Photo by: Inspire Photography
“The mountains are calling and I must go.” If you are a nature lover looking for wedding inspiration in the great outdoors, a mountain wedding can surely encompass a raw natural beauty guaranteed to take one’s breath away, and your guests will be given the chance to experience a majestic wonder that can’t be found in a traditional setting. To add more mountain flavor to your big day, there are many natural inspired elements to choose from that can be incorporated in your celebration, from the style of your invitations to reception favors and more. It’s also likely to be a little more gentle on your wallet as a beautiful, natural backdrop requires far less from your budget spent on decorations! You may even consider your guests seated on hay bales or rustic, wooden chairs! Now that we’ve mentioned a budget, let’s talk about other areas where you can be more thrifty and save!
Photography. If you are like most newly engaged couples, you may want to capture the proposal with a beautiful spread of photos that encapsulates the love between the future Mr. and Mrs.…but how can you do this on a budget? Here are several tips to consider: when selecting your wedding photographer, see if they will include engagement pictures in your full wedding package. Secondly, and the option that is more likely to be budget-friendly, is to call on a friend or a family member who loves to do photography as a hobby. For engagement photos, they will probably charge you less, or nothing at all, and, truth is, when being photographed by someone you already know, you’re more likely to be at ease and more comfortable in your finished photos! For the photography on your big day itself, consider opting for a package that does not include printed photos or an album. Paying just for the digital images will give you the flexibility of printing your own album and photos later at a fraction of the price. If your photographer charges by the hour, consider booking him or her for a set number of hours that includes all your special moments instead of a full day. Put disposable cameras on your reception tables and have guests snap your candids. This will not only save you on additional expense, but will be fun to look back on after the festivities have passed!
Dresses and Suits: Let’s face it this is probably one of the biggest items that a bride looks forward to purchasing, but it’s also one of the more sizable items in a wedding budget. But guess what?! It doesn’t have to be! I can still remember the day I purchased my own wedding gown. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I had an hour lunch break. On a whim, I asked a co-worker who also happened to be one of my dearest friends, to check out a new thrift store that had opened up just down the street from our office. We quickly stuffed our lunch down our throats and headed out to the thrift store, and, upon walking in, discovered they had a wide selection of beautiful, vintage wedding dresses! Within 30 minutes, I had found my wedding gown and walked out after paying just $100 for it! While it did require some minimal alterations, the total cost to me came out to less than $195, so even with the tailoring, the added cost was still much less than buying a new dress…and it was classy and elegant…exactly what I was looking for! You can also find affordable wedding dresses online if you visit eBay or explore Etsy for affordable originals, and there are places where you can rent a gown or suit, too!
Your Menu. Opt for a bountiful buffet which will cut down on staffing costs, or serve just one meat entrée. Pasta dishes or even a pasta bar are generally big crowd pleasers and wallet-friendly, or ditch it all and serve pizza with a few choice toppings. If you want to be a little more unconventional, one of the most memorable weddings I attended several years ago was in the morning, immediately followed by a brunch reception that included a waffle bar, mimosas and an omelet station!
Dessert. While the traditional wedding cake with all the bells and whistles is still and may likely always be most popular, why not try something a little more unique? Cupcakes on a tiered stand – it gives the illusion of a multi-level wedding cake, but is likely to be more economical and won’t require having someone on hand to cut it into pieces and distribute to guests. For something even more different, how about a s’mores bar or an ice cream bar? This is a great place to save without sacrificing quality and could add an extra component of fun to your reception. However, if your heart is set on that traditional, tiered wedding cake, here are a few things to keep in mind: buttercream is less pricey than fondant, and a bare or lightly frosted cake with fresh flowers can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of sugar flowers.
Bouquets and floral decorations. Less flowers, more greenery. You’ll add a lot of size and texture if you add more greenery to your bouquet, while simultaneously cutting back on the overall cost..,and who says you need flowers in your bouquets, anyway? Don’t underestimate the beauty of lush, green leaves because it can make an enchanting statement all on its own! As a non-floral alternative, some brides may wish to carry lanterns, a prayer book or Bible along with just a single bloom. Enhance your table settings with tall candelabras or, if you are set on decorating with flowers, use locally sourced, in-season stems when you can. Talk with your florist about trading expensive buds for more affordable varieties. Historically, chrysanthemums, cosmos, daisies, dahlias or carnations come with the least cost. Single stems in clusters of bud vases, while seemingly simple, can still look quite dramatic and formal without breaking the bank.
Cocktails. Serve a signature drink or two instead of a full open bar, or, if beer and wine is non-negotiable for you, then head to Costco and load up!
These are just a few of the ways in which you can have a marvelous wedding without going into debt. Honestly, if you are creative and willing to step out of the box, there are many other ways in which you can plan and execute the most beautiful day of your life and still have funds to spare. Most importantly, don’t get so caught up and stressed out in all the planning that you forget to live. Planning can consume every conversation, but it’s necessary to take a break just to enjoy each other’s company without wedding talk. It’s so important to stay connected during your engagement, so don’t stop dating your fiancé! Take ‘time outs’ from wedding planning, but don’t wait until the last minute – delegate tasks to a trusted family member or friend, if possible. Do something new together and remember what brought you together!