The Budget Savvy Bride » Missy helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:57:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Saying Yes to the Dress…Then Saying No – A Budget Fail Mon, 05 Aug 2013 12:47:43 +0000 Dress
The wedding dress is a big deal – there is just no way around it. I set out with the goal of spending $200 on my dress. I visited the big box bridal store and had fun trying on many styles there. Do this. It is important. I thought I would want a tea length, vintage style dress and learned that it just wasn’t that flattering on me. I felt like I was playing dress up with the poufy, doll-like skirting. Yet I loved the look in photos and on others, so be sure to try on lots of different styles.



Then, I went to a boutique bridal store. I loved feeling pampered and cared for. The attendants heard my style, located what played to my body strengths and minimized my flaws ahem weaker aspects. I fell in love with a dress that would have been $600 with alterations. I went back three times to try it on, but I couldn’t get over the fact that I would wear it for half of one day of my life. Yes, I tried to justify it by saying I would look at the photos for the rest of my life. But still, it was one day.
I had to throw out the photos of me in that dress, because it would have been easy to obsess.

Around this time, there was a seasonal consignment sale that specialized in formal-wear. A friend of mine won an advance shopping ticket and passed it along to me (Thank you, Stephanie!). It was a great idea and coincided with prom, so there were lots of young girls and twenty-something brides there. This is something you should check out in your area!
I found two dresses that fit and flattered. Both were under $150! Being budget-minded (perhaps too much so), I decided to wait and come back on the half price day. When I did, one dress was still there. I purchased it for $78, including the full length slip with strapless bra. What a deal! I sent photos to friends and family, tried it on for Mr. Wonderful’s daughters and all confirmed that it was great. But there was an inner voice that kept saying, “If you find something better, you didn’t lose too much.”
Each time I tried it on, I was satisfied, but not thrilled. The truth is I liked it more from the back than the front, and I was self conscious of all the sparkles. Granted, I love me some bling, but for our ceremony style it was more than I had wanted. In addition, I had hoped to find something lighter for our mid-summer wedding. I liked my dress a whole lot, but I didn’t love it on me.

Dress 2c

So I took a chance and ordered a dress available only online. There was a favorable return policy and it was right at my dress price budget at $199. I liked it. A lot. And I felt very conflicted. I sent my sister (who is also my Maid of Honor) photos of both from every angle. She helped me talk through the concept that if I felt at all frumpy it could plague me all day. We discussed how I could likely consign the dress again and earn the money back and that it would be okay to splurge on my wedding dress.
I kept the newer dress. I feel more confident that it is flattering to my frame and that I will be comfortable through the ceremony, reception and photos. So, this falls into my “Budget Fail” category, but sometimes spending a bit more is worth it. When you are strict in some areas, there is more wiggle room in others. I’m glad that I resisted the $500 splurge, but also glad that I gave myself a bit of grace in the dress department.

Did you know what you wanted when you went dress shopping? Did you make any concessions to accommodate your budget? I didn’t want to post a pic just in case someone sees me. After our special day, I’ll share THE one.

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Tasty Decisions Mon, 29 Jul 2013 13:00:33 +0000 Our wedding is going to be at 11 am on a Saturday morning. I hope that all our guests can enjoy a warm and lazy summer Saturday while witnessing and celebrating with us. To that end, I didn’t want a fussy, sit down meal for our reception. My goal was a light and refreshing luncheon.

I began by asking around about caterers and thinking about what kind of food we enjoy. I also wanted a caterer I could trust and who could do the setup, service and cleanup without supervision. I arrange many work meetings and lunches, so I wanted something more elegant than a box-style or BBQ buffet. But light sandwiches and fresh fruit fit our taste and tone of the event.


I was thrilled to come across The Sweetery and Luxe Catering. I found this local vendor online and in regional bridal magazine so I worried their fare would be beyond my budget. However, Bettina worked with me to create a menu that was charming and filling (my groom wants his friends to be satisfied) and she has the experience to pull it off without glitches. When I went for our tasting, I was more than impressed. She treated my small-ish event with the same professionalism as the larger events she has handled. I really appreciate that. I discovered that when I am up front about my needs, others respond with what they can do within my budget and size parameters.

To save money, we opted for disposable dishes, cups and plastic ware. Through photos and testimonials, I have seen these used with style. Our caterer is providing turn-key meal service in a buffet style. I won’t have to worry about set up, clean up or making sure we have enough dishes. I did warn her that our friends and family surely do enjoy our sweet tea. The menu includes cheese and fruit, two salad choices, three sandwiches and two additional sides. We’re serving sweet tea and lemonade on what I’m sure will be a hot Saturday in July.


Both my groom and I knew we wouldn’t be picky about our cake. And even though this is a second wedding, and not super traditional, I still wanted one. But I opted for chocolate. Mmmm. We both love chocolate. I got quotes from local bakers and ultimately decided that Publix offered the simple, traditional style we liked at the best price. Their event coordinator was wonderful to work with and helped me as I considered our options.





Then we were approached by family friends who have a baker in the family. She subtly gave us a photo catalog and asked if they could provide our cake as a gift…I was so surprised, but thrilled! I hadn’t placed our Publix order, so we opted to take the help offered and our cake will be made (and served) by our friends. We still chose chocolate with ivory buttercream – three layers of ruffles. The baker suggested we “Order Up” and so the cake will be large enough to feed 100 people. That’s more than we will have in attendance, but perhaps we’ll save the top layer, or people can have seconds. Either way, I’m not worried about it!

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This was an unexpected blessing for us and I’m very grateful. As a side note, brides may choose different flavors for the different layers of their cakes. But be cautious, guests sometimes then want to taste each layer! So we opted to keep it uniform and simple.

