Before we get started on this blog topic, I feel the need to make the disclaimer that this blog is going to be vastly different than any of our past blogs. While its purpose is the same, it is much more personal and intimate, since I am writing about my own personal experience planning my $7,500 wedding.
As you may already know, my name is Madison, and I just celebrated my 2 year wedding anniversary with my husband this past February. Having just been in your shoes, I can definitely relate to the sometimes overwhelming task of planning a wedding. Like most people, when I am in unfamiliar territory, I revert to what I know best, which for me is being frugal. So when I heard statistics like the average wedding being $36,000, I about fainted. Heck, I even struggled thinking of spending $7,500 on one day, even if it was my wedding day!
How I did it:
1. Open mind- I cannot stress this point enough. When I started planning my wedding, I had an open mind about everything regarding my wedding, as long as it would save me money. At one point I had even been open to getting married at an old historical park and having pizza catered for everyone ( I was THAT committed to price over my guests and my own wedding experience). But I was flexible! I was open with my date, day of the week, and month of my wedding, which helped me save thousands.
2. All inclusive services- When I started my hunt for my wedding venue, I spent hours and hours searching the internet for "cheap" wedding venues in Los Angeles. After quickly learning that "cheap" meant something different to the internet, I began to think I would never find a place that fit my budget. Right before I became completely discouraged, I found a brand new venue property with all inclusive wedding services! Cue the Hallelujah chorus! Aside from providing lower prices to help get their name out there with real weddings, they had everything available in house. I got the ceremony and reception site for 5 hours, food for 110 people, 1 hour of open bar, the DJ, lighting, a wedding coordinator, all my rentals (chairs, tables, and linens of choice), and a few other upgrades for a grand total of $4,300.
3. Commitment to budget- Where many couples go wrong with planning their wedding on a tight budget is that they want a tight budget without sacrificing anything, but it does not work that way (not in my experience planning my own wedding or working for a wedding planning company). It always comes down to budget vs. what you want, and one of them is going to win. Did I find incredible florists with breathtaking work and dresses that made me cry tears of happiness when I put them on? Of course! But I always put price first, even when it meant saying no to the things that would have been incredible to have as a part of my wedding.
4. Use your resources- I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by talented family and friends who were ready to help in anyway they could. My husband, Jordan, works in the convention recording field, so we set up that camera equipment around our ceremony and reception as our videography service. My dad is a graphic designer who made our invitations and R.S.V.P. cards for our guests. My sister-in-law is a certified make-up artist and did my hair and makeup the morning of. My husband's grandfather was a pastor, so he was able to refer us to one of his good friends. The important part to keep in mind is that even if you do not have family and friends who can be your resources, there are still resources out there. For example, canva is an incredible and easy to use designing tool you can use for your invitations, you can inquire with make-up artists who are just starting out and trying to add to their portfolio of work, etc.
5. Finding people who do it as their hobby- My wedding photographer worked full-time at his own plumbing business, my florist worked full-time in a coffee shop, and the girl who created my cake loved baking for fun. Since it wasn't their full-time job and livelihood, there was a tremendous amount of money we saved in using their services. For the entire day of shooting with 2 photographers I spent $800, for the bridesmaids' bouquets, my own bouquet, rose petals down the aisle, boutineers, and centerpieces I spent $400, and my 3 tiered peanut butter cake was $200.
6. The small things add up- At this point in the blog, my budget spent was about $5,700. The extra $1,800 quickly gets spent with postage for the invitations (we had delivered all that we could), thank you gifts, tips for vendors, dress alterations, the groom's attire ($160 at Macy's), bachelorette/bachelor party expenses, rehearsal dinner, etc.
Now that you know how I honestly did it, I want to give you an honest disclaimer:
I Regret It.
Don't get me wrong, my wedding day is hands down one of the happiness, most incredible days of my entire life because it was the day that my amazing husband and I became a family. I have regret because I was so head-strong about needing to stick to a budget, that I forgot that I will never get to "re-do" my wedding. The reality is that there is always time to make more money, and because I was so focused on price I sacrificed on decor that would've really made my wedding pictures beautiful, the amount of photos I got, a DJ that would've entertained my guests the entire night, and having a professionally shot wedding video for my husband and I to watch over and over again.
There you have it! The inside scoop on planning a $7,500 wedding. I hope this gave you some insight from someone who was recently in your shoes, and that you have a smooth wedding planning experience!
FOR AN EXCEPTIONAL WEDDING EXPERIENCE DON'T DO WHAT I DID...INSTEAD HIRE THE PROS AT J&M ENTERTAINMENT