A wedding is not considered someone’s “big day” for nothing. For some people it is the formal expression of an endless commitment. For others, a wedding is simply an extravagant way of sealing the union between couples. But no matter how people look at it, it remains to be one of the most-celebrated events of all time – cynics included.
Regardless who you are marrying, or at what age you’re doing it, your wedding day should be more special than any other day in your life. Let’s face it, weddings entail expenses – a lot in fact. But just because you can’t have it in the most elegant fashion doesn’t mean you should not get married at all. Weddings can still be very extraordinary even if you only have limited funds. The key to making it as beautiful as you imagined it to be is preparation.
Planning your wedding way ahead will save you a lot of money and trouble. Having plenty of time for preparation will allow you to look at your options carefully. You can scout for various vendors and compare their prices and services. For example, there are a lot of photographers around. Knowing more than one or two will give you an idea which offers a better deal.
How much time is “enough” time?
So much to do, so little time. This is the usual complain that people have when preparing for their wedding celebrations. Even if a couple started planning it the year before the wedding date, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to squeeze everything in. So, just how much time should the preparation have?
There is really no definite time-frame for a wedding preparation. But if you want the details to turn as planned, you’ll need several months to get everything ready. Make a checklist of all the things that you need to take care of. This way you’ll know just how long you need to organize them.
If you are rather intimidated by the extent of the preparation, then you can always seek the help of the professionals. There are wedding consultants who will make sure everything is ready on your big day. Of course, they are going to be an additional expense, but if you are not on a tight budget, these people are the greatest help you can get.
Adhering to a certain budget may not grant you the pleasure of hiring wedding consultants. But then, it does not mean that it’s the end of the line for you and your dream wedding. Your fiancée may not be as keyed up on the wedding preparations as you are but you can always ask him to do his share nevertheless. Friends and family can also be your biggest allies, so delegate some tasks to them as well. The length of the planning and preparation stage depends on the wedding details and how much you are supposed to spend on them.
The Wedding What-Have-You’s
Sometimes the earlier you plan on it, the longer the list becomes. So even if you probably do not need fireworks on your wedding day, you just had to squeeze it in. If you have too much time on your hands, it is still best to keep with the essentials. Polish them to perfection if you have to. Otherwise, you’ll have everything of the unnecessary and only a bit of the most vital ones.
Achieving the best wedding on a budget is very doable when you learn to ignore “should” from the vocabulary for the time-being. Each one of us is born unique and we all want our weddings to be as unique as we are. There are number of ways to plan a wedding, and our personal desires should guide our choices.
The Wedding Gown
No one disputes the fact that the bride is the ultimate star on her wedding day. But even if this is so, she doesn’t really have to wear an Armani gown to prove that point. In fact, she could be wearing a rental and no one will ever notice except the store she rented the gown from. Bottomline, the gown does not make you a star. How you feel does. So instead of splurging on a dress that you only get to wear for a day, try spending your money on something else, like rejuvenating massages and other pre-wedding pampering.
The wedding gowns and tuxedos of the entourage should not be a big issue as well. Generally, each one is responsible for paying for his or her own wedding attire. If not everyone is keen on having a specially-tailored one, you can have them go to a rental. The rental stores will definitely have gowns that will go well with the wedding colors. And since tuxedos don’t come cheap, the men can rent these as well.
The Wedding Reception
This is basically where most of the money is spent on and where spending can take a turn for the worse. But only a few people know that the reception is one element of weddings that allow a drastic cut-down on costs. Here are a few tips:
- The number of people you have invited will obviously influence how much you will be paying for the food. And even if some people will skip the occasion, as long as they’re on the guest list, you are still bound to pay for them. So invite only your closest family and friends. Forget the classmate you haven’t seen or talked to for years. Also, kids can be a handful. So if you want to avoid disasters, tell your guests that you want your wedding to be an all-adult affair. Save for the flower girls and ring bearer of course.
- Weddings that served bad food are remembered for all eternity. So if you don’t want yours to be on everyone’s mind for the wrong reasons, make sure that you acquired the services of a reliable caterer. Do menu sampling with your fiancée, some friends and family members from at least 3 caterers. Try doing this on the very same day so you will be able to do a better comparison.
- Live bands have become a part of most weddings these days. But while they are supposed to provide the entertainment during the reception, some unforeseen hitches may well make them turn the celebration into one complete disaster. Thus, make sure that you have an alternative plan. You may also ask some friends or relatives to create a plan B in case the original plan won’t push through.
