The Wedding Plans So Far

Planning a wedding on a budget isn’t easy, but it does force one to be creative (which is such fun). I’ve had lots of questions, so I’ll just let you in on what I know so far.

The date: It’s hard to set a date when you don’t have six months or more to plan (and you’re frugal like me). It all depends on when you can get a photographer, the venue, and a slew of other things. We started out with late September/early October. I was rooting for mid October because I’ve always wanted a fall wedding outdoors. But October 4th is the latest James will let me go. He does have a firm opinion on the date, “You mean you wanna push the wedding back for some leaves?!”.  He’s pretty much let me do whatever I want for the wedding, so I guess I’ll have to concede this one. October 4th is the day before my birthday, and the minister is not available then, so I’ve pretty much ruled that out. It’s looking like September 20 or 27. After this weekend, I should know the official date!

The dress: I have my dress already! I went dress shopping twice with a few of my friends. The second trip was to David’s Bridal. I had picked out about a dozen dresses online, so the attendant got those for me to try on. Nothing wow-ed me. My friends went and picked out a few too. There were some nice ones, but again, nothing wow-ed me. Finally as a last resort, I looked around myself and tried on a dress a size too small (but on sale). I put it on (but didn’t zip it) and was wowed! It was champagne and ivory (I never wanted a stark white dress) and was unique enough and flattering enough to fit my criteria. I was planning to spend $500 or less. It was marked down from about $1000 to $550. I was ready to buy it on the spot. The fact that it didn’t zip didn’t matter much, because I thought I’d have my mom make it into a corset back (which I like anyway) and then it wouldn’t matter if I lost weight or stayed the same size.  They were advertising every dress on sale, but since it was already on clearance, I didn’t think it would be. I asked; she checked; it was down to $350! When I got to the counter, it rang up as $299! That made my little penny-pinching self want to click my heels.  So, no, I’m not going to show it to you, but here’s a sneak preview. That’s Abbey, my niece and Jr. Bridesmaid will be her dress (after alterations).

The Bridesmaids….will be my sister, Tracy; Niki, my best friend from college; and Emily, a friend from church. I personally think bridesmaid’s gowns are beautiful, but very frivolous considering they usually cost well over $100 and can’t be worn again.  I went back and forth over what to do. I thought about having everyone wear black. I had found a beautiful gold gown for about $40. I bought one for Abbey to wear. My bridesmaids are all such different shapes and sizes; no gown would look good on all of them. So I bought some snazzy “social separate” tops in my wedding colors. They don’t match, but that way everyone can have something that looks good on them. To tie them together, my mom will make matching skirts in their respective colors.  BTW, the colors are Aubergine, Burgundy, and a Moss green with gold accents.


The Venue: Well in my search for outdoor venues, I looked at parks, his parents’ backyard, my parents’ backyard, and my brother and sister-in-law’s place. There was a lovely park near my home where I found a neat area canopied by trees, but I could not find a reception area nearby for less than $500.  My parents’ backyard is beautiful, but after lots of measuring, I thought it would be too small for over 200 people.

So I headed over to my brother’s place (actually my parents own it). I’ve always thought their tree-lined drive was gorgeous. They live a few minutes outside of Liberty, MO (where parents and sister live) in a subdivision where all the houses have about 3 acres. They have a pond and lots of trees. We looked around for the best spot, and decided that of all places, the driveway itself would be the aisle. I’m very excited. I love nature, so it’ll be nice to be married under a canopy of leaves (Pray for no rain that day….whichever day that might be).   Everyone I’ve told thinks getting married in a driveway is pretty weird. But it’s not an average driveway….

Here’s a shot of the surroundings (that’s my sis-in-law’s sister’s pug, Marty)….

We couldn’t formally decide on this place until we found a practical and inexpensive reception site. My sister’s church in Liberty was very accommodating. I’m going to look at it Sunday, but I think that’s pretty much a done deal.

The flowers: I’m buying them direct from S. America. This will save a ton of money and I can get 2 of my favorites: dark red roses and aubergine mini calla lilies. They’ll arrive on Thursday before the wedding and my mom and I will put them into simple hand-tied bouquets.

The photos: Here’s a huge expense. And being the artist that I am, the pics are important. While I don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount, I’m willing to allocate more of my budget towards that. James suggested using people we know who are just good at photography. While they are good, I explained to him that there’s definitely a difference in pros and amateurs. I’ve done a small wedding myself (and I’m not a pro). It was not as easy as I thought. I think the equipment and experience makes a huge difference.  Plus I’d like pics with an artsy flair.

So while most photographers around here start at $1000 for their wedding packages, I tried to find something a bit less. Thought I had a lead, but she was booked. So then I thought about my friend Cyndi. I know her from stamping, plus she’s an artist and great photographer. I had seen some senior pics she’d done a few years ago that were fabulous. I didn’t realize she was doing weddings now, so when I found that out, I called her up. We’re meeting tomorrow to go over details, so hopefully that will work out.

The music: The hardest part will be narrowing it down! Lots of ideas, but I’m trying not to turn the ceremony into a musical (I would love it, but it would probably bore the guests). I am going to have 3 of my college friends sing (we sang in a small women’s ensemble in college, so I’ll have to make myself not hum along).

Invites: Don’t even have a date yet. I am making them, but that’s down the road.

The guest list: Not including the general invites I’ll send to churches I’ve attended in the past, I have over 170 on my list. (That’s what happens when you’re an older bride and you’ve lived in several places in your adult life). James has about 30 (20 are family). From what I’ve heard, that’s pretty typical. So some of you may have to go sit on his side to even things out a bit.

The cake: Here’s where my non-traditional side shows. A beautiful cake is simply not that important to me. Especially $500-$900 important! We’ll probably have a dessert buffet with several cakes instead. Besides, I’ve had a lot of wedding cake that was pretty blah tasting.

Well that’s about it for now. Still lots to do, but we’re making progress. If my sis could plan a wedding in a month (for a lot less people though) I’m sure I can pull this together in 3.

~ by tawnyamarie on July 12, 2008.

8 Responses to “The Wedding Plans So Far”

  1. Just let me know! If there is anything you need help with, let me know that too! I think we’re going to make a weekend of it, and stay at the Great Wolf Lodge. We might even have some kids by then! 🙂

  2. Totally at your disposal, and after paying $11 for my wedding dress, my bargain-hunter-nose is here for you too. 🙂

  3. Some of my best wedding photos actually came from little disposable cameras on the tables. My mom had a week to plan her wedding, and the mothers showed up in matching dresses on different shades of pink. (Mom’s mother made her dress, Dad’s mother bought hers)

    Prayers for a pretty wedding day!

  4. I’m so excited I can hardly breathe! Time is going to FLY my friend!

  5. I’m signed in now…it stresses me out when my pic doesn’t appear. I know…I’m so vain. lol

  6. Wow, Sounds like you have most everything under control. This is my first time visiting your blog and wish you all the best.

    If you do decide to make your own wedding invitations, pop by and see our do it yourself wedding invitation kits. You might find something you like.

    Best Wishes for a long and happy life together,


  7. Hey, I’m close and generally free, let me know if I can do anything to help in any way! I’m so excited for you! {{{Hugs}}}

  8. I understand a frugile wedding. Mine cost a total of 650 bucks and that included the bridesmaaid dresses and mine. I had it outside like you are going to do in my parent’s front yard. Can’t wait to see it.

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