I need some advice for my buget wedding

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STARYB Posts : 20 Registered: 6/6/08
I need some advice for my buget wedding
Posted: May 3, 2010 2:06 AM


OK, so I've been engaged for almost 2
years now and we still haven't set a date. This is entirely because
we can't really afford the wedding at all and our families really
can't help with that either. We've talked about eloping many times
but I've decided that I really want my friends and family there even
if it means we can't go on a honeymoon at all. Basically, I've
decided to settle for the cheapest diy wedding that I can throw. This
includes a park or backyard setting and more of a picnic/party than a
typical reception which sounds fun and is totally fine by me because
we really can't afford to spend much more than $1000 at this point
and I am sick of waiting!


The question that I have though is
should I warn our guests that it will not be a totally
traditional/formal wedding? Will they fell cheated or think that
we're being tacky by not having a formal sit down dinner (though
there will be tons of food!) And how should I expect people to dress?
I wouldn't mind if everyone dressed down a tiny bit (hopefully no one
will come in jeans!!) but will that look weird with the wedding party
still being all dressed up? I already have my dress and it is
gorgeous and very formal and it has a train, is that going to be
weird in this kind of setting? For some reason I'm really concerned
about my dress looking too formal for just a picnic but I love it and
I don't want to change it!


I guess what I'm really just looking
for here is advice in general from brides who have planned their
weddings on a very tight budget and have had a party rather than a
formal reception. How did it go? Did everyone have fun or did they
seem disappointed?


Any help would be great! Thanks!!


MBK Photography

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ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: I need some advice for my buget wedding
Posted: May 3, 2010 9:05 AM Go to message in response to: STARYB

Actually, the two best (meaning most fun) weddings I've ever been to, aside from my own, were very casual, picnic-type weddings. The first was our best friends's wedding, which they had at the bride's grandparents's house. They had a gorgeous old house with a barn and the wedding was in the barn, which was really rustic and cute. Small wedding (about 50-60 guests), but SO MUCH FUN! I think it cost more than you're thinking of spending, as they had it catered, but we did a lot of the work ourselves, including cleaning the barn beforehand (yep, we were shoveling fossilized, 100-year old horse crap out of that barn, but it looked great when we were done). That wedding really inspired ours, though ours was more formal. Among other things, that wedding inspired us to do the music ourselves rather than hiring a DJ - because it was so much fun at their wedding. (A lot of people use Ipods for this. We used a laptop, as it's easier to modify playlists on the fly if you need to. Of course, this was before iphones!)

The other one was a wedding for another pair of close friends, and this one was truly a picnic wedding. It was pretty small (about 30-40 guests) and they had it at an outdoor pavilion (it's covered in case of rain, but wouldn't be my first choice of venue - but it worked out really well for them). I've actually cohosted a picnic there and the cost to rent the pavilion was only $100-$200, which is a HOME RUN for a wedding! They also used the same caterer that we used for the picnic we had - I don't know what they paid, as they had a different menu, but for our picnic, we paid $600 for chicken and ribs to feed 60. Super cheap! Anyway, this couple really didn't want all the typical wedding fuss. They are in their late 30s and had been together in a not-legally-married-but-might-as-well-be relationship for years, and just finally decided to make it legal in a simple celebration with their closest family and friends. They did not have dancing - just an afternoon ceremony and picnic - but they also used an ipod for background music.

Now to answer your questions:

The question that I have though is should I warn our guests that it will not be a totally traditional/formal wedding?

Typically, the level of formality of a wedding is indicated by the invitations. So rather than choosing formal-looking invitations with formal wording, you would choose more casual-looking invitations and make the wording more casual.

Will they fell cheated or think that we're being tacky by not having a formal sit down dinner (though there will be tons of food!)

Definitely not! Just make it clear by the style and wording of your invitations that it will be a casual, picnic-style wedding. Most people will pick up on the hints. Either that or they'll google the venue and realize that it's not a super-formal place.

And how should I expect people to dress? I wouldn't mind if everyone dressed down a tiny bit (hopefully no one will come in jeans!!) but will that look weird with the wedding party still being all dressed up?

I would expect people to dress fairly casually. By that I mean sundresses and khakis, not jeans and t-shirts. In any case, though, you shouldn't give your guests a dress code. It's Ok to tell them what you're expecting if they ask, and it's Ok to have your parents and WP spread the word on the casual dress, but it's not Ok to put it on the invitations. Again, the style and formality of your invitations (and the location of the wedding) will tell people how to dress. As for the WP, they won't look out of place because they're the attendants - but if you haven't chosen their clothing yet, it might be wise to go with less formal outfits, such as tea-length dresses for the girls and anything other than tuxes for the guys. (At the first wedding I described above, the girls wore black dresses that they chose themselves or already owned and the guys wore black pants and shirts and their ties were a gift from the couple - no jackets. At the second wedding I described, there were only two attendants. The MOH wore a sundress and the BM wore khakis and a white shirt and tie.)

