Wedding Planning Advice from Real Brides

Are you about to plan your wedding and have no clue where to start? Wedding planners can be incredibly expensive. Although it may alleviate the stress of planning your wedding, the stress of having added prices to your budget may not. Lots of brides wonder, where do I begin?

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Do you want stress-free wedding planning? Do you want your wedding to be simple? Do you have a very low budget? Here is some advice from real married people.

Katie Wilson says:

Location: my backyard
Guest count: 20
Invites: just told them over the phone
Officiant: non-denominational. We did our own vows
Food and cake: made reservations at a nice restaurant less than a mile away that had a special menu for us.
Dress: $250 designer dress on the sale rack.
Bridesmaids dresses: just wear any nice navy blue dress you already have.
Bouquet: made a gorgeous broach one myself
Ritzy? No
Was it worth it to not have wedding debt? Fuck yeah

Kelsey Lindblad wrote:

Went to a Lawyers office, had just the parents, their spouses, and siblings. Total headcount including My husband and me? 9 people. Got a tour of the building which ended up being haunted and made for a great story. We went to a Brazilian steakhouse for a parade of meat, everyone was happy and had a great time. Total cost $850 ($700 was just the food). No debt required, no fancy dress, no drama, no real stress. It was absolutely worth it to just do it our way instead of all the stress of trying to put together a whole wedding.

Jeanette Fields-Watkins states:

Friends from church had our wedding in their penthouse apartment, 72nd & Central Park West. Beautiful Sunday in Deecember, temp in the 50s. All we brought was the cake, flowers and our clothes. They even provided the photographer. There were 20-25 people there, small intimate affair. I loved my wedding, but my marriage has been even better. Only suggestion is that you both read Before I Say I Do. Good workbook, especially if you don’t do premarital counseling.

Natasha Tafta advises:

We just went to the courthouse, applied for the marriage license, then booked an appointment at city hall. We got married in our street clothes and got a matching ring set for about $200 at Walmart. You will be just as married as the couple that spent tens of thousands of dollars on their wedding. We have no regrets!

Image may contain: 2 peopleMr. Lloyd Spencer and Mrs. Samantha Spencer at their wedding!

Samantha Spencer says:

I got a thrifty wedding dress and he wore the suit he had worn to his prom. We got married with a Justice of the Peace on St Patrick’s Day at City Hall. My best friend does aesthetics and did my make up and my mom did my hair. We got rings and a hotel room afterwards where we had a party with close family and friends. Didn’t take long to plan and was very stress-free.

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Do you have any advice you’d like to share? Comment below!

 

How to pull off a cheap vegan wedding

It can be hard to find ideas to pull off a vegan wedding. It can be even harder to pull one off when you’re on a budget! Here is advice on how to throw the perfect wedding without breaking the bank!

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Makeup. Get makeup that is known to be cruelty-free, such as Younique. Make sure that the makeup isn’t so much as tested on animals.

Attire. Be sure that no furs or leathers are used in any attire at your wedding. It’s important to maintain that cruelty-free vibe.

Invitations & Thank-You notes. Make a facebook event instead, and email thank you’s to guests. This saves a lot on paper and saves a lot of trees, all while trimming your budget!

Cake. Be sure to tell your baker that you don’t want any eggs, butter or dairy used in your cake. If you want to be absolutely sure, you can always make one yourself or have family/friends do it if they want. You can also be sure that the frosting is animal-product free!

Decor. Use decorations that you can re-use later, or recycle. Opt for silk flowers instead of real ones, and use potted flowers as centerpieces. This way, no flowers will be sacrificed for the wedding!

Toss. Instead of tossing harmful things at the newlyweds such as rice (bad for birds), confetti or more, you can toss bird seeds. Birds will be very happy to have a free snack, and you won’t have to pluck flower petals from living flowers.

Food. This depends on where you will be getting your food from. If you are having a potluck wedding, specify the dietary restrictions of a vegan diet to your guests to avoid confusion and mishaps. If you are ordering from a restaurant or catering service, it’s also a good idea to prepare a list of things you don’t want used in your food. If you are making the food, then you can look up great vegan recipes to make with vegan-friendly foods. There is even a website where you can check off ingredients that you own, and it whips up recipes for you!

Here is an article here to give you amazing, frugal advice on throwing a vegan wedding.

 

Wedding dress two-pieces

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Wedding two-piece wedding dresses have been an arising new trend. With tops coming in various forms of colors, patterns and material, they add a romantic and more casual feel to the traditional wedding dress.

