Wedding Budget Tips: When to Splurge and When to Purge…

Planning a wedding is all about compromise…usually within yourself! You have to tell the good angel and the bad angel when to break out the checkbook and when to put it away. You have to find the balance of splurging on the things that matter most to you and knowing when to cut back on others. Financial priority should be assigned to the elements that are the most important and representative of you as a couple. However, there are some general guidelines, I believe, that should be used for spending to ensure that your day is not only memorable for you but for your guests as well.

 

WHEN TO SPLURGE: I can pretty much guarantee these are the items your guests will be walking away remembering the most. I an also say with full confidence that the following details are things that you and your beau will be glad you invested extra cash in later!:

 

cartoon courtesy of toonpool.com

1. The Food- Food is everything! That doesn’t mean it has to be overly expensive and fancy though. You don’t have to serve French cuisine at your wedding but you do want to make sure it tastes good! You also don’t need to have enough food to feed a small country. Keep your menu simple if needed but just make sure everything tastes good and that there is enough for the guests to be satisfied. I have been to fancy venues where the food was okay. I have also been to backyard weddings that served the most delicious pulled pork sandwiches and homemade wedding cake! You can have family help out with the food if your budget is strict. Nobody will miss the filet mignon if the food you serve makes them sit back and say, “Man this is good!”. If you are using a venue or a caterer, you MUST have a tasting first! This ensures that our selections are just as tasty as they sound on paper!

cartoon courtesy of Cartoonstack.com

 

2. The Music- Music sets the tone for the night! You will want a DJ (cheaper than a band by far…although bands are awesome!) that can balance a variety of music and keep the crowd hyped and happy. Good music pumps energy into your crowd and keeps them there till the very end. Here you show your personality through song selections (see my previous post about using music to customize your wedding) but you also want to make sure that the music reflects your crowd so that there is something for everyone. You don’t need a DJ with a crazy lighting system and lots of bells and whistles. You do need a DJ with a great song selection and personality!

cartoon courtesy of Cartoonstock.com

3. The Photography- Yes, you can save money and put disposable cameras out on the tables and have guests take pictures but you may be taking a big risk! It will be impossible to use those in digital a;bums plus you are risking a plethora of shots you will never want or need! Your best bet is to find a PROFESSIONAL wedding photographer. Perhaps you can work out a deal where you only get the rights to the digital images and you can create your album yourself using sites such as Shutterfly or Snapfish. It pays to have good pictures though. You want these to be timeless. Wedding photographers can capture the emotion, beauty and subtle important details of one of the most important days of your life. Great pictures are worth every penny!

cartoon courtesy of Cartoonstock.com

 

 

4. Service- Read reviews of your venue! Good service makes a huge difference. Nobody wants to wait for orders, have their tables overcrowded with dishes and use dirty restrooms! You can utilize a buffet or cocktail style dinner but make sure that the food is easily accessible and that you have a plan in mind for getting food on and off the tables. Good service doesn’t have to be expensive but it’s worth paying for a couple of hands to help you out even if you are doing a DYI backyard wedding (and those usually have awesome service!).

 

cartoon courtesy of NewYorkette.com

5. YOUR DRESS!!!!- That’s right! Get selfish! Everyone remembers what the bride looked like, very few remember the groom’s tux, hair…etc.! This is your night to be a princess and feel like a star! You can splurge on a dress that makes you feel beautiful. If you happen to find one for an amazing deal, even better! However, make sure the dress makes you feel confident, romantic and stunning. You deserve it!

 

WHEN TO PURGE: Here are some of the areas I think it is easier to cut back without lessening your experience and the overall guest experience.

1. Invitations- Most pieces wind up in recycling no matter how expensive or fancy! Pick something you like and that is affordable!

2. Centerpieces/Flowers I have attended two weddings recently that used the centerpieces that came in the venue package. Nobody cared! The centerpieces don’t make or break the experience! Save some major money here!

