Interested in a little weather prediction on your wedding day? For $4.99 you can review the weather history in your area from 1973-2009. The Old Farmers Almanac generates this report for you based on your area and date range you choose (I chose the entire month of May but you can limit it to a specific day). It includes a percentage chance of rain, snow, high winds, storms, etc. and the sunrise and sunset times. You receive the report instantly and an email link to the report which is good for 90 days.
I've posted about fabric flowers before and here are some SIMPLE instructions on how to make them. They would be pretty as a hairpiece or pinned to a rehearsal dinner or wedding dress. They also make lovely gifts. Experiment with size and different fabrics for some variety.
Do you have a specific request for your menu? Perhaps all organic or using produce from your own garden or maybe you just don't want to pay $12k for catering? Check out Our Silver Platter, with a tagline of "Have fun at your own party", this site allows you to post your event description and review potential helpers. It's an ideal way to find chefs, servers, and bartenders because it includes a profile displaying their level of experience, reviews of their work and a per hour fee. Many of the vendors on this site run small local catering companies or have a lot of experience but come without the wedding industry price tag. I was excited to find a resource for hiring capable, reliable staff for a reasonable rate!
My college roommate used to make paper chains to count down to important events like holidays and going home. She would assign a number to each ring and tear it off everyday as part of the countdown. I was reminiscing about this daily routine the other day as I thought about the wait for my wedding. But besides providing a great way to count down, they'd make a great decoration.
I love the gift bag idea. It's budget friendly and easy to personalize.
Consider other guy favorites that might appeal to your bridal party like a leatherman, a nice bottle of wine, box of steaks, grill kit, baseball cap of a favorite team, tickets to a sporting event, bow tie, cigars and personalized humidor, a book signed by the author, a six-pack and a key-chain bottle opener, coupon book, chess set, Risk board game, gift certificate to an upscale barber shop, or a local farm share.
Linens are expensive. The average tablecloth will rent for $10-$15 and that really adds up if you have a lot of guests. In our case, we were looking at over $400, just for the tablecloths. I've been desperately trying to find a way around this. Perhaps renting from a Church? Or maybe a rental company in a nearby state? Both options are worth checking into.
Or consider making them. I didn't consider this initially because it seems like too much work but if there's anyone in your life who can sew then this could be a huge savings. Simple fabric is pretty inexpensive, especially if you manage to get a deal. Check out the chain craft stores like Michael's, Joann's, Hancock's, etc. that offer 40% or 50% coupons every week. Then, armed with your coupon, go buy up your fabric.
Do the math in advance. In my case, I needed 3 yards per table for rectangular tables and to cover 32 tables we needed 96 yards of fabric. I went with a simple 60" white muslin. You can find it as cheap as $1.99 a yard and with a 40% off coupon, for $1.20 a yard. It's important to look for fabric that has a selvaged edge (I recently learned that selvaged means finished). This will save you a lot of time because you'll only have to sew the ends of each tablecloth.
I'm not a crafty person and, while I've been more interested in DIY projects for this wedding, sewing is not something I want to attempt. However my grandmother can sew reasonably well and she's offered to help me with the project. You could also use bonding tape and an iron if you'd rather skip sewing altogether. It will take some time but not as much as you might think. My sister, grandmother and I can cut, sew and press them all in an afternoon.
My total costs include $118 for the fabric and about $20 in sewing materials. That's over a $300 savings for me. In addition, I have peace knowing that I didn't drop hundreds on tablecloths and have the option of selling or lending them post-wedding.
Additional sweet- you could have a seamstress add a monogram to the head tablecloth and have a keepsake from your wedding.
It's not the big ticket items, but a series of medium-priced items that are driving my budget up. I'm willing to spend money for good quality items, local vendors and worthwhile services, but I do want to make sure that I'm getting the best price for the quality. I've decided to take a look at each budget item to re-consider the costs. For example, do I really want to pay $420 tablecloths? More on that tomorrow.
My little sister got married today, YAY! It was a beautiful wedding for so many reasons but most importantly because of how happy she was to marry her beau. My sister opted for a twist on the traditional guest book by using a "wishing tree" instead. Guests were encouraged to write a wish for the couple to hang on the little tree. I read some of the tags at the end of the reception and they were so sweet! I highly recommend it.