A two-piece can also be less expensive than a one-piece wedding dress, since it’s less traditional. You also have more options when buying them, since often prom dresses are made into two-pieces.

If a two-piece is for you, be sure not to look for designer brands and freshly-made gowns from pricey bridal stores unless it’s an area where you can splurge. You need to be able to have money left for the actual wedding.

Don’t have the money for one, but you really want one? Ask if you can use your mother’s wedding dress, or aunt’s, grandmother, sister, etc. If they don’t want it back, you can take it to a seamstress and have them cut the dress into two pieces and hem them. If you just want to wear one part of the dress, you can choose to keep the skirt and pick your own top, or keep the top and choose your own skirt.

Here are some models to pique your interest and inspire you for ideas!

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The two-material frugal wedding reception centerpiece

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I came across these beautiful ceterpieces completely by accident! Using only two materials; candles and flower petals, you can make a dreamy table centerpiece for your wedding reception while also pinching pennies.

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Here are ways to get around the heft costs of roses:

  • Buy silk roses and/or flowers at your local discout store. They even have some at the dollar stores, even in pre-packaged silk rose petals.
  • Buy small candles at a discount store or dollar store. You can also look online like craigslist or kijiji to find candles that someone never used and is selling cheap.
  • If you want real roses, have your wedding when they’re in season. They’re less expensive this way.
  • When you buy real roses, don’t mention that it’s for a wedding. Say it’s for a valentine’s day party if in february, if not say it’s for an anniversary party.
  • Grab some seeds at your local Home Depo and plant your own roses, if you’re a few years away from your wedding. This way, you can pick them from your rose bushes and use your own, and have a lasting reminder at your home of the beautiful wedding day you had.
  • Make tissue-paper flowers instead. Be sure to keep them a safe distance from an open flame, and have candle holders taller than the flame with the candles inside to avoid a fire hazard.

Here are some inspirational photos to get those hamster wheels turning.

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How to pull off a FREE wedding

How to pull of a wedding FREE of cost! Do you have literally NO money to spend on a wedding? Are you completely broke, but still want to have a wedding anyways? Don’t want to let lack of money keep you from getting married? We have the surprise of a lifetime for you. Even in this economy, it CAN be done!

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Guests will love that they can help out on your special day. Each one of these ideas makes your wedding even more unique, special and personal. Include everyone in your ceremony and reception, and no one will feel left out!

Use your backyard as a venue. Don’t have a backyard? Use a friend’s or family member’s. It can be considered their wedding present to you.

Host a potluck reception. Have everyone bring their favorite dish, drink and dessert to the reception. You will have a variety of different foods to offer everyone.

In lieu of gifts, ask for services. Is your mother-in-law a great baker? Ask her to bake your wedding cake. Is your cousin a photographer? Ask him to be your official photographer. This method not only saves you money, but saves the guests money from spending on lavish gifts you probably won’t ever use anyways.

Wedding rings. Ask your parents if there is any heirloom rings you can use as your wedding rings. If they don’t, ask if maybe your great uncle and aunt who never had kids, want to pass down some tradition with their rings. If not, you don’t have to have wedding rings at all. More and more couples are going without.

Attire. Ask your mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, cousin or even your best friend if you can wear her wedding dress. For the groom, he can borrow one from a family member or a friend. Have bridesmaids and groomsmen use suits and dresses that they already own, or forgo a wedding party altogether.

Chairs and tables. Who needs these? Go on a picnic! Pull out some blankets you have laying around the house and set them in the backyard for people to sit on. Not your cup of tea? Ask guests to bring chairs and coffee tables if they have any.

License. Don’t want to pay for this, or you can’t? There will probably be people that will ask you what you would want as a wedding gift. You could always mention that you just need the license paid for. It’s usually under $50 and isn’t a problem to buy. If you’re really in a pinch and no one can pay for it, pawn something you never use.

Officiant. Have someone you already know get ordained at Universal Life Church online. Be sure to look up the credentials in your state and requirements to make sure that they can do it. Have your friend/family member order the credentials online so that they can prove their authority to marry others when they present the signed marriage certificate. Not in the USA? A friend or family member can still get legally temporarily ordained without having to go through extensive schooling. Call your local city hall to find out how.

Flowers. Go to a large field that is full of wildflowers, and go flower-picking. You can always ask family members and friends if they have silk flowers laying around that you could borrow for the ceremony and reception.

Music. Ask someone you know who can play well, to play for your ceremony and reception. If you don’t know anyone, hook up your iPod to speakers you already own, and put it on shuffle on a wedding playlist you can make. Easy!

