We’ve made it to the single digit countdown! Our wedding is taking place this Sunday, on the 25th! We’ve been tying up all the planning loose ends over the past week, making purchases to stock the bar, craft projects, final meetings and conversations with our vendors, and keeping our wedding party up to date on all the plans.
Three weeks ago, I stopped browsing Pinterest for more ideas. There was no need to stress about what else could be added to the wedding. In fact, I actually started going through my wedding boards deleting pins I knew I would never implement, or have already finished. I wanted to be able to log in and easily search for photos I knew were still a possibility for easy reference. I then made a list of all the craft projects I had in mind for the wedding and began prioritizing them into “Need to create”, “Would like to create”, and “If there’s still time” categories. I’ve then been knocking out projects one by one on the list.
I’ve also created timelines and sent out schedules to the bridesmaids and for Nick to pass along to his groomsmen as far as timing and events for the weekend and when and where everyone needs to be to help things run smoothly and important phone numbers. For instance, the groomsmen know we need their help setting up the bar and uplighting at the reception hall in the morning and must vacate the building so myself and the bridesmaids can arrive to decorate at noon. If things go as planned, that will be wonderful. If not, I’m sure it will become a great story to tell later! For me, it gives me a piece of mind to know everyone knows their role ahead of time instead of waiting for directions the day of the wedding.
As far as our budget, we came close to hitting our $20,000 out of pocket goal. There were some unexpected and over budget costs along way, but, we also came in under budget in other areas. Earlier this year I started a small Etsy/eBay business with some of the crafts I learned to make which to allowed for some extra splurges we thought would be nice, but not a necessity such as the up lighting, a photo booth, adding a party bus for transportation, and being able to pay for hair & makeup for the bridesmaids plus a few others. During our planning, Nick also received an inheritance from his grandmother’s passing which we used to purchase our wedding bands and his attire from. We felt it would be a great way to honor her memory, and include her in the wedding even though she is no longer here with us. We constantly reviewed where we were at as far as spending during planning, and discussed together as a couple what was really important to each of us to include or not to include. In the end, we spent roughly $18,000 out of pocket, added $2,000 from my side business, and another $4,400 from Nicks’ inheritance for a grand total of $24,400. I’m proud to say not a penny of what we spent went into debt, and we only added on ‘extras’ as the funding become available. While this total seems high, it stills comes in under the 2014 National Average Wedding Costs of $30,000, and believe it or not we still saved thousands of dollars of what expenses could have been.
Reflecting, the biggest single thing we did to save money on our wedding was simple: We just asked. We networked and asked our friends and family for vendor recommendations and who might know who in different areas. We have friends who know jewelers, friends who know chauffeurs, friends who are involved in bar and restaurant management, and so on. We asked friends where to shop, and what prices were reasonable to pay for certain items, and how to find a deal. Discussing money can be such a taboo subject, but how can someone ever learn if they never ask? I had no problem putting my pride aside while searching and discussing deals. We also asked vendors that we did not have connections with what kinds of deals or extras they could offer. We never pushed if the answer was no, but we were surprised at how much we could save by saying, “Is there anything else you could add?” or “Can you offer a discount on this?” We also asked friends and family for help in DIY projects such as our cake and wedding invitations. For curiosity’s sake, we added up how much we would have spent without networking and estimate just by referrals we saved roughly $10,000!!! (Not including my couponing and other bargain hunting projects!)
Over the last 15 months of planning during our engagement, we also had quite a few life changes. I sold my house and moved in with Nick, we both lost a grandmother, and both received promotions at work that came with added responsibilities. Nick also decided to get healthy after some back issues and managed to lose 50 lbs in less than 5 months by cutting calories and exercising! I decided training for a marathon leading up to the wedding sounded like a great idea. The training commitment took up a large amount of time I could have otherwise dedicated to wedding projects.
We are both excited and looking forward to starting a new adventure together in married life. We’ve still managed to keep our sanity during the planning processes and whatever else life threw our way. If we can get though all that working together as a team, I’m confident we can handle whatever life throws our way!
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.