I already have my dress and it is gorgeous and very formal and it has a train, is that going to be weird in this kind of setting? For some reason I'm really concerned about my dress looking too formal for just a picnic but I love it and I don't want to change it!

So don't change it. The bride and groom can never be overdressed. I wouldn't worry too much about it, as the train will be bustled for the actual picnic part of the celebration. I would, however, probably dress it down by choosing less fancy jewelry and a less fancy hairdo than you would choose in a more formal setting.

One more thought: Think this through before deciding to go with messy BBQ. Not only will you be wearing a white dress, but your guests will be dressed up to some extent and probably won't want to be dripping BBQ sauce all over their clothes. In light of that, I'd try to select less messy foods that you don't generally eat with your hands.


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Marryingmytruel... Posts : 135 Registered: 2/11/10
Re: I need some advice for my buget wedding
Posted: May 3, 2010 9:27 AM Go to message in response to: STARYB

Staryb- I don't think that any of your guests will feel cheated or think that a park/backyard wedding is tacky especially in this economy. If I were invited to a wedding like yours I would dress 'summer casual' because well it's still a wedding not a cook out. Your guests will hopefully do the same. You may want to look for a less formal dress but that's up to you. If you don't want to change it then don't. And I think that if you and your FH have a blast at your wedding then everyone else will too.

I'm planning a pretty low budget wedding too and we will probably be going with a local beach/park for the reception atleast. You CAN have a nice wedding with a smaller budget! It just takes planning and creativity.

Here's some ideas that I found that I might be using:

They have free invitation and custom monogram templates. http://www.weddingchicks.com/freebies/

DIY white paper bag luminaries. I may line the walkway to the beach with these. http://www.diynetwork.com/decorating/monogrammed-luminaries/index.html

Some more budget ideas.
http://jesslehry.com/bsb/2008/11/18/reception-inspiration/

DIY tissue flower centerpieces. (Just because I think that they're pretty)
http://zakkalife.blogspot.com/2009/07/craft-project-table-centerpieces.html

I have so many ideas saved on my computer! Let me know if I can help you with anything specific!!

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: I need some advice for my buget wedding
Posted: May 3, 2010 9:43 AM Go to message in response to: STARYB

Dear Stary,

I'm going to tell you something, and put it in bold and italics for emphasis:

Never be ashamed of living within your means.

Got that?

I'll repeat.

NEVER BE ASHAMED OF LIVING WITHIN YOUR MEANS.

In this case, living within your means translates to having the nicest wedding you can afford.

If someone feels "cheated" or thinks you are "tacky" because they expect you to go into debt to put on a more expensive wedding, then that person is wrong. They are the one with the problem, not you.

Now, some practicalities.

The formality of the wedding is determined by the style of the invitations. That is where the guest learns the "who what when where", but also what to expect in terms of their own dress and any food that will be available.

My suggestion to you is to plan your wedding for mid-afternoon, that way no one will be starving for dinner. Serve finger foods, such as what you might get in a deli tray from the supermarket. On your invitation, indicate "Reception following with light refreshments". That's the key phrase: "light refreshments". People will figure out you are not serving a full meal, and they will know to have a good lunch before leaving home.

Next question, your dress. You already have the formal dress with the train? Great. Wear it. A dress you already own costs you exactly $0, where any other dress you might have to go out and buy, even an inexpensive dress, will cost more. Wear what you have.

I'm guessing you did not just run out and buy the dress, but instead inherited it or got it from eBay. If so, that's the story you tell anyone who cares to know. "I know my dress is rather formal for such an informal wedding, but it was my aunt's dress and she gave it to me because I loved it so much."

Wearing a dress that someone gave you is all part of the living within your means deal.

You're fine.

Do the best you can and hold your head high.

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CapeTownBride Posts : 37 Registered: 4/16/10
Re: I need some advice for my buget wedding
Posted: May 3, 2010 10:51 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Absolutely have to agree with AOTB!

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Marryingmytruel... Posts : 135 Registered: 2/11/10
Re: I need some advice for my buget wedding
Posted: May 3, 2010 10:56 AM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

I also agree with auntofthebride!

I found an example of an outdoor picnic wedding that may give you some ideas.
http://prettychicky.com/2328/wedding-showcase/a-picnic-wedding-by-dana-grant

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: I need some advice for my buget wedding
Posted: May 3, 2010 11:41 AM Go to message in response to: Marryingmytruel...

Ladies,

I wish I could meet each one of you face to face, hold your hands, look you in the eyes and tell you that living within your means is a VIRTUE, and nothing to be ashamed of.