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Engagement Photos + A Guestbook Thu, 25 Jul 2013 12:54:37 +0000 I was thrilled that an engagement session was part of our wedding photography package. However, my Mr. Wonderful just isn’t one who enjoys having his picture taken and I knew a whole photo shoot of us wouldn’t work out well. So I asked if we could have a family session instead – to celebrate and commemorate the joining of our two homes. Our fabulous photographer agreed and so it was!

We did some just the two of us, some with the entire clan and then sets us each of us with our bio children, all the girls, all the guys, etc. Other than the humidity, it was mostly fun. I’m so happy with what we captured!


K&M 99

Then I used these photos to create our wedding guestbook. I didn’t want the list of guests that I would never look at again. I loved the idea of a photo book (reminds me of a yearbook) that people could sign and take part in our story. When The Knot sent me a promotion for a FREE photo book from Shutterfly, I quickly created one to use as our guest book.

The Knot Ad

Be creative about your needs. I think it would even be fun to have a scrapbook on display at your welcome table. So whatever you’re into, whatever your craft, let your skills shine!


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Where to Say “I Do” and When to Say “No” Fri, 05 Jul 2013 14:51:55 +0000 My first wedding was very traditional and formal, in a church with a guest list of around 300 people. Because my faith is such a central part of who I am, I knew that I wanted to get married in a church once again. But I wanted a smaller guest list of people who will still be part of our lives five plus years from now and I wanted a less formal feel to the event.
We decided early on to have our ceremony at the church where both our families attend. It is already part of our lives and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. It made sense! The policies and fees were minimal but apparently several couples got engaged over Valentine’s weekend, so it took a couple of weeks to get approval for our date – Yay!

Just next door to our church is a gorgeous Confederate Era home that is used for various events and a friend of mine just happened to be the bridal coordinator for the venue. I inquired about fees, availability and what would be included: Interior seating and outdoor space with fountains and gardens cascading down to the river. I loved it. I wanted it. For a few weeks I indulged myself with the idea of actually having it.

But the reality was that it would have taken more than 50% of my then-budget. It would have limited the time of day and created a formal setting … more than my original concept. Slowly, I began to see that while it would have been dreamy, it didn’t fit in with the scope of our day. Saying no to myself can be really difficult.
So, I contracted with the church to have our reception onsite, too. That freed me up to do a bit more with the caterer and the decorations can do double-duty. The entire event is simplified!
Bleak House
Next, I’ll share the number one thing we did to save money and I’ve already hinted at how we came to our decision.

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Bling It On! Fri, 28 Jun 2013 13:36:48 +0000 It is so exciting when a relationship comes to the point of looking at rings together and talking about a style. I let Mr. Wonderful know that I would like something in the white gold/platinum color and very sparkly with a vintage feel. When he got down on his knee, asked me to be his wife holding a small box…the box was closed! So after I said yes and kissed him, I said excitedly, “Open it!” I was beyond shocked to find a sleek band with a traditional three stone design: a large center diamond flanked by sapphires. I was truly surprised!

My ring is stunning, unique and different than anything I had pictured. I love that he chose my special ring but honored by desires with the white gold and traditional setting. We also learned that prior to diamonds and DeBeers advertising campaigns, sapphires were the traditional engagement stone.
For his own ring, Mr. Wonderful wants no stones (I’ve asked a hundred times to confirm) and a modern style. I’ve shopped around and found just the right one with brushed metal and a thin profile so it won’t interrupt his bass playing. I’m going with a non-traditional metal which will save money but be more durable.
I think it’s smart to look at the options out there. But, choose a ring that can be sized, shows your personality and is from a reputable dealer. You want to trust that you got what you paid for and that its value will endure. With the newer metals, some can be resized, some cannot, so get comfortable with the options before you make your choice.

Engagement 4

Engagement 3
For us, we wanted our significant others’ opinion, but we wanted the element of surprise for the actual piece. You may choose to make the selection together, but either way it is exciting…and I still don’t know what my wedding band will look like!

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A Birthday Surprise From My Valentine Tue, 11 Jun 2013 13:15:41 +0000 I knew I had met my Mr. Wonderful and that he would always be part of my life. We found each other after previous relationships and making the final commitment of being together in marriage more challenging since we both have children and established lives. Don’t ever think magical love can’t happen at any age, because I promise the intensity of our feelings aren’t any less because we happen to be closer to forty years than twenty years old.

So, we spent as much time with each other as possible, bringing our children together and getting used to the larger family dynamic. I knew we were planning a future together and I also knew he had recently experienced many out-of-budget costs: Christmas, hot water heater repair, tax payments and more. He coaches high school soccer and I assumed we would have to wait till the end of that season (late spring) to start seriously planning our future together.

Engagement 2

On my birthday (which is coincides with Valentine’s), after a long day with work, dinner w/ a friend, small group at church, our normal school commute, etc., I stopped by his place for a quick birthday kiss. He had a birthday card for me and he handed me flowers and a sweet card with cute little couple. Inside the card said, “I’m glad to spend forever with you!” and then he hand-wrote, “so why wait, let’s start forever tonight…” and when I looked at him questioningly, he dropped to a knee and asked me to marry him. I cried. Then said YES! He asked my children to be part of his forever family and they cheered and said, YAY! His girls were there, too. We all hugged and kissed and there was a great deal of rowdy excitement. It was sweet and fun and I’m so glad he included all of us, since it really is a family decision at this point.
Engagement 5
Next up – Let’s talk about the ring!

Missy is enjoying the greatest adventure of her life as she prepares to marry her very own Mr. Wonderful. Life as a single mother prepared her to be frugal and this philosophy has proven valuable in planning for her wedding day. Missy works in an industrial software development office but stays busiest with her children and home. She drinks sweet tea and loves reading, journaling, and hiking the Smoky Mountains!

M & K

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