How to Personalize your Wedding even with a Tight Budget
Photography: Heidi Lockhart Somes
Unless you have helped plan a wedding ( or just have a secret pinterest board and already know costs ;) ), you don't really understand how much things cost and add up when wedding planning. I know when Nick found out how much venues typically cost, he was like WHAT?! Why do I not have a wedding venue business?! (hah!)
If I had to give one piece of advice about wedding planning, it would be to make it YOU. There's only a couple things people will remember from the wedding...did you run out of food? was the food bad? was the food exceptionally good? oh and did it look like pinterest threw up everywhere...?LOL But yes. The truth is that some really expensive *crap* can look cheap, and some DIY creations can look high class. At the end of the day, all that matters is that the day represented y'all and your friends and family can appreciate that. Even if it's not their style or taste, you can't speak ill of a wedding that was the perfect night for the couple!
So here's a list of things that I did that could help you personalize your big day, without taking too much of a chunk out of your budget...or at least spark conversation on how you can make your wedding you!
Name Cards: Even if you're not assigning seats (I just assigned tables), the way you present name cards says a lot about your style. We did wine corks, because it fit our them and our lifestyle. Not super original, but definitely was us! Whether you have someone write their names on a leaf, use succulents for card holders, or just do an elegant card stock, make it scream you as a couple. Oh and if you're not at least assigning tables, you should re-think that;)
Flowers: This is honestly one of the biggest expenses and one that most people don't realize. I mentioned this in this post, but I opted for a lot of greenery over flowers. I'm a greenery girl to begin with, but this also cut down cost. We also used the bridesmaid bouquets as part of the head table decor + the house party bouquets as part the high boy decor.
Table Settings: To play off of the "Flowers" section above, flowers on every single table can ring up $$$ real quick. Is there something that is "you" that isn't as expensive? We did wine bottles on tables - 3 on each one. 1 to hold the table number, 1 to hold some flower stems, and 1 with the bottom cut off, to place over a candle. This was super pretty, very us, and didn't die they next week. (don't get me wrong - I love flowers!!)
Guest Book: There are SO many cool ways to do this these days. Some of our close friend did a jenga set, others have done maps or trees, etc We chose to have a normal guestbook, but also a fun one! We got a magnum wine bottle for people to sign the outside and place notes on the inside. We'll open them on our 1 year anniversary. It's a personal touch that is more than just signing a name.
Cake / Sweets: Do you like brownies? lemon bars? Cake pops? Whatever you are obsessed with, do it! Candy bars are still a hit, and the donut trend is ever growing. We did cakes, but that's because I LOVE cake. I'd say the cakes are very us. Mine is simple, yet elegant, and Nick's was a classic Baylor seal. Read more about our cakes here. Ice cream cake, pies...I can keep on going! There are tons of way to make the sweets of the night uniquely you!
Favors: A lot of favors are often food. We had homemade Baklava that Nick's aunt made. It was a HIT. Seriously the best. Something I like to stress is, are people actually going to eat it, use it, etc? If they are just going to throw it a way, that's a waste. At recent wedding we went to, the bride made candles. They smelled so good and were actually useful. At another wedding, the bride's family was known for making kettle corn. She gave that as favors, because it was special to her AND it is super tasty. Yet another idea...I've been to a wedding where they gave cookie cutters + a family cookie recipe! Anyway, a lot of these are super inexpensive, PLUS if there is something that a relative makes that you love, a lot of the time they will want to gift it to you :)
Glassware - Seems like something some people forget! My mom had a set of champagne flutes from her wedding and gifted them to me and Nick. They are special AND free. We also had custom wine glasses + a platter, by A Finer Impression, which was a special touch that we will be able to use for years. We initially used them for our first Lord's Supper as a married couple, during the ceremony, but now we proudly display them in our home.
Late Night Snack - This may seem like an add on after you know you are under budget, but it is so worth it! We had chick-n-minis that said "mini thanks" on them and they went like hotcakes! It is one of those things that stand out and make people remember your wedding! If you have a favorite fast food or snack, this is a great way to play that up!
Garter - I actually wore my mom's wedding garter! We bought a cheap one for the garter toss, but the one I actually wore was free and sentimental. Just a fun and economical way to incorporate my mom!
Hangers - You know those pretty wire hangers that spell people's name? Yeah I love them too! Buuuut that wasn't something I cared to spend money on. Now, on the other hand, I HATE when I see beautiful dress photos and they are on a sucky, plastic hanger. NO BUENO. We just bought wooden hangers and spray painted them and put a ribbon on them! Easy as pie and pretty, too!
Shower Decor - Did someone make beautiful decorations for a wedding shower that fit your wedding theme? By all means, use them!! We had a wooden piece with our names on it, that was perfect to display on the tables. We also used those large wall letters (I had an M from a roommate in college) and that was perfect to put out too. One of my favorite pieces at the wedding was a wine barrel - we used it as the table for our Lord's Supper! I had no issue buying it, because I knew we'd use it as a nightstand in our bedroom. If you have to buy things, try and make them multiple use objects. You'll get more bang for your buck!