You can still have beautiful invites without going over the budget. There is the do-it-yourself software available which will only require you to buy some nice stationery and envelopes. Remember that wedding invitations can be very expensive that’s why printing them yourself is a wise decision. If you want to give it a more professional look, some computer software will do just that. There will always be friends and family members who will be more than willing to give you a hand. But if you insist on having them printed, browse through several vendors. Never settle for the first one you see on the yellow pages. You will end up with the best deal if you know how much others are offering.
Fresh flowers are expensive, but no wedding is complete without them. If you want to cut down on a potentially huge expense, buy flowers wholesale. Don’t order from fancy flower shops, but go directly to their suppliers. You can also pick flowers from your own garden, or that of your friends’ or relatives’. You don’t have to use a ton of flowers to make the affair extra elegant. To save on flowers, you can add ribbons and other accessories that match your wedding colors. After all, you have to admit that you rarely even look at the flowers twice when you attended weddings. So lighten up, people won’t really mind (or even notice) that your flowers were grown from your own backyard.
The Wedding Rings or Bands
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. But they can do the worst thing to the pocket. If you’re planning a wedding on a specific budget, forget diamonds. Go for the plain gold (or white gold) wedding rings since these are the cheapest pairs. You can always just buy yourselves diamonds when you don’t have other expenses to think about. Anyway, a diamond ring is not the only thing that will give you the most “glitter” on your wedding day.
The Wedding Cake
If you’re just expecting 50 people to attend your wedding, why would you need a 5-foot tall wedding cake? The wedding cake is one of the biggest show-offs during the occasion and nothing more than that. Sure, it holds a kind of traditional role in weddings, but it is still an unnecessary one.
If you can’t afford to buy fancy a wedding cake complete with all the trimmings, it is not something to fret about. A simple one will still serve its purpose. You can also ask your mom, a relative, or a friend to make one for you. Forget fondant and the likes. Besides, who cares if you have a sponge or carrot wedding cake?
The Wedding Favors
There are a lot of wedding favor ideas online. Go through the various websites and pick the one which complements to your wedding theme (if you have any). Your choices are widely varied. There are bath accessories like soap and shampoo, or fancy food items such as cookies or mints. All of these are personalized, bearing your names and your wedding date.
But while there are numerous wedding favors to choose from, you can still come up with your own. This is the best expression of gratitude to your guests and a good way of reliving the special moment. So make use of that creative side and create beautiful wedding favors that adhere to the budget.
The Wedding Photographer
Photographs are the biggest evidence of a special affair, so you don’t want to compromise these. Hiring a professional photographer is considered by many as a must. Who can blame them? If you merely ask one or two well-meaning friends to take pictures, chances are, they wouldn’t capture some of the most momentous moments of the occasion. Or worse, they’d capture it the wrong way.
Most couples would rather spend more on photographs than on the invites, cake, or flowers combined. But even if you hire the best photo service, it may be wise to ask friends or family members to take pictures during the occasion as well. While it is highly unlikely that the photographer will chance on a bad roll of film, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. After all, you will only get one shot at it. So let other people snap pictures all they want. Because there’s still the possibility that the pictures your friends took will be the only ones you’ll ever have.
A chauffeured limousine is practically everybody’s dream wedding car. But you don’t exactly have to ride in a limo to have the perfect wedding. You can save a lot if you go for a more inexpensive rental. And unless you have the money to pay for such a superfluous extravagance, you’re better off using your dependable old car. A shampoo and a bit of wax will give it the shine it needs. Or better yet, you can just borrow a friend’s luxury car. How’s that for a wedding gift?
Weddings can be expensive if you plan them to be so. But if you firmly stick to your budget, you’ll realize that they can be beautiful without you being too extravagant with it. Sometimes, people are so hyped up with the idea of finally walking down the aisle that they refuse to see the real essence of the celebration. True, weddings are our lives’ biggest performance. But like in plays, audience care more about the plot than the set.
Weddings happen once in most people’s lives. For others, they don’t happen at all. There are a few who experience it many times over. But regardless if this is you first or tenth time to say “I do”, the meaning of the occasion does not change. Thus, no matter how much you prepared for that one special day, only one thing really matters – your commitment to stay together until death parts you. So while wedding essentials exist to make the event memorable, they don’t really influence how the marriage would turn out. You may have the fairytale wedding you dreamed of as a child, but your marriage could turn out as the worse failure in your life. Or you may have the simplest of all weddings, but it could mean the start of a successful eternal union. Bottomline, the various wedding what-have-you’s merely work to satisfy what’s superficial. They only serve to highlight the union. Thus, don’t put in too much effort than what’s actually necessary.
Finding that someone you are willing to spend the rest of your life with sometimes take longer (and is harder) than expected. So when he comes, it doesn’t matter if there’s none of the usual fanfare. Forget fireworks. The important thing is, he came and found his way to you. Sometimes, those who create the loudest boom, end up with the loudest bang as well.