Posts in the 'Budget' Category
Credit: Beyond the Ordinary
The bottom line is the bottom line: Weddings cost a lot of money. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $27,000, although I read one article that said that $16,000 is probably closer. You know, as if that wasn’t a bunch of cash, either.
I know what some of you are thinking – you don’t have to spend that much on your wedding. And you’re certainly not going to! Well, you’re right, you can spend less, of course you can. But if you’re going to, or you have to, then you need to pay attention to where it’s all going. I have watched many a couple set a budget, and then slowly, line item by line item, toss it out the window and themselves into debt, a $175 peony centerpiece and a new (or pre-owned, for that matter) Monique Lhuillier gown at a time. And then becry how the “wedding tax” has destroyed their budget.
The truth is, you’re not paying a tax. You are paying in bulk, paying for labor, and really, paying for your expectations, all of which you can manage.
A little perspective on just the ceremony and reception:
- The average hotel room in this country is 325 square feet, and costs $139 a night. The average ballroom that holds up 150 people is 2,706 square feet. And someone has to set up and break down the tables and chairs, monitor the AV, etc. You’re kind of getting a deal, there.
- A comparable wedding meal at Olive Garden — appetizer, salad, (1) drink, one of their higher-end entrees, and a piece of cake is over $50 per person, not including tax and tip. At Olive Garden. That’s $5,000+ for 100 people.
- Waiters at most restaurants serve 2-3 tables at a time. So, 100 guests is 10 tables = call it 5 waiters, for 8 hours , let’s say at about $15 an hour with service (which is lowballing in L.A., and probably where you are, too.)Setting up, serving, bussing, cleaning. Plus two chefs and a bartender, who will make at least twice that. At least. Are you adding this up?
- Every table is 13 plates (salad +entree+cake) , 10 forks, 10 knives, 10 napkins, 10 chairs and a table linen. Every one of those is being cleaned and packed and unpacked and set out and then packed again. Labor.
- Every table is a centerpiece. Every centerpiece is a dozen or so flowers, depending on what you want. You’re paying a florist for materials, skill and labor, which you will have to buy and develop if you do it on your own.
- Every guest is at least four glasses (water + bar drinks + back-up)
- Which means every guest is at least four drinks.
- Every guest is one ceremony chair, although you can use one for both the wedding and for dinner. See, saved you money right there.
- Every guest is a favor.
- Every bride and every bridesmaid is a bouquet. Every groom and every groomsman is a boutonniere.
“Bulk” is the new four letter word. You are paying for a lot of stuff, whether you’re providing it yourself or your venue is. Ignoring that fact will not make it go away. Being realistic about this and owning your budget gives you the power to decide what everything is going to look like, and how much each one of these things is going to cost. The chairs could be $12 each or they could be $1. The plates could be $0.75 each or they could be paper. And, there is plenty of room in between.
You have plenty of resources to come up with a wedding budget you’re comfortable with – I like Wedding Wire’s calculator – and plenty of resources, like this website and everyone here, to figure out how to use what you have to get what you want and need. Don’t give away your money with a shrug. Don’t act like your wedding expenses are something that’s happening to you. The bottom line is YOUR bottom line. Keep your eye on it!
So, how are you keeping track of your budget, and what are some fantastic ways you’ve found to spend less. Let us know in the comments. And, if you’d like to find out more about me, come visit at www.silvercharmevents.com.
See you at the end of the aisle,
When I tell people that I am planning my North Carolina from Minnesota most ask me if I’m crazy. To be fair, before I embarked on this magical adventure, I would have said the same thing. So far, I have had a very good experience planning my wedding remotely (knock on wood). However, I can’t say I would recommend it to everyone. Here are the following things you should have to plan a remote wedding.
1.Amazingly supportive in-laws
I am getting married in my fiancé’s hometown, and luckily, his immediate family lives there. Since Bryce and I got engaged in Greensboro over Christmas and didn’t know when we would be back next, Bryce’s aunt Connie, who he lived with growing up, sprang into action and pretty much called everyone she knew that had some sort of wedding affiliation – from cakes to rehearsal dinner to make-up. When we visited Greensboro a few weeks ago, she took me to the farmer’s market to scope out flowers, to the BBQ place we are having cater our reception, and to restaurant possibilities for the rehearsal dinner. If she hadn’t been willing to help as much as she has, there is no way this process would be going as smoothly.
