Cash strapped couples can feel a little left out of the decadent wedding game. There are so many different ways you could spend a fortune on the wedding of your dreams. Luckily, having a budget does not mean that you need to abandon all your dreams. In fact, it can keep you focused and mindful of the things you really want to make your special day. Here are some tips.
Bespoke invitations are beautiful but the costs really add up especially if you have a large guest list.
If you print out your invitation on the computer, it will look a bit corporate and dull. That is until you unleash your creativity (and a bit of pinterest inspiration). You do not need to be a graphic artist to pick out some cardboard and ribbon and other embellishments to bling it up a little. Most of us are capable of doing a bit of gluing, cutting and bow tying with a bit of practice. The benefit is that the choices are endless and you will come up with truly unique invitations.
One of my friends inspired me to handwrite my invitations. She said that her mother did not like computer generated invitations and so she handwrote all invitations to her 21st birthday party. I taught myself calligraphy from a book and, after a few practice attempts, I handwrote each and every invitation to our wedding (we had 120 invitees!) It meant that our invitations looked like they cost thousands when in fact they were less than $1 each. I would only recommend this for the truly dedicated and organised but I did find it therapeutic after I got into a rhythm and I learnt a new skill I have used on birthday cards since our wedding.
A florist told me when I got married that it is flowers, after the Bride, that draw the most attention at a wedding. Although all wedding vendors will say that about whatever it is they are selling, I tended to agree with her.
While florists can do truly beautiful arrangements, it is not necessary to have professionally arranged flowers. We bought enormous bunches of wildflowers from the markets on the morning of our wedding. My mother tied bunches of them for me and my attendants and put some in large vintage cream cans my parents-in-law had for the ceremony. They were very striking and cost less than $50.
If you prefer more polished flowers, I went to a wedding where the Bride and her attendants carried a single red rose and there was one on each table at the reception. Elegant, simple and classy but it would not have broken the bank even with the highest quality roses.
To some people food is more important than it is to others. However, if you have people travelling long distances for your wedding, you will need to make sure that there is enough food for your guests. Grumbling tummies after spending the day with you does not make for well wishes.
You can save a lot of money on catering by having a cocktail reception rather than a sit down meal. Many couples baulk at this idea because it seems too informal. Ironically, the most formal society weddings in England are cocktail style. You just need to make sure that there is enough food and there are plenty of chairs available for people to sit down if they need a rest.
If you do want a sit down reception, try getting a quote from your preferred reception centre for a “function” rather than a wedding and asking if you can set up the tables yourself. You may find that the quote is significantly lower.
Wedding cake is often wasted. The tradition of giving each guest a piece of the cake as they left is well and truly dated. Most guests just left it in their cab or in their pocket and forgot about it. Why not get your wedding cake to double as dessert? You are not limited to fruit cake and you can have more than one type of cake. Some people now have wedding cakes made out of wheels of cheese. You can present different cakes with the same icing to create a more traditional wedding cake. I have seen Brides present their wedding cakes on boxes under satin or velvet to create a tier effect if your cake is too soft to stand on top of each level. Homemade cakes can look more professional and polished if you decorate them with flowers rather than amateur piping.
Specialist wedding dress shops tend to be very expensive. One of my friends wore a beautiful cream silk designer label dress she picked up in a high end boutique for $600. Expensive for an evening gown but very cheap for a wedding gown.
If you have been sketching your dream wedding dress since you were a little girl, ask around for recommendations on home based seamstresses. You would be astonished to find the quality of tailoring available from home based businesses.
Why not put together a list of “extras” that you would really like if you could only afford it. Guests will undoubtedly be asking what you want as Engagement and/or Wedding gifts. If they know that you dearly wanted a string quartet, a soloist, hand crafted chocolate truffles as bonbonniere or a vintage Rolls Royce wedding car they may be able to get it for you. Your cousin might play in a quartet, your Great Aunt might love to make your bonbonniere and your best friend’s parents might be members of a vintage car club.
Kate Schwarz is the developer of Gift Club – an App for iPhone with an Android version coming soon.
Gift Club is an all purpose fully customisable gift registry on your phone. You can add anything you like to your wish list – traditional wedding gifts, cash, honeymoon activities, someone to make the wedding cake…
After the wedding, you can use the wish list for birthdays, Christmas, baby showers… You just keep your wish list current and it is searchable whenever anyone wants to buy you a gift for any reason. There is no risk of causing offence because the wish list is searchable and people will only look it up if they have already decided to give you a gift.
The App is free and can be downloaded here https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/gift-club/id760018890?mt=8
Check out Gift Club on Facebook here www.facebook.com/GiftClubApp