One thing that many brides find is that wedding planning is so overwhelming it can result in a big loss of time. The last thing an engaged couple needs is more stress. So wedding planning becomes Simple Wedding Planning. Even with that emphasis wedding plans can spiral out of control. As many authors on weddings point out, wedding costs can go crazy over all the extras. Most are just that, extras and aren't really necessary. So what do you need for a basic, low cost wedding ? The answers vary with the person answering, but here's my take based on my own experiences. I'll list things in the order I pursued and finished them, roughly.
I don't know about other brides, but my first consideration was my dress. It was most important to me to have that worked out and a sense of how I'd look going down the aisle. Once done, I could concentrate on lesser things.
Low cost options include buying a white sundress or other strapless dress and remaking or embellishing it. You can find many white dresses, especially in Spring or the end of Summer clearance racks. I find white dresses regularly in thrift shops that beg to be recreated. Many times all that's needed is a simple low key embellishment. Cotton dresses are perfect for this, as are silk and lots of light fabrics like filmy voiles and tulles.
Another option is a top and skirt combination with a tulle ballerina type skirt and a simple camisole top. Add a tiny embellished jacket or sash and you're done.
Be careful with thrift items that the dress actually fits well as is. A bit too small is going to be a problem. Better to find a somewhat too big dress that can more easily be altered. Avoid going more than 2 sizes bigger though. This is really important if you are not altering it yourself as the cost of alterations are often more than buying new. You also don't want to fall in love with a beautiful old prom dress that makes you faint to zip up and struggle with dieting to fit....way too stressful !!
Another source of a dress beyond the normal shops is a handmade or custom made dress from a local or internet shop, such as an indie designer. Be sure to buy these local to your country to avoid issues with scams and delayed shipping and production times that will put you past the date of your credit card or Paypal return time frames. Many home seamstresses and indie designers can make a one of a kind or made to order gown that fits your budget and measurements perfectly. If what is out there is not fitting your imagination.....go indie !!
If you've chosen your bridesmaids you will have a sense of what you want the wedding party to look like and will likely have chosen your groom's and groomsmen's clothing too. Remember you don't have to have matching bridesmaid gowns. They can be short, long or asymmetrical. They can all be a similar color with different styles or all the same style and different colors. We used the same design in three colors, but I wouldn't recommend it. Bodies being what they are, it's hard to find any three or four women who look equally good in the same design.
|Bridesmaids from ArmourSansAnguish|
What can work is having mismatched gowns in similar tones like the pic from Armour Sans Anguish's shop. I really love having the variety of styles on the different figures of the bridesmaids. This also makes having a re-wearable gown easier for each bridesmaid. Since the gown is usually paid for by each woman, it is great if they can be worn again. I gave away 2 or 3 expensive gowns from friend's weddings that weren't really good for another wearing.....ouch ! Think color palettes rather than exact same color too, if possible. A gown with 2 to 3 colors is much easier to coordinate with than a single color. Keep in mind that a single color isn't always easy to wear for different colorings, especially if you have a blonde, brunette and redhead for example. You can easily get these made by indie designers and seamstresses on places like etsy or locally.
We opted for a church wedding in a local church with a historical chapel that seated a small number and was beautifully ornate. Ours was a candlelight service so the setting was perfect. The church hosted weddings there often and it was not the main meeting area, so it provided a wedding administrator or planner as part of the package. This was so helpful in planning and rehearsing when nerves and confusion set in. Venue reservations need to be booked far in advance so don't delay this step too long if you have your heart set on a location.
|Leatherwood Mountains NC - Rustic Wedding Venue|
For a reception, we went simple, with party trays and friends to help with the setup and food. We chose a historical mansion(it was tiny) and were happy to find we didn't need to decorate and could take advantage of the fact that they had a Christmas decor contest and it had been decorated by local interior designers - beautiful !! We only added table centerpieces and tablecloths. We supplied the food and cups, plates etc. We forgot something to throw at the bride and groom and got pelted with cocktail peanuts......eek!!
You may find a rustic setting is equally great for this type reception, allowing you to forgo the expensive meal and allow a casual, fun party atmosphere. Look for ranches, equestrian retreats, parks, rustic barns and farms. Be sure to enlist the help of creative friends to help and possibly take over table decorations, decor and planning things like flower and garter toss, pictures, etc. A wedding they can help out with will mean so much to close friends and can ensure a fun atmosphere. Don't overburden any one person, but accept help from friends and family where appropriate.
|Leatherwood Mountains Rustic Reception|
The pics above are from Leatherwood in North Carolina...a perfect rustic wedding venue if you are looking. I don't have any connection to them other than having been there(not for my own wedding). It's pretty !
There are so many options with this one. Many people are doing doughnut towers and alternative things beyond the normal wedding cake. I would recommend researching a bit on places like hgtv or wedding sites to see what others do, but don't be trapped into thinking you have to go with the traditional wedding cake. If you do, see if you can get yours made by a friend or someone who has taken a class or two in cake design and is just starting out. My experience was not great, so I don't have too many suggestions here other than do your own thing. There are some cute custom bride and groom sets available on sites like etsy or that you can google. You can get something that looks just like you and your groom. If I were doing it again, I'd just get pink cupcakes with something pretty on top...or maybe pink and white....I just love pink cupcakes ! :)
You can get really expensive here with a band and DJ or you can just have a simple trio perform for your ceremony. I married a musician who sang a song he wrote for me, but we had friends who sang or played for our ceremony and later for the reception. When they wanted to join the party, we just put on a playlist of our favorites and let people just enjoy the reception.
Apologies if I've given way too much info, but sometimes someone can share experiences that will spark your imagination and off you go. Don't worry about a theme for your reception unless you want to. Remember the theme is you and your groom's relationship being celebrated. Beyond that, just go with the simplest possible thing you can. Making it all happen is exhausting and the more involved it is, the more weary you'll be beginning your life together. Being sick on your honeymoon is not fun !!
Have Fun !!
Despite your best planning, you may find you go over budget somewhere. Don't worry. Often you can scale back in one area to give you that extra few dollars. Just prioritize and only cut back in your least important areas - the things that mean the least to you. One example would be to have the dress you want and use simple wedges for your shoes rather than 'bridal' shoes. Forgo a crinoline and go 'natural'. You'll find ways to trim back and still get the wedding you want.
Be Your Beautiful Self !!
|Beautiful @ Boonetown Story (Woodsy Wedding)|
Most important of all, treat it like fun !! Make wedding planning like shopping or the boss level of your favorite game and remove some of the stress from it ! Be your beautiful self and remember all that really matters is that you get to spend the rest of your life with your guy !! You'll forget things like who made your pictures or cake...but you'll remember your first kiss as husband and wife and your friends laughter and smiles as you dance at the reception. It's going to be your first day as a new family - everything else is forgettable.