I got really lucky with this one. Since I’m a Broke-Ass Bride, it’s a given that my budget is tight. Luckily, one of Bryce’s good friends got married last year, and she gave me a list of all her vendors. Her DJ happened to be a family friend, and gave us an amazing discount. Since I had already seen the DJ in action at Bryce’s friend’s wedding, I felt comfortable booking him for ours. We also used the same photographer, who was graciously very willing to work with our budget. I was relieved to get a very high-quality photographer, as that was my Number One priority for the wedding. The fact that he went to high school with Bryce probably didn’t hurt.
3. The ability to let it go
One thing that I have learned about myself during this whole shebang is that I am really good at making quick decisions. When I was in Greensboro over Christmas, there wasn’t a lot of time to tour venues, especially since a lot of them were closed for the holidays. And, being a Broke-Ass, thus not able to fly back and forth every weekend, I had to decide fast. I’ve also had to prioritize what parts of the wedding I need to have a hand in and what I can pass off to others. There are definitely certain personality types that this would NOT work for, so I recommend knowing if this is something you’re capable of doing before deciding to plan a wedding remotely.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist
So, just so you know, planning your wedding long-distance isn’t impossible. Make sure you have a great support system and realistic expectations, and you’ll be golden.
Are you planning a wedding from afar? What troubles are you running into?
Hey-yo! Welcome to the first edition of Ten for the Weekend! I don’t know about you all, but after a long week of working, I often have a strong urge to shop when Saturday and Sunday roll around. But, being a broke-ass, I tend to wince at busting out my debit card on full-price items. So, Ten for the Weekend aims to find 10 rockin’ deals for you, on anything from wedding-related items to office supplies to kitchen goods to cute new dresses. Here we go!
1. Poppin, one of my favorite sources for bright, fun office supplies, is offering 20-60% off select products at Poppin.com *Valid 4/01 – 4/30. No code necessary.
2. For all you lovers of the grape, The California Wine Club has a Buy 3 Months, Get 1 Free deal (a savings of about $53) going on for April only. Get your sip on!
3. Putting off getting your wedding underthings? Hourglass Angel is gonna help you out with that: During April, take 15%-25% off special occasion shapewear until the end of the month!
4. Drooling over some invites on Wedding Paper Divas that you just can’t live without? Good news! Score 25% off those beauties through April 8th using code WEDAPR25.
5. For the dudes in your life, whether it be your pops, bro or husbo-to-be, a good tie wardrobe is essential. Knock 12% off any size order at Ties.com. Use SPRING12 at checkout. Expires 4/30/2014.
6. Minted is celebrating six years of providing the world with beautiful stationery, and wants you to join in! Get 15% off anything and everything through Monday using code 6YEARS.
7. Score some sweet style from Ann Taylor. Their bridal line is to die for! Use code SPRINGUP at checkout to get 40% off your entire order.
8. If you’re itching to add some new life to your abode, C. Wonder has got your back. Take an additional 50% off items for your home!
9. Get cute, retro styling without hurting your wallet. Enjoy 10% Off Spring Favorites at Unique Vintage using code SPRING10. Ends 4/19/14. Shop now!
10. Obv. saving the best for last: Kate Spade’s Friends and Family deal is still going on! Score any designer duds (and way cute bridal gear) for 25% off through Sunday with S14FFUS.
Get your broke butts in gear and start some savvy shopping!!!
The Broke-Ass Bride is proud to partner with Brides Against Breast Cancer, turning gently used designer gowns into a beacon of hope in the worldwide fight against breast cancer. If you’d like to donate your gown, here’s how. If you’re in need of a gown, Brides Against Breast Cancer runs a nationwide tour of gowns, and you should most definitely check it out when it rolls into your town!
Your wedding stationery is the first impression anyone will get about your wedding: it will give them cues about what to expect from the evening (or morning, or afternoon) and how to dress appropriately. No matter what your style, from traditional to modern, rustic to preppy, black and white to bold color, you’re certain to find an invitation that suits your event and your budget at FineStationery.com.
At FineStationery.com, they’ve got designs from the most sought-after brands, like Kleinfeld Paper, Crane & Co, and Vera Wang, as well as up-and-comers like Jasmine & Woo; you’ll see designs you’ve never seen before, and won’t find anywhere else! Not ready to shop for wedding invitations yet? FineStationery.com also offers a huge selection of save the dates (including magnets!), party invitations, and couples stationery so flipping cute that I’d feel hard-pressed to actually mail it to anyone else. No matter your stationery needs, you owe it to yourself to pay a visit to FineStationery.com first! Plus, this week, everyone wins: BABs can save 10% on save the dates with FineStationery.com with the code LOVE10 from now through March 31st!
