Dragonfly Garden Budget Wedding!

It dawned on me that I haven’t shared my own wedding yet! The theme for our wedding was a Zen garden with a focus on garden touches, dragonflies and sage green with ivory and rose accents. Here is the breakdown on how I saved and planned the wedding of our dreams. With a little sweat, thinking outside the box and a notebook of inspiration, we had a day to remember without going into debt!

 

We had our ceremony and reception both in one place which saved us money and also made it easier for our guests. We had a July wedding in an outdoor garden. Our reception was in a renovated home on the property. Our family helped us with the photographer, DJ, my dress and the florist. I know now all BB budget brides have that help so we were very grateful. I didn't take it for granted either. I made sure I had high quality and great prices for the vendors that our families were giving us as a gift. Wedding Wire was a huge help in that department!  The rest of the wedding we paid for ourselves. I made many of the items for our special day.

We had our July 2009 ceremony and reception both in one place which saved us money and also made it easier for our guests. Our venue was F.E.A.S.T. at Round Hill in Washingtonville, NY. Leaving NJ allowed us to have a stunning venue for a better price. Our ceremony was in the beautiful gardens and our reception was in a renovated home on the property. Our family helped us with the photographer, DJ, my dress and the florist. I know now all BB budget brides have that help so we were very grateful. I didn’t take it for granted either. I made sure I had high quality and great prices for the vendors that our families were giving us as a gift. Wedding Wire was a huge help in that department! The rest of the wedding we paid for ourselves. I made many of the items for our special day.

0119_116441-200x300

These painted wine glasses, decorated with flowers and butterflies, were our wedding favors. They pulled double duty and served as table decor as well. They were only $199 at The Christmas Tree Shop and were a big hit. We still see our guests using them when we visit them! I actually filled five carts with these glasses and bought them at the store…no shipping costs!

 

I painted the table numbers with wooden shapes from The Dollar Tree. I decorated each one with a design that corresponded with the table number itself (for example eleven peaks and falls in the zigzag on Table Eleven). I found stands at Home Goods that I used to back the numbers. I paid $1.60 to create each table number!

I painted the table numbers with wooden shapes from The Dollar Tree. I decorated each one with a design that corresponded with the table number itself (for example eleven peaks and falls in the zigzag on Table Eleven). I found stands at Home Goods that I used to back the numbers. I paid $1.60 to create each table number!

 

Our cake was delicious! The best part was that it was included in our venue package! I love Cake Boss but an included cake saved us a ton of money and it was tasty! In fact, I ate the whole topper myself that week...it never made it into the freezer for that one year anniversary!

Our cake was delicious! The best part was that it was included in our venue package! I love Cake Boss but an included cake saved us a ton of money and it was tasty! In fact, I ate the whole topper myself that week…it never made it into the freezer for that one year anniversary!

 

Our centerpieces were large cylinder vases in three different sizes. There were floating orchids with grasses and acrylic gems. Each was topped with a floating candle. We rented the glass mirrored bottoms from the florist who created the centerpieces. I could have made them easily myself if I had any floral ability. They were inexpensive and everyone wanted to take them home. We use two of them ourselves that I repurposed for our outdoor table and for Christmas! I added votives around them that I bought for a huge discount at a Michaels sale.

Our centerpieces were large cylinder vases in three different sizes. There were floating orchids with grasses and acrylic gems. Each was topped with a floating candle. We rented the glass mirrored bottoms from the florist who created the centerpieces. I could have made them easily myself if I had any floral ability. They were inexpensive and everyone wanted to take them home. We use two of them ourselves that I repurposed for our outdoor table and for Christmas! I added votives around them that I bought for a huge discount at a Michaels sale.

I found these dragonfly shoes for only $20 at DSW! They were the inspiration for the dragonfly theme!

I found these dragonfly shoes for only $20 at DSW! They were the inspiration for the dragonfly theme!