This is a picture of Ceci Johnson, of Ceci New York, and her beau at their wedding in Puerto Rico. It's such a beautiful photo but all their wedding shots are beautiful and so glamorous. You can see more on Style Me Pretty.
A Practical Wedding had a great post recently about wedding budgets. A reader commented how difficult it was to make a budget when you're not sure what things cost and what others are spending. Is $2,000 a good price for a tent? What about $15 per person for catering? Readers were encouraged to post a comment listing some details about their wedding including location and number of attendees along with some numbers on what they spent. Head over there to read the anonymous comments about wedding expenses. I thought it was interesting to see what others couples spent and it does provide a frame reference.
This would be a pretty centerpiece. It's a good way to use minimal blooms without sacrificing a lush look. Choose the container based on the venue/reception site. I like this rustic, garden bowel but a clear glass or ceramic would work as well.
Planning a wedding on a tight budget means giving up some things and/or thinking outside the box to make it happen. My three most expensive areas are food, reception site and rentals. Below are some tips from my own search.
1- You've probably already seen my posts on food but consider:
Self-catering with the help of family, friends and some volunteers
Hiring a local culinary student and college student/charity or church group to service
Hiring a local gourmet grocery store to prep, cook and deliver food
Any combination of the above (I'll probably employ all 3)
2- Reception site.
Look into all the public places in the area. Just when I thought I had looked at everything, I came across ten more. Check out state parks, museums, theatres, historical sites, gardens, environmental sites, religious and YMCA camps, lodges, firehouses, church halls, barns, warehouses, and local restaurants. Don't rule anything out based on a stereotype. I have a lot of friends who chose sites with negative stereotypes but they weren't your typical site and they made the spaces beautiful!
Check your state and city visitor bureau's and google things to do in the area. You'll discover lots of places you've never heard about.
Don't be afraid to ask. If you know someone with beautiful property or drive by a charming old barn everyday then take a chance and ask! I learned pretty quickly that any space thats not often or has never been used for a wedding is much less expensive than the wedding ready sites.
Try to find a venue that will let you choose your caterer and will let you provide your own alcohol because it will save you TONS of money and give you more control over times and the menu. Bonus if you can find a spot with an industrial kitchen (if you're having a large wedding)
3-Rentals. In case you're not fortunate enough to secure a reception site that provides everything:
Compare prices from all area rental places.
Look into borrowing or renting some things, like linens from a church or other rental company, perhaps in another state, if a close family member or friend could bring it to you.
Don't rent from a caterer! They usually mark up the prices. Look for the local rental company that they use.
Check out thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets for linens, dishes, silverware, glasses, wedding decorations, etc.
I talked to a friend this week-end who managed a $5000 wedding for 250 people in Washington D.C.! How you ask? That was my first question. Among the things she shared was this little nugget of wisdom: contact your local culinary art school and ask if there are some students who might be willing to cater your wedding. They get the benefit of experience and the freedom to develop your menu. You get the benefit of much cheaper help than a standard wedding caterer but even better than that, as young enthusiastic foodies, these chefs will take great care to put together a delicious menu. Make sure you meet a few times before the big day to make sure that all is well, that you offer reasonable pay and that you make your expectations clear. This bride purchased her ingredients in bulk a few days in advance for about $900.
Also, she had a church women's group assist the students and serve. And actually you could ask any group to help serve and clean up at your reception. In return you could make a designated donation to their group. Perhaps for a cause that's important to you and your honey.
Just another way to have a fabulous dinner without the outrageous price tag.
Wooden wine crate's are perfect for the bar. They're a great decoration and you can use them to store and hide certain bar items and bulk goods. You can pick them up at yard sales or from the back room of local liquor stores for cheap.
Early in the morning and late at night, is there anything better than a steaming cup of quality coffee? It's not for everyone but if you're a coffee person then you know what I mean. I was really looking forward to my cup o' joe this morning and it got me thinking that a coffee bar would be a great addition to a reception or perhaps a tea station if that's more your style.
I'm engaged to a wonderful man and planning my own wedding. Like so many brides, I intend to host this lovely event on a limited budget. I'm approaching this without the wedding industry "to do" list and with a focus on the marriage and graciously welcoming my guests.