Happy Hump Day to all of our frisky followers! I know, I know. I might as well be a guest blogger at this point. I apologize for the lengthy amount of time in between posts. I think I know why bloggers and podcast hosts now make this their full-time job.
As you all know from my last post, I got engaged in October. As a perfectionist and well-organized individual, I immediately went into wedding planning mode. Our wedding is not large or elaborate. It does not really call for a huge sense of urgency or attention to detail. There will be a maximum of 55-60 people attending at a small, historic home in the good ole KY. I always imagined that a low-key, no frills wedding could be done on an incredibly tight budget but still reach “Pinterest goals” status. Prepare for your dreams to be crushed, y’all. This is actually not possible. You think you know how expensive weddings are, until you plan one. MIND BLOWN.
It started with the venue. We sought out public parks, historic homes, and farms as we believed this would fit our small pockets and intimate guest list. My only requirements were that the venue be outside and have a place to host a reception after the ceremony. As true fans of the fall season, we definitely wanted to have our wedding sometime between September-October. This is peak season for weddings and even booking a year in advance is a feat. I started to think women were booking venues for a wedding that wasn’t even realized yet. I’m not kidding. That’s how ridiculous it was. While our venue is rather noisy due to the location and nearby traffic, it did check off all the other boxes and manage to make both my fiancé and myself happy. Ladies, if you are actually booking venues for $5k+ – you need to re-evaluate your priorities. To each their own, I guess. But, I’m hardcore judging you.
Let’s move to the dress. This was the only place I was really prepared to drop down a significant amount of money. I am a fashion girl at heart. There was no way I was trotting down to David’s Bridal to purchase a cookie-cutter dress, covered in cheap fabric and Swarovski crystals. No offense to the girls that do this. It may be a perfect option for you. I just wanted a dress that couldn’t be found on a million other girls in a million other weddings. My dress ended up being under $1500 at a boutique that offers an amazing selection and variety of designer dresses at a relatively affordable price point. I highly recommend Couture Closet. They are not pushy in the slightest and have impeccable taste when it comes to pairing accessories with the dress of choice. Shout out to Lauren and the whole crew. I was supporting local business. I can live with that. P.S. They also have a variety of curvy dresses to cater to all body types. Check out their Instagram page to see new arrivals and stay informed on upcoming trunk shows.
Now, let’s talk about food. Typical, full-service catering costs around $27 per person. If we are all honest with ourselves, we know this is below average food that never actually amazes anyone. Stop the madness. How have we let the wedding market actually rob us? Luckily, BBQ saved the day. I’m a Paducah girl – there is nothing that BBQ can’t do to make a situation better. God bless you Mark’s Feed Store.
Finally, the flowers. I am a full believer that flowers make or break the aesthetic of a wedding. What I don’t understand is how a moderately decorated wedding ends up totaling to an upwards of $900. In what world does this make sense? That’s after declining delivery and arrangement. I can’t deal. I love a good peony and anemone but I think our relationship might be over. I might have to make a deal with the devil on this one. The fancy flower shops are callllllling me. I’ll keep you posted.
Despite all of my moaning and bitching (it did feel good to rant), I do have some positives to take away from this experience. Here are a few tips I can give to all of you couples that want a decent wedding but can’t afford to spend the moolah that most do:
- Compromise on the Venue: Find a venue that will allow you to cater food from any restaurant, bring in your own alcohol, and supplies tables/chairs. This will cut down on the cost of rentals and allow you more freedom in choosing a meal that is right for your guests and your wallets. The venue may not be perfect overall, but it will be worth it in the long-run when you don’t have to scrape up money for the honeymoon.
- Choose a Wedding Date in the Off-season: Mark and I were able to book our venue one week later than our desired time frame and knock $1000 off the price of the venue. Think about booking a wedding in April or November to avoid ridiculous, unexplained rates.
- Find Talented Friends/Relatives: Luckily, Mark and I have some special people in our lives that are willing to help with décor and wear several different hats at the wedding. Olivia is obviously going to make a decadent cake that looks professional af. Not only does this save us a lot of money, we can trust that we will get a quality level of service because we actually know the people we are hiring to do the job. It doesn’t get better than that, folks.
- Get Creative: Do you have empty wine bottles? Vases. Have you raided the dollar section recently at Target? I have. I found two wooden easels to serve as makeshift signs for the buffet/dessert bar. Do you know someone that had a wedding recently? Borrow their linens, serve ware, etc. The list is endless. Pinterest and blogs are really helpful in determining ways to cut corners.
- Stay Organized: Our excel spreadsheet is LIFE. We have budgeted the amounts we expected to spend and inserted with the actual cost each time we have reserved, purchased, or booked an item for the wedding. This allows us to determine where we need to minimize costs or things that we need to skip in order to stay on budget. There is such a sense of pride/relief when he have accomplished another task and are able to highlight it in green. What a feeling.
Thanks for being a part of my bitch session. I feel better now. I hope this actually does help those thrifty, non-traditional bride and grooms out there. Know that you are not alone and while you may spend more than you wanted, you can still have a nice wedding for ¼ of what the average couple pays these days. Pat yourself on the back for that. You deserve it. I’ll just go drink a glass of wine now and consider turning into an anarchist. See you in hell 😉
Check out my wedding board on Pinterest to see my vision and gather your own inspiration! If you have any ideas to share, any are welcome! Help a sistah out!