We live in a very materialistic culture. People broadcast far and wide how much they paid for this or that. They go into debt to buy flashy cars, expensive clothes and other status symbols. Many of you watch those TV "reality" (ha ha) shows about weddings, and say "Ooohhhh... I want that.".

Here's a "reality check". Reality show weddings are funded by the TV producers. Get it? The couple gives up their privacy and in return gets their wedding paid for by deep-pocketed producers. Vendors pay product placement fees to get their products on the programs. No wonder those "reality" show weddings are expensive and lavish. You could have a lavish wedding, too, if vendors gave you their goods and services and paid you to put their products on national TV.

There is no virtue in owning a bunch of possessions or in lavish entertainment if you end up deep in debt. There is no virtue in bankruptcy due to credit card debt for possessions you no longer even own or long-ago parties and travel.

There is virtue and sanity in watching your money, sticking with a budget, avoiding consumer debt and building for the future. I am 56 years old and I sleep like a baby every night because I am not lying awake worried about money.

I urge all of you, single, engaged, newlywed, long-time married, whatever, to think carefully about your attitudes towards money and status symbols. I am, quite literally, the "millionaire next door".

There's a book out there that tells you exactly how to become a millionaire. It's called "The Millionaire Next Door". You can find it in almost any bookstore, or on Amazon. Here's a quote from the review on Amazon:

"How can you join the ranks of America's wealthy (defined as people whose net worth is over one million dollars)? It's easy, say doctors Stanley and Danko, who have spent the last 20 years interviewing members of this elite club: you just have to follow seven simple rules. The first rule is, always live well below your means."

For a newly engaged or newlywed couple, there's another book which I've plugged many times on this website:

"Financially Ever After: The Couples' Guide to Managing Money". This is a must-read especially for newly engaged couples. The author, Jeff D Opdyke, steps you through the process of "opening the kimono" to reveal your financial status to your new fiancé(e). He also discusses budgeting, avoiding consumer debt, etc. Mr Opdyke is a personal finance journalist for the Wall Street Journal.

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STARYB Posts : 20 Registered: 6/6/08
Re: I need some advice for my buget wedding
Posted: May 4, 2010 8:57 AM Go to message in response to: STARYB


Wow, thanks for all of the help and
support! We are going to look at a couple of possible venues
tomorrow, I've narrowed it down to places that are $300 and under.
The only “luxury” that I really want to pay more for is a DJ. I
want to make sure that there is dancing and I'm worried that without
someone to organize it people will just stand around and get bored.
Luckily FH and I both went to school for Comm Media so we know a
couple DJs and videographers and lots of photographers (including
fmil & myself) we should be able to do all of that on the super
cheap! However we're probably going to be spending closer $1500, but
for a wedding that's fantastic!


ArtBride - Thanks for breaking down my
questions so thoroughly! I enjoyed hearing about the picnicy weddings
that you've been to. I have never been to this type of wedding before
but it's what my parents did and my mom says that it was the best
wedding she's been to (though she may be a bit biased lol). I Agree
that it actually sounds like tons of fun, I was really just worried
because FH's family always has these big beautiful expensive weddings
and when we first got engaged he wanted it to be what he was used. He
was actually very closed minded to my budgety ideas back then and I
used to tease him that he was groomzilla :)


Maryingmytruelove – Thanks for the
support! I'm excited to go through all of the links you gave me so I
can get some more ideas. It's good to know I'm not alone here, though
I do envy that you have a beach to possibly get married at, that
would be awesome! I'm just crossing my fingers for a lake, creek,
pond or river lol


AOTB – I don't post here much but I
don't lurk around a bit and you always give such sound advice! Thank
you! I don't care what people think, I'll just get them all liquored
up and I'm sure they'll enjoy themselves.


I do actually plan on serving a lot of
food, not just finger foods so guests going hungry really shouldn't
be a problem. My grandma will help me cook a bunch of stuff. I wasn't
really planning on doing traditional BBQ foods so no worries about
anyone getting too messy. The messiest thing they'll probably have is
pasta. Also I know that there are people who really do care about us
who will be happy to bring some extra desserts and things-it's
already been offered so it wont be like a potlock or anything.

As for my dress, it was a gift from
FH's mom. We are both photographers (which is also good or us saving
money!) and there was a bridal blowout sale at a show we did
together. She talked me into trying some dresses on, just to get the
feel of it, and we both totally fell in love with my 2nd
dress. It was on sale for $600 (originally around $1000!) and she
talked them down to $400 and bought it for me as a gift. I never
expected to get such a beautiful pricy dress, I was planning to hit
the $99 sales at Davids Bridal, so getting this dress made my day but
it also threw off my planning a bit.

Oh, and lol to the vendor, I already
have a dress! Offer me a wedding cake or $1 flowers and maybe i'll
actually click on your link :)



MBK Photography

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