Confessions of a Budget Bride: What I Would have Done Differently

Let me start by saying I absolutely loved my wedding and loved the planning process. It was so much fun, I actually didn’t mind the fact it was my second time around.  I loved the DIY projects, and I still look at my album to this day impressed with how well we put it together for very little money compared to what most couples pay. However, being a second wedding for both my husband and I – and with kids and household expenses already in the mix – we were extra budget conscious  and were dedicated to maximizing every dollar, so there were some details we didn’t pay much attention to assuming they would end up costing us in the end.  Our biggest concerns were that our family and friends were present and they had great food and an open bar. Everything else we’d figure out.  I think we did a pretty good job, but I won’t say there weren’t a few regrets that I recognize now in hindsight. Even on a tight budget, there are some details worth spending a little extra attention on.

julia wedding 2Not having ceremony music. We were having a quick, non-religious ceremony at the venue where our reception was also being held, so we didn’t see the need for any music to walk down the aisle to. The result was an awkward and silent walk to the front of the room that we still talk about years later. The solution? If you’re trying to save money, it may not be in the budget to hire live music for even just the ceremony, but my advice here would be play something. Anything. Even having an iPod with your song of choice playing is better than nothing.  Odds are good that wherever you’re getting married, they have have a PA system, and the event coordinator there can easily help you start and stop any music.

julia weddingNot having a rehearsal. We’d already been through this once each, so what’s the big mystery, right??? Plus our bridal party was really just made up of our kids who were going to join us at the alter to participate in a meaningful sand ceremony to represent our blended family, so a rehearsal seemed unnecessary and just another potential expense if we needed to pay for a rehearsal dinner afterward. The result was it was sloppy and uncoordinated and it looked more my kids were playing at a sand art station at a festival. The solution? ALWAYS REHEARSE. Even if it’s just a small, simple, quick wedding, the rehearsal will ensure a chance to work out the bugs and will help with a smooth ceremony.

hashtagNot having a wedding hashtag! This is perhaps my biggest regret, but I blame it on timing, as we were married a little ahead of the wedding hashtag explosion. I would have loved to “crowd share” photos and capture the various points of view of all my guests, and this would have been a perfect way to get a more comprehensive collection of memories for our once-in-a-lifetime event. The solution? Even if crowd sharing photos doesn’t appeal to you, think about some of the other options to help capture the memories, such as an onsite photo booth, or even having a Polaroid camera for guests to take photos of each other and sign them in lieu of a guest book. These additions help to get guests more involved and will leave you with more photos to look back on for years to come.

julia wedding 3Not hiring a professional photographer. Yes, we did have family help out tremendously, and don’t get me wrong, we got amazing shots that I absolutely love my family for. But it put pressure on my family to “work” the wedding instead of enjoy themselves. However, I know all too well that photographers can be pricey. The solution? Shave some of the dollars off of other expenses to find the funds for a photog. Perhaps go for a cheaper venue. You can also do some research and find some photographers that are just starting their businesses and would be willing to give you a great price to help build their portfolio. Don’t be afraid of their lack of experience; they make up for it in enthusiasm, motivation to please their client, and all their focus will be on you.

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