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I checked the weather for nearly a year. The Farmer’s Almanac to be exact. No rain in over a decade on my Wedding Day selection. I was ready to plan my Sunny Day dream. I was ready to DIY it to the altar and make my fairytale dreams come true. One problem though. A budget. We had to figure one out. Creating a wedding budget is essential to see how far you need to stretch your dollar and how much wiggle room you have while creating an affordable wedding.
SunTrust Bank wants to help you prepare for your dream Sunny Day instead of just saving for a rainy day. Granted, your wedding day could still end up with tear drops from the skies above, but I have been told that makes it lucky! Check out their budget calculator to start creating your perfect day. Creating an affordable wedding budget can be easy with a few thoughts to keep at the front of your mind.
My husband and I were planning on paying for our wedding, reception, and honeymoon all on our own. I had not been working due to a car accident and still in physical therapy. He was putting in any overtime he could get. We knew there was no way we could spent more than $7,000 total. This included our honeymoon, reception, and even some dress rehearsal planning. The only thing it did exclude was our rings as we had those financed interest free.
With a little help and love from family we stayed in our budget and had a memorable time. Were there a few things I would have changed? Surely. However, the clouds loomed over and rain drops started falling on my bridal party as my carriage was set to arrive. I had tears in my eyes that our dream outdoor ceremony would be washed out. The moment the carriage pulled up, the drizzle stopped. We had a Sunny Day for all of 20 minutes during our ceremony. It then poured down. Those 20 minutes though, were magical.
Here are 10 Tips for having a memorable and affordable wedding.
1. Envision your dream ceremony and reception location. Price them out. Negotiate. Book at least a year in advance if possible. Find out what perks are included. What is your deposit. When is it due? Is there a cancellation fee? Don’t jump just because you love it, tour a few places. I found my ceremony site online and had tears of joy when I saw a video.
2. Organize your list of importance. What is more important to you? Venues? Food? Photography? Transportation? The gown? Something is going to be out of budget, it’s a given. Listing your priorities will guide you to what you may want to scale back on or cut out all together.
3. Allow wiggle room. People can and will disappoint you. You will get RSVP’s with a “yes” and a lot of no shows. I had people canceling the day of. Know what? Too bad. They lost out! In some instances this does cost money: Save the dates, invitations, stamps, food per head, favors, chairs, etc. I paid for 20 extra chairs at the ceremony, $2 a pop, that was $40, I think they all remained empty! Consider this when selecting size of venue, how much per plate or for buffet style food, and for how many extra items you need when it comes to goods you will buy.
4. Use talents if offered. This was huge for us and one of the main reasons I was able to splurge in a few other areas. I had a friend who made cookies for each place setting and mini cupcakes for the dessert bar. My Grandmother did alterations on two of the bridesmaid’s dresses and made the flower girl dress. She also made my bouquet and my toss bouquet. My husband’s brother brought in his smoker and made all the meat and brought some side dishes as their family’s gift to us. People still talk about the food!
My Mother and Grandmother made food for the rehearsal. My one bridesmaid’s Mom opened up her house for us to host there as it had more open space than anyone in my family. People pulled together to make things special for us. Just remember to thank each person for their time, commitment, and love! My sister and I had more than one hiccup with the hot glue guns but she was ready and willing to help me DIY my dreams!
5. VistaPrint and other printing sites. I created so many amazing things (I just saw my best friend wearing her Bridesmaid shirt I made her! That was a few years ago now!) I made shirts, hats, bags, pens, seating cards, menus, candy bar signs, ceremony cards, thank you cards, stickers for my invitations, and more! I think I spent about $95 total on what could have cost upwards over $400 if bought on other websites. It took a little time and creativity but it all turned out beautiful.
6. Food. Buffet will always be the most affordable way to go. You can go by the plate but you will want to make sure you order a few extra plates. You can cater a buffet or create your own as we did. We purchased chafing dishes and the heat cans and lined up things. We had a drink table and a salad bar. Sam’s Club, Costco, and Gordon Food Services will prove invaluable if you can put this together to cut costs.
7. Photography. It is huge to many. It is one area I wish we had splurged but as well we were gifted this by my husband’s parents. It was a blessing and a curse. We have some beautiful photos but missing a few things I still kick myself about. No photos of me dancing with my friends. No photos of me with my flower girl alone. They got tired the further in to the day it got. The photo time line was hard to pull off. You can still cut costs here by getting a waiver to print your own photos or paying someone you know and getting a discounted rate. These will be photos you have for a lifetime. Compare packages.
8. DIY it. Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, online, etc. You can find some goodies. If you plan in advance and have the time you will save so much money. I ordered my linens online instead of renting and they have already paid for themselves as I was able to use for baby shower and my son’s 1st birthday! Centerpieces, Floral arrangements in silk, Card boxes, Candy Table, Signs, Wine Glasses, the list goes on.
If you can dream it. You can make it. Just plan in advance and hit the sales. Hobby Lobby does sales for 40% off every week on certain sections. Check in and get things only on the weeks they are on sale. Michael’s does 20-25% off whole purchases sometimes and they always tend to offer 40% off one item each week. With a little persistence you can be a DIY queen!
9. Apparel. I purchased my gown on sale, wedding gown shops have sales all the time. I know it seems exciting to rush and purchase. Wait. Just not too long. Most do suggest you order at least 4-6 months out so it has time to arrive and get alterations. Alterations can be an arm and a leg. If you know someone. Even better. I purchased my headband and veil off eBay. The veil was retailing for over $120 at a bridal shop. I got it for $30! The headband $100 retail and got it for $40.
If you search high and low you can cut costs on every corner. My husband found his suit at Kohl’s. We got a great sale and he has worn it to elegant night on cruise vacations and other weddings as a guest. I ordered my shoes from online and his were a department store. Want to know something? Bridal salon prices are gouging you! A lot of the times if you get the bridal party dresses or suits where you purchase, you do get discounts and freebies thrown in. A new trend is to give a color to the bridal party and have them color coordinated but pick their own items. It is very trendy!
10. Don’t compare your dream or event to other people. It will cost you so much money if you do this. Your Sunny Day savings will only come full circle to get what you dream and desire if you focus on what you and your Fiance want. When you create your budget, low ball. Throw out the number minus $1,000 that gives you lots of wiggle room. The wedding is one day. Look forward to all the sunny days ahead as well! Once you pay the wedding off you will have something else extraordinary to save for. SunTrust Bank will be there for that too!
*A few fun facts about my wedding not fully shown: DJ was also a friend, we rented speakers and he brought his equipment. All florals from centerpieces and carried, including corsages were made by my myself or Grandmother. I used etching paint and glitter to create custom wine glasses for each bridal party member. I purchases my save the dates from a site used to make post cards and they only cost $20!
We didn’t pay for transportation, we arrived to the reception in my husband’s Mustang. We had two light up fountains that streamed vodka and rum beverages instead of having a general open bar. We only bought a small cake from our bakery to cut, the rest was cupcakes from a friend and a candy bar I stocked up on with holiday candy sales (Valentine’s Day was two weeks prior!) I aimed to buy items I could resell afterwards and get back some of the investment, so it was almost like I rented it!
I dreamed it. I did it..so can you!
Start planning your affordable wedding dreams and saving for your Sunny Day with SunTrust Bank HERE .
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.
Author: Nichole Arnold
I’m the owner of Mommy Needs a Bottle . I’m a 30- something wine enthusiast that resides in Tampa, FL. I love family traditions, traveling, cooking, baking, reading, fashion, tattoos, beauty products, and being a Mommy! I have a background in marketing, public relations, copywriting, and sales.