Intimate conversation during our First Dance

Helpful Tips for the Budget Bride

Planning a wedding can be stressful. Planning a wedding, while pregnant, and pressed for cash is stressful. However, having patience, and a great support system can ease the wedding woes for the bride-to-be. As an experienced bride, and planner, there are a few things I would like to share to help with your budget.

Seven years ago, I married the man of my dreams. Nine years ago, it almost didn’t happen.  During the beginning of the Great Recession in 2007, I was laid off  in the midst of our planning. My fiance’ had a steady job, but with a household to maintain and a baby on the way, we definitely missed the extra income.  I was a new mom in the beginning of the year, and my wedding was in August of the same year. I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed, even though most of my planning was complete a year prior.

The Chopping Block

While I dreamed of having the wedding fit for royalty, I had to check into reality that money was tight. There were a few things I knew I had to make sacrifices for, and a few I could do without. With most of our budget going to the wedding ceremony and reception venues, my fiance and I had to re-evaluate our budget, and priorities. So, with the help of my planner, we came up with ways to save on a few items. I was thankful she worked out a couple of deals with our vendors, and we were able to keep a few things that I was unwilling to compromise on such as flowers, and the photographer.

Bargain Barrel

The key to cutting expenses is discipline-that, or being a really great bargain shopper. After hours  and days of researching vendors, online and off, we were able to find deals on tuxedo rentals and bridesmaids dresses.  I didn’t want my bridal party going through any of the stress we endured, so as a gift to them, I purchased their accessories.

Sometimes, we have not because we ask not. In February 2008, Ultimate Bride Chicago had a fundraiser, I dragged  my sisters and mom to the event.  Now, the name of the event-I can’t remember. But, what I paid for my dress was less than it took to make my invites. Yes, it was off the rack, and yes it was consigned, but it was BEAUTIFUL!!  Seeing how emotional we all were while I modeled the dress, my mother purchased it on the spot.


Guest List

This is usually the toughest, part of the planning  process. For those with large families, it’s a chore selecting who can and cannot attend but it must be done. Just to make the decision a little easier, consider:

  • Invite TruBlue: Selecting immediate family members, and friends that you both have known during your relationship. These are people who have given advice, and well wishes throughout your courtship.  Keep in mind that your wedding is a reflection of your union, not a spectacle event. You do not need to invite very old friends that do not know your intended spouse, or all of your single friends to be spiteful, or to brag ( don’t act like I’m the only to see this happen).
  • If you have to argue over them, count them out. There’s no need to add further stress to your event. Be considerate of each other’s reasons for not inviting a certain person, or couple.

DIY ‘Til You Die!

diy projectsWith the last-minute items, such as stationery, I became the DIY Diva of the Midwest. I researched how-to’s, and stayed glued to all of the wedding shows, for creative ideas to incorporate into our wedding. Putting my training in Graphic Design to work, I created my invitations, menu cards, programs-you name it, as long as I had glue, ribbon, and vision, I did it.

If you are not the crafty type, look into hiring a budding artist to complete some of your ideas. Take it from me, hungry graphic design students are your best bet for custom invitations and other stationery.

When I got tired, I had amazing bridesmaids and family  helped to complete each task. As the assembly line went on for hours, I spent the entire day with my sisters laughing,  and cackling; creating memories while cutting, pinning, nipping and tucking the final details of stationery and props.

As everyone danced the night away, my husband and I took the evening in and reveled in our accomplishment. Our families were now joined, and we were ready to start our lives, officially, together.  At the end of the day, the memories  you make during the preparation, and on your special day, are all you have left. We were able have the dream wedding we wished for, at a half of our initial budget. Looking back, knowing the things that I know now, I would have done some things differently, but my overall goal was reached.  But for you, new bride, here’s a few things to remember:

  • Be creative: I know sometimes when we say be creative, we think expensive which is not the case at all.
  • Make your event extremely personal. You are not going to please everyone, but make sure you are.
  • There are alternatives to everything-photographers, transportation, flowers, invites, desserts, etc. Consider your budget and unique ideas to satisfy your vision.   And one more thing..
  • Have fun!

Planner: Red Carpet Events/ Photography: Advanced Multimedia Productions, Inc., Chicago, IL / Dress: Ultimate Bride, Chicago, IL /Cake: Calumet Bakery, Lansing, IL/Flowers: Miller’s Florist