Wedding Q's + Advice
How do you feel about inviting someone to a bridal shower, but not to the wedding?
I think that’s rude! If they are invited to the bridal shower, they should be invited to the wedding.
Did you give everyone a plus one?
NOPE! We only gave +1’s to people in serious relationships (more than a year, or living together).
How did you narrow down the guest list/ old friends?
We had 3 drafts, and worked on them together. It took us a few weeks (you have time) to narrow it down. We wanted a smaller + intimate wedding of about 80 people, so this is how we made that happen:
DRAFT (A) OUR DREAM LIST! If we could invite anyone we wanted, because we didn’t have a budget, these are the people we would have.
DRAFT (B) anyone we didn't really talk to in the last 6 months- year was CUT! We also went through asking ourselves: “would we call this person/ would they call us on our/their birthday or major holiday?” If it was a no, they were cut, too! We also consulted our parents to see if there were any family friends that needed to be invited, and made sure we wanted them there, too.
DRAFT (C) FINAL DRAFT We invited about 100 people.. it’s typical that abut 20% of the people you invite will not make it. Our goal was 80, so we invited 100. We decided for the final draft to cut out ‘new co-workers,’ extended family that we just don't keep up with, and ALL CHILDREN. Honestly, 80 was the perfect, perfect number. I wouldn’t have had a wedding any larger.
How to plan a honeymoon when you’ve postponed it?!
You have to make it a priority! We did our honeymoon/anniversary as a single trip, and I highly recommend this!! It gives you an excuse to treat yourselves and celebrate a beautiful journey. Also… idk how people plan a wedding AND honeymoon at the same time!!!!!! I love that we were able to take more time to save up and plan a trip we’ve always wanted to go on. Just gotta do it, girl.
How long did you save up for the wedding?
1.5 years! As soon as we got engaged we went home and started saving up ASAP!
Tips for saving money for the wedding?
The first thing you need to do before even looking at prices of things is to make a separate bank account JUST FOR WEDDING FUNDS. We paid for the majority of our wedding, and refused to go in debt doing so. I’ve heard horror stories about people who are still paying off their wedding (WTF is up with that?!) ANYWAY - back to the bank account: every week we were putting about $150-200 in a separate account. We did this by auto-drafting our personal accounts, so it was like the money wasn’t even there to begin with.
I picked up a cocktailing job for a year and a half on the weekends and saved every penny for the wedding :) I’m really proud of this!
We stopped going out to eat unless it was a celebration, we stopped drinking alcohol while out.. small spending changes like canceling subscriptions and getting your nails done.. it adds up so fast. This was the $150-$200 we were able to auto draft weekly. You would be surprised how much you would save if you stopped buying coffee out, too :)
We never bought anything for the wedding unless we could pay CASH for it.
You need to be well aware of the cost of things, and prepare to spend it ahead of time so it’s not shocking when doing so. Example: in North Carolina, a DJ was around $1,000 + Tip, hair and makeup for JUST bridal was about $650 + Tip. You also need to have extra money set aside for last minute things that come up, tipping, etc.
What is a reasonable budget/ how did you stay within your budget?
Honestly, a budget is personal to everyone based on your financial situation. Whatever you do, you don’t want to go in debt over this.
We stayed within our budget by skipping things that normally cost a lot for no reason. For example: when searching for venues, we went with a restaurant patio in DT Raleigh that WASN’T a wedding venue. We transformed the patio to our wedding space and no one had any idea. We saved $ because they took care to tables, chairs, the food, and everything in between. We only had a $500 deposit, and had to meet a (small) minimum to buy out the space.. best advice -LOOK FOR A NONTRADITIONAL VENUE!
We saved by ordering a personal cake 3 days before the wedding ( it was $30) for us to cut instead of a ‘traditional’ wedding cake. We know people don’t really eat dessert at weddings, they just want to see you cut it. Why spend $450 on a cake no one will eat beats me :)
Get a day-of wedding planner!! Wedding planners are really expensive, but you NEED A DAY-OF wedding planner, at least! It’s less than half the price, and they do everything to handle logistics so you can enjoy your special day. I don’t really think it’s necessary to have a full wedding planner, unless you have a lot of moving parts (we didn’t - I found all the vendors on my own)!
How’d you pick your wedding party?
I chose my closest friends who watched our relationship grow + always supported our love. I wanted them to stand by us.