Snapchat Filter - Super trendy, but oh so fun. I love the fun photos I got to see with our filter. It was a super easy and fun add. Defffff won't break the bank either;)
Perfume - I had been wearing the same scent for yeaaaars and wanted to change it up. What better time to do it than on my wedding day?! That way, the scent will always bring me nostalgia of that day. I went with Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt. It is an earthy tone which I always adore more than the sweet scents out there. Jo's scents are great layered or alone. Next, I want to try the body cream!
Jewelry - We photographed our Baylor rings, since we both graduated from there. Additionally we had some of Nick's Papou's cuff links that his Yia Yia purchased, plus a family heirloom ring. Since neither of them could be there, it was nice to have a photo dedicated to them. In addition to that, I wore my grandmother's diamond earrings, which was very sweet as well.
Treasured Pieces - This one kind of ties into the jewelry I mentioned above, or even the glassware, like my mom's champagne flutes. One really special thing was that my Mimi wore the dress she married my Grandfather in. Since he passed away, it was a very cool thing for her to do - it almost felt like he was there. I've also seen wedding dresses of family members displayed before! People always dig these sentimental adds.
College - Is there a team that you both adore or maybe a hobby? Whether it's sports or cooking, find a way to include this. We of course had the Baylor cake, but also had a tub of glass bottled Dr. Peppers, like a good Baylor student would have ;)
First Dance - DON'T forgo this tradition!! It is a fun time to see the bride and groom in their element/song. I mentioned it here, but Nick and I ended up choreographing our first dance to Frank Sinatra's "Fly me to the Moon" the week of the wedding! It made me nervous to do it that late, but it was seriously one of my top 5 moments at the wedding! Plus, everyone dug it and thought we had been practicing for MONTHS.
Family Members - Let's face it. Sometimes important people can't come because they aren't able or they have passed on. We had a spot in the program for deceased family members, which was really important for me to include. We also had photos of all of our parents and their parents on their wedding day. It was a fun little table to include. Another fun thing I did, was have my cousin Ella be a flower girl. She was seriously the perfect one! She held a kissing ball instead of throwing petals, because that's what I did when I was a flower girl!
Heritage - If you have any cool things that your family does, now is the time to do them! Nick is Greek, so though it wasn't a Greek Orthodox Wedding (you're welcome, guests! That would have been SO long), we did things that paid homage to Greek culture. We had Baklava as a favor, served Koufeta on all of the chargers at the tables, and even did a Greek dance during the reception.
Vow Books - So this is more for you than your guests, but #worthit Read more about wedding vows and how to write them, here.
Tiny Details - Honestly, any little thing you do that people can notice, will be impressive. There are tons that I mention here, but even some I didn't. I know people are either for or against having bridal photos done, but I love that we could display some at the wedding. You don't really get to see it up close and pristine, and bridal photos allow that. We also included some engagement photos, which was great, because we had such a fab time in Seattle, having them taken! Read more about my engagement photos in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3!
Exit - Yeah, yeah, yeah sparklers are always a good idea and make for great pics, but I am honestly tired of them. I wanted to do something I hadn't seen before and something that meant something to us. We used olive leaves, because they tie back to Greek heritage and are just beautiful. I was SO happy with this choice- they are some of my favorite pics. A close second choice was lavender. Would have been equally as pretty and talk about a heavenly scent!!
Thoughts?? Anything I missed that you did? Holla at me. I still have weddings to influence;) The only other thing I can think of is something that helps guests who weren't able to attend or if they just want to relive it! Get a videographer!! We used Bow Tie Media and they were great - see our video here! If you are in the DFW area and need video services or even just photographs, they are great and amazing to work with. Be sure and tell them I sent ya;)
XOXO and thanks for reading, y'all. You guys make my day!
Here are all of my vendors and information:
Dress: Blue Willow by Anne Barge, Nordstrom
Hair and Makeup: Grand Slam Glam
Eyelash Extensions: Amazing Lash Garland
Flowers: Lizzie Bee's Flower Shoppe
Jewelry: Elsa Peretti Diamonds by the Yard Necklace and Bracelet, Vintage Diamond Earrings
Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands: Fuller's Jewelry
Shoes: Tory Burch Holiday 2015 Satin Burgundy Pumps
Photography: Heidi Lockhart Somes
Food: Culinary Art Catering
Wedding Venue: The Castle at Rockwall
Videography: Bow Tie Media
Rehearsal Dinner: Eddie V's
Snapchat Filter: Wedding Wire
Invitations and Save the Dates: Minted
Wine Glasses and Platter: A Finer Impression
Cakes: Annie's Culinary Creations (she doesn't refrigerate her cakes!)
Bridesmaid and House Party Dresses: Brideside
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