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 do a cheap last-minute wedding

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Not everyone can plan a large wedding and take years to pull it all off. Some couples have a change in circumstances that makes for a rapid wedding. Whether a family member got sick, the bride or groom is terminal, or the venue cancelled last minute; you need to know how to pull everything together last-minute. This is true even if you have a week or less to get married. But can you pull it off without having to spend an arm and a leg? It’s possible, and here’s how.

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Go to church. Are you a church-goer? Are you baptized? Simply ask your local preacher, pastor or priest if they are available for a quick ceremony. They often charge a fee of about $100 for officiating, and you get beautiful wedding photos inside a church.

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Ask a friend. Can’t find an officiant last minute? Ask your friend to become one. They can easily get ordained online free of charge. Ideally this will be done at least a few days before the wedding so the friend can register with the clergy and ask overnight shipping of credentials.

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Grocery store. Want a reception afterwards? Even if it’s very small, you can get cupcakes, a cake, and ready-to-serve dishes. You can buy a cooked chicken and fresh veggies, fresh fruit, even pre-packaged veggies and dip.

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Potluck. Invite your friends and ask them to bring their favorite food or beverage. This way everyone is sure to have food to eat.

Backyard. No venue? No problem! Have the wedding in your backyard, front yard, or even a friend’s land. It’s no muss, no fuss, simple and easy.

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Garments. Everyone has been to at least one formal affair in their life, even if it’s just the prom at high school. Bust out formal wear and wear that to your wedding. You can also ask your mother for her wedding gown if you wish to wear it.

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Rings. Go to a jeweler or a pawn shop and buy rings that fit. Or you can buy rings later, some weddings don’t even have the couple exchange rings or wear rings at all.

Photographer. See if local professional photographers are available for your wedding day. Contact every single one and you’re more likely to have at least once positive response. If not, you can have family or friends take photos if there is no other option.

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Flowers. You can make a bouquet out of silk flowers at the dollar store, wild flowers in a field close by, or grab your favorite blooms at a florist. The choice is yours!

Music. The quickest, easiest and cheapest way to have the music you want is just to bring your iPod and possibly speakers, make a playlist and put it on repeat.

 

Cheap Destination Wedding Locations

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You’ve always wanted to get married somewhere exotic, tropical, or unusual. You don’t picture yourself getting wed in the same old country you grew up in, but in a new and exciting location. You look at your budget, and you wonder if you’ll have to wait years before that dream can come true. Well, look no further! Here are the cheapest destination wedding locations when you’re on a budget!

Image result for cuba destination weddingThese are photos of a couple that actually married in Varadero!

Cuba. By far the cheapest destination wedding country, Cuba is rich in culture, beaches and warm weather. Varadero is the city where Be Live Experience Varadero is located, and is listed as the cheapest location to host a destination wedding.

Image result for mexico destination weddingThis couple actually got married in Mexico as a destination wedding!

Mexico. The second-cheapest destination wedding country, Mexico is known for it’s amazing food, dance, music, culture and fun atmosphere. River Maya is the city where BlueBay Grand Esmeralda holds the next-best cheapest location for your destination wedding, and the cheapest in Mexico. Sandos Caracol Eco Resort is also located in River Maya and is breath-taking. In the popular tourist city of Cancun, Occidental Tucancun is a gorgeous venue to have your dream wedding. Also in Cancun, Riu Caribe is a beautiful, family-friendly space to hold your ceremony and reception.

Image result for destination wedding dominican republicThis couple really got married in the Dominican Republic in Punta Cana!

Dominican Republic. A fantastic vacation spot, the Dominican Republic is also very budget-friendly when it comes to vacations, destination weddings as well as honeymoons. Puerto Plata has the majestic Iberostar Costa Dorada where you can count on a dream-worthy wedding that won’t break the bank. Punta Cana has two beautiful locations for your destination wedding: Majestic Colonial Punta Cana which is the most frugal option of the two, as well as Riu Bambu. Both are laced with palm trees and will make you feel like you’re in heaven.

Image result for Jamaica destination wedding sunscape splashReal Sunscape Splash wedding in Montego Bay, Jamaica!

Jamaica. Rich with music culture, Jamaica is the place to be, especially during the popular summer months. Ranking #4 in the cheapest countries to have a destination wedding, Jamaica has two cost-cutting venues that don’t skimp on the luxuries. In Runaway Bay, there is the Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa, Curio Collection by Hilton that is all-inclusive and up to par with anyone’s standards. In Montego Bay, Sunscape Splash Montego Bay will have you marveling at the beauty of the country.

 

“Staycation” Local Honeymoon Ideas

Do you plan on having a simple wedding, and want a simple honeymoon to match? Did you have that huge wedding and want an easier honeymoon? Do you have a small budget for your honeymoon?

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What is a staycation? A staycation is when you take a vacation without straying too far from your hometown, saving thousands of dollars. It can be as simple as exploring a neighboring town or shacking up at the nearest city to see the sights.

