One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: A day full of love from family and friends with DIY flair all done on a strict budget.
Posts Tagged ‘Budget Wedding’
I read your Ask Team Practical post about choosing vendors, but it didn’t address my biggest issue, which is how to deal with vendors as a bride on a budget with a sensitive ego. The hardest part of this whole process for me has been trying to find vendors for food, flowers, etc. who will work within my budget without making me feel terrible about how much I can spend. The last thing I want to do is low-ball someone—I truly value their skills and understand their needs—but it seems like every time I ask for clarification about a price or see if they can meet me somewhere in the middle, I’m met with a, “How dare you even ask that,” attitude. I’m trying to be as kind as possible and I don’t think I’m being rude by attempting to negotiate, but it’s becoming so disheartening. I’m starting to feel like I don’t deserve the beautiful flowers and tasty food because I can’t pay top dollar for it. Like, they are doing me a favor by even CONSIDERING working with me at such a low price. To make it worse, I’m getting married on a holiday weekend and have gotten the, “Well, it’s Memorial Day weekend so there are many brides who will be looking for our services,” comment, basically saying that someone will come along right after me with more money to spend so why do they care if they lose my business. Even though I might not be able to spend as much as those other brides, it’s still a lot of money to me!
This is a rambling question, but I was hoping you could give me some advice on how to handle these vendors without offending them and while still maintaining my own dignity. Oh, and maybe while you’re at it you could explain to me why so many wedding vendors are meanies? (Not the APW approved ones, of course! We need more of those in New England!)
Budget weddings are hard, man. So is picking vendors and having professional conversations about your personal finances. Rough. But that whole “professional” part is really important to remember because, hey. Your vendors aren’t emotionally invested in your wedding. It sounds pretty obvious, but I think it might be a hard truth to hear for some of us. I mean, wedding vendors like weddings and couples and love and junk—that’s part of why they’re in this business (hopefully). But at the end of the day, they’re making business decisions, not emotional ones. Though we’re each positive that our wedding days are going to be the awesomest, not many smart business people can give discounts just because, well shucks, you guys make a cute couple.
Maybe I do live in a sheltered little bubble of friendly wedding vendors (love you guys!), but I don’t know too many who would try to make you feel weird and embarrassed about financial constraint. So maybe you should take a good long introspective look. Are you feeling weird and embarrassed about money period, or are people making you feel that way? If you’re anything like me, there’s a pretty good chance that first answer will ring true. “I can’t work within that budget,” doesn’t always mean, “You’re a terrible person for suggesting such a thing!” but if you’re already feeling sort of sensitive about money, you’ll hear the latter no matter what someone really says. Continue reading Ask Team Practical: Budgeting and Vendors
Since intern Madeline married in December and had her reception a handful of weeks ago, she’s throwing us little hints and whispers of the tale. First up, their city hall elopement. I couldn’t be more in love with it.
I didn’t plan on wearing jeggings on my wedding day—it just happened. I didn’t even know they were jeggings. I thought they were leggings with a fly and pockets. According to my good friend Alice, that is the definition of a jegging. But at the time, I was ignorant of this distinction. It was December, and I needed to cover my legs.
I put them on under a dress I bought for $11 from Banana Republic in 2008. Back then, we all thought the capitalist world was about to end. Stores were resorting to extreme sales to stop us all from giving up and dressing in trash bags. I never stopped to thank the banks for creating the discount frenzy that provided the dress I got married in. Let me remedy that: Thank you, banks.
Next up, a battered pair of boots, a comfort purchase after an old break-up. An aging sweater of my grandma’s. (“You can see the holes in the sleeves!” my mother said, of the photos.) A white flower pendant I picked up in Tokyo in 2010. And a pink, flowery headpiece from a New York City drugstore. Done and done.
We had applied for the license and overcome the 24-hour “cooling off” period required by state law. Two dear friends were standing by to witness the paperwork. We had exquisite wedding bands by Brandon’s friend Satomi—not the customary 2, but 4. (Yes, I couldn’t choose, and now I have three wedding bands. So sue me.) We were even allotted a celebrant straight off the set of the Sopranos. (“Congratulations to yous.”)