3. Favors- Pick something useful, fun and inexpensive! Most people don’t “need” their favors so don’t think you have to choose something over the top and expensive. One of my favorite weddings favors I received was a one dollar scratch off ticket with a penny!

4. Videography- Here you can have a friend film the most important parts only (such as the ceremony, cake cutting and toasts). You won’t sit down and watch a 12 hour video of your wedding…EVER.

5. Your Accessories- That means your shoes, hair accessories and jewels! No one is staring at them as much because your dress is the focus! The best accessory for a dress is great hair and make up! Invest in those and consider costume jewelry and sale items for the rest!

Warehouse Clubs as Wedding Florists?

I just recently received an email from BJ’s Wholesale Club about their wedding flower packages….what?! I had no idea that BJ’s offered flowers let alone wedding packages. I may have taken advantage of this while I was planning my big day! I decided to visit the site and peruse a little. You can order simple selections of flowers for more than 50% off what you would be paying to a florist! However, this means just flowers and bouquets. You would have to arrange the flowers for centerpieces and provide your own vases. You can get simple vases at places like the Dollar Tree for $1 and weigh them down with stones or glass gems to create elegant and affordable centerpieces. Reviews are pretty good too for the places I researched but you may want to research reviews on your local warehouse stores…not just the chains.

 

Here are some of the wedding options I found through warehouse clubs! Membership is a must (but you might enjoy having that anyway…who doesn’t love 10 gallons of mayo?!) If you use your membership to purchase flowers,bridal party gifts, jewelry…a honeymoon…well you just may be saving in bulk!

All packages include shipping but not taxes:

 

 

 

This 40 Piece Collection of Red and Pink Roses from BJ’s retails for $799.99 with free shipping and an arrival time of 2-4 weeks.

You get a lot!:

 

1 bridal bouquet

1 bridal toss bouquet

1 maid of honor bouquet

4 bridesmaid bouquets

2 mothers’ bouquets

1 set of flower girl petals

12 corsages

1 boutonniere for the groom

10 groomsman  boutonnieres

5 centerpieces

There are many collections to choose from in all different price ranges. A package of 100 white roses is $97.99.

 

This sunflower wedding package from Costco has rave reviews. It is similar to the package offered by BJ’s bit less expensive since it is sunflowers not roses. The price includes shipping. It includes the following:

 

  • 1 Bridal bouquet
  • 1 Maid of Honor bouquet
  • 4 Brides Maid bouquets
  • 1 Toss Away bouquet
  • 2 Mothers petite hand-tie
  • 12 Corsages
  • 12 Attendant boutonnieres
  • 6 Centerpieces (vases not included)
  • 10 Rose Petal buds

 

Calla Lilies are extremely pricey (especially in the off-season) but this Costco package just might be in your budget for under $400 with shipping and handling included! Again, this package has great reviews:

 

                          1 Bridal Bouquet:

  • 30 mini Calla Lilies
  • Satin ribbon
  • 12 pins

 3 Bridesmaid Bouquets:

  • 15 mini calla lilies (each)
  • 14 pins (each)
  • Satin ribbon

6 Boutonnieres:  

  • 1 Calla Lily (each)
  • 1 blade of Bear Grass (each)
  • 1 pin (each)
  • Satin ribbon

4 Corsages:  

  • 1 Calla Lily (each)
  •       1 piece of Eucalypto seeded (seeds only)
  • 2 Pins (each)
  • Sheer ribbon (choices are moss green, black, white or ivory)

 

 

Sam’s Club has different package options. There are smaller packages for under $300 for 17 pieces. There are 33 piece collections for $615.00 and 43 piece collections for $896.00. Check out two examples below:

 

 

This gerber daisy package includes 17 pieces for $314.00.

