How to have it all on a budget | Real Hindsight Advice
This perfectionist DIY bride figured out how to have it all. She had a clear vision in her head and realized it by bargain hunting, buying a gently used designer wedding gown, and staying true to her style and personality. But the real secret to having it all is to control your stress levels. Did Tracy stress about guest seating and the budget. You bet! But she had the wedding she wanted and is here with some powerful hindsight advice about what to focus on, what to let go of, and what not to worry about.
From the photographer:
This was a beautiful fall wedding in Asheville, NC. Almost all of the details were DIY, and centered around an autumn and halloween theme. Gorgeous mountains were outside the church and provided a stunning backdrop for the couple's portraits.
Glad I did:
- I was amazed when looking on bridal websites how many brides there were that had more than one wedding dress. Some would be selling one because they found another they loved, some couldn't decide between two or three. I decided I was going to try to find a gently used wedding dress and went in search for one in Atlanta, Georgia. The second place I went to that carried used and last season's new dresses, I found my Maggie Sotero dress in my size, an older design, never worn for the bargain price of $150. I had also decided that when I found my dress, and especially purchased one, I would not look at another dress. I stuck to that and am so glad I did!
- One of the main things I told my cousin, who got married a year before me during her wedding planning, was no one remembers the details we stress about. When you attend a wedding you remember the bride looking beautiful (she always does), the food being either good or bad and whether you had a good time. So when I found myself spending too much time on how the napkins where folded, I remembered this, picked the easiest fold and moved on to the next detail. Thinking about it right now, I can't remember how I folded the napkins!
- At the beginning of our wedding planning, my fiancee' and I decided we were paying for the wedding ourselves and we were going to make it reflective of who we are. We decided on our favorite foods (pork ( him,) turkey – (me,) macaroni and cheese, green beans, cornbread and salad). The music – our favorite; the shoes – fun; sparklers, etc. I'm so glad we didn't listen to all the suggestions – some worked, but some just weren't us.
- We think we are generally fun people, so wanted our day to be fun and relaxed. We went with a simple ceremony, a fun dance when we walked out, a photobooth and silliness when we could fit it in and it be appropriate. I can't tell you how many people have made comments about how our wedding was the most fun they have had in a long time. I'm so glad we went with a casual, fun day versus a more formal event. Again, it just wouldn't have been reflective of who we are.
- Probably 90% of our wedding was Do-it-Yourself stuff. I'm very particular and like every bride have a specific idea in my head. I found the best way to make that happen was to do it myself. This ended up being cheaper and I got the exact look and color that I wanted and imagined. I also found in getting help from my fiancee', my daughter and friends, I was spending time with people when I might have been too busy otherwise. Another great bonus was my 11 year old helped in so many ways and it was a great lesson for her. Not only are there other ways to get things other than buying them, but after all that hard work from both of us, to see her face when the room was ready, and then to hear so many people have so many positive comments, showed her a great life lesson about hard work.
- The addition, a photobooth was something not originally planned or in the budget, but when I saw it at a Bridal show, I loved it and when I showed my fiancee', he did as well. We knew we had to have it! It was the most expensive thing, but getting props and dress-up items at yard sales and on sale helped a lot. It was the hit of the night and pretty much everyone who attended our wedding. When we visit, guests' houses, many have a photobooth picture on the fridge. We did the scrapbook with a copy of everyone's picture and love looking through it and have so much fun laughing at their pictures and notes. It was well worth it!
- Due to my work schedule and the cruise schedule, we got married on a Sunday and left for our honeymoon the following Friday. I wasn't sure how that would work, but when it happened, it was great. We got some downtime in between; time to decompress and process the day; and time to gear up for the honeymoon. Because so much was DIY – we had time to move everything back home and put it away, pack and get things in order to be gone for a week without feeling overwhelmed. The wedding day was such a buildup and it was over so quickly. I loved having the buildup again for the honeymoon. Plus, with having a week in between, we got to hear everyone's comments about the wedding while it was still fresh in their minds!
3 things I wish we had done:
- I wish we had taken one of the pictures where my husband and I were jumping in the air. I meant to ask the photograher and I forgot, but I see those types of pictures and think they are cool. I got amazing pictures, so it doesn't matter in the big scheme, but wish I had written it down!
- I wish I had paid for a videographer versus having a friend film it. That was great to have, but we didn't get as good of footage as I wished. It all goes by so fast, it would have been nice to look at a video in addition to the photos.
- I knew ahead of time this would happen, but it still snuck up on me. The day went by so fast and I was so busy, I wish I had somehow figured out a way to slow down and appreciate all that was going on. I'm glad it was the way it was – by us doing so much work ourselves it kept me busy and the day flew by, but during those times of working and setting up, I wish I had taken a minute and stepped back and looked at the space transforming itself and all our amazing friends and family who were helping make it happen.
3 things I wish we hadn't done:
- I wish I hadn't purchased heels! I got them for a steal, so did, but also had flats as a backup and ended up wearing them the whole night! I'm not a heel girl, so knew I'd be more comfortable in flats, so should have stuck with what I knew I would do instead of trying to wear something I'm not comfortable in!
- Focused so much on having an even number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. For a O.C.D. person, having things even is important. Looking back, I probably pressured my fiancee' into having more groomsmen than he might have wanted just to even it up with my bridesmaids. In the end, I wish we would have picked people that we wanted and ones who we knew would be in our lives forever instead. For the most part we did, but when it came down to it, I wanted an even amount of guys an gals.
- Been so worried about the rehearsal dinner. In the end, I had no control over it. The amount of time I spent worrying was a huge waste of time and an emotional black hole. I was responsible for the wedding and wish I had focused strictly on that. In the end, everything was great and everyone enjoyed it.
3 things I wish I hadn't worried about:
- Everything getting done. We were using our church, so we had a window of about 7 hours to turn a bland huge room into what I imagined in my head. This meant coordinating many schedules. My fiancee' and guys had to do the manual and big stuff first. Then the girls and I had to make it look pretty. Everything had to be brought in and set up and that meant a lot of worrying for someone who likes things perfect. My fiancee' kept saying “Don't worry”, but I did. I wish I had chilled out a little, because in the end it all got done.
- I wish I hadn't worried so much about table assignments. I know in some instances it's needed and it probably was in my case, but in the end if people were unhappy where they were sitting, they moved.
- Everyone worries about a budget and I spent my fair share of time worrying about it also. Looking back, I wish I hadn't. It luckily wasn't the cause of any fights between my fiancee' and I, but I did get stressed. In the end, there was enough money to pay for everything and if there wasn't, I cut something. I bargain shopped as much as I could, bartered for a couple of things (including the food!), asked friends for help, and made as much as I could make. Those things helped out tremendously and it ended up being reflective of us, fun and within budget!
Best hindsight advice:
It's amazing how many comments, suggestions and pieces of advice you get as a bride. It gets overwhelming quick. I'd say stay true to yourselves and what you want. At the end of the day no one will remember what flowers were on the tables, how the cake was decorated or what color the grooms tie was. People will remember the fun they had and the love you guys shared. When it comes down to it you are marrying your best friend and the rest is just a background. Have fun, be yourself, love the one you are with and let everything else go in one ear and out the other!
- Photography: Alison Frank Photography
- Venue: Covenant Community UMC
- Submitted through Two Bright Lights