I know people worry about eloping and whether or not it feels “real.” Continue reading Madeline: The Jegging Elopement
I’ve had two mini-receptions since I last wrote, one in New York and one in Ohio. Meg says I’m allowed some time to process those before I get to wedding graduate level. Instead, I want to write about a concept that helped me reign in some of the financial panic of the last few months: the Investment Wedding.
A wedding is an investment, of course. That’s what makes it so daunting if, like us, you have barely any assets to funnel into it. I’m just not used to spending money! What helped was finding ways to spend it that felt lasting. Weddings seem so fleeting; I wanted something concrete.
This informed many decisions. I bought a fancy outfit, but all things I’ll wear again. I took an eco-friendly make-up lesson and skipped the makeover. (H/T Meg, Kate Middleton.) We bought Brandon a suit, and now he looks extra-dashing on job interviews.
My concept of investment changed with time. I was sure we wouldn’t miss flowers, because nothing sets off my brain’s “waste of money” alarm like overpriced bouquets that will rot in a week. But APW kept posting DIY tutorials—So cute! So easy!—and I changed my mind. The day before the dinner reception siblings, mother, best high school buddy and I hit up the New York flower district. I took $200 cash, which was both much more than I’d ever imagined spending on blooms, and much less than any WIC budget will tell you is a self-respecting minimum.
Turns out, purchasing armfuls of flowers is fun! Lugging them to Stumptown coffee for a pick-me-up—fun! Filling the bathtub with peonies and watching them open while you pee? Fun! Cramming stems into all the bottles and containers we could find in our apartment—OK, there were times when I worried it was all going to go horribly wrong. Then I took a nap and let my team take over. Fun again! I let my mother deal with setting them up in the restaurant, and it looked amazing. And while I’m pleased about that part, I’m even happier that the process was such a memorable part of the weekend. Turns out money wasn’t the issue at all. It was time that was being invested—time with folks who’d flown hundreds of miles to join the celebration. Continue reading Madeline: The Wedding Investment
My wedding is coming up soon and as we work our way through planning, we’re realizing that we have a much smaller budget than we originally thought. (News flash: Everything is expensive!) After a lot of discussion, we’ve decided to skip on wedding photography. But, I’m worried that without pretty photos, I won’t be able to remember the details of the day. Everyone always talks about the wedding day flying by in a blur, and I would hate to get to the end and realize I don’t even remember any of the important parts. How can I make sure to save all the precious memories?
-Wedding Amnesia Hesitant
Don’t let people freak you out! Some people experience that crazy-hectic-blur day, but some people don’t. Sure, wedding days are busy, but they’re full of raw emotion. Stuff like that has a knack for sticking with you.
Lucky thing, too, because keeping the wedding day fresh in your mind can be really important for shaping your marriage. When my husband is a complete butthead (which spouses can tend to be), it helps to remember that day that started it all and laid the foundation. It also helps to remember that I swore in front of over a hundred people that I wouldn’t kill him, or something along those lines. But, other things—big things, ideological things, the very reasons we all chose to get married—are brought to mind when we remember our weddings. I don’t just remember how handsome and non-butthead my husband looked or what we promised each other, I also remember a community of loved ones surrounding us. I remember the specific choices we made and how they reflect our ideals about marriage and about life. Whatever major foundational elements you involve in your wedding planning can be important to your marriage, too. Things like the community I mentioned, or your support of local business owners, perhaps your spirituality, your cultural traditions, maybe your environmental concerns, or whatever other meaning you incorporate. (And that goes for elopements, too!)
I get it, you want to remember the specific moments of the day—how your partner’s face looked as you said your vows, how your best friend’s voice cracked with emotion during a toast. I’m just making the case that remembering those details is important, sure. But keeping the wedding day in mind in general is really valuable, too! So here’s how we’d accomplish both of those things.
Don’t discount photos completely just because you can’t afford a professional. Photographs by family and friends may not have the sheen and style of pro photos, but they can be really meaningful. But your loved ones don’t need to bring a fancy DSLR. Instant photos get the thumbs-up from just about every APW staff member, and have you seen what just a phone can do these days? (And, psst, if you do decide to go the DIY route, make sure to check out the two APW How-To posts!) Folks from our parents’ generation usually didn’t have a lot of photographs—just a posed portrait or two for framing. And that aside, even couples who do have a thousand great photos are likely to find that there are only five or ten really meaningful and special ones. But maybe photography is completely out of the question. There are venues that request no photography, and that’s fine, too. There are plenty of ways to make those memories stick without involving a camera.
