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a question by Dec 20, 2010
For those of you that are married, do you have any tips as far as wedding planning/budgeting? What was worth the stress? What wasn't? What should you splurge vs save on? What was your favorite memory of the day?
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EcoMama's Answer
answered:    December 24, 2010
Honestly, if we were to do our wedding over again, I think we would have just had a fancy pic nic instead of this formal, traditional, banquet type thing. I love weddings! I wanted everything to be perfect, and it was, especially the ceremony. But I still think we could have cut more corners and saved even more money that we so badly needed a year later for a down payment on a house.

We spent a total of about $10,000 on everything, food included.
  • I would have skipped the limo and just borrowed a nice car from friends or relatives.
  • I would have skipped renting real linens and glasses.
  • Hiring a college student photographer with a good eye worked perfectly for us, we love our photos and only spent $300 on that!
  • My dress was worth it, sort of. It came to $800 with alterations, I loved it, I felt like a princess and that's what I always envisioned. Though I am not sentimental and now I'm trying to sell it!
  • The venue was a total steal for us. We rented a hall at a local church by the ocean in an affluent neighborhood. It was only recently build, brand new commercial kitchen, huge windows, the amount of natural light made all the difference in how the entire wedding reception felt. The rental fee was $250! The best deal ever!
  • I would have had just one bridesmaid/groomsman. Yes, it is fun to have all of your girl friends. But they don't have to be part of the wedding party to have fun with you at the wedding. I would have just picked my best friend and my husband would have his brother. 
  • We spent $600 on flowers (brides bouquet, bridesmaids, boutonniers for the guys, two large bouquets for the ceremony that we then moved to the reception, and one low bouquet that was at the candle lighting/in front of us at reception) . Granted they were gorgeous and it was one of the cheapest deals we found at the time. Then later at a friends wedding I found out they spent about $250 on the same amount of flowers and they got them at the grocery store! I didn't know they do special occasion arrangements!
  • The money I spent at IKEA for decorating was a great deal. We just bought a bunch of the rice paper lamps and placed them in a design I thought up (I'm an Interior Designer by profession and I was inspired by the lighting design class I took the previous year). This set the mood for the ceremony, everyone loved it, and it was something nobody has ever done among my friends/relatives. 

The one thing I immensely regret? Not getting a videographer! What were we thinking?! Of course it is all about what's important to the two of you. Something that was a must have for me might not be so important to you.
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December 28, 2010
GREAT answers!!! You've got to turn that into a review!
December 28, 2010
Totally agree!
December 28, 2010
Alright :) I'm on it!
December 24, 2010
Wow! I wish I could nominate this for a Lunch award, this is the best answer EVER! I LOVE these pix, Anastasia! What a beautiful wedding and I love that dress too, you look absolutely radiant. So far, I'm getting married on the last Sunday of the off season which is saving me $18K, if you can believe it. I got a GREAT deal on photography and videography by taking advantage of a deal and saving $4K. I do plan on DIYing a lot, including the flowers, favors, welcome bags (we're getting married in Santa Barbara, since no one lives there it'll be pseudo destination), decor and taking advantage of talented friends (DJs, make-up, hair, 2nd shooter photographer, seamstress). I have every budget covered for accommodations, even camping! The splurges? Yeah, I have a HUGE bridal party which I really didn't want but, you know how it goes. So, we have 13 which is a little nuts, plus 2 flower girls and 2 ring bearers! And getting married on and by the beach in Santa Barbara. I'm going to have a kids section for both the ceremony on the beach (sand castle building) and reception (pizza, instead of paying $22 for food that kids won't eat, games and a sitter). The dress. Yep, I made a rookie mistake and didn't set my budget with the shop lady when I walked in and then, my mom, BFF, and myself all fell in love with a dress that was over budget by a bit. We're looking to spend around $15K and now we just have to see if we do it! Thanks SO much for all your tips, incredibly helpful :)
December 26, 2010
:) Thanks! Glad this was helpful. Wow! That is a huge bridal party! I know it isn't easy to pick and choose. Sounds like it will be great! Whatever you do, just enjoy the day itself! There were many things that went wrong on our wedding day (I had the wrong flowers in my bouquet, our photo spot was taken when we arrived, the cake fell on the way to the reception and it wasn't decorated the way we wanted it to be (though it was delicious), etc..). I just snickered and let these things slide! :)
December 26, 2010
Exactly! That's the whole point and I definitely plan on doing the same. Nothing ever turns out exactly how you plan, so it's important to just take it in stride :) Half the time, that's what makes stories fun to listen to and to retell.
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answered:    December 28, 2010
prioritize! pick the top 3 things that would make or break your day and then economize on the rest. for us it was all about the venue, and I also really wanted incredible flowers. we put the bulk of our budget there and then got creative when it came to other areas, like: - photography (asked uber talented, close friends of family) - alcohol (went w/ beer & wine only - think of it like hosting people in your home... do you feel obliged to offer them all a fully stocked bar? unless it's one of your "must-haves" this is a huge place to save serious$) - cake (skipped ultra trendy, hip bakeries and went simple - had florist provide extra orchids for baker to use & it worked out amazingly well) - dress (shopped around and found a version very similar to the dress I'd fallen for, which was hundreds rather than thousands) - extras (made my own favors and programs - which was fun and made it super personal.. only works if you like to craft AND have a small guest list - we had 65)
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