Updated: Jan 24, 2020
Imagine scrolling through Pinterest for wedding inspiration. You see hundreds of beautiful decoration ideas, ways to save money on your gown, planning timelines, and flowers listed in season. You create an inspiration board in minutes with endless tips, suggestions, and ideas to fit the vision of your dream wedding. The excitement lingers but slowly slips in to stress while you read titles like, "Cringe-worthy wedding fails to avoid", "Mistakes every bride makes", and "Our list of regrets every bride has." I remember feeling overwhelmed by all of the excess details I was stumbling upon. What do I do about favors? Do you really need to have favors? Is it best to do a seating chart or open seating? What length of veil is best suited for my dress? The questions were piling on and all I could think about was how long my to-do list would become.
Your wedding day is one of the biggest and most important days of your life. It should be everything you want it to be, a celebration of your love. However, I think the stress of making this day perfect tends to fall on every bride's shoulders. I did my best to research every avenue for saving on wedding costs while still feeling confident in the places I could splurge. It's incredible how much a wedding CAN cost you these days. I'm sharing my opinions, tips, and experience of being in the shoes of bride to be. Hopefully I can spare some future brides from feeling completely overwhelmed as they step into the planning process.
<< Following Trends>>
It's so easy to get lost online when you are looking for ideas. I spent months coming home from work just to have my face in my phone. Pick and choose what's worth reading, based on the title. I wasted much of my time reading any article I could find that was wedding related. What I generally found were articles on color themes for the year and the trendiest desserts to serve. Ultimately I never cared if my wedding day was in trend with other weddings. Focus on whats important for you and your fiancé. Remember trends come and go! Always stick to your gut instinct when making your decisions.
I know some of you will read this and think, oh obviously...why would I compare? Well we all do it and one point or another. It can be hard not to do but hey we're all human. Part of me felt I couldn't "copy" certain ideas or colors if I had just been invited to a wedding that used them. It's silly I know, but it didn't change the way I felt. If I could go back and tell myself how ridiculous I was being I would! Don't worry about using similar colors or decor, your wedding will still be different from anyone else's. It will always be special for you because it's YOUR day. Some people think this advice is a given but you'd be surprised how many brides feel this way and keep quiet about it. There are only so many color options and decor items, they will all end up as reused ideas eventually.
<<Make Time to Eat>>
Another piece of advice we all hear and swear we will follow right? Your wedding day goes by so fast its actually really easy to forget about the food. I'm so glad I made meals a priority. My best friend and I made a point to eat breakfast before arriving at the venue to get ready. I swear eating a decent meal with some healthy snacks saved me. Once you arrive the champagne usually pops and between hair and makeup you'll be spending the rest of the day caught up in photos. You have no idea how fast your day is going to move until your the one who's getting married. No one needs a fainting bride (or groom) on the dance floor...
<<Don't Skimp on Photos>>
Brian and I were very budget savvy for our wedding, we kept our costs as low as we could! The one thing we were both willing to spend our money on was a photographer. We knew we would want beautiful photos to look back on and cherish. Photographers can be an expensive cost but its worth every penny! They spend so much time with you, making sure you have all the shots you want, and then hours of editing later. We were lucky enough to find an amazing photographer through a friend of ours. She did our engagement pictures and we couldn't pass up having her shoot our wedding. We met several times beforehand and even went over a list of photos that both Brian and I really wanted to have. Take your time researching photographers in the area to see what style of pictures you prefer. Instagram is a great tool for searching local photographers.
<<Don't Stress the Dress>>
(Just my personal opinion!) I could not believe the cost for a wedding dress these days. Some girls have a dream dress in mind and are willing to pay for it. If it makes you happy and you've got the budget, then I say get your dream dress girl! You'll regret it if you don't buy it. I went into my dress shopping experience with my budget being the MOST important thing on my mind. I didn't want to spend more than $350. I was willing to look online or buy a previously worn dress, but I wanted the experience of trying on gowns with my closest girls. I was never too concerned with a specific style, knowing there were so many stunning gowns to choose from. I found a beautiful dress that I was insanely lucky enough to stumble upon, right at the top of my budget.
