Liz of Chic On The Cheap

Some weddings I get all excited about because, to be frank, they are totally my style. Liz and Josh’s wedding is one of those. First of all, I’m going to be shallow and throw out there that both of her dresses are effing HOT. Second, David and I are also what Liz terms “A-typical traditionalists.” Meaning, everyone who’s traditional thinks we’re super indie, and everyone who’s hipster thinks we’re a little too traditional. So Liz’s jazz-music-pumping, formal desert reception sounds like a party I would like to be invited to, and maybe like one I’ll throw in the future. Now I give you Liz of Chic On The Cheap with her best advice:
Our wedding was crafty and DIY, not because we’re cool indie kids. Because we’re broke. Some of (all of?) my favorite parts of the wedding were the result of cut-corners to fit the budget. My mom hand-sewed my cathedral-length veil and baked the four-layer wedding cake.Not to mention we (and some really awesome friends) prepared the rest of the food. We made the invitations, programs, table numbers, and all of the décor (black and white baby photos, candle centerpieces, vases of apples, wreaths for the doors, etc) The time invested in actually making each detail made it all the more meaningful and (while maybe stressing us out sometimes) also helped us gear up and get excited for the day.The bottom line is, Josh and I are a-typical traditionalists. I know the indie-chic thing right now is the rustic wedding. But that’s so not us. We wanted to channel Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant at a lavish, jazz-music-pumpin, champagne-flowin, hot-damn-party chock full of garters and bouquet tosses and all the usual wedding junk. So, um. We did. We got married on October 11 at 3pm. Yes, that’s a Sunday. Yep, middle of the afternoon. We had a dessert reception.After trying and trying to make a dinner fit in our budget, Josh and I realized the reason we were so unwilling to stretch the budget is that we wanted a really fun party. Not a prom-style chicken dinner. So why were we going to take out a loan for something we didn’t want? Once we dropped the “must be a dinner” parameter, we had a lot more fun picking out the food and more money to go around. We ended up spending nearly double our original budget of $6,000, but were able to invite everyone we wanted (read: just about everyone we’d ever met) and take our entire extended family out to dinner that night, and we don’t regret a single dollar. I was petrified that without the open bar and DJ, noone would dance and everyone would fall asleep. But, here’s the thing. If you have fun friends, your wedding won’t be bland or boring. And if they love you, they’ll be excited just to be there (with or without free booze).Some advice I wish I’d had:

1) Avoid “wedding” things like the plague. As soon as something is specifically designated for weddings, the price skyrockets (and often the quality plummets. eg: bridesmaid dresses, videography, live bands, favors, etc)

2) If a certain detail is becoming painful to put into action, drop it. You’re going to remember those months of planning before the wedding just as much as the day itself. Don’t ruin the memory with tedious hours of steaming some tablecloths that still look wrinkled anyway. If it’s tedious and not fun, it shouldn’t be a part of a happy day.3) It’s not about you. We always hear this with regard to including the groom in the planning. Don’t limit yourself here. Make the day about your relationship, your families, your friends, anyone who has been there along the whole process that ended in your marriage (and will keep on being there through the ish that’s gonna come after). (Our guestbook was a compilation of wedding photos from both families, going all the way back to the 1900’s)4) Damn the man. NOT choosing something because everyone else does, is just as bad as choosing something because everyone else does. It’s the same thing. (This includes nixing something because your photos will look “dated.” Um. Go back to your parents’ wedding photos. My favorites are the dated ones.)5) It’s NOT “just one day.” The whole wedding planning process can be a buttload of fun, too. The key to this is to just suck it up and use your friends if they offer. It may make you feel super guilty handing over those envelopes to stuff and the hankies to fold, but damn, is it nice to have a second to breathe. Working with friends and family was the best part of our wedding. I may be exaggerating (having a husband is pretty awesome, too). But making all of the little details together brought about some of the best, most memorable moments of the wedding process. I couldn’t afford a veil, so my mom and I learned how to make one and shopped for the fabric together. We catered the reception ourselves, so I had hours of prep and set-up the day before with both families and tons of caring, awesome volunteers. Sure, we were exhausted by the end of the night. But I never knew you could laugh so much while setting up folding chairs and coffee pots. Not to mention, it makes everyone feel so involved in the day… almost take ownership of it, really. And all of those little details are made meaningful when you don’t just see cupcakes, but you see cupcakes-that-Amanda-iced and memories of flour-covered-kitchens. (sorry about the novel, Meg… I could go on and on here)

6) Have a deadline. Planning everything ourselves meant that we were building, creating, and setting up til Saturday evening. But I gave myself a cut off. After 9pm, no more wedding planning. Seriously. All that night, all the next day, no “planning” allowed. Whatever was left on the to-do list was dropped (some of it was “important”!), and I soaked my little feet and packed my suitcase for honeymoon.7) Don’t stress if you’re “late.” We didn’t have a venue until two months before the wedding. That’s after 5 months of searching and planning. I’ll be honest. I was freaking out. But the important stuff will fall into place by itself, as long as you don’t get in the way. (ps: The only important stuff= 1) you’re married by the end of the day and 2) everyone enjoys themselves. And usually, as long as you’re married by the end of the day, everyone enjoys themselves.)YAY! May you two dance your way through the rest of your lives together. And then next party you throw, I want to be invited.

(Photos are via Carina and Amanda of Love Me Do Photography. You know these guys were good because as I looked over photos of other weddings, I kept thinking, “Our guys didn’t get photos of that.” But they did. They were just so stealthy that they didn’t interrupt our enjoyment of the day. I don’t look back and remember clicks and flashes and cameras in my face. That’s a good wedding photographer.)

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