Like many young, newly engaged couples we were excited to be getting married, but not so excited about the potential costs involved. Our wedding day turned out to be very lovely and best of all, we didn’t incur debt over it! Ten years later, it’s fun to reflect back on what choices we made I still stand by, and what I wish I could change.
I’d keep: Picking a few things to focus our dollars on. If you’re on a budget, you can’t have a top-of-the-line dress, top-of-the-line flowers, top-of-the-line champagne, top-of-the-line-everything. Instead, take the time out to assess what is most important to you when it comes to your wedding. For us, we wanted to have nice platinum wedding bands and the ability to take a nice honeymoon. To make that possible, our venue was simple (both the ceremony and reception were at our church where we paid a whopping $200) and we purchased very simple floral arrangement (I believe the total cost was around $300). Focus your energy and money on a few key things that matter most to you.
I’d keep: Open invitations. Now this may well not work for many couples, but it sure worked for us. We sent formal invitations out to close family and friends, but we also got the word out to our church that everyone was welcome to come. Because we opted for a simple dessert reception, cost and space were non-issues. We had guests attend that found out about the wedding the same day it happened!
I’d keep: Pre-Marriage Counseling. It’s easy to want to spend time planning your wedding – it’s fun, isn’t it? But remember that even if your wedding is the most amazing day ever, it is only a day. What comes next is where you begin to live out all those vows you made to each other. I’m so glad our church offered pre-marriage counseling before the big day! If this isn’t available to you, consider even doing a study together such as Saving your Marriage Before it Starts. One of my good friends told me she and her husband actually interviewed couples before they got married to see what could be learned about making it work for life. In the hustle of planning for your wedding, don’t forget to plan your marriage.
I’d change: Keep the Registry Simple! When we went to create our registry, we got some bad advice to put anything and everything on the registry. We actually opened three registries and cluttered them up with way too much stuff. The result was getting a smattering of odds and ends and not much of what we really needed. It was a headache to sort through and return. Looking back, I shudder to think what our wedding guests might have thought printing off page after page! Assess what you have and talk to other couples to determine what you will actually use. Stick to ONE registry and keep it simple. Offer a range of pricepoints to help your guests on a budget (or those happy to spend more!) find the right gift.
I’d change: Find someone to run the music (or whatever detail you need done!). Our reception was really low key and it moved fast! We easily have over 10 people get up to toast us and there was much laughter. However afterwards I realized there’d been NO music! I had selected a stack of CDs and brought them, but none of them managed to hit the CD player. All this to say, write down a list of the tasks you’ll need done on your wedding day: getting people to sign the guest book, collecting the unity candle and other mementos from the ceremony, cleaning up the floral arrangements from the reception table, etc. Then make sure that there is someone able to handle each of those tasks. If you’re working with a wedding planner, this may be less of a consideration.
I’d change: Making my bridesmaids wear the same dress. Why do we as brides insist our bridesmaids look like jazz choirs? Why? At the time, I thought the floor length blue dresses I selected for my bridesmaids were sooo versatile, but 10 years out and I’m having serious doubts. When my sister got married she smartly told her bridesmaids to wear any black dress that suited us best. Having had a baby two months prior, I was beyond grateful I didn’t have to shimmy into some slinky thing. If I could go back, I’d give my bridesmaids the same freedom.
Finally, I’d encourage all you excited brides out there to remember to take time out to enjoy that journey and reduce stress where you can. If you need to drop some detail because it’s stressing you out, do it. No detail is worth losing the joy of this amazing season in your life over.
Remember that when that dress is steamed and put away, the floral arrangements dried, and the top of the wedding cake tucked lovingly into your freezer, you’ll be left with exactly what you started with. Your relationship. Cheers!
Visit Angela Russell over on her site to save even more money in your everyday life. Find her at TheCouponProject.com – and tell her that The Excited Bride sent you!