I shopped at 3 different stores, including David's Bridal, before finding my dress. If you're shopping on a budget there are usually great local bridal stores you can stop in. Tell them your budget right away and they will work with you to find a style at your price point. Littleton, Colorado has a cute boutique called the Green Bride and they sell previously worn wedding dresses at an affordable price point. If you're shopping in Denver, check out Brilliant Bridal. I have worked with a few brides who were thrilled to find their dress from this boutique. They sell their dresses off-the-rack so you can take it home that day. They have tons of designer gowns at discounted prices, so it's worth taking a look.
<<Hire Necessary Help>>
Sometimes we can't do it all. For me, I knew hiring a makeup artist was necessary! I already had a planner that was provided to me through our venue. They helped me keep track of time, having our decorations in place, guiding guests etc. I preferred to style my own hair, It helped to keep me calm while being in my element. I had my bridesmaid Stephanie, who is also a hairstylist, help with getting the ladies hair done on time. Having a moment to relax while my makeup was being done really put me at ease. If your budget allows, I highly recommend hiring someone for hair and makeup. It keeps everyone on time and no one has to stress about taking care of themselves. Everyone is much more relaxed when they know they will be ready and looking great ON TIME. With that being said, start your glam process earlier than you'd expect. Worst case, you're done early and have time to take extra pictures and just relax. It's better than freaking out that you will be running late! I thought my small group would have plenty of time and even so we finished at the last minute.
Shopping around for the right venue can take time. Brian and I visited a few places before finding The Wellshire Inn. We were driving around and decided to stop by on a whim to see what the prices were. Not only were the prices reasonable but they did all the food in house. We did a wonderful food tasting to decide which options to have for dinner. They set up a dessert table for our guests which we loved! Again all made in house and delicious. Not everyone enjoys cake so our table had brownies, cookies, cheesecake bites and almond cake bites. We didn't have money to spend on a wedding cake, so my Mother-In-Law was sweet enough to make a wedding cake for us. It was delicious by the way, so many of our friends were raving about it!
Not having the worry of finding a catering company was the deal breaker for us. I knew a lot of venues would require you find a catering company or work from their suggested partners. It can add up pretty quickly. The cost for dinner was built in to our guest count and total. Simple and done! The tables and chairs were included, along with linens. We were able to use some of their decorations (I didn't hesitate to say yes to that). The arch for our ceremony was borrowed from the venue as well as our centerpieces. I saved most of my money with decorations. I was very minimal with what I chose to buy and I found nearly everything on sale. I shopped at hobby lobby for garland and flowers to use for our ceremony arch. I added rose petals and a few smaller candles to the centerpieces. The Wellshire Inn has a very rustic and antique feel to it which is the whole reason I fell in love with it, we didn't need to add much for our decor.
Thankfully I have a friend that's very crafty, she offered to help make all my bouquets and boutonnières for the wedding. The day before the wedding I went to king soopers to pick out my flowers and greenery. I spent $50 total and we created 3 bouquets, 4 boutonnières and had a bundle of flowers left to use for my hair. Honestly they looked so beautiful you would have never known that we had them put together the night before. Our wedding was small and intimate, exactly what I was hoping for. If you take the time to shop around and your budget is very important, there are plenty of ways to keep costs down!
The most important thing I learned from this experience...soak it all up! This day was so special to me, I wish I could re-live it all over again. Small problems will always occur, nothing always stays as planned. Looking back the part I remember most is how happy I was. Being in a room filled with our closest friends and family, all there to love and support us was so heart warming. Enjoy the reason you're together that day and let all the little details and worries slide off. As a hairstylist that works on many weddings throughout the year, I see so many brides. All of them agree that wedding planning is stressful, but we can also agree that the work pays off in the end. The day of your wedding should be nothing but smiles and joy. I hope this gives future brides a reminder of what to look forward to, don't get lost in the process, celebrate it.