That title means exactly what it says. I have no need to have alterations on my wedding dress! I’m so excited I could pee myself…but not really.
I began thinking of all the ways we’ve managed to save money on the wedding. I had been to countless websites most of all The Knot. I’ve searched for ways to save money, to make our wedding unique, or as unique as it can be. I’ve played with ideas of making this and that and realized I really wasn’t saving any money.
My advice to future brides is this: work within your budget. Seriously…stick to it. Find ways you can save money even if that means getting rid of the cake service. We had budgeted ourselves $10,000 for the whole thing, but right now, we’re probably going to end up spending about $3,000 to $4,000 less…..possibly.
Our venue bill went from nearly $8,000 to $4,000. I’ll break this down for you:
- We skipped the use of fine china which took $535.50 (without tax) off of our bill. Instead we’re borrowing my sister’s china from her wedding, and opted for “fancy” plastic plates for the guests.
- We got rid of the punch service, taking $200.00 off our bill. In place of that, are buying packs of soda and Crystal Lite.
- We got rid of the cake service, another $200.00, and a family member is cutting and plating the cake.
- We got rid of chair covers and decorations, taking $1,200 off the bill, and I may possibly be making chair decorations. (NOTE: The “possibly” isn’t because I don’t want to. It’s just a time-consuming type of thing. I’m also being very conscious on how much I’d have to spend on decorations for god knows how many tables.)
- I shaved $200 off of our contract, by swapping half of our table decorations for less expensive ones.
- I had a friend design my wedding invitations and response cards, and another one designing our wedding programs. I spent a total of $45 on 150 invitations from Michael’s. I bought the plain white ones with no extra embellishments. I spent probably about $20 on ribbon, $1 on hot glue, and $4 on rhinestones. The stamps, which all of them didn’t even get used, for 150 invitations, ended up being $136. The total for this all together ends up being $206 for the invites alone. I haven’t factored in the programs yet because they’re not finished.
If I were to have gone through David’s Bridal for invitations, or picked fancier ones at Micheal’s, I would have spent anywhere from $140 to $860 on invitations ALONE. That’s before stamps. Lesson: If you know someone who’s good with graphic design have him/her do it. Make sure you thank that person in your wedding program and they get a gift from you to show your appreciation.
(Note: Each one of our invites look different due to the stores running out of the specific white ribbon I used for the overlay. My tip: When buying ribbon, pick up how much you think you’ll need of each one, then get twice as much. Seriously. I was irritated that I ran out of ribbon so many times. I’m glad that each one has a different look to it since our wedding is a little different, but if you want all your invitations to look the same, get twice as much as you think you’ll need. You can always re-purpose it for another project, or return it later.)
- On the topic of making things myself, I’ve made the flower girl basket. It cost me $10. I had a basket from a Valentine’s Day present from my husband. I bought a can of pink spray paint, a glittery top coat, wire, and fake flowers. BAM! Flower girl basket. The one I had been eyeing was $45.
- I also made the ring bearer pillow: $5. The one I had been looking at was $35. I knitted two squares, used my fiber fill stuffing, and then sewed on some ribbon and fake wild flowers. I embroidered our initials in the corner.
- The guest book I had been looking at was $60. I made mine for $3. I used the same yarn I had made the ring bearer pillow with and followed a patter from a book my sister gave me as a present. I embroidered some flowers, our initials inside a heart, and our wedding date on the front. I put our nuptial date on the back, then sewed on some ribbon on the front cover to match our invitations. I put felt on the front and back covers to make it a little more stiff. I bought heavy paper from Office Max, punched holes in the paper and secured the pages in the cover with twine. It looks a little country, but I was proud of it, my husband thinks it looks awesome because it’s different, and I’m excited that it’s unique. We also decided to do this. Now I can’t remember how much it was, the price isn’t online, but I remember seeing it and thinking “shit! We’ll get two just in case! That’s nothing!” Stamp ink isn’t too expensive either, so I think we’re set there. All in all, I probably saved $40. The pattern was from a Suss Cousins: Home Knits book my sister bought me. I’ll upload the pattern for it later.
- The dress. Oh boy the dress. The dress was a gift from my parents. We spent a total of $805 on the dress, shoes, slip, headpiece, and veil. To top it all off, I don’t need alterations! I’m not saying I don’t need them because I’m being stubborn and not getting them, I’m saying I don’t need them because I genuinely don’t. I visited Eiko’s Alterations today. I put the dress on, newly out of the package, and scared to death of how much money I was going to need to spend. I pulled the dress on, put the shoes on my itty-bitty feet and much to Eiko’s and my surprise, the front of my dress was just barely off the floor. It drags in the front by MAYBE a few centimeters. She tugged and pulled on other parts of the dress, smiled her warm, heart-felt smile (with a little twinge of “Why did you even come in here”) and said “You don’t need anything done to this dress. If that bra doesn’t want to stay on, get some double-sided tape and lift those big girls up! In my opinion, it fits so perfectly, you don’t even need a bra. You might have to adjust a couple of times throughout the night, but you’re pretty secured in there, that I think you’ll be fine. You’re a lucky girl.” I could cry. I am lucky. She told me I probably saved myself about $700 worth of alterations.
- The cake: Find a local bakery that you know and love. I have had plenty of cakes from the bakery we chose. When we got the cake for our parents’ 35th anniversary party, we got it at a decent rate. So, I went with Piece of Cake. Our cake is going to end up serving about 100 people, and it’ll cost us about $350, which really isn’t that bad.
- For the sake of your guests, do your research on hotels before you commit to a contract. I looked at about 5 different hotels, and finally found one that I thought was a good price. We found a hotel and we were able to book it for $69 a night! This is crazy to me since every other place was charging $150 to $200 a night.
- I’m making the backdrop for our photo booth instead of buying one.
- I also made most of the props for the photo booth instead of spending $30 plus shipping on Etsy.
- As for “wedding rice” I’m going to the dollar store and buying noise makers. I’ve already bought 1 pack of bubbles, and we’re making paper airplanes.
- Cheap and easy wedding favors? Go here. We’re doing this, buying honey sticks, and cheap mugs.
- We picked the cheapest tux we could find that we thought met the wants of both of us, we told our bridesmaids to find a white dress that could spruced up with some pink or orange. We wanted the girls to find something they thought they could wear again. As far as I know, no one has spent over $100 for a dress.
Use your resources. Use your talents. If you ask for help from your more crafty friends, make sure they get a special thank you. It is possible to have the wedding you want without spending an outrageous amount of money.