I made these placecards using the custom logo I created in Word. I used a paper punch to create the placecards out of ivory cardstock

I made these placecards using the custom logo I created in Word. I used a paper punch to create the placecards out of ivory cardstock

 

The flower girl dresses were only $30! I found them at Macys in the spring section. They were comfortable and the girls wore them again after the wedding!

The flower girl dresses were only $30! I found them at Macys in the spring section. They were comfortable and the girls wore them again after the wedding! The bridesmaid dresses were also discounted. I ordered them through Macys. Since I had a wedding registry for Macys, the bridesmaids received a 10% off discount.

 

 

Our unity candle! I found this for $6 online. I paired it with votives that had dragonflies and butterflies. Total Cost= $16 for all! Way cheaper and prettier than a traditional unity candle set!

Our unity candle! I found this for $6 online. I paired it with votives that had dragonflies and butterflies. Total Cost= $16 for all! Way cheaper and prettier than a traditional unity candle set!

 

Another shot of our table decor

Another shot of our table decor

We displayed pictures in frames from our house to decorate the reception and area and make it feel cozier. Our photographer gave us an engagement poster for guests to sign for free. Total cost = $0!

We displayed pictures in frames from our house to decorate the reception and area and make it feel cozier. Our photographer gave us an engagement poster for guests to sign for free. Total cost = $0!

A family friend, Charlotte, sewed this beautiful hanging for us. We used it on a small table displaying our unity candles and remembrance candle.

A family friend, Charlotte, sewed this beautiful hanging for us. We used it on a small table displaying our unity candles and remembrance candle.

 

I made our guest book on Shutterfly. I used a free photobook promo code and paid only $8 for shipping. This was more personal, fun and way more affordable than a traditional guest book.

I made our guest book on Shutterfly. I used a free photobook promo code and paid only $8 for shipping. This was more personal, fun and way more affordable than a traditional guest book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free 8×8 Photo Book from Shutterfly..potential guest book!

 

This is one of my favorite deals! Right now Shutterfly is offering a free 8×8 hardcover book for free! Just enter the promotional code MYBOOK at checkout! This deal ends Tuesday, March 26th. All you have to do is pay for shipping and tax which comes to just around $8. I love using these as a guest book! You can fill it with pictures telling the story of you as a couple and have guests sign in with permanent markers around the photos…that’s what we did =) . It’s a personalized guest book for a fraction of the cost!

Start designing here!

DIY Inexpensive Table Numbers!

 

 

If you have a theme or color scheme to your wedding…why not dress up the table with some inexpensive but memorable table numbers? There are so many different options to create inexpensive table numbers that will add to your table decor! Here is one!

0124_11644-300x200

Wooden Shapes

My theme was dragonflies so I made the table numbers pictured in the photo above. I found these wood cut-outs on sale for $1 at the Dollar Tree. I then painted them with acrylic paint (on sale at the craft stores), sprayed them with varnish (also on sale at a craft store) and hot glued them to metal stands (I am not sure what they were originally!) from Home Goods which cost 49 cents each! I also painted each table number to have a detail that matched the number. For instance, the dragonfly at the 11th table had 11 peaks painted in each section. I made sure they were visible from each side. The project cost me about $2 a table and it was fun!

You can customize your theme using any wooden shape, acrylic colors in your theme and picture stands (fairly inexpensive!).

 

Mad Hatter Tea Party Theme for Less! Tea Favors, Centerpieces and More!

 

Okay anyone who knows me knows I am a HUGE Alice in Wonderland aficionado. I even had an Alice in Wonderland Mad Tea Party shower planned by my best friend! I recently found some great deals if you are looking to plan a Mad Tea Party themed party. Here are some ways to do it on a budget! The cake pictured above was displayed at Sugarplum.

 

Seating Cards:

1. A simple deck of cards can be used for really creative seating cards. All you need to do is add the guests name and table number with a cool scrapbook paper cutout (teacup shaped perhaps?) and glue it to the solid side of the playing card. You can even have seating cards arranged on a table like a hand of cards for each table or letter of the alphabet!

