There’s rumors that you can have an inexpensive wedding. The event of your dreams for under $10,000. The stars will align – your parents’ backyard will transform into the perfect rustic chic setting, friends will work tirelessly on catering, and your decorations will take nothing more than a few minutes together with a hot glue gun, your future spouse, and a glass or two of wine.
I gave up the idea of having a “cheap” wedding pretty quickly. That’s not to say that I didn’t freak out about the idea of spending more than what we spent on our car on one day of our lives. I wasn’t happy about it. I resented the fact that this is what weddings are now. But I succumbed. And I don’t regret a penny. Every aspect of the day came out perfectly and throughout the festivities I kept thinking “this is EXACTLY what I wanted.” In the end, that’s what matters.
Now that I am a seasoned professional, I’d like to offer you some wedding planning tips.
- If you’ll remember it, spend the money
In the midst of “holy cow the catering costs HOW much?” and “WHY DID WE NOT JUST ELOPE” I had one silly idea: gosh darn it, I wanted a photobooth. Did we need to spend the money on it? Nope. We had a fabulous photographer (more on that later), and picture-snapping friends in attendance but I knew it would make me happy to see everyone enjoying a photobooth and that I’d love the results.
- Use your network
The two places I definitely saved money were actually two things that were really important to me: the cake and the photographer.
I know it’s very “in” to have a bunch of small desserts or even candy for a wedding nowadays. That, my friends, is blasphemous. You only have a few occasions that specifically call for cake: birthdays and weddings. Why are we sacrificing one of these? STOP THE MADNESS. And don’t get me started on carrot cake. Just don’t. Luckily, my mom used to make cakes professionally when I was a kid so I didn’t have to look far for a baker who wouldn’t scoff at my request for the ridiculous cake I picked out when I was 4. In 1989. I’m not kidding.
I don’t even want to know how much that would have cost to have made. For more personal touches, Adam’s Warhammer figures ascended and descended the stairs and my bear (just out of frame) and my sister’s Cabbage Patch Kid were decked out in formal wear and looked adorable as Cake Attendants.
My photographer and I took selfies before selfies were selfies. Kate (who will forever be “Katie” to me, so it feels weird to type that) and I have been friends since middle school and was my first and obvious choice for photographer. I was so happy to have someone I knew, who also knew my family, and who was so easy to work with. Plus the fact that I LOVE her work. And, of course, the deal she gave us on her already reasonable prices.
- Ask for help
First, a warning. At some point in your wedding planning, you’re going to ugly cry. It will probably be unprovoked and completely unhinged. Roll with it. Accept it. Take a nap. Then ask for help. I’m kind of a control freak and prone to anxiety. This combination does not work well for stress free wedding planning. I was having a really hard time until I finally delegated some tasks.
- Know your limits
I knew from the start that I was NOT going to be a DIY Bride. My plan was to not make/produce ANYTHING myself for the wedding. Some who knew my crafty/creative tendencies were surprised at this but it was really to save me from myself. I knew if I took on any projects it would just be too much. Sure, putting together my own flowers might have saved money but in the end I was more than happy to have the finished product delivered into my hands. I did end up making the escort cards because I had something very specific in mind, but it wasn’t a big deal. More props to my mom for also making the favors (chocolate covered oreos).
If you’re planning a wedding in the area, you should definitely check out some of the vendors we used. The whole thing was seamless and a huge part of that was due to these people/companies:
Our wedding took place at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH (my hometown). It was a perfect all-in-one, unique setting. Lisa, the event coordinator at the Currier, helped us out until she went on maternity leave and Melanie Voros handled the day-of coordination. Melanie was FANTASTIC – low-key, on top of everything, and really responsive. Our catering was done by Celebrations and was deeeelicious. Fred, the owner, was always super quick to email back if we had any questions, was more than happy to accomodate my allergy needs and worked with Adam to create a unique menu. We worked with the entertainment company C-Zone for the DJ (John Dolan, who was SO good) and live guitarist for the ceremony (I never actually met him but he sounded great.) I met with John a couple times beforehand and he knew exactly what we wanted. He kept the energy up and had great mixes. And of course, Katlyn Ashley Photography was delightful and I’m soooo excited to see the full gallery.
Overall, it was a perfect day and I’m perfectly happy that it’s. all. over.