This week, one lucky BAB reader will win a $125 gift card to FineStationery.com! Want it bad? You can get an easy entry by subscribing to our bi-weekly newsletter! It’s packed with BAB-exclusive deals, contests, and the best the wedding web has to offer, and we’ll never spam ya!
Photo courtesy of Fleet Transportation
Is there a good way for saving on transportation for the wedding party to get to the venue? Our ceremony and reception are all in the same spot, and we just need pick up and drop off, really, but it looks like limo services don’t typically offer pick-up/drop off. It would be a waste (and super expensive) to have the drive wait in the parking lot for 4 hours. Any tips for unconventional ways to get everyone where they need to go?
The limo has failed me
There are several transportation options available to you. Alas, I don’t know where you live, so I can’t really tailor this to your geographic area. However, hopefully this will help regardless. The easiest option is to simply have the wedding party drive themselves. Obviously, though, this requires that there be designated drivers and eliminates the possibility of hanging out with one another on the way to and fro. Next up: Some form of public transit. This can range from a subway to a taxi to a trolley car. Get creative! This could lead to some really fantastic photo opportunities, and no one has to be sober enough to drive home. Or, if you’re in a city with either Lyft or Uber, that could also be a possibility. (Hey, you said I could be unconventional!) The final option – If you’re staying at a hotel, find out whether they have some sort of shuttle service. If you reserved a block of rooms, odds are you’ve brought them a decent amount of income, so they might be more likely to help you out.
I have a question regarding invites. I am getting married at a historical mansion in September. Dinner will be held in the main ballroom that seats just 70. When we first booked the venue we were planning on having a wedding under 70, but with the input of both sets of parents the number soon grew. The venue manager suggested that we move the kids into another room which we are planning on doing along with providing a babysitter. Kids will not have the option of sitting in the main ballroom as we now have 70 adults. My question is how do I word this on invitations that a babysitter will be provided and if you chose to bring your child they must eat dinner in the separate room? (The separate room will be immediately off the ballroom.) I’m worried that guests will bring their child and just plop them down in a chair next to them taking up another guests chair. Any advice will help! I love your column and thank you so much for your time!
I’m honestly not sure there is a good way to word this on your invitation, but there are other ways to communicate this information. If you’re having a wedding website, make sure to mention it there. Inform all of the VIPs (wedding party, parents, other immediate family) of the plan and ask them to spread the word. Or, if there aren’t too many of them on your guest list, just call each family with children and let them know that the size of the venue has dictated that this happen, and that you completely trust the babysitter you’ve hired. Also, stress that this is just for the dinner portion of the reception, and that their kids will be free to hit the dance floor when it opens up. And on the day of your wedding, make sure the kids have their own escort cards (which I’m betting they’ll absolutely love), directing them to the kids-only room. And for what it’s worth, I think this is a wonderful plan. The parents get to participate in an adult conversation, and the kids get to avoid being bored out of their minds and enjoy themselves, too.
What wedding-day transportation option did you utilize? And did you have a separate seating area for children at your wedding? Let us know in the comments how it worked out!
Photo courtesy of bridesmaiddressaleca
I need to find navy, knee-length, one-shoulder bridesmaid dresses. The catch – under $100 and something that stores carry. My maid of honor lives out of state and wants to try it on before she buys, and I totally agree! I’ve heard too many horror stories of online dresses not fitting right! Help me, please!
Bride Seeking Little Blue Dress
I will admit that this is a little outside of my bailiwick. However, I’m attempting to tackle it anyway in the hopes that my lovely readership will chime in with their suggestions.
After copious Googling, it seems like The Dessy Group might be your best bet. I’m not sure where your MOH lives, but they have an easy-to-use store finder and tons of stores. They also sell Alfred Sung, who offers a navy, knee-length, one-shoulder dress for $99.
And now, I’m going to be annoying. I know you said you wanted it to be sold in-store. However, Target now sells bridesmaid dresses. They are not sold in stores, BUT don’t stop reading! They’re affordable (most of them are around $70) and you can return them at Target stores, no questions asked. I actually purchased one a few weeks ago. It arrived super-quick, but it was a bit too small. I went to my local Target Guest Service counter, said “this doesn’t fit”, and they took it back, no further questions, full refund. Plus, if you have a Target REDcard (which is that whole “Would you like to save 5% at Target today” script you hear whenever you shop there), shipping is free. Your MOH could order a few in different sizes, see if anything fit, then return whatever she didn’t like. And they definitely have navy, knee-length, one-shoulder dresses for less than $100.
