Photo courtesy of Weddingbee
I’m a broke ass bride. My fiance and I are paying for our whole wedding, and my really optimistic budget is $8,000. My MIL keeps telling me not to worry about money, that she is going to help, but I’ve asked her directly what she can contribute and she doesn’t know… So I am planning the wedding as if that money does not exist. Did I mention, to make it all tougher, we are based in NYC?
The wedding is the evening of 10/25. So far we have a (probable) venue and a (probable) caterer. We’re transforming a raw gallery space and having a BBQ buffet. Because we are getting married close to Halloween, we are planning a red and black, dark romance, wrought iron and roses feel.
My question is, with my limited budget, how do I set a casual, fun feel for the wedding without looking cheap or tacky? What should I specifically avoid? I can’t afford a stylist or planner, so I’m looking for your good taste and lessons learned.
Ansley (and Derrick)
Dear Ansley (and Derrick),
Before I tackle your stylistic questions, I want to make sure that you’re on track with your budget. As a general guideline, approximately half of the total wedding budget tends to go toward venue and catering. Based on your probable vendors, hopefully this is realistic. If not, you need to reexamine some priorities. Also, I think it’s wise to not count on your MIL’s possible contributions until she gives you a hard and fast number. Worst case scenario – she chips in and you have extra funds. Whoohoo!
As far as your letter … the word “tacky” makes me sad. No matter what you do, odds are someone at your wedding or someone who hears about your wedding will find something about it that’s tacky. All weddings are at least a little tacky. Let’s all please promise to let go of tacky. All it does is tear us down. And now, a pause while I climb off my soapbox.
Okay. Now onto your questions! Quite honestly, I’m not really sure that “a red and black, dark romance, wrought iron and roses feel” meshes with “a casual, fun feel”. The former seems quite formal, while the latter obviously is not. So, I’m going to do my best, but I suggest that you give more consideration to how you want your wedding to look and feel, as there is a bit of a disconnect right now.
For your wedding, I suggest focusing on a few things: (1) Rather than doing formal floral centerpieces, I love the look of candles and scattered petals. This will likely be less costly, and everyone looks fabulous in candlelight. The catch here – make sure your venue allows candles, as some do not. (2) Give a thought to using some DIY uplighting. Lighting can have a really dramatic effect on an event, and it gives you a lot of bang for your buck. This will be especially helpful if your rental company only has white linens, which leads us nicely into (3) Don’t be afraid of using linens with a bit of color to them. Some rental places will charge extra for non-white tablecloths and napkins, but this is not universally true. Having some colorful linens will help with the dark romance theme without damaging your budget. (4) Do your best to buy used decor from another couple and sell the stuff you use when you’re done with it. There are a lot of sites that allow you to list and browse merchandise (the classified section on Weddingbee is the one that springs to mind most readily, but there are definitely more out there), so go to town seeing what you can find. (5) Definitely look for wedding inspiration online–I’ve seen gorgeous gothic weddings that pull off reds and blacks beautifully.
As for what to avoid … You’ll likely want to smack me for my lack of specificity, but avoid anything that doesn’t make you happy. People will judge you no matter what you choose, but if you and your fiance like something, that’s all that really matters.
Do you have any other suggestions as to what decor Ansley (and Derrick) could use? Or did you have something “tacky” at your wedding? Tell me all about it in the comments below!