2. Tea Bags! You can cover them with nice paper or put them in a sachet with the guests name and table and have them sitting in tea cups (courtesy of your venue!).

3. Paper Fans! You can find inexpensive like the ones below in many different colors! They are under $6 for 12! You can attach a guest’s name to the handle and have them open their fans to find the number inside!

4. Drink Me Straws…I love these!!!! You can have them displayed in fabric covered styrofoam with guests names and table numbers!

Centerpieces:

1. Tea Pots of course! Look at garage sales and consignment shops! You don’t want them to match and the funkier the better! You can fill them with fresh flowers and petals around them which will cut down on the expense of just a large floral arrangement. However start your teapot quest early…I tried this and found they weren’t as plentiful as I first expected!

2. Large Tea Cup Planters: You can find these at Michaels around spring and summer, you may even be able to catch them on clearance. The one below can be found at ioffer.com. These are really pretty and can be filled with wheat grass, colorful floating candles or simple flowers. If you want to paint your own, you can get a set of 6Design Your Own Tea Cup Planters
from Amazon for $25.80.

3. Top Hats! You can find a top hat (not a paper shiny one, that would look tacky) made of fabric in different colors…(hello thrift shops and Halloween clearances!) and fill them with flower arrangements! Old pocket watches (working or not) can look great on the table as well!

4. You can also get Giant Playing Cards to use as table numbers and put them in picture stands to display them. You can use single cards for single digit tables and two cards side by side for the double digits. Kings can be used for the groom’s family and queens for the bride’s!

5. Red Roses and white roses…’nuff said!

Looking for merchandise? Check out some of the products listed below!

1. Party City is having a major clearance on tea party themed items as of now (March 2013). There is also a coupon code for either free shipping on orders over $65 (PCXXEP) or $10 off a $65 purchase (PCG2RS). Now here is a tip…if you drive to a Party City, you can use their computer in store for an online order, use the $10 off coupon code AND get free shipping. Shipping is always free if you place the order in store, no minimum. This is great because you don’t have to worry about things being in stock at your local store! Worth the trip!

Some of the items in the clearance section say “birthday” on them. Watch out! The ones I am posting are birthday free. You can pick and choose elements. You don’t want to overkill with color even if it is a MAD party!

 

These tea cup candles can be used as favors and are on clearance for only $3 for 4, regularly $5.99 for 4.

These are seven inch fold-out centerpieces for $3, down from the original price of $5.99. If you can’t find used tea pots at a garage sale or thrift shop, these could be colorful alternatives or good for the food and drink tables or guest sign in area.

 

 

These 20 count cello bags can be used to wrap the favors with an inexpensive tea bag serving as the tag for either seating or for favors! These are on sale from $3.99 to $2.00.

 

 

This favor is only $1.69 before the coupon…and it is really cute! It’s not on clearance but the price isn’t too bad especially if you use the coupon and order in store.

These are tean invitations that are not on clearance but are $8.99 for 8, which isn’t too bad for a super cute shaped invitation!

These invitations are on clearance! These are only $4 for 8! Nice!!!!

2. The following items can be found on Amazon. Amazon has free shipping on orders over $25 for eligible items. If you have a prime membership, you get free 2 day shipping on eligible items.

My favorite is the set of “drink me” straws! Check out the chocolate molds (a little pricey) and the lollipops. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the Alice in Wonderland MP3 for only 99 cents! It includes the Unbirthday Song and all the songs from just the Mad Tea Party in the Disney version! How fun would it be to use this for games or when opening presents! Check out the links below!

 

Top Ten Tips for Saving Money on a Wedding!

 

 

ry=400

1. Create a budget. The Knot has an awesome budget tool where you can put in your total budget and it allocates how much should be spent in each area. You then can adjust the areas to emphasize which take more priority than others. As you enter amounts, the budget tool automatically adjusts your remaining balance and totals for you. This is a must!