And now, valuable readers, please chime in! Do you have any recommendations for Blue? Tell us in the comments below where she should go for her ultimate bridesmaid dress!
Angela and Jay had their beautiful wedding in January of this year, incorporating meaningful locations, the support of their community, and some Arizona flair. Seriously, how cute are these cactus favors? It goes to show that you don’t need to spend $30,000 to have a beautiful, memorable wedding day…and since their family and friends were involved throughout, they were able to start their married lives feeling truly loved and blessed.
Names: Angela and Jay
Occupations: Angela- PhD Candidate, Cultural Anthropology, Jay: Video Game QA Lead, Red5 Studios
Wedding location: Phoenix, AZ (Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and the Science and Heritage Park)
Wedding date: 01-04-14
Wedding budget: Original $3000…..Actual $5000
Approximate guest count: 100
How would you describe your wedding? Laid-back, informal, with traditional aspects
What was your favorite part of your wedding? I loved getting to talk with all of my friends and family during the reception. I just wanted it to last forever.
What did you splurge on? The reception venue. We met on NYE 4 years ago at a bar owned by my husband’s friend. The venue is RIGHT behind it, so we both wanted to celebrate our marriage there, even though it was pretty expensive for our budget. It didn’t include much. It had a small catering kitchen and tables and chairs we could use. I also spent $444.00 on my wedding gown. I felt guilty for this, since Jay was wearing a suit he already owned. I REALLY wanted a simple white dress, off the rack. But I couldn’t find anything I liked. My mom made me go to a David’s Bridal one day and I found something that wasn’t too shiny and fancy for me. I hoped to sell it…but, then a friend burned a cigarette hole in it, and I spilled my beer on myself. I’m sure someone would still buy it…
What did you save on? Everything else!! The cake/cupcakes were made by my best friend from high school. I won a few bottles of champagne in an online contest. I cut out all the paper flag decorations with my mom. My brother bought decorations off Craigslist from a woman who had similar colors for her wedding (candles, cake plates, lights, lanterns). I bought all the servingware (bowls, trays, and tongs) at a dollar store. I didn’t want flowers at first, but my mom wasn’t having that. So I found 10 bouquets at Costco for $100. They doubled as bouquets for the bridespeople and table decorations. We gave small cacti as favors (only 50 of them) and my friend purchased them for me at cost ($1 per cactus) from his cousin who runs a nursery. We decided a build your own sandwich bar would be good instead of a caterer. It was very simple. We had sliced cheese, turkey and roast beef with condiments. We bought bolillo rolls from a Mexican bakery which was cheaper than the same rolls at Costco. I made three grain/pasta salads that were very very inexpensive. One was quinoa, one was a pasta salad, and one was Israeli couscous. The biggest saving was the alcohol. My husband’s friends who own the bar gave us free beer and wine! We also received free coffee due to a mixup at the coffee house. That was a nice surprise!
Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? I would have done two things differently. First I would have managed time better. We were married in a church service and since my husband is not Catholic, we didn’t have the full ceremony. In fact it only took 30 minutes. We had no idea it would be that quick! This meant that our guests had to wait about 2 hours between our ceremony and the reception. Since our reception was only a block from the church, most of our guests just headed to our friends’ bar for food and drinks. We had to set up the wedding while they did this. We decided to set up our own wedding to save money (of course!). Since we were early, the young men we had hired to set up the tables hadn’t gotten started yet. Everyone was stressed out and working hard. They wouldn’t let my husband or I do much, which was nice, but also frustrating.
The second thing I would have done differently is I would have hired a day-of coordinator. I would have just asked an old friend and paid her $50 or something. That way she could have fielded the 10,000 questions everyone had for me that day. The questions freaked me out because I really wasn’t very picky about how everything looked, but of course no one believed that. Most of the questions were related to the decorations.
What was your biggest challenge in planning? We had a few challenges. The biggest challenge was money. We don’t have a lot and everything really added up. I was in Washington teaching for the Summer and Fall semesters right before the wedding. So not only did Jay and I not get to see each other, but all of my planning was done through email and phone calls. I didn’t even see the church until the rehearsal dinner. Luckily we were familiar with the reception venue.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself?
