An ongoing list of tips referred to in the oh amy, dear! blog. Before getting started, don’t forget to check out our wedding acronyms.
#1 – The first thing I learned is that when you get engaged, all the usual suspects (the Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, even Brides magazine) will tell you that most people spend upwards of $20,000 on a wedding. So I recommend a book that debunks that myth from top to bottom – “Bridal Bargains” – only $8.97 on Amazon.
#2 – Then I learned that when they say you’ll spend more than you thought you would, they were right. Plan accordingly – things will cost more than you think they will. But that doesn’t mean they have to be outrageous. Build in wiggle room, even if it’s just a few hundred dollars. And try to overestimate. That way when some things cost less, they’ll help out with the things that cost more.
#3 – But even when paying a little more on things, don’t let the television shame you! We are real brides – not the ones in fairy tales – so we know we have to keep to a budget. As my fiance told me the other day, “a budget isn’t an option – it’s a have-to!” We don’t want to go into debt to pay for one day, but we also want to get through a beautiful experience and wedding without being insulted and shamed while doing so.
#4 – Want to make your wedding a horrible experience? Try to do it all yourself. Delegation is key to you not losing your mind while planning a memorable wedding. And if help is offered (as long as it is good help), take it. Learn how to say no graciously, but if someone else can do as good a job on something as you can, let them do it. Save your energy for what you’re really good at.
#5 – Cheap doesn’t always equal crappy. You can find wonderful dresses at low(er) prices and still get the quality you want – if you look for it. Budget brides trade prices for hard work, so expect to have to look a little. It’ll be worth it in the end when you have the satisfaction of knowing you look great and you didn’t break the bank to do so!
#6 – No matter how many you go to, make sure you make the most of every bridal show you attend. Bring a friend, be energetic and open-minded, and be prepared to get too much information! And always research the show online to know which vendors will be there, what their policies are, and if there are any pre-registration extras. By pre-registering for both bridal shows I’ve attended to date, I received small and some larger bonuses. Never hurts to be prepared!
#7 – Enter every drawing you can, but be prepared to keep your cool if you win. Before you get too excited about your huge discount or free rental, do your homework. Will this cost you extra? Will this change your plans entirely? What are the catches? What does the contract look like? When do you need to sign? What does it mean if you say yes? All of these questions need to cross your mind before agreeing. Just be smart about it!
#8 – Something you don’t have to worry about too much is freebies! Are you going to be doing a lot of DIY projects for your wedding? It’s always a good idea to start off with a sample or a few rough drafts before you commit to gluing the official whatever-you’re-making. I recommend checking out various online (or local) vendors to see which offer free samples of their products. You can use it to springboard your own project or get additional ideas of what looks better together in real life.
#9 – Are you planning a fall wedding on the day of the big game? Make sure you plan your wedding date for a day that works for you and your FI but also keeps in mind other calendar commitments. Are you huge Yankees fans? Maybe avoid playoff dates. Are you like me and love college football? Saturdays in the fall can be tough to work around. Or is your family just really into being at a certain place for the holidays? Avoid typical federal holiday dates and weekends.
#10 – When taking care of details and working with vendors, always trust your intuition. If even the smallest part of your brain says “I should check in with them,” do it! Taking just a few minutes to call them up and confirm an appointment time or detail you ordered will save yourself stress, worry, and wasted time. It can even help you discover mistakes that happened before they become much bigger problems.
#11 – Saving on and for a wedding means saving in other areas of your life as well. Coupons are as mainstream as anything nowadays, and you should be using them to your advantage every you time you go to the store. Check out my tips for successful couponing and resources to use to help you on your way to savings!
Stay tuned for more!