My Purpose

As a recent college graduate preparing to be a teacher and a recent bride, I'm learning how to live in a limited budget. In the process, I've had to find money saving tips & ways to re-use common items, create cheap lesson plans, cook inexpensive meals, design DIY wedding projects, and more. With the economic situation that many of us are in, I think we can all use any ideas that people care to share, and that's exactly what I want to do-- share my own ideas and those that I've found in my searches. I hope you find this blog useful and share it with others.

The blog can be viewed in chronological order of posts via the "Home" button, or you can select a specific title for pages that contain information organized for one idea, such as "College," "Wedding," or "Party Planning." Also, you can view pages specific to one particular label by using the "Categories" element down the left side of the screen.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wedding Planning on a Budget

We are still ten months away from our wedding, but we've already had to make some money saving tips. A lot of what I've read about how to save money when planning a wedding is, well---unrealistic. For instance, one of the biggest ways to save money is to NOT mention the word "wedding" when speaking to a vendor.... or to plan a wedding on any day other than Saturday. Well, unless a wedding is planned on a holiday, such as New Year's Eve or Christmas Eve, planning a wedding on a weekday is a little difficult. Also, not mentioning to a vendor that you're needing them for a wedding is a bit difficult. I mean, how are you to explain to a DJ that you're going to need a song for a "group entrance" without telling what they're being booked for.

Anyway, here are some money saving tips I've found most helpful.

- Sign up at stores to be a part of their mailing list. Stores such as Michael's Craft Store sends out coupons a couple of times a month and they can be worth as much as 50% off one item. Sometimes, the coupons are 10%-20% off for your entire purchase--including clearance items. Don't be ashamed or embarrassed to print them and USE them! (that's my biggest problem--I feel like I'm cheating someone by USING a coupon, but that's why they're there!)

-Use silk flowers! So much money (and time and stress) can be saved by using silk flowers. Table arrangements and bouquets can be arranged so far ahead of time when silk flowers are used, not to mention that they don't cost nearly as much!

- Take your time. If you're having a long engagement and have time to, then take your time and shop around. Many stores and dress shops have BIG sales a few times a year. Shop around, get some ideas of what you're wanting, but take your time when it comes to purchasing. Also, your taste and ideas will change, so think choices through and don't buy items for the first idea you have. You will most likely change your mind.

- Buy gradually. For items you most likely won't change your mind about (such as the guest book, unity candle, aisle runner, and so on), buy gradually. Put some cash back and when you're out (and have a coupon) pick up something you still need.

- Keep your eyes open for a deal at yard sales! Look for things you can use and store-- flowers, decorations, cake topper, candles, and so on.

- Find a seamstress. Ask around for the name of a seamstress in your area to make your bridesmaid dresses. A lot of seamstresses will make a dress for less than $50!

-Pick a top priority, splurge on it, and save money in other places. For most couples, they splurge on either the photos/video, decorations, venues, the dress or the food. In my case, we're splurging on the photographers and saving money on the dinner (I'm working for the caterer and getting the dinner "at cost"), the decorations, and the dress (well, I'm getting a reasonably priced one--not a couture or anything! haha) Pick one passion...and save on the other stuff!

- Do your own looking and shopping around. Don't just book a vendor because someone you know used them. Do some looking around--- the internet can be your best friend! As previously stated, if you have the time to shop around, do it. Spend a day or two doing some searches for photographers, DJs, venues and so on. Try to find vendors that aren't the ones you hear about often. You'd be surprised at the amount of talent out that that's not well known!

- Downsize your wedding cake. By eliminating a layer or two or your fancy cake and making up for it in a sheet cake, you can save a little bit of money. Most guests will never see the cake being cut once the bride and groom step away and go about their business, so who cares if the slice of cake a guest eats come from the layered cake or from a sheet cake that's rolled out? No one. Save yourself some money!

- Buy books of the Forever stamps in advance. It may not save you much money each time the price of postage goes up, but every bit you can save will help!

- Look into DIY projects. Making a bouquet probably isn't as difficult as you may think. Also, you can learn to make your own pew bows, how to decorate your own unity candle, or how to create your own flower girl baskets. Again, the internet is your friend! Search for instructional videos or "how-to" pages.

- Rethink those decisions. Do you really need a limo? Do your guests really need that big, fancy dinner? Do you really need a dress for the wedding AND the reception, or that couture gown? Do you need that expensive wedding video, or can a family member just film it? Do you really need those expensive wedding invitations? Just take a moment to step back and rethink some of the ideas you've had. Are they really that important? Will you still think it's important in five or ten years?

And last, but not least-
- Stay focused on the marriage you're creating, not on the wedding. The wedding lasts only one day, but your marriage lasts (hopefully) for the rest of your lives. Take time to still "date" while you're planning a wedding and talk about things besides the wedding and its plans.

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