A DIY Wedding Guide for the Frugal Bride: Part One - By Amanda Dougherty

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Planning your wedding can be overwhelming with so many options and things to consider. An easy approach to save money is to have a Do-It-Yourself wedding! Your wedding can be just as memorable and elegant without breaking the bank. This is the approach I took and I couldn't have been happier with how everything turned out. I planned my wedding in a little over a month and spent less then $3000! The tips I have to give are good for the couple who want a more untraditional and affordable option for their wedding day.

1. Planning -

First and foremost, with any type of wedding, the planning is crucial. Even more so with a DIY wedding because you are the one in charge of all the details and making sure they turn out how you envision them to be. I had several lists going at all times and added and checked off even the most minor details. To stay as frugal as possible, research and more research is your best friend. Have a list of what you want for your day and then shop around constantly and compare prices. I made a folder to keep track of all the websites I visited with the prices for the items I wanted. I would then obviously, go with the best deal. Another fantastic way to save money is to ask for wedding help from family and friends, instead of wedding gifts. This is what I did and I saved a ton of money. Your close friends and family will want to help so don't be afraid to ask! In my case, one relative bought the cake, another paid for the tent since it was an outside wedding, another paid for a few nights stay at a Bed and Breakfast, and a close friend supplied some wine and champagne for the reception. We also had some close friends be our photographers. The one area I would not skimp on is the Wedding Videographer. You can make the best of the photos but the one thing a friend can't be is a professional videographer. Your day goes by in a blur and that video then becomes an essential part in being able to relive that special day and those memories in a way that a still picture can not.


2. Invitations -

Obviously, the best way to save money is to keep the guest list reasonable. I had about 60 people at my wedding. Start your list off with all essential family members and then go from there. You may not be able to include absolutely everyone you know and that's alright! For my invitations, I took the really inexpensive route called FREE by using Evite.com. I know, you might be cringing at this, and I understand. I definitely would have done more formal invitations if I had the time and the money, which I had neither. Like I said, I planned the wedding in a month and for me it was more important to get married and be happy, then to wait longer and have fancy invitations. Either way, they did the trick and it worked out just fine! Instant money saver and you will save some trees!

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3. The Dress & The Prep -

For me, spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a dress you will only wear once just did not make sense. I had a certain style in mind and I searched online Clearance Sales until I found it. Also, the more casual and simple you keep your wedding, the more casual and simple you can keep your dress. My dress plus alterations ended up costing less then $200. Since I was having a beach wedding, I didn't have to worry about spending money on fancy shoes. I found a cute pair of flip flops online that said "Just Married" on the bottoms that made imprints in the sand when I walked. They also made for a great photo op and cost only $10! I also kept my jewelry very simple and wore what I already owned. Always feel free to ask to borrow jewelry as well. I did splurge and get a manicure and pedicure. I did my own makeup, but I did pay to have my hair professionally done. Make sure you research hair styles and go into the salon with a picture of exactly what you want! To keep the cost down for my bridesmaids as well, I decided I wanted them to definitely wear black dresses, but I let them pick out whatever style they wanted. This ensured they were comfortable with the dress and comfortable with the money they spent on it.

 

In my next two blogs, I'll discuss the details for my ceremony and reception. I'll talk about what I did, how I did it and how I saved even more money! In essence, you don't have to spend a ton of money to make your wedding day special. After all, it's about the special little moments and the overall outcome. Your wedding day shouldn't be a stressful time. It's a time for happiness and love and by making your wedding day affordable, it will alleviate some of that stress and allow you to have the experience you deserve! I'm looking forward to sharing more advice and tips with you and I hope they will help make your day as memorable as mine was!