not what this post is about! We’ve finally ramped back up on the planning front, so I wanted to loop you in on a few major decisions we’ve made. Time to talk about budget weddings!
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash (I created the template in Canva, but wanted to give due credit to the beautiful photography!)
As I’ve told you a bazillion times, we’re doing what’s considered a “budget wedding” (even though it sure doesn’t feel like we’re not spending a lot of money!!) so we had to have some hard conversations on things we really want and things that just aren’t important. Now, I’m the girl that’s been dreaming of a wedding (maybe not always my own, but I sure do love wedding stuff) so it was hard for me to realize that a $5000 videographer on top of a photographer just wasn’t going to work. There’s tons of little pieces we’re saving/splurging on, so take a look!
Where we’re saving
Location, Date & Amount
This was the first way we decided to save money! First of all, Chicago is in the top 20 most expensive places to get married in the U.S. (obvs) and places are ridiculous in how much they ask to rent space here. So we moved it out to the ‘burbs but quite honestly, it’s just as expensive. I was quoted at a $10,000 food and beverage MINIMUM at a barn in the middle of nowhere. A BARN, Y’ALL. I could get married in one of those FO FREE in my home town. Nah.
Anyways, we’re having our wedding in the suburbs at a gorgeous venue and we’re saving $4000 more dollars just by having it on a Sunday instead of a Friday/Saturday. That’s almost half the price of the venue! AND we’re only inviting 60-70 people. Also, while the alcohol is not included in that price, the vendor they use is outrageously underpriced so we’ll also be inadvertently spending less on alcohol – score! Who is gonna help me choose names of fun cocktails?!
So look outside of the popular areas and times – you’d be surprised what you can get if you’re a little flexible. 🙂
As of right now, we’ve decided to forgo the videographer. Would I love video? OF COURSE. But photography is more important to me and I just can’t afford both. Maybe I’ll get one of my YouTube friends (AHEM, MARETTE) to take some video while they’re there. 😉
Food & Dessert
This is a funny one since (if you skipped ahead) you’ll see that catering is actually in the “splurged” category. Well, we are saving by the type of food and utensils we use. We’ll be saving because we’re doing a buffet (which is not my fave, but Ben is ecstatic) and won’t be doing things like coffee/tea or salad at the table (it’ll be on the buffet instead.) Our caterer really helped us cut corners without sacrificing service or food quality.
Plus, Beacon Doughnuts will be providing our doughnuts for the wedding instead of a cake! Who is Beacon Doughnuts? Well, that’s Ben and his cousin’s new business venture that will be taking off this spring/summer and I’ve conned them into making us doughnuts so we don’t have to get a cake. It’s fun, different and I don’t even like cake, so it works for me! It’ll also double as our favors – so double save!
Asking for help
Something I’m not good at, but hey! We’re saving on our DJ, our day-of wedding planner and our officiant this way. We’ll be asking our friends and family to chip in on DIY projects (thankful for crafty bridesmaids, a seamstress mama and a carpenter dad), rehearsal dinner food, etc. and they’re happy to do so. Our friend has a DJ business and he actually DJ’ed our engagement party and had everyone up and dancing, so he’s perfect for it. My wedding planner is actually a previous intern at my event planning job in Green Bay and she’s spectacular, so I know I can trust her with my day. And finally, our officiant. I cannot WAIT for our officiant. Our friend Frank will be getting ordained specifically to officiate our wedding and I couldn’t be more excited. He’s the funniest, most kind man we’ve ever met and a great friend to us both. He and his husband have known Ben for years and they quickly welcomed me into their circle. Plus, it’ll be amazing to have an officiant who knows and loves us and our story, instead of some random person we hire off The Knot. We’re still paying all these friends, just maybe not to the extent that we’d pay someone we didn’t know.
Also, my family is putting on a second wedding reception with my huge extended family so we don’t have to worry about me missing my family – instead, we’ll get another party – WOO.
This one actually came with the venue – it’s gorgeous! For the most part, we won’t even need that many decorations because the place is gorgeous on it’s own. Now, of course there will still be a lot, but we won’t have to bring in things like lighting and chairs, tables, etc. Some of the things we will have to purchase through them and other things we’ll be DIYing throughout this next year! My wedding planner will set them up day of.
Another thing we’re DIYing! I plan to practice this year with inexpensive farmer’s market flowers, but all I really want is greenery and white flowers and I’ve watched enough YouTube videos that I think I can make it happen. Plus, my bridesmaids have all said they’d love to help, so JOKES ON THEM!
This is actually something I haven’t really thought about. I honestly think invites are a waste of money (I’m so sorry if this is something you love, I just don’t!) They get thrown away! I’ll probably be ordering my invites through something like Vista Print or one of those (or I’ll try to work with a card company via my blog!) and I’m honestly thinking of doing virtual save the dates since we have such a small wedding. I also think table cards are a waste of money as well programs – we’ll either have chalkboards with the schedule or I’m loving the look of glass with white marker calligraphy. Who here does calligraphy? Help.
Where we’re splurging
This is something I had to push Ben on in the beginning, but now it’s really important to him. It’s actually the only fight we’ve had so far regarding the wedding. I was so mad at him! But now he’s on the dark side and realizes how important a photographer is. They only get one shot (pun intended) to capture you’re day. We’re pretty set on this wonderful lady and plan to book her in the next couple of weeks.
Now, she’s by no means the most expensive photographer we’ve found, but she is one of the higher quotes we got but we just think her style and personality fits us so well. We actually were going to forgo an engagement shoot so save some money, but now have decided we’ll definitely be doing one with her. We may cut it to 7 hours of service on the wedding instead of 8 just to save a little moolah, but we’ll see how it goes!
Technically the caterer we chose is about mid-range between all the caterers I’ve spoken to, but the service I’ve gotten so far is impeccable. Now, our tasting will seal the deal today, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be going with this one. Like I said, they’re about $1000 more than another quote we got (YEESH) but the food seems much more appealing, the service is amazing and I think it’s well worth the extra money. Plus, I’ve been to weddings where the food sucked and that’s the only thing I remembered was being starving and wanting to leave to get more food! While we’re not planning the BEST FOOD EVER, we do expect good, quality yummy, food with great service. That’s what’s most important!
What can I say, I’m the princess. 👸🏼 LOL But for real. I have a budget set for my dress that’s actually pretty low in most budgets, but to our small overall budget, it’s kinda high! But I want to be sure I get something I like. I’ve been dreaming of the dress for years and years. I also plan to take full advantage of every bridal experience I can take! From bridal expos to bachelorette parties to a full weekend of trying on dresses, I’m doing it all! I want to milk in every second of it.
Aside from the dress, I’m also currently expecting to get my hair and makeup professionally done on my wedding day which is pricier than you may think! I also intend to have my nails done (duh), a professional spray tan and I’ve even been thinking about some botox and teeth whitening. I mean, I’ve been thinking about botox and teeth whitening for AWHILE, but I feel like my wedding is a perfect time to get it done. 😉
We are intending on asking for people to not give us wedding gifts and instead give us money and/or excursions on our honeymoon. We love traveling and this is not something we’re willing to skimp on! I’m hoping to go right after the wedding (or very close to) and relax for a good week or so with my husband. HOLY CRAP, THAT’S CRAZY TO SAY!
If you’ve been married, where did you save/splurge? And if you haven’t, what are your must haves or maybe things that don’t mean as much to you?