Photography. Everyone has a phone on their mobile device nowadays. Have your guests take photos throughout the ceremony and reception and upload it into emails and send them to you. This way you get to choose which photos you like, save them, and share them.

Invitations. Why bother with these? Just do an email invite, or create a facebook event and invite your guests accordingly.

Decor. Use items that you already have around the house. Mason jars, bowls, vases, and fill with wildflowers you picked, water, stones, branches; whatever you want!

Honeymoon. House-swap with friends and family, or they can offer you their summer home or RV for you to sleep in for your wedding night. You can also check out local ads where people are wanting you to house-sit while they go off on vacation. This is free of charge, and sometimes they even pay YOU!

What tips do you have to share to pull off a FREE wedding? Share in the comments below!

Wedding etiquette musts

With tons of brides and grooms opting for non-traditional weddings, etiquette has all but been thrown out the window. However, no matter the wedding, there are a few MUSTS that should never go out of style.

Don’t expect her father, or family, to pay for the wedding. There are strict rules that adher to her father paying for the wedding: no sex before marriage, all courtships and dates supervised by her family, no being alone before the wedding, asking for her hand in marriage before proposing, and only kissing if her parents approve. The vast majority of couples don’t do this anymore, so if you haven’t followed each and every one of these steps, her father is not expected to pay for the wedding and neither is her family, no matter how rich they are. This is a nice way to start working together as a couple, since you will surely tackle hefty financial tasks in the future (like buying a new car or a house). This is a great place to start! Besides, you two aren’t children anymore. It’s time you paid for your own things.

Pay attention to what kind of ring she wants. Keep seeing her marvel at princess-cut diamond rings at every jeweler you pass? Don’t get her an oval-shaped pearl. Listen to her hints and when in doubt, ask her best friends and closest family. This goes the same for the groom; if he mentions he prefers a skinny band compared to a thick one, please keep that in mind when shopping for his wedding ring.

Serve your guests something, even if it’s just cake and/or punch. People come to weddings expecting food, and it’s nice to have your first meal together as husband and wife (or wife/wife and husband/husband) with your family and close friends. If you can’t afford to provide this, have a potluck wedding!

Invite close family members and friends to the ceremony and reception. When I was first looking into weddings I was shocked that people would find it insulting to be invited to the ceremony but not the reception. Isn’t the ceremony the whole point? Anyways, in keeping with the etiquette already in place, it’s important to invite the same people from the ceremony to the reception. You can invite more people to the reception only as well. Just make sure that if you are inviting your grandmother to the ceremony, that you invite her to the reception too. If you can’t afford this, then invite less people to your ceremony.

Invite everyone at least six months before the wedding. People need to plan accordingly, pick out a dress and/or tux, let their place of work know ahead of time, schedule babysitters, and more. It’s common sense to invite guests at least six monthe before the wedding.

Fairytale wedding without the fairytale price

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Everyone dreams of having a fairytale wedding, especially women when they were little girls. Gazing at all of those princesses in Disney movies having perfect weddings, seeing celebs throw lavish receptions, all add fuel to the fire. AS you inch closer and closer to that wedding, you realize that fairytale weddings are extremely expensive. How are you ever supposed to afford your dream wedding? Will you have to make sacrifices to cut costs?

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Walt Disney World has started to offer fairytale weddings at their venues. You can have the fairytale wedding you’ve seen in the movies, with the horse-drawn carriage and the reception in the castle! It’s all possible! Feel like a princess on your special day.

A few tips to help you through saving money at your Disney wedding:

  1. Only expect up to 70% of your guest list to actually attend. Rarely does the entire guest list RSVP yes to a wedding, especially not one that counts as a destination wedding if you don’t live nearby already.
  2. Choose your date carefully. Saturdays are the most-booked days for weddings, and summer is the most popular season, which means prices will be at their highest.
  3. Have your wedding dress shipped to you from your hometown if you’re flying to your destination. You wouldn’t want to risk your gown being lost in the luggage!
  4. Take “first look” wedding photos. This cuts out food, drink and time costs since guests aren’t left waiting at the reception. Take portraits and photos before the ceremony so you can head straight to your reception afterwards and get on with celebrating married life without delay!
  5. Get your marriage license shipped to you free of cost by ordering it online in Orlando.

You can also help your fairytale wedding come true with a bit of DIY to save hundreds of dollars!

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There are a few other tips and tricks that can help you accomplish your dream wedding without breaking the bank. Be sure to check out the links provided so you can kick-start your wedding planning asap!