Wedding on a budget…

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I have noticed lots of wedding planning happening lately and so I wanted to share my own experience with my wedding.  I am in no way a wedding planner or even know a lot about planning a wedding.  But I did plan my wedding on a very tight budget and I want to share how I did it.
My husband and I met in 2008.  We went on a couple dates before going our separate ways.  But then came June, 2011,  we were reunited…2 months later engaged…two months after that…married.  I know, you must be thinking I’m crazy! How on earth did she plan it, let alone afford it?  Well that is exactly what I am going to share with you today, how I pulled off a semi-formal wedding that cost $2,000 (dress included).
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THE VENUE
First things first….where to get married. Our first plan was to get married outside…possibly in someone’s backyard. That way we didn’t have to pay for a venue. However, we didn’t know anyone with a big enough backyard.
So on to plan B.  Though it would have been free of charge, our church would not be able to hold that large amount of people so it was out of the question.  My uncle however, is a pastor and offered his church to us for a fee of $350…that included the church, reception hall, wedding planner, and clean up crew!
THE DRESS
Next was the dress…now for most, my dress was a bit unconventional.  Meaning it was knee length.
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After trying on several full length, traditional gowns I decided to go with a knee length. I felt like I was drowning in all the others (since I stand not quite at 5 feet).  Believe me, my dream as a little girl was to wear a “princess” dress.  But flattering my figure out weighed that little girls dream. This dress we searched high and low for.  I finally mustered up the guts to order it online!!! Craziness, I know! But I told myself I could always send it back if it didn’t fit.  As soon as it arrived I tried it on.  It was the best $60 I had ever spent!  The shoes I found looked as though they were made for the dress and cost $40.
INVITATIONS
Since I have a genius graphic designer of a brother, he offered his services to develop our invitations. I showed him an idea of what we wanted and he created this…
 {for privacy purposes I blocked out the location}
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The only cost to us was the printing. Instead of using the printing companies paper and envelopes, we found it cheaper to purchase our own.  For 250 invites we were able to purchase the invitations with envelopes as well as the RSVP cards (which I did as  postcards, pre stamped) for only $20 at Target.  To have them printed it cost us $30 at the ups store.  Which brought us to a total of $50.
THE RINGS
I didn’t have an engagement ring…instead we just got one ring.  My ring we chose cost $300 and his $50.  Totaling $350.
DECORATIONS
Here is where it’s easy for me to just spend and spend.  We spent approximately $300 on  lights (which ended up not working in the end), table decorations, flowers, candles, the arch for the ceremony, plates, eating utensils, and cups.
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THE SUIT
Cost more than the dress.  His suit, shirt, tie, and shoes cost us $230!  But it was worth it.  He still wears the suit to this day.
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THE FOOD
Was free!!!  His family chipped in and provided all the food and beverages!
THE CAKE
We chose to go with cupcakes and I’m so glad we did because they came out so well.  A friend of ours offered to make it for us.  They were delicious if I do say so myself and not just because it only cost us $60.
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THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Isn’t she great?  All the pictures I’ve posted here are ones she took.  Becca is a dear friend of mine I have known for the past 20+ years.  She was just beginning her photography business at the time and needed a wedding for her portfolio.  Free of charge.  This girl knows her stuff! And always seemed to get my good side which is a huge plus when it comes to photographers.
Photography by Becca
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So far this brings us to a totaling cost of $1,440.  Which leaves $560.  All of the prices are a rough amount not including tax and items purchased such as the ring barrier’s suit, groomsmen’s shoes, hair accessories, cosmetic products, thank you gifts, etc. And all other unexpected things purchased.
I can’t say it was super easy spending only $2,000 on a wedding. And it definitely wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have the help from all our family and friends.
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The main thing is to stick with what’s important to you. If the dress and rings are important to you then get what you want. If its the venue…then spend a little extra for the one you love.  But be flexible in all other areas.  Go easy on the decorations in the church and focus on the reception hall.  Let your guests serve themselves.  Serve chicken instead of beef.  If you’re a DIYer than get creative and make your own decorations…make it a party and invite your bridesmaids to help.  Most importantly…use your recourses.  The people you know who are good at different things.  A lot of times they’ll charge a very small fee if any…I like to give them a small gift if they choose not to charge.
Have fun planning your wedding…it only happens once.  Don’t stress over the small stuff.  By the time my big day arrived, I didn’t even care anymore.  Let me know if you have any questions…I’d love to hear your feedback.
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