How did you decide what to do/ type of wedding to have?
We went back and forth on eloping, having a destination wedding, small, big.. likely the same things you are currently or will later think about. We mainly considered other options because the cost. One day it dawned on me (sorry if it’s morbid, but it’s true): There are two days in your life where the people you love are in the same room. That’s the day you get married, and they day of your funeral… I wanted to be there for it. I have ZERO regrets. It was worth every penny to see people from both of our lives in one single room. You look around and everyone is a familiar face - it’s euphoria.
How did you pick what/where to have the wedding?
We chose Raleigh, NC for so many reasons! I’m from North Carolina, and we have a lot of memories there from when I was in college. We wanted somewhere easy for people to get to (there’s an international airport there), a place with THINGS TO DO for anyone traveling, we wanted to go bar hoping (which is why we decided downtown)… we wanted to focus on convenience for our guests.
For the venue: once we knew we were getting married I always knew I wanted a non-traditional venue like a science or art museum. Once we were crunching numbers, I knew it wouldn’t work. I also knew I wanted a small space, and somewhere our guests wouldn’t have to leave for the ceremony + reception. I stumbled upon a restaurant in DT Raleigh that had string lights, exposed brick, an outdoor space.. it was so perfect! It’s not a wedding venue at all, and when I went to visit I knew it was absolutely perfect. We took all the patio furniture out and flipped the whole space to a ceremony then our dance party! Think outside of the box - this also saved us at LEAST $5,000 (photos below!)
What’s worth spending money on and what’s not?
YOUR DRESS, VEIL, AND BOUQUET.. these are going to be in photos forever, they SHOULD be an investment.
hair/ makeup/ spray tan
bridal party gifts - find personal ways to really thank your bridal party for taking time out of their lives to be there for you. I gave all of mine matching earrings to wear (that they can wear again), monogrammed YSL lipstick (to reapply all night), robes, monogrammed champagne glasses, eek.. I can’t remember the rest! I wanted them to have things they would use again + be functional.
DJ + FOOD + OPEN BAR - there are 4 things people remember the most about a wedding… the brides dress, and if the music/food was good. also… OPEN BAR! (highly recommend beer + wine) and request no red wine (incase someone drunk spills on your dress - CAN YOU IMAGINE?!)
PHOTOGRAPHER - duh
my regret - VIDEOGRAPHER. we didn’t have one and I regret it every anniversary
NOT WORTH IT
your shoes (if you have a long dress -mine were $40) - focus on COMFORT
jewelry (borrow from family or get some cute stuff from Nordstrom, or BHLND)
wedding cake; just get 1 tier to cut for the experience, and get a sheet cake to pass out. No one will notice
party favors (no one cares unless it’s so good it’s unforgettable)
It’s not worth spending $ on anything someone has volunteered to help you with! People WANT to help you with your wedding
Announcements ** we opted for POST CARD style announcements to save money, time and postage. The actual invites were slightly more formal, but it still wasn’t a lot (in our opinion)! The postage is what was expensive. We used MINTED for all of our prints- they ALWAYS have coupons and the quality was perfect.
SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE
FLOWERS/ CENTER PIECES : make sure you repurpose ALL of your flowers, you’ll save $ this way, too. For example, after the wedding ceremony/photos, our wedding planner collected all the bridal party bouquets (including mine). The bridal bouquets were used to decorate the head table (again, NO ONE NOTICED). after dinner, we put all the bouquets on the dance floor and on cocktail tables near the bar… and guess what.. NO ONE NOTICED! I saved at least HALF of my floral budget just by reusing flowers we already had.
How long were you together before you were engaged?
About 4 years!
Is it normal to feel frustrated that we’ve been together 4.5 years and not engaged?
Ugh, it’s hard for me to say because every relationship is so different :/ I think that 4.5 years is enough time to know if both of you want to spend the rest of your lives together or not (again situational)! I’m just assuming you’re old enough to think about these things seriously. If someone isn’t feeling it, I would get out and stop wasting your time… I think it’s okay to give an ultimatum at this point, just know it may not be the result you want (but likely what you need)!
How do you handle family who wants their perfect vision of your wedding instead of yours?
