Planning Your Own Wedding : Where to Begin???
Picture this: You’re in middle school. You have zero knowledge about serious relationships but you just know you want to get married some day. Maybe it’s because as a part of the wedding planning process you get to try on beautiful, white dresses; I’m sure that was my reasoning behind it all, because one thing I’ve always had a love for was fashion. Fast forward to college, or in my case, high school: You meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with and the day comes where he/she pops the question! You’ve got a pretty little rock on your left ring finger and you can finally go and try on those dresses you’ve always dreamed of. It’s all fun, you’re excited… and then everything hits you. The price tag on those pretty dresses can reach outrageous numbers and that’s not even the bulk of where the wedding cost will come from. From the venue, to the photographer, to the catering and the floral arrangements, you’ll come to realize that literally everything is expensive and the over $40,000 average for a wedding in America almost makes sense. The costs add up quicker than you’ll ever imagine, that’s why it’s so important to have a set budget before doing ANYTHING. And I’m not just talking agreeing to a number that sounds practical; start a wedding checklist, look up the averages of each item on that checklist in the area where you plan to hold the wedding, and decide from there how much you’re willing to put into each. That’s how you’re going to get the most accurate and realistic budget, and if you total up those numbers and that final number makes you nauseous, then you know you need to make some adjustments.
Your wedding budget is something that only you and your partner can come up with, and it should only be between you two or unless you have your parents or future in-laws helping you out. You have people that’ll tell you don’t put a lot of money into it because it’s “just for one day,” and then you have people that’ll tell you that you only have one first wedding so do it up however you want. I’m here to tell you to do it up however the hell you want, because at the end of the day it’s your wedding and your money - aka not my business. However, I will say just be realistic. If you truly have the means to go all out for your wedding and you want to then absolutely go for it, but if you don’t, please don’t go broke or create unnecessary debt trying to make it happen. I’ve read that there are couples that take out loans to pay for their wedding, and not to sound judgmental, but that is absolutely insane! Just think how much of a set back a 20k-40k loan would be for a recently married couple that want to buy a house, or even jump in to starting a family. The last thing you want is the feeling of regret from the day that should have been one of the happiest of your life. Deion and I have no intention of even getting close to that wedding cost average, that’s half of the reason why I decided not to hire a wedding planner. In my eyes it’s an unnecessary cost, so we might as well put that money toward something else. Don’t get me wrong though, a wedding planner will make the planning process a lot less stressful, and if you have no clue as to what you want for your wedding, I would honestly recommend hiring one. I’ve just literally been planning our wedding for half of our relationship, so at this point I’m prepared to turn it all into reality. I know it’s going to be a challenge, but I’m excited for it, and that’s why I wanted to blog about it because I know the end result is going to be amazing. I haven’t done much at this point, but there are a few things, other than not hiring a planner, that I’m considering doing in order to keep the costs down:
DIY decor using artificial flowers
Floral arrangements at a wedding is a cost that I never thought of prior to our engagement. I think it’s one of those little details that can definitely get looked over, but it’s also an important one that can hold a lot of significance in regard to your big day. Traditionally, each bridesmaid will have a bouquet, and of course as the bride, you’ll have one walking down the aisle as well. Additionally, the groom and his groomsmen will have a boutonniere to one side of their suit jackets. Depending on the the type of flower, boutonnieres can run anywhere from $10 to $25 each, and bouquets for the bride and her girls can run from $30 to $250 each. Again, where you fall is all dependent on the type of flower and how fancy you’re trying to get with the arrangements; if you’re keeping them sweet and simple, I’d say you should expect to stay on the lower end of that range. If you have a good hookup you may even find something that falls below that range. On the flip side, if you want to walk down the aisle with an extravagant bouquet that’s decked out in Swarovski crystals, you can expect to be in the higher end of the range or even surpass it. As with everything wedding related, you just have to do your research; don’t book the first vendor you meet with without meeting with a few others or unless you just feel in your heart that the service they provide is the best quality you can get at your price point. I wouldn’t say give yourself too many options either, because you’ll just end up making it harder for yourself in the long run. I don’t care what anyone says, too many options isn’t a good thing, so when on the hunt for a florist or any other vendor, I’d personally try to find 5-7 good ones, meet with them, check out the ratings and reviews from previous clients, and compare their prices and packages to come to a final decision.
Still on the topic of florals, the table centerpieces at your reception is another area to keep in mind when budgeting for a florist. These can run from $20 to $250 each, also dependent on the flower type, extravagance/simplicity, and the quantity. The centerpieces is where I intend on making use of artificial flowers because I do plan on doing most of our decor on my own. I’ve found a lot of inspiration on Pinterest and The Knot, so I’ve already visualized exactly how I want our decor to look, I just have to hunt down the pieces. Amazon is a great place to start simply because they have everything with great deals, but if you’re the type of person that prefers to see before buying, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, and basically any store with a craft section will be a good starting place. You’ll want to know what your wedding theme is before even thinking of decor, so next week I’m going to be talking about the theme for our wedding and how you can figure out yours!
2. Cash Bar
This one isn’t set in stone, but I know it’ll save us around $1,000 if we do opt against an open bar. I come from a family that likes to drink, so up until now, an open bar was THE only option because I wanted our guests to really enjoy themselves. Now we’re in planning mode, we know how expensive everything can be, so we’re trying to save money wherever we can. Being the logical one of the two of us, Deion mentioned the other day how we’re already providing every guest with a full meal, so being that drinking isn’t a necessity, free and unlimited booze isn’t something that we should feel obligated to supply. Of course we still want everyone to enjoy themselves as much as possible, we just also want to keep sight of the fact that our wedding is for us, not our guests. And it may sound kind of harsh, but I’ll be damned if we put out an extra $1000 to appeal to our alcohol-loving guests that didn’t just have to pay for a wedding. If you can buy a drink at a bar or a restaurant, but want to complain about buying one at my wedding, let me know right now so I can order one less invite 🤷🏾♀️.
I’m serious y’all, the less you think about what will be the most appealing to everyone else at your wedding, the more money you’ll save and the happier you’ll be. You don’t have to be a bridezilla to stand your ground on whatever you feel like doing for you and your partner’s special day. Throughout my entire wedding planning series, you’ll constantly see me saying “it’s your day,” and that’s because it is, and you have every right to do it as you please. Never lose sight of that.
Until next week 👋🏾.