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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our Royal Wedding Under $10K

He finally popped the question and you're getting married! Congratulations! You back tracked in your mind and thought of all those years of trying to get him to propose on one knee. Then that magical moment happens when he takes your hand and tells you how beautiful you are to him. All you can see is his mouth moving and you can't understand the words, because tears are streaming down your face with anticipation for the "rock" that he is going to put on your left ring finger. He proposes and it becomes official.

All of a sudden, like screeching brakes on a moving car, your heart starts palpitating and now the tough part begins: planning your wedding. There is ultimate nervousness about planning what is to be one of the most important days of your life. You start freaking out and grabbing every wedding magazine that you can find, ripping out the pages, bookmarking and making wedding scrapbooks, and watching every wedding show on television. Your head starts spinning, you’re becoming Bridezilla and people keep asking you about your colors and the date…until you make yourself sick and crash!

Can you really have a fabulous wedding under $10K? Well, I'm here to tell you, sister, you can… and gosh darn it you will!
But, here's the "secret" to having fabulous wedding. Relax. Try not to stress out. You will become physically sick. Surround yourself with people that will calm your nerves. Please realize that the wedding is already fabulous, because you are too! You're getting married! Just breathe. You've found the man of your dreams, and you're looking forward to spending the rest of your life with him.

When it was time to plan our wedding, the first advice that I received from my mom, was to make sure we had enough money set aside for a down payment on a home. We made sure that we did, then started working on planning our special day.

Here's the deal when it comes to planning your big day. First, set a budget. How much can you really afford?  Can you afford to rent a yacht on Sag Harbor and sip on Don Perignon, while Prince serenades your wedding guests in the background? Probably not.
I had a fabulous wedding under $10K. Go ahead, ask anyone that attended. My hubby and I "jumped the broom" in a little country town outside of Atlanta in 2005. We were recent college graduates, and didn't have a lot of money. With my Mother-in-Law by my side, we set out to have a grand wedding and were able to stretch our dollars.
Quick Tips:
  • Set your wedding budget. Create an Excel document of all of the items that you wish to buy for your big day and stick to it!
  • Humble yourself . Weddings are a one day event, so don't feel like you need to break the bank.
  • Send a postcard as the RSVP reminder, rather than a stamped envelope. I used for our Save the Date postcards. You can send an Evite for free. We invited 225 guests to our wedding and if my memory serves me correctly, we paid less than $50 for our Save the Date cards.
  • Visit less expensive bridal stores because they have great deals. I purchased my dress from David's Bridal for $500 with alterations.
  • Find a recent graduate or current photography student to take photos. Check out his/her portfolio, ask for references, then sign the contract.
  • Print your wedding invitations. At least, do the layout design and get them printed. I purchased my invitations in bulk, and got them printed at Print Time, located in Atlanta. The costs was around $125.
  • Spare using all fresh flowers for your wedding. Flowers can be super expensive. You can combine both artificial and real flowers for your ceremony and reception.  The only fresh flowers we used were on the boutonnieres and bouquets.
  • Use the Church Annex as a reception hall, then have a close friend host the "real" after party at their home.
  • Purchase your cake and groom's cake from Publix Super Markets. We paid less than $225 for both cakes (including a flawless and incident free delivery).
  • Buy or rent decorations in bulk, and/or use decorations from other events.
  • Ask a family friend to cater the food at the wedding. We had a sit down dinner and paid around $6.50 per person.
  • Have a "money dance" at your wedding (Mexican tradition). I borrowed this idea from my best friend, Teresa. My husband and I danced with guests for only a couple of songs and received well over $400. This money was an added bonus for our honeymoon in Martha's Vineyard.
Some feel a lot of pressure to have a storybook celebrity wedding.  You may worry about what your family, friends and guests will say, or if your wedding will appear tacky.  The key is to relax. Give yourself enough time to plan your special day. Get organized, purchase a binder with sleeves for all your items, and ask questions.

At the end of the day, even if you get married in your parent's backyard in the rain, it will still be a memorable day that you will cherish forever. There may be "snafus" along the way, but take them in stride. It's your special day, and it will be wonderful!

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