Friday, May 8, 2009

Jackie's Wedding Planning Journey - My Budget Saving Tips

Happy Friday to everyone! Sorry for the lack of post last Friday. Working two jobs, planning a wedding, volunteering...I was just plain exausted!

To make up for it, I'll give you a small update before moving on to this week's blog - I met my wedding hair stylist, Jenny, for the first time last Wednesday. I figured I should start having her cut my hair since she is doing my updo for the wedding. I LOVED her. She gave me really adorable side swept bangs. I never thought I could pull off the bang thing, but I love them. Pictures to follow.

There's no good segue - so let's just move right from my bangs to my budget. To begin, I am AWFUL with money. By "awful" I mean I love to spend it. If it doesn't go directly into my 401k, it gets spent. The first thing I did when Matt proposed was promised myself and my parents that I would do better, especially when it came to spending the thoughtfully-saved money that my parents generously gave me for the wedding.

Since my parents and some of their friends read this blog I won't give out exact numbers. But to give you an idea of the budget that I am working with, so that you take my efforts seriously and don't think I have some bottomless well of money, let's just say that if the average cost of a wedding in Savannah is $12,698 to $21,163 (according to, my budget is within those numbers.

With budget on the brain I started planning by reading magazines, websites, and blogs. There are so many neat, original, exciting ideas out there - except when it comes to strategy for saving money! You see the same tips time and again - get married in the off season, get married on a weekday, DIY everything, use flowers in season, etc. As far as those tips go, I had to get married in the summer so my friends and family all had vacation, many of them are teachers. I don't want to get married on a weekday and I don't have time to do and make everything myself. I will say I am pretty much using flowers that are in-season, but that is just because I happen to like summer flowers. Ok, so that's it? That's all I can do?

Here are some tips that I discovered through experience, and think might be helpful to you:

1. Give yourself a budget for each individual vendor and line-cost before you start setting meetings and spending. Know how much you can spend on each aspect of the wedding instead of just having 1 grand total. If you don't, things will add up VERY quickly, and before you know it you will be over-budget. And if you sign contracts before realizing that, you may be in serious trouble. Being up front with your vendors will also make it easier for them to make suggestions and work with you. For example, if your florist knows you only have $x amount for bouquets, she will know what flowers will work with your vision and price point and which ones to avoid. Use a spreadsheet, or you can use a budget program like the one they have on The Knot - it is free to register and calculates how much you should aim to spend on each vendor based on your total budget and average wedding expenditure. It also gives you the option to customize the categories - so if you know you are not paying for, say, transportation, you can delete that and add something like your bridesmaids' hotel rooms instead.

2. Decide what details are most important to you. For one bride it's amazing photography that she can't live without; for another it is a designer dress. Whatever it is that you must have, figure it out right away. If it involves a splurge, plan on that by choosing where you will cut back on another aspect of the wedding to make it possible. Throughout my planning, I have found myself saying, "oh, this is so important" or "I must have this," about many things - but if I really sit down and think about what I'm talking about, I usually realize I don't need it to enjoy my wedding day. For example, I am sure that whatever bowls AVIA - my reception venue - will provide will be suitable for putting out need to buy the amazingly cute ones I found at Home Goods! haha!

3. Make the extra effort to search for deals. This works especially well if you have a longer engagement, but still works in a shorter time frame. I had 9 months, so not quite enough time to wait for spring sales on some things, but I still ended up finding great deals. Toward the end of the year I went shopping for my gown. I figured maybe it worked like cars - you know, clear out the 08's and make room for the 09's! I ended up with a gorgeous LaSpose gown that was marked 50% off. Also, it was a discontinued sample, so they knocked off another 10%, making this dress a definite budget-saver purchase for me. Also keep in mind that many craft stores compete and may offer price-matching. Keep an eye out for that. Price matching is an amazing barganing tool.

4. Ok, so this is the most important...Keep in mind that this day is about you publicly announcing your love for another person and telling the world that you want to spend the rest of your life with them. Your guests are there to celebrate your marriage, and love for one another, not the custom-made, pink, sparkly ribbon on the favors....

Do you have a great money saving idea? Let us know at

P.S. This weekend is my very first wedding shower. My future Mom(in-law) and Grandma are hosting it in Florida and I am so excited! I consider myself very lucky to already have a great relationship with them, and I am so honored that they are taking the time to give me a shower!

No comments:

Post a Comment