2. Plan ahead! Pick your theme, color and date at least one year ahead. This way you can shop season end clearances for your wedding’s seasonal items AND have time to wait for things to go on sale!

3. Don’t use Save the Dates: You don’t need them! If you want them, they can be fun and cute…but you don’t need them!

4. Make your own invitations: Really beautiful invitations can be made with a simple word processing or scrapbooking software. You can make 100 invitations for under $80 and still have them look customized and beautiful! Embellishments from craft stores and computer graphics can be used to inexpensively design memorable invitations with little experience!

5. Look for favors, shoes and jewelry outside bridal stores. You can usually get these items for almost 75% outside bridal shops because they aren’t tagged as “wedding” but they can still be used perfectly as wedding items. For instance, wine glasses in a favor shop may run $4-$8 a glass. However, you can buy painted wine glasses in your theme for about $1.99 at a non-bridal shop.

6. Check out Craigslist! Many brides sell items they won’t want to keep forever (such as flower girl baskets, aisle runners, extra favors, extra centerpieces, ring bearer pillows) for half the cost. You can also rent centerpieces from former brides!

7. Choose your items and wait for the sale. Everything goes on sale at least once…I am convinced…If you wait for it, it will come.

8. Plan a black and white wedding. This color combination is classy, varies the least and can be found everywhere even beyond bridal shops …which means you save money!

9. Register and use the rewards. Many registries offer incentives such as jewlery discounts, bridal salon discounts and cash back on your total registry purchases (ahem Macys!). Many also give you coupons that will help you save on things such as your honeymoon clothing and wedding jewelry.

10. Delay your honeymoon. Plan it for the off peak season and save some serious dough! Plus it will give you something else to look forward to in the future!

 

And now for a couple of bonus tips!

* Visit bridal shows and expos. The entry is usually free and they are a GREAT opportunity to comparison shop, find inspiration (that you can later adapt to your budget or own handiwork), win prizes and score some exclusive discounts and freebies. Plus…they are fun! Enjoy being bride and soak up the attention and perks!

 

** Have you tried Ebates yet? Ebates is an awesome program where you earn money back in gift cards for things you are buying online! It is free to join and you earn for every purchase you make. There are also special days where you can earn as much as 10% back! You also get special access to coupon codes. Stores such as Nordstroms, Macys, Vistaprint and Jo Ann Fabrics (plus thousands more!) are all included! I used Ebates while Christmas shopping this year and I made an additional $30 on things I was buying anyway! You get to choose your payment options too and receive bonus payments of $5 with any first purchase through Ebates. You don’t need a credit card or anything to join. You just sign up! When you are going to a site to make a purchase, go through Ebates first to search for the store and then continue to the store’s site. It’s that easy. If you are printing your own programs and invitations, you should check out some of their online ink dealers. I get my ink for 55% off through Ebates and their ink supply store partners! You can use the gift cards that you earn to buy gifts for your bridal party or even more things for the wedding! In the bridal planning world, it pays to shop online!

 

Sign up and check out Ebates here!

 

 

 

* Another great site for brides to be is a spot called Wedding Wire. Wedding Wire allows you to research reviews of your vendors, venues, salons and more from real brides in your area! You can search by name or by location. I found this really helpful when researching a salon and our photographer. Check them out here!

         If you are looking for FREE printables and how-to’s for your wedding, check out the DIY Bride site! This site offers free water bottle labels, booklet templates, wedding clip art and more! Every little bit helps! Plus there are also tutorials on how to make inexpensive items such as tin can luminarias, a list of popular wedding songs, templates for favor boxes and more! I love the wedding coloring book that you can print out for the little kids! Check out the site here!

All information listed in this post is the intellectual property of ForBeerBudgetBrides.com. Please do not duplicate without permission.