Bed and Breakfast. Head to your local B&B for some R&R after the big day. The rooms are beautiful, private and quiet. A B&B makes for an ideal secluded getaway.

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Hotel. Pick a hotel in your town or the neighboring one (or in the nearest big city), and choose a room. Pick one with a pool, hot tub, and whatever amenities you’d like.

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Go on a tour. Plenty of cities offer tours of the city and of historical sites. Book one for your honeymoon. If you live by a river or canal, boat tours are often offered as well.

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Camping. Take your newlywed with you to go camping and enjoy some private grounds and activities. If you’re outdoorsy, go in a regular tent. If not, you can bring your own trailer-tent.

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Glamping. Rent an RV, trailer, or mobile home to bring to a campsite. Pick one that has showers, bathrooms, a beach, and activities for you to enjoy. Glamping stands for Glamorous Camping. Often it can include renting a chalet, summer home, cabin, etc for the weekend.

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Backpacking. Hike to the nearest hill or mountain and go backpacking. Explore, be adventurous, and don’t forget your camera.

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Road Trip. Go where the road leads you and get lost together. You can look at a map and find local events you can attend and enjoy.

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What did you do on your frugal honeymoon? Comment below!

 

Frugal Bridal Shower Games

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A bridal shower is a gift-giving party held for a bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding. The custom originated in the 1890s and is today most common in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Even though tradition dictates that a bridal shower should be held two months to two weeks before the wedding, I don’t see any reason why it can’t be planned before the two-month mark. While having a shower six months before the wedding may not be improper, it does seem a bit early for practical reasons.

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Preparation

  1. Pick a date.

    Showers should be held about two weeks to two months before the wedding. Earlier is better.

  2. Compile a guest list.

    As the host, you should set the number of guests you’re comfortable inviting. If the shower isn’t a surprise, consult with the bride about whom to include.

  3. Choose a theme.

    But only if you wish.

  4. Determine the location.

    It could be your home or a nearby venue.

  5. Buy or make an invitation.

    Is the shower a surprise? Be sure to clearly state that. You may also want to include registry information.

Four to Six Weeks Before the Shower

  1. Send invitations.
  2. Decide on decorations and centerpieces.

    One idea: Fill Champagne glasses with jelly beans in complementary flavors (coconut and pineapple, lemon and lime)—edible proof that two together can be better than each alone.

  3. Plan a menu, if necessary.

    For a light lunch, try sweet pea soup, tea sandwiches, and lemon squares.

  4. Prepare an activity.

    You could assemble a “bow hat,” yes, but think about other options. Consider hiring a fortune-teller or a tarot card reader, or even giving everyone temporary tattoos.

The Week Before the Shower

  1. Buy a gift.

    A good rule of thumb: Spend no less than $30 and no more than $50.

The Week of the Shower

  1. Shop for and prepare food, if necessary.

The Day of the Shower

  1. Make a gift-opening area.

    Under the guest of honor’s seat, place scissors, large trash bags, a notebook and a pen to record gifts and their givers, and sticky labels to help keep similar gifts (like platters or glassware) straight.

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Here is a list of frugal bridal shower game ideas for the bridal shower you’re throwing!

Cost-cutting Wedding Themes

Saturday is the most common day to have a wedding, therefore it’s the most expensive day. Normally, most of your guests will have jobs on weekdays, so mornings and afternoons on a weekday isn’t really an option if you want guests there at all. What can you do? Here are some fun and frugal ideas and days to throw your wedding where everyone can attend.

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Friday Night Glamorous Cocktail Wedding. Have your guests unwind after a long work week at a cocktail wedding. Drinks, hors d’oeuvres, dancing and music can help guests relax and get them into a good mood for the weekend. Not to mention, this leaves the entire weekend for your honeymoon!

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Sunday Champagne Brunch Wedding. Afternoons and evenings are the most popular reservation times, so why not do it in the morning? Start during the brunch hour so you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to get ready. Have a gorgeous breakfast feast for your guests along with mimosas to celebrate the occasion!

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Monday evening happy hour. Have guests wind down from those strenuous mondays at the office by enjoying a meal, a drink, cake and dancing at your wedding!

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Tuesday night fairy lights. Have your wedding in your backyard on a tuesday night and hang white christmas lights along any trees, fence, poles, etc. to illuminate your soiree. Your guests will believe they are in the presence of magic!

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Wednesday evening feast. Have a great hump-day by serving your dinner buffet-style. This saves on catering as guests self-serve, and you can be sure that guests will get exactly what they want. Donate the leftover food to homeless shelters, or bring it with you on the honeymoon so you never have to pay for room service!

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Thursday night under the stars. Have your reception at a public park on a clear night where you can dance the night away under the stars. Bonus if it’s in August, where shooting stars happen every year!

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.