Collection Includes:

  • 1 Bridal Bouquet
  • 4 Bridesmaid Bouquets
  • 1 Toss Away Bouquet
  • 6 Boutonnieres
  • 4 Corsages
  • 1 Box of Petals
  • Clippers

Bridal Bouquet Contains:

  • 3 Hot Pink Gerberas
  • 9 Hot Pink Roses
  • 5 Orange Spray Roses
  • 3 Green Dianthus
  • 3 Green Hypericums
  • 4 Italian Ruscus

Bridesmaid Bouquet Contains:

  • 3 Orange Roses
  • 7 Hot Pink Roses
  • 4 Green Button Poms
  • 4 Green Hypericums
  • 3 Italian Ruscus

Toss Away Bouquet Contains:

  • 5 Hot Pink Roses
  • 2 Green Dianthus
  • 4 Orange Carnations
  • 4 Hot Pink Carnations
  • 4 Green Hypericums
  • 3 Italian Ruscus

 

There are also several Calla Lily packages (mini Calla Lily) at several different price points. The 33 piece set is $869.00. A larger set is available for just over $1000.00.

 

 

 

This set includes:

  • 1 Bridal Bouquet
  • 1 Toss Away Bouquet
  • 4 Bridesmaid Bouquets
  • 1 Grooms Boutonniere
  • 9 Boutonnieres
  • 6 Centerpieces
  • 10 Corsages
  • 2 Box of Petals (counts as 1 unit)
  • 1 Clippers
  • 20 Flower food
  • 1 Care instructions
  • 2 White Wedding shipper box

Bridal Bouquet Contains:

  • 30 Pink Mini Calla’s
  • 4 Plumosa Fern
  • 7 Salai

Toss Away Bouquet Contains:

  • 12 Pink Mini Calla’s
  • 3 Plumosa Fern
  • 3 Salai

Bridesmaid Bouquet Contains:

  • 15 Pink Mini Calla’s
  • 5 Salai

Grooms Boutonniere Contains:

  • 1 Pink Calla
  • 1 Italian Ruscus
  • 1 Limonium White

Boutonniere Contains:

  • 1 Pink Calla
  • 1 Italian Ruscus

Corsages

  • 2 Pink Mini Calla’s
  • 1 Italian Ruscus
  • 1 Limonium White

Centerpieces Contains:

  • 5 Pink Mini Calla’s
  • 9 Pink Roses
  • 4 Pink Lisianthus
  • Pink Matsumoto
  • 4 Pink Limonium
  • 3 Salai
  • 4 Plumosa Fern

Box of Petals Contains:

  • 7 Medium Pink Rose (take petals off)

Sam’s Club doesn’t have as many reviews on their site as Costco or BJ’s but they have the most options and packages. I also prefer that they include a description of exactly what comes in the bouquets. Shipping is also included. Wedding Wire has some great reviews of Sam’s Club flowers if you search by location. I love their abundance of packages and options so I think they just may be my top pick! Please share your experiences below to help some other brides to be!

Something Blue “I Do” Shoe Decals!

I have been off this week because I was traveling for two weddings but I am back and loaded with inspiration! I just found these adorable “I Do” shoe appliques that you can use as your something blue for your wedding day! They go right on the bottom of your shoes in the sole area. These would be adorable for your photos! They are also inexpensive! Most are under $6 for the set. Some even include shipping (don’t pay nearly double the price for the shipping…that’s nuts). This is an inexpensive way to dress up any nice heels to make them shoes for your special day!

Here are some of the ones I found!

You can probably make them yourself but it wouldn’t save you that much and they seem to be time consuming as well! However I know the Silhouette Cameo does have a feature for making stickable gemstone designs! Check them out!

 

 


Trending…Step and Repeat Photography for Your Event!

