Is Tessa the Ultimate Budget Savvy Bride? You be the judge!

How am I not planning on saving some cash for my wedding would be the more accurate question. Since my fiancé and I are simultaneously trying to buy a house and plan a wedding, you could say that finances are a bit tight at the moment. This is further complicated by the fact that my dad lost his job and so there goes the food budget as my parents had previously offered to pay for feeding people.

My sneaky strategy for saving money is to have our wedding two hours from my hometown at my aunt’s property. Oh, and did I mention that this is a camping wedding? Since I have no choice but to invite my 19 aunts & uncles, my 27 first cousins (not to mention their spouses and kids), and we would like to be able to invite a couple of friends, my dream of a small wedding went right out the window. Tony and I both love going to my aunt’s property for holiday weekends to camp and swim in the pond and we realized that only those people who really want to be with us on our wedding day will be willing to brave the outdoors and the outhouses.

The upside is that it will save money on food and beverages and we will know which family members actually enjoy our company. Another budget saver of camping is that we can have a destination wedding on the cheap. While I am sure that not all of our guests will camp, a bunch of them will and that will guarantee them free lodging. Oh and did I mention that this means the venue can be had for the price of a few rentals like tents, tables, chairs, and a couple more outhouses?

Another way we plan on saving money is to utilize my mad baking skills instead of buying a fancy cake. I plan on baking pies and cookies to have a dessert table which will both save money and likely taste better than frosting melted in the summer heat. I also lucked out in that my best friend is a professional make-up artist and has agreed to do make-up for the whole wedding party for free. My cousin is a hair dresser and I am going to have her do my hair for free as well. Not to mention that my minister is the make-up artist/best friend’s dad and he offered to marry us. Tony works for a printer and so he is going to print up our wedding invitations at work for free because that printer ink is expensive.

Since I am a librarian, we are having a book theme running through the wedding and will be using a bunch of paperbacks that I got for free as decorations and wedding favors. I told my skeptical mother that it is called recycling. I am going to use a friend’s vintage typewriter as our guestbook. We are making our STDs out of library date due cards and a photographer friend is taking our engagement pictures for free which we plan to include with the STDs. I am also flirting with the idea of sewing my own wedding dress, but this thought terrifies me as well. My mom offered to grow a bunch of sunflowers and wildflowers in her garden to use for wedding flowers. We are DJ-ing our own wedding with my iPod and providing other entertainment in the form or lawn games and swimming.

The best advice I can give to other brides who are trying to have a great wedding on a budget is to realistically plan things out before you start them. It always takes longer to make things than you think it will and sometimes can cost just as much as if you had bought things pre-made. It also pays to ask for specific help. Your loved ones want to help you, they just aren’t sure how and so some polite direction will make everyone’s lives easier. It also is important to create firm boundaries with your immediate family. I, personally, do not care about wedding colors but that does not stop my mother (and everyone else) from constantly asking me what they will be. Apparently I am the only bride in Michigan who doesn’t want a color scheme? But it also pays to listen to others, especially when they know what they are talking about.

And coupons. Don’t forget to ask everyone you know to save the JoAnn’s and Michael’s coupons from the Sunday paper. You can also sign up online to get them sent to you both in the mail and online. We bought our invitations with coupons and I plan on buying my Thank You cards the same way. You also should ask around to people who got married in the last ten years as chances are they probably still have their vases, silk flowers, or glass beads in their basements which they will gladly donate to you to get them out of the house. People love weddings and so you should not be afraid to ask for help or help in finding supplies. As long as you stay true to yourselves and don’t go into hock to pay for it, your wedding will be memorable and that is what matters.

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