1.Our families really care for us. When we needed help purchasing something they always came through and just gave us money. We didn’t abuse this privilege, however.
2. I wouldn’t have bought so much food. Lots of our friends who said they were coming didn’t show, so there were too many sandwiches. Also, we had made sure to tell people that we were only serving light food, and during that 2 hr break between wedding and reception, lots of our guests ate dinner. My mom ended up donating bread to a soup kitchen which was great, but it would have been better for us not to spend the money in the first place.
3.I also learned that dancing is not as important to other people as it is to me. I spend what seemed like weeks and weeks creating our playlist. It was nuts. I went from slower dancing at the beginning to all out party music at the end when everyone would have been drunk. Well, The only dances that happened were our first dance and the father/daughter dance. Everyone else just used the wedding as a way to catch up with old friends and family, which was lovely, but not what I had envisioned. I wish I’d not cared about the music so much.
What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?
1. Seeing friends and family that I hadn’t seen for years. I have lived in CA and WA for the last 4 years, so I’m out of touch with a lot of my Phoenix peeps. My husband is the same way. It was nice to have everyone together.
2. The cake and decorations! I really loved what I did. Yes it was simple, but it reflected us. We aren’t flashy people. I was really proud about the money I saved.
3. The help we received from friends and family. They worked so hard and the night of the reception I felt really very guilty for it. I saw my mom running around putting lunch meat on platters and making a veggie tray. My bridespeople and other friends all helped immensely with various food and decorations. It made me feel awful at the time, but everyone says it wasn’t a problem and that they had a good time. Also, it made me feel very loved.
4. Wine and beer! Not only was it free, but it helped both me and my fiance loosen up a bit.
5. Getting to celebrate our commitment to each other in front of all our friends and family. Although Jay and I have been committed to our relationship for a while, it felt good to share that with everyone else. Everyone was really happy for us, and that felt great!
Top 5 least favorite?
1. I didn’t like the music at the wedding ceremony, but it wasn’t a big deal. It was just boring church music that didn’t really fit the wedding.
2. My fiance was nervous and I didn’t know how to cheer him up. He didn’t smile once during the service and his hand was sweaty when I met him at the altar. I felt like I was failing him by not creating a happy wedding. He finally loosened up at the reception after we cut the cake….. about 3 hrs in…
3. I don’t have a picture of my parents walking me down the aisle.
4. Friends and Family who said they were coming that did not show up.
6. We only paid for a 3 hour reception. I wanted it to last at least 2 hours longer into the evening. We did all move over to the bar, but my fiance and I didn’t stay as late as our guests. I guess that was probably a good thing!
What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? I didn’t have any bad advice, just a LOT of judgement from others. When you tell people that you are getting married, suddenly everyone has an opinion on things. (tablecloths, flowers, food, “You HAVE to have the Chicken Dance!”, etc.) That was a little annoying at first, then a lot annoying. Also, I really thought that our relationship would somehow grow deeper at a profound level after getting married. It didn’t. I still feel the same love for him that I felt before the wedding. Although there are times when I think “Wow, that was a whole fiasco, wasn’t it? Getting married in a church when neither of us are religious, having a fancy white dress, registering for gifts, etc. I can’t believe he loves me SO much that he would do it all and not complain once.”
The best? A few friends told me “Do what you want and try not to listen to other people.” and “This is about a marriage, not about a wedding.”
Any other bits of wisdom? Just have fun on your wedding day! Soak it all in and try to remember everything. Smile and say thank you as much as possible. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Venue (4 hour rental, includes a $500 refundable deposit): $1645.00
Security (We had to hire an off-duty cop for the venue.): $120
Marriage License: $107.00
City Fees (sound permit, alcohol permit): $38.00
Food,cups/napkins (Costco, regular supermarket, Mexican Bakery): $423.00
Sparkbooth (only 5-6 guests used this…I could have skipped it.): $55.00
Stereo speaker rental (we borrowed a few from friends too): $80.00
Vistaprint invitations w/postage(we emailed most people but sent out 60): $61.50
Dress (David’s Bridal): $444.99
Shoes/Veil (DSW Outlet and Claire’s Workshop ): $52.30
Church marriage prep: $350.00
Hair (The Root Salon)$65.00
Bouquet (made by a friend who does this as a small side business): $100.00
Rings (I used my grandmother’s but it needed a few prong repairs. I traded in some gold to help pay for that. We bought a stainless steel one onAmazon for Jay for the ceremony. He got a tattoo of his ring because he doesn’t like jewelry): $210.00
Hotel room for wedding night ( Sheraton Phoenix Downtown ): $112.00
Free items: Cake/cupcakes, alcohol, tables/chairs were included with rental, extra help setting up was a gift from BIL’s girlfriend, Church fees were paid by my parents (because they wanted the church wedding), Coffee (there was a mix-up at the coffeeshop, so we got it for free!), and FIL paid for the rehearsal dinner.