 

If you have some room in your budget, you may want to create a red carpet experience for your big day by setting up a “step and repeat” photography area. Step and repeat photography is what you see at movie premieres, celebrity fundraisers and more. It is simply when someone steps up to a created background, stops and takes pictures and then it is repeated with the next person. Envision the paparazzi camera bulbs flashing like crazy as Angelina Jolie shows off her gown. You can ask your photographer is they have affordable options for this package. I was speaking with Abacus Wedding Studios in NJ and they offer this to their clients. Your photographer may even be able to include a custom background. The collage photos directly below are from Abacus Wedding Studios. They took the Mr. and Mrs. Smith movie poster (featuring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt) and converted it to create this couple’s special background!

 

photo from Abacus Wedding Studios

 

photo from Abacus Wedding Studios

 

Perhaps to be more budget savvy, you could create your own custom background for a step and repeat photo session and use the photos for favors. You don’t want a pure white background (the flash may reflect too much) or a too dark background (it can create shadowing). You can create a logo or monogram for your big day and have it repeat on a background. You can also choose to make a scene reflecting one of your favorite places to go (or hope to go) as a couple. Perhaps Mother Nature or your venue has supplied an awesome area to use for background as well.

Wedding Step and Repeat Photo from Step and RepeatLA.com

Whether you are creating your own background for a step and repeat photo-op or working with a photographer, consider these tips from StepandRepeatLA.com

 

Example step and repeat background for a wedding from FMdance.com

  • Watch the size of your background. 8×8 is the most popular size with 8×10 and 8×12 for larger events. 8×4 can be shot carefully for small events. If the background is too small, it will look goofy when a group is in front of it. If you want to use a smaller size, limit group size and make sure the photographer can zoom in and crop so that outlying edges are not showing.

 

  • Hide the seam or make it seamless. You want the guests, not the seam to be the focal point.

 

  • Use a matte background. This will cut down on the glare.

 

  • Consider a slight gray background color. This will make the background appear white while reducing the glare a true white matte background can produce.

 

  • Use colors from your wedding pallet!

 

  • Don’t use more than 6 logos or it will be too busy. In fact 2-4 is just right!

 

  • Use Vector logos and graphics. They won’t become pixellated when sized.

 

  • Size your logos properly. Five inches to 9 inches is just right!

 

  • Roll it! Do not fold your background or you will wind up with folds in your background.

 

  • If you are going the DIY route to save some money you may want to opt for a solid background or make one yourself using a stamp, awesome fabric or even hanging draping ribbons. Vinyl printing of this size can begin at $100 and it goes up easily from there. However you can paint plywood and use stencils to create your own background or use PVC pipes to hang fabric. You may even be able to attach it to the wall of your venue (ask first!) Don’t forget that natural scenery inside and outside your venue is free!

Kmart Flower Girl Dresses/Communion for under $18!!! Cheaper than Kohls and Macys!

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So I was in Kmart this weekend picking up my order of 79 cent flip flops and I saw a HUGE sale selection of communion dresses. At first glance, I thought they were flower girl dresses because they look exactly like the flower girl dresses at bridal retailers. The major difference is that those dresses cost upwards of $100 and above and these were priced at under $18 before coupons! I almost wish I had a flower girl to dress because many of the dresses were surprisingly beautiful and well made! They are normally only $24.99 and many have high star ratings!

Communion dresses can easily be interchanged as a flower girl dress. Especially because this is the season for communions and many of these dresses are deeply discounted or on clearance right now.You can even tie sashes or pin a colored flower onto it to add a splash of customization for your big day. If you have flower girls who fit into the 4-6x range (online), you are in luck. There are more sizes available in store if you want to call your local Kmart.

Time to go shopping! Check out these selections from Kmart for only $17.49 before coupons and rewards points! Remember, store pick up is always free with Kmart and sometimes you can sign up for a free trial membership to Shop Your Way to get free shipping! There is also free shipping off orders of $59. With the Kmart coupon codes below, you can get these dresses for only $15.75!!! That’s an I DO DEAL!

 

Here are some coupon codes to try!:

10% off : KMART10PSAVINGS

$5 off $45: KMARTMUST

Check out my previous post on how to save on flower girl dresses at Macys and Kohls!