Tuesday, October 14, 2014

5 Tips for Planning a Wedding [on a budget, in a time-crunch, or otherwise]

Loverboy and I were engaged for 5 1/2 months, which in some circles is pretty average, or even plenty of time, but in many other circles it's short. And we were certainly on a "tighter-than-average" budget. So I feel like I'm at least a little bit qualified to write on the subject of planning a wedding... on a budget, in a time-crunch, or otherwise. Here are 5 lessons I learned while planning mine.

1. To-do lists are your friend.
And that being said, Google Docs is your friend. [I ranted about it here.] But seriously, wedding planning would have been a billion times harder without shared docs. Thank you google. Right away I made a to-do list for every month, and as the wedding approached I started doing weekly to-do lists, and finally in the last week or two I made daily to-do lists. This helped my brain soooo much in that I get super distracted when there's a lot to get done. However, with my time-specific to-do lists, I had just a few things to focus on at a time. In my book, to-do lists are a MUST for wedding planning, which might be obvious, but doing it in time increments was really helpful for us.

2. Stick within a budget.
There are three main ways we stuck within our budget. All we did was borrow, cheat, and skip. Let me explain ...

Borrow. HUGE shout-out to all the amazing friends who lent us decorations for the wedding! We might not have had this wedding if it wasn't for your generosity! [Well, we would have had it, it just wouldn't have been as pretty!] So, moral of the story, be one of the last of your friends to get married so you can borrow their table cloths, jars, lanterns, candle holders, cake cutters, banners, etc! ;)

Cheat. We actually got quite a few of our decorations at the Dollar Tree! Who knew, right?? Well, now I guess the whole world does, but before that.... Anyways, we got our silver trays and gold frames for all a buck a pop! Does my heart good! We also got glow sticks in the dollar section at Michaels and all the white milk glass vases were thrifted for 50 cents to $1.50 each. Cha-ching!

Skip. There were a lot of things on my Pinterest board that were oh so darling, but I ended up deciding they would just take too much time or too much money. So instead of focusing on the cute things I wasn't able to do, I focused on the fun things I was! I capitalized on projects that were quick, simple, and cheap. My favorite.

3. Have a wedding coordinator.
The pastor we met with for premarital counseling could not stress it enough. And now that I'm an experienced married woman (ha!) I can't either! Our wedding coordinator was a friend from my post-college stint with the Navs, who also made our incredible cake and cupcakes (she's superwoman, I'm tellin' ya!). It was super magical not having to deal with problems or questions on the day-of and she also helped me think through tons of details in the planning process! The only qualifications she had was that she has been married before, attended and been in multiple weddings, helped another friend plan hers, and is super duper organized, efficient, and has an awesome take-charge way about her. So if you have a friend in your life like that, I'd say swipe her up for your wedding coordinator before someone else does! [But P.S. make sure she is honored in the role, not used!]

4. Don't sweat the small stuff.
This goes right along with my "skip" rule of sticking within a budget. Spending my time and energy on those simpler, big-impact items, like our ribbon backdrop and quote pallet was one of the best choices I made. Sure, I didn't really know how the centerpieces would turn out until we got to the barn the day before. BUT, I did know that I had a bunch of cute stuff that I liked and so I didn't sweat it. I knew it would turn out. Also, most people don't remember if your napkins perfectly matched your color scheme or if each vase had the same amount of flowers.

5. Do what you want.
Ultimately, it's your guys' day. Don't do something (or not do something) because of what someone else thinks. Yeah, having Mexican food at a barn wedding is kinda quirky... but guess what? Everyone loved it! If you feel like you really want something in your ceremony or reception that might not be the "norm," I say go for it! It's your one and only day to celebrate this union with all your friends and family, so why not make it memorable and special and oh-so-very-YOU!

And remember, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.

//photos via Availeth Photography


  1. It's so nice to talk about something other than wedding planning these days, isn't it?!

  2. Glad to have these brilliant ideas for planning a wedding on budget. I am getting married next year so all this information will be very useful for me. Currently looking for outdoor and inexpensive Malibu wedding venues to book for our big day.


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