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Using your resources and remembering vendors you’ve either used before, or have heard of. This might be repetative, but it’s true.  Don’t be afraid to ask your friends. Just Don’t. FORGET. TO. THANK. Don’t be afraid to ask for what kind of special discounts your vendors can offer either. This includes military and so many units over a certain number, etc…whatever.

I have a friend that is going to school for graphic design (I think), and he made a comment one day about making my invitations. Together, through a series of e-mails, Facebook messages, and talks over coffee, we came up with the perfect set of invitations and response cards. He’s also going to be our only usher at the wedding and I’m thrilled he’s a part of the ceremony in more than one way.

Yes they’re plain, but they’re perfect for us. I added a rhinestone in the middle of the flower on the invitation and some ribbon on the left side and they turned out fantastic.

I have another friend that is making our wedding programs. I don’t have a picture of them currently because we’re still communicating on how we want them to look.

When we decided to do this in South Dakota, we remembered that we have a mutual friend that works at The Canyon Lake Chophouse. They have amazing food. I THINK he got us a bit of a discount, but I’m not 100% sure. Carrie’s been great about keeping in touch with me so we can figure out how much food we need, what kind of food we want, and when we want food served.

Last year, my sisters and I got a cake from Piece of Cake for my parents’ anniversary party. It was delicious, it wasn’t your regular bakery store cake. I don’t quite know how to explain it, but it wasn’t overly sugary, and their filling options are awesome. Her communication with me on what exactly I want is phenomenal.

I know a girl whose mother is a preacher. She married us in December, and she was my first thought when we decided to do our wedding in South Dakota.

Utilize your talents. Whether it’s scrap booking, crocheting, knitting, or crafting things by hand. I of all people know this is a huge undertaking, but it’s 100% worth it on a number of levels. It adds a bit of uniqueness to your wedding, it gives you sentimental keepsakes, and your guests will be impressed by how much time you invested.

Now, the 4 tools I invested in, that at the time were the best use of my money I could think of, why four should be your max, and why I no longer use them:

  • A wedding planning book. It’s like a day planner for your wedding. It’s awesome
  • a book called 1,000 Best Secrets For Your Perfect Wedding.
  • Real Simple Wedding magazine
  • Martha Stewart Weddings magazine

Now when we first started the wedding planning process, these four items were the most amazing things in the world. I probably looked at them all 5 times a day. I was able to get ideas. I was able to form an idea. I was able to visualize our wedding. I added a note book to the mix so I could get all of my collected thoughts and wants in one place. I filled 20 pages front and back with things I wanted to do during the ceremony, during the reception, music I wanted and didn’t want, ideas for decor, ideas for special thanks for parents, and ideas for the wedding party.

I searched countless websites even after I committed to The Knot. I went to Target and Michael’s and still looked through wedding books. Then my brain exploded. I broke down. I had no ideas. I had no clue what I wanted. I set it aside and stuck to facts. White wedding. Pink and orange accents.

The problem I had was that I was in wedding overload. I had every website, magazine, and DIY wedding books SCREAMING at me. Do this. Don’t do this. Think about this. Don’t forget about this. Ignore this. Remember that.

I put those things in a tote, and set them in the closet. They’ve been sitting in the closet until 2 days ago. That’s 4 months they’ve been sitting stagnant in the closet. The reason I took it out was because I thought I have a pretty good handle on the ceremony and reception, now I can use the tools in the wedding planner and look at more DIY stuff without feeling overwhelmed.

It’s like trying on 50 dresses and not being able to make a decision. It’s a sensory overload. If you can’t make a decision on anything after you’ve looked at countless magazines and websites. Put it all aside and focus on one thing. ONE. For me, it was the invitations. If you can get one thing nailed down, the rest will come to you.  I guess what I’m trying to say is, pick out two magazines, one book of ideas, and a planner. They will give you the tools you need to get yourself started.

Remember: just saying the word “wedding” can cost you a lot of money. Try to avoid it if it’s possible. I tested this theory. I’m convinced I proved my point. If you can’t avoid using the word, do NOT be afraid to ask what kind of discounts your vendors offer.
Keep your options open. Look around for the best price. That aisle runner you’re eyeing at David’s Bridal, it’s 50% cheaper on Amazon. The cake topper you’re looking at online, guess what? It’s probably cheaper in the store. Not only that, but you can probably find something cute or quite possibly the same thing at a second hand store or in an antique store.

Your wedding isn’t about how much money you can spend or how you can impress your guests with some lavish 5 hour event with things you’ll just end up throwing away. Your wedding should be about you and your fiancee. Your wedding should reflect your style as a couple. If that style is over-the-top, go for it. If you’re both simple, keep it simple. An event the reflects anything other than what you guys are, will just look pretentious. Your wedding should be fun for everyone involved.

Don’t settle for your big chain store prices. Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts. And more importantly, don’t forget to breathe. Take some time for yourself, and give yourself a break from the wedding planning madness.