Tips for Wedding Planning on a Budget (& a Whim)

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James and I have been married for almost 3 months now! Crazy how the time is flying by! We decided to get married so quickly that I didn’t have time to blog about it, so today I’m going to tell you how we planned our dream wedding in 6 weeks for $3000 total! YES, that INCLUDES the cost of the dress.

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So, to give you a little back story on why we decided to take the plunge so quickly we had at this point

-Been engaged for 18 months

-Been parents to our love child for 2 years

-Both hit a height of success on the work front

-Just found out we were expecting Baby 2

Our original plan was to have a destination wedding in San Francisco in November 2016, however we decided with another on the way we didn’t want to overspend on a wedding when we could use that same money on college funds/buying a house. So we decided to have something small, quick and fabulous at the start of the new year before I would start showing. Here’s what I did to ensure our wedding came together smoothly.

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1.Pick a Date, Make a List, and Invite Everyone

We selected Jan.2, 2016 since some of our out-of-town family would still be down here from their holiday trips. Once the date was selected we sat down and decided who was ESSENTIAL to being at the ceremony, and went ahead and let them know the date and plan so they could plan accordingly. At this point we didn’t have a location, but knowing that we’d be getting married in a local area meant that we could at least just make sure everyone had the day off until we could print invitations.

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2. Find a Venue

With a date already selected and guests tentatively invited it was time to find a venue. This was BY FAR the most difficult part of the process. Finding a venue that meets your visual goal, is within budget, with your specific date available that includes catering will make you want to pull your hair out, but it’s TOTALLY possible. Don’t settle, don’t go above your price range, don’t say “ok” to sub-par food choices and don’t change your date to work with anyone. This is your special day, and you’re spending your hard earned money, even if it’s not as much as someone else is able to spend no company should take your budget for granted or make you feel like you’re getting sub-standard services because of that. After 12 straight days of phone calls & emails & pleading for ideas on Facebook, we found our venue which including ceremony and reception space, cash bar AND gave us a CUSTOM pizza bar for our nuptials at $16 a person! If you’re in the Tampa Bay area let me HIGHLY suggest The 1930 Grande Room in Ybor.

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3. Send Invites 

There are a ton of great sites where you can design your own wedding invitations, and the great news is most of these sites offer cheap express shipping as well as email sign-up coupons. James and I had our wedding invites sent to us from Optimal Print. The day they were delivered I had them addressed and mailed out to ensure EVERYONE got their invitations at least 2 weeks ahead of time!

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4. Dress Options

As a fashion lover I was NOT about to keep it simple with my dress. I’ve been dreaming of walking down the aisle for 27 years now, and not ONCE did that dream entail a white cotton maxi dress like Katherine’s Bridal Boutique has. I considered RentTheRunway, but didn’t find any dress I really loved on there. After searching David’s Bridal and Alfred Angelo I had almost given up hope in finding an affordable dress that didn’t suck, when CiCi’s Bridal Boutique had a sample sale. Literally the first dress I tried on was the one I walked out with, it was meant to be! There were a few alterations I needed to have made because I am super short and not EXACTLY the sample size, so all in all with alterations my dress ended up being $660.

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5. Sit Back & Relax

I was one of the MOST calm brides I think I’ve ever seen. All that really mattered to me was the music (I put together the perfect iPod playlist and the venue played it with their bluetooth speakers), my attire, and having delicious food. Once those things were all taken care of I didn’t worry about the minor details. I let my mom and mother-in-law take care of the rest because they WANTED to help! They threw me an amazing bridal shower that I didn’t have to lift a finger for, they put together the flowers for my wedding and table decor, and they also picked up the wedding cake from Publix on the day of for me! This made me feel amazing on my wedding day, all I had to worry about was getting ready, it was legitimately a really relaxing day.

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Stacked Wedding Cake Publix $98.00

My wedding was a blast and I wouldn’t change a single thing if I could! I’ve watched a lot of Bridal Reality TV in my day and always just assumed it would be a stressful time for me, with the money we saved having a small, low-key wedding we were able to take a week long honeymoon to San Francisco afterwards! So if you’re contemplating a shotgun wedding, take my advice: you don’t have to settle! You can have it all on a budget!

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All photos taken by the incredible Laura Davis of Laura Davis Photo

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This post was written as part of the #marchmarriagechallenge by The Eyes of a Boy 

Little White Chapels,

B

 

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