Spring is upon us, BABs, and you know what that means: wedding season is just around the corner! In honor of this fabulous time of year, I reached out to some of my favorite former BABs to ask them for their tried-and-true wedding planning advice. Every bride’s wants and needs are different, and it really shows in their answers. Needless to say, each one of them gives great advice!
Erin & Eric: Northampton Country Club, 6/14/2014
What is something you splurged on? I was honored and blessed to have an opportunity to wear my mom’s wedding dress. It ended up being the project that never ended, with the small tweaks and additions rapidly adding cost to the bottom line. I would never dream of changing a thing and I truly believe that it turned out perfect, however, it did end up going way over my originally estimated budget. I’m glad its the “something I splurged on.” I hope the dress will be considered a worthy option for future generations in my family.
Did you skimp on anything? What and why? I wouldn’t qualify this as “skimping,” but I ended up choosing a venue that was all-inclusive. My original vision was a venue that allowed for the selection of my own caterer, decorations, etc. However, I quickly learned that the a la carte wedding can be quite pricey.
Is there anything you wish you had spent less money on, or tossed out all together? I wish I would have done my own makeup. The makeup artist I hired was lovely, but I ended up wiping off quite a bit of the makeup after she was finished. I read all the articles but for some reason the desire to up the ante for my wedding trumped my common sense. I also spent stupid money on robes for myself and my bridesmaids. It was part of the gift I gave to each of my bridesmaids, but I doubt any of us have ever worn them since my wedding. They sure looked cute in pictures though!
Do you have any money-saving tips when it comes to wedding planning? Take advantage of personal connections. My in-laws had a close friend who was a florist who was just starting to do weddings. Due to her recent entry to the industry and relationship to my husband, she kept mark-ups low and went above and beyond in many ways. I had 180 guests at my wedding. The “display” cakes at my reception only had 60 servings. The rest were in sheet cakes that were kept in the kitchen. You wouldn’t believe how much this cuts down on cost!
Corrie & Jim: Spring Mill Manor, 10/4/2014
What is something you splurged on? I really splurged on the photographer because of a problem I had early on in planning. I had signed a contract with a company for a photographer and videographer. The package came with free engagement photos, however, the session was rushed and I wasn’t happy with how they came out. And to top it off, the session wasn’t free! I was offered two 8x10s for free and the rest of the package was over $650, a lot for someone who is planning a wedding and did not budget for that extra session. As it turned out, I absolutely loved working with Lynda Berry Photography, who ended up doing my wedding. It was totally worth every cent! I can’t stop looking at these beautiful, Pinterest-worthy pictures.
Did you skimp on anything? What and why? We didn’t skimp out on much due to the financial help from my parents. One thing I wanted and wound up turning down was having a calligrapher do my invitations. I’m not sure why people spend money on that.
Is there anything you wish you had spent less money on, or tossed out all together? I wish we would have spent less money on DIY items. For example, the centerpieces were made up of silk flowers by my mom, my sisters and myself. By the time we had finished with the centerpieces and made many, many runs to the craft store, they ended up costing us way more than if we would have just paid the florist to create our centerpieces.
Do you have any money-saving tips when it comes to wedding planning? I would say plan far in advance so you have time to save up or pay for things as you go without taking too much of a hit. Also, I would suggest picking the top two or three things that mean the most to you and make sure you have budgeted enough to spend what you want on those items.
Any other advice for brides? I found that when you look back on the day, it’s a blur. You don’t remember the details and it’s probably better that way. There are probably a bunch of little things that went wrong or you would have changed, but on that day, none of it really matters. So don’t drive yourself crazy — you only get to be a first-time bride once, so enjoy every single crazy second!
Meridith & Kyle: Fonthill Castle, 10/5/2013
What is something you splurged on? My own personal beauty prep. I really embodied the nature of “treat yo’ self.” I got custom nail art in NYC to match my decor, had a facial and wax, had my makeup/hair done for my shower, had individual eyelash extensions — the works! I felt that it was the only time in my life that I had to be the center of attention and I wanted to be the best “version of myself,” if you will.
Did you skimp on anything? What and why? I only spent $20 on shoes for two reasons. 1) I was wearing flats because of my height. 2) my dress totally covered my feet so they couldn’t be seen anyway. We also opted out of a cake and had friends and family bake and make various desserts for a sweets table. Our guests were able to grab a cookie here and there and keep dancing! Last, we did not provide transportation for our guest after the wedding. Our ceremony and reception were on the same site and I had it in my head that we needed to be responsible for everyone getting back to their respective hotels when the night was over. I went so far as to price out school busses, but the costs were outrageous. In the end, I has to trust that my guests were responsible adults and that they take care of themselves after taking the time to celebrate with us.
Is there anything you wish you had spent less money on, or tossed out all together? I (via my mom) impulsively spent way too much money on a custom veil. I fell for the famous rookie move where the seamstress put a veil on my head at my fitting and then I just had to have it. It’s still one of my favorite things from my wedding and the photos are beautiful, but I could have been smarter in my choice.
Do you have any money-saving tips when it comes to wedding planning? Despite my aforementioned veil story, my advice would be to avoid snap decisions unless you’re really sure. The first dress I tried on was the one I chose — I just knew and was ready to pull the trigger. I think trusting your gut on things that feel right doing the due-diligence to research and educate yourself on other things creates a good balance in wedding planning. It’s different for everyone. You may have something that you just can’t live without and it could be totally impractical, but it’s your day, and if you can juggle the budget to squeeze it in, I say go for it. Also, if you can, avoid anything custom! Personalization, “made to order,” catered to you = big bucks. There are ways to bring in your wedding theme or your personal touch without adding monograms to everything.
Any other advice for brides? Have the best day. You will probably never again be in one place with literally every person you love most in the world. Everyone is so happy for you and it’s like being wrapped up in a big blanket of happiness. And you will notice things that go wrong or didn’t pan out the way you wanted them to, but you won’t even care. If you have to, spend a few minutes of your honeymoon venting to your new husband about how the champagne was flat and they forgot someone’s vegetarian entree. When you’re wearing the dress, in a circle of all of your favorite people, screaming your lungs out to your favorite song, never stop dancing.