I just discovered The Broke Ass Bride and I’m happy. I really needed a website like this. My fiance and I had been together for 7 years, lived together for 4 and have a 3 year old son. We got engaged last October and are planning our wedding for next December. The problem is it is really going to be a low budget wedding. Most of everything, including my dress, the catering, flowers, the music, the photographer, the cake, some decoration, and even the alcohol has been covered by relatives since my fiance’s family is extremely close and really love throwing parties and helping each other in every way, including economically.
The problem is this: my family is big, my fiance’s family is huge. After taking out every single person that does not HAVE to be there, our guest list is 205 people. My fiance and I have been facing a hard time economically, which happened after we started planning and set a date, so we didn’t know we were going to have money problems. This is causing us to have a very hard time paying for a venue and we may not have a honeymoon right away. We will also need money for decorations, his tuxedo rental, and my dress accessories and alterations. A LOT of people have been telling us that if we need anything we should just say so because THEY WILL help with something for the wedding, but they don’t come asking what we need or offering anything. However, we need that help now or otherwise we will miss the venue due to availability. Plus, some relatives have made arrangements already to spend the holidays here because of the wedding.
We are trying to decide if we should write a note politely asking for help with the wedding planning instead of wedding gifts, since we don’t need anything for our home. The only thing we need is help for the wedding, be it money or other kind of help. I have read that it is always wrong to ask for money; that if I don’t have it, I shouldn’t be celebrating the wedding. I don’t want a big wedding. Right now, everything I need for the wedding to happen is the money for the venue.
What should I do? This is really stressing me out. Your response would really be a blessing.
Thank you very much!!
No Money For Venue
It sounds like your main struggle right now is finding money for the venue you want. Is this particular venue nonnegotiable? If you haven’t considered all of your options, including finding a less expensive venue, do that first. If that venue is the only one that will work in your area, then you should talk to your fiance’s family. Since they’ve already offered money for various aspects of the wedding, ask if some of that money could be transferred to paying for the cost of the venue, especially if you have your heart set on a particular place. If they’re amenable to that option, then work on decreasing the cost of the other things they were going to pay for. Find a less expensive dress. Downscale on flowers and use only things in season. Talk to your caterer about ways to make the menu less expensive. Hire a more affordable DJ (or do an iPod reception) and photographer.
Once you’ve done all that, realize that it’s extremely unlikely that everyone on the invite list will attend. You said that you don’t want a big wedding. I’m not sure what constitutes “big” to you. While I don’t think that your invite list of 205 will ever turn into a 15-person super-intimate ceremony, I also don’t think that you’ll truly have 205 guests. Obviously, though, if you can cut the invite list, it will make other things more affordable, what with fewer meals, tables, chairs, centerpieces, etc. If you cannot cut the list, though, prepare to cut everything else, as referenced in the previous paragraph.
Speaking of invitees … some of them have offered to help. Take them up on it! When it comes to weddings, people want to help, but they need to know what you want. It’s extraordinarily unlikely that anyone will come up to you and say, “You know, I really want to do [x] to help with your wedding.” Instead, they make general offers of assistance, and it’s up to you to take the next step. Figure out some ways they could help – put the crafty ones to work on making decorations, have your seamstress friend help with dress alterations, tell the friend who makes jewelery what you want in regards to accessories and let her run wild – and give them specific tasks. The key here is that you have to actually ask them to help and give them achievable jobs.
You mentioned that you might not be able to afford a honeymoon right away. While it sucks, this is not the end of the world. I would suggest doing some sort of mini-moon; maybe see if there’s an affordable nearby bed and breakfast that you could escape to for a couple of days immediately after the wedding. And then, on your one-year-anniversary, take a bigger trip.
As for asking for money – I agree that writing a letter and explicitly asking for money is a no-go. However, there are plenty of registries out there now that let you ask for cash. We actually did a post recently about Present Value, which you should check out. I think something like that could serve you quite well.
Have you had friends or family offer to help? Did you take them up on it? How did it go? Tell me about it in the comments below!