I had this happen (in a small way) and it STRESSED ME OUT! I got to the point where we kindly had to ask people to leave us alone, and just stopped telling people anything about it. Luckily our family was SO understanding, and it came from a good place- pure excitement! I can assume it would be different if a family member was paying for it.. I would just stand your ground and find a way to compromise. Most things you can compromise on, but there should be a few non-negotiables that just HAVE to be your way! Pick your battles :)
Should I get a wedding planner?
It depends on how many moving parts there are to your wedding. We didn’t have too many theatrical things going on - we kept things simple. DJ, Food, Flowers, the usual…. we got a day-of wedding planner (best money spent IMO). Do not compromise on this, but it also doesn’t need to cost a fortune! I think our was max $1500 for the whole day. They basically create the timeline for the day, organize all the vendors, and handle everything so you and your family can enjoy the day, instead of putting it on!
Any arguments after living together?
We argue about how messy I am :P
Did you enjoy the planning stage?
I loathed the planning stage up until I decided on a theme! Once I decided on a theme, I was REALLY excited to make it happen and plan everything :)
I want a destination wedding but worried most won’t be able to come. Any advice?
Remember this is YOUR WEDDING!! If you want a destination wedding, and want to better the chances of more people coming, plan it FAR in advance. Do not compromise your dream for the fear of people not coming. Anyone who can be there WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN - an alternative is to have a small destination wedding/elopement and have a party when you get home, or a ‘wedding celebration’ so friends and family can still celebrate your new future together!
Do couples usually pick out an engagement ring together?
I think it is okay to have your ring picked out - I mean, YOU have to wear it.. it’s 2019!! HOWEVER tame your expectations on the size. If you want a bigger ring, but your s/o doesn’t have the funds it’s not okay to force them to buy that for you… you should be willing to help pay for it. just sayin’.
What do you do about in-laws (or guests) you don’t like on the wedding day?
It is your job as the bride to show your bridal party their photos.. then it is your bridal parties job to literally KEEP THEM AWAY FROM YOU ALL NIGHT; don’t deal with that shit and dance your happy ass off with your husband girl!
How to show your personality but not make it tacky, gimmicky, or cheesy?
It’s no surprise how much I love stars, moons, and celestial themes!! When it dawned on me I wanted a “Starry Night” themed wedding, I just went to Pinterest for inspiration. That’s how I found ideas and alternatives to not make it look tacky (could have easily happened). Less is more, so think of hinting at the theme in delicate ways through colors, center pieces, cake topper, the grooms socks. You don’t what the theme to be so obvious that it’s obnoxious and takes away from you! You want to sprinkle it in :) I had a friend who she and her husband loved dinosaurs so they hinted to them via the invites, cake toppers, etc. It was cute and low-key.
Engagement photo advice?
We didn’t take any!!! My husband refused (LOL). I kind of regret it, but here’s a good idea: try to schedule your trial bridal hair and makeup the same day - that way your makeup and hair are done professionally for the photos. Wear a cream, white, taupe.. think neutral and solid colors since they photograph better; stay away from prints!
Is there anything you would change about your wedding?
I would have made it a weekend long celebration (tehe), and I would have had a videographer!
Is it tacky for you to ask your quests to bring a dish if you are trying to cut down on costs?
Personally, I think it’s tacky (your words, not mine). Especially if you have guests coming from out of town/traveling. If you’re keeping your wedding small, like a backyard BBQ, I GUESS it may be different, but I would only let them do it if they offer to bring something! I think it’s more than okay for you/ the family to prepare the food to cut down on costs. The idea (traditionally) is that you’re hosting a celebration for friends and family. My brother had a super small wedding, so our family prepared all the food, but his best friends brought the booze; it was awesome! Again, this is hard to answer because it depends on so many factors!
Do you think you have to serve alcohol in order for your guests to actually come?
Lol… for them to COME? No. For them to feel appreciated?… YES! We looked at it like this: friends and family are traveling and paying to stay the night in hotels, bring gifts, and take time out of their lives to be here for us. The LEAST we could do to thank them is provide great food, music, and pay for their drinks all night as a thank you for showing their support! For our wedding, an open bar was nonnegotiable. We tamed it to beer and wine only, and a cash bar for anyone who wanted liquor (we didn’t want people pounding shots early). To cut down on costs, some places will let you bring your own booze, so that may be a great question to ask when looking at venues. Alcohol surprisingly doesn’t cost as much as you think - but.. again in my opinion.. a wedding should absolutely have alcohol at least as an option if you know you have friends who drink.