No matter who you are marrying, the love you share is like no other. And there’s no better time to celebrate the uniqueness of your union than on your wedding day! So how will you and your intended express yourselves and the love that you share in front of all your assembled friends and family?
Planning a wedding can be positively crazy-making — and that’s true even if you go the totally traditional route, with a church ceremony and a big white gown and a three-tiered cake and the whole nine yards. Things can get even more complicated if you are trying to incorporate a little extra personality, or even simplify the entire shindig while still keeping it special.
Here are a few hacks to make the whole process easier, more fun, and better for the budget.
Put Out the Call to Make This a Friends-and-Family Affair
Especially if you are on a budget, the number of vendors you must hire can be intimidating. At the bare minimum, you will likely want a florist, photographer, videographer, caterer, musicians or DJ, hairstylist, makeup artist, and wedding cake baker. And that’s not even taking into consideration the venue for both the ceremony and the reception, as well as the officiant.
Maybe your friends or relatives can fill some of these roles, for a low- or no-cost option. Naturally, you don’t want to depend on 13-year-old cousin with her first smartphone to handle all the photos, or your soon-to-be brother-in-law’s garage band, but put out the call for help and see what — and who — is out there. Plenty of people make a hobby out of cooking, baking, DJing, or flower arranging, and are just as talented as the professionals.
Another advantage of tapping your acquaintances’ talents is the possibility of bartering rather than paying cash on the barrelhead.
Let Your Attendants Outfit Themselves
Even if you, as a bride, want to wear a traditional gown dripping with beads, tufted with tulle, and/or loaded with lace, why not consider letting your attendants choose their own dresses? You can specify that they wear a classic LBD, ask them to find a pin-up style wiggle dress or rockabilly frock with a crinoline, or hint that a boho maxi-dress would be appropriate.
This is a win-win solution to the dilemma of bridesmaids’ dresses — which are expensive, can be uncomfortable, and often will never be worn again.
The same goes for grooms and their best men. Don’t make anyone rent a tux if they don’t want to. A nice pair of black slacks and a crisp white shirt, maybe with funky coordinating bow ties, is a look that’s still conservative, but with a twist. Or hell, go with vintage t-shirts under blazers paired with skinny jeans and Converse. Take your crowd’s style into consideration; they’ll be grateful.
Splurge on Special, Personalized Items…
If you get creative, you can save lots of cash. Put that savings towards your honeymoon or the down payment on your first home, but don’t forget to earmark some of it for a wedding-day splurge or two. That could mean hiring some primo entertainment or booking the reception venue of your dreams.
One option you won’t regret is choosing personalized favors, whether for all of your guests or just for the wedding party and family. Custom wedding handkerchiefs, for example, are a wonderful nod to tradition as well as a special keepsake.
…But Be Savvy When Shopping for Basics
When it comes to the basics, however, you should refuse to pay full price. We’re talking about items like centerpieces, tablecloths, napkins and chair covers, decorations, faux flowers, and so on. There are plenty of wedding-specific online outlets where you can score deals, but don’t be shy about scouring thrift shops, flea markets, craft shops, and even dollar stores.
Off-the-beaten-path supply shopping is not only going to save you beaucoup bucks, but will also make it much easier to find one-of-a-kind items that will set your big day apart.
Remember that your wedding day is, first and foremost, a celebration of love — not an exhibition of how much money you have. So go on, get resourceful, buck tradition, or do it your way! Make your day one to remember, not just for you and your intended, but for all the lucky guests who get to share in your happiness!