Writing down the really special details that you didn’t plan or expect can be a sure way to cement those images in your mind. Remember how your teachers said that writing things down would help you remember them? They were right. (Ya know, I really wish people would give their teachers more credit.) And even if your teachers were wrong, lucky you, now those memories are on paper! Writing these things down as soon as possible is the best plan, so you still get everything while it’s good and fresh. Meg made sure to journal about her own wedding before seeing her wedding photos so her memory wouldn’t be distorted by anyone else’s perspective. Even with beautiful photos, she’s really really glad she did.
Not much of a writer, I prefer to rehash memories aloud, with loved ones who share them. “Remember at the wedding…” is an over-used phrase in my house, and I relish reliving all of the emotion with those who were there. (Note: Notice my emphasis on sharing these memories with people who want to. Reliving every detail of your wedding reception with the woman who sits beside you on the bus everyday isn’t going to make you very popular.)
Beyond these few ideas, there are basically four ways to remember the day: things you display, things you use daily, things you tuck away, and things you repurpose. These ideas aren’t just for folks who don’t have any photos; they’re great for anyone (and sometimes even more sentimental than photographs). Continue reading Ask Team Practical: Remembering the Wedding
I’m engaged! Hurrah! It’s all very exciting. We originally looked into the BIG wedding day—and by BIG, I mainly mean expensive! We sat down, talked about it, and decided we didn’t want or need this. It was way too much money. We didn’t want to take a loan out for it. We didn’t want to be saving for the next two plus years for it. We just want to be married. We just want to have fun.
Then, I read about cocktail receptions and came up with an idea. We decided we really want to do a Sunday afternoon, finger food type of affair. We found a cool bar in town which has a rooftop area we can rent. We plan on having finger food, cupcakes and drinks and a lot of all of it! We’re going to over-order slightly to make sure no one goes hungry. And no one eats dinner at 3pm on a Sunday, anyway, right? However, people are giving me a hard time. No sit-down meal? Shocking! No first dance?! Noooo!
We haven’t booked anything yet. I’m quite put off by people’s reactions. Whenever I mention my idea I get that look. That, “Ohhh…” like I am somehow cheaping out on them. I’ve even been told I can’t expect gifts if I don’t provide a meal! (It’s not about gifts!)
So now I’m stuck. Should I proceed with my cheaper, finger food wedding? Or throw the towel in?
A wedding invitation is not a dinner invitation. Let’s just stop that train right there. The idea that a “traditional” wedding equals a steak dinner and open bar is a fairly new concept—just ask your grandparents! I bet more often than not, they served cake and punch. There’s no thesaurus anywhere that lists “wedding” and “dinner” as synonyms. Also? There is no meal-for-gift exchange program going on. Think about it— dropping a hundred dollars on a plated chicken marsala for your Cousin Charlie isn’t exactly the easiest way to score some dish towels, is it? Not really.
You’re inviting your friends and family to celebrate your wedding. Not to have family dinner. Not to buy you things. If you choose to give them some baked ziti, awesome! If they choose to bring a blender wrapped in tissue paper, terrific! Neither of those things—the meal OR the gift—are requirements for a celebration of marriage. AT ALL.
Of course, guests can be jerks. Weddings don’t magically make everyone behave like generous and civilized individuals. There may be a few folks who will hear that there won’t be dinner, turn on a heel, and go return that awesome rubber spatula giftset out of spite. Harumph. But, as you said yourself, the gifts aren’t the point. So who cares?
You’re actually in very good company. Not only were so many weddings from previous generations comprised of just snacks or cake, but the daytime wedding is a bit of a trend among APW staff. Meg, Alyssa, Emily, and Kate all had daytime receptions, and at my own Sunday afternoon wedding, we served just dessert and champagne (yum). As Meg outlined after her own wedding, there are definite pluses to having a daytime wedding, and as I’ve written previously, there are positives to appetizer reception. The format is a little more free form, which can encourage guests to mingle and chat and can also allow for a flexible itinerary. Dances! Bouquet tosses! Those things can still happen—but only if you want them to—and according to your own prerogative. Continue reading Ask Team Practical: Skipping the Meal