With a to-do list as long as a novel, how could one piece of advice dramatically change how prepared I was for my wedding?
Like all brides-to-be, I spent a lot of time planning for that big day. It is so easy with all those details to overlook what truly matters. However, this piece of advice not only changed the day but also changed the memories I took away for the better. Years later, I can vouch that this advice was still the best advice because it keeps that day alive in my memory.
Like all good things, this piece of advice comes in a set of three.
Piece 1: Spend Money where it Matters
Weddings are expensive. There is no doubt that costs add up. The list can seriously be endless from venue and food to party favors and programs. Not to mention all of those cute detail items. As you plan, you will pick and choose what is best for your wedding.
Your goal is to have a fun fantastic day. However, remember it’s only a day. 90% of the money you put into the wedding is on items that are just for the day of.
Years from now, what will you have to remember that wonderful day?
Remember to save some of your budget on creating memories.
I didn’t even know this option existed the day of my wedding. Basically, you can send your flowers in to have them preserved and then arranged in a shadow box. Your flowers can then be hung on the wall or kept on a shelf in your house.
I sent mine in too late to have the colors not fade, but I still absolutely love them. Ours are in our master bedroom. Even though I got married nearly five years ago, every time I see my flowers I think of walking down that aisle and standing up there with my husband.
Live Wedding Painting
I didn’t know about this until after the fact at a friend’s wedding. If so, I would have made room for it in my budget. Essentially, you pay to have an artist attend the wedding and paint a scene from your wedding or reception in their style. It is such a fantastic way to have an original piece of art that is so memorable.
It might seem like a minor detail for that day, but it is one of the few parts of your outfit that you can wear again and again. You can even give it to your daughter someday. Like the flowers, every time I wear my wedding jewelry, I can’t help but think back to that day.
I am sure photography is already in your list of items, but you want to think beyond just the photo session that day. You need to first make sure that you own every photo that is taken that day. Only book a package that gives you digital rights to all photos.
If not, you just spend $1000+ on just a photo session. It might include prints but still without the digital rights, you are really missing out. You can’t have all of those photos you don’t want prints of but just want to keep on your computer. You also can’t use those photos as the years go by to create artwork for your house.
I utilized my photos after my wedding as a way to remember that day. I got one picture printed on a canvas with our wedding song lyrics written over it. There are fantastic options here on Etsy.
We also had a wedding book made for ourselves and then smaller ones made for our parents. While Shutterfly is most known, two other wedding book creators to check out are Artifact Uprising and MILK.
I absolutely love looking through our wedding book and it is on a shelf in the living room for people to be able to see. Now that we have a daughter, it is fun to show her the photos in a book instead of just on the computer.
The Guest Book
There are a lot of cute ideas for creative ways to make some sort of keepsake that includes your guests. However, I really wanted one that would allow for personal messages. We got an inexpensive picture frame that had space for our guests to leave a short message. Even years after, it is fun to read those heartfelt messages. As time continues, it was important to me to have those sentimental messages from loved ones who won’t always be here with me.
Tips to save money on your wedding so you can budget for keepsakes
DIY as much as you can
You can truly DIY everything from your invitations to your party favors. Among other things, I DIY-ed my veil which saved a lot. I hot glued stones and a hair clip to tulle. It was simple. There are thousands of awesome tutorials online depending on what veil you want.
Find a venue that doesn’t make you use their vendors
On this note, try to find a venue that is already decorated to save on time and money. By picking a less common day to get married, you can get a really good price. Example, booking on a week day if the day after is a holiday. Also, pick a date that is either right before or right after the main wedding season.
Have your cake be for show only
Get a fancy cake for show meaning its purpose is to be cut by the bride and groom. To feed all of your guests, order sheet cakes in the same flavors. If you want your cake to be bigger, consider adding height with glass rods or place a fountain under it.
Find a venue that allows you to supply the alcohol
We did this not only for the reception but also for the rehearsal. It allowed us to take whatever we didn’t use at the rehearsal and use it for the wedding. This really cut costs because we were just paying for the bartender’s time and not paying markup on the alcohol.
Be smart with all the little items and always ask yourself, will I care about this detail 10 years from now?
I can’t even tell you half of the little details I picked out now, but what I can tell you are my favorite keepsakes and my favorite memories, which is where piece 2 comes into play.
Piece 2: Spend Time where it Matters
Your wedding day is one day. That’s 24 hours, or 1440 minutes. Only a portion of that day is your wedding and reception. 10 years from now, what times during that day do you want to really remember? Make sure you have set aside times in that busy schedule to take it all in.
Right before you walk down that aisle
Remember what matters. Forget all the to-do lists. All the things that could go wrong. Forget the audience. When you walk down the aisle, look up and find your spouse-to-be. That is the only person you should be focused on at that moment. You will want to watch their reaction as you walk down. It is seriously one of the most beautiful moments in a wedding, be sure to be present for that moment in your wedding.
Schedule time during the reception to be with your new spouse
With all the hustle and bustle during a reception, you might not get a chance to talk with your new spouse. You two are the center of attention and therefore might not get a chance to take in the night together. While it’s great to see and chat with guests, set aside a few minutes to just be together.
During our reception, we scheduled a time with the photographer to take sunset pictures. This allowed us to excuse ourselves from the reception to take pictures. In addition to getting some fantastic shots, we stayed outside alone for a few minutes after just to connect. In those quiet alone moments, you can catch a breath, take it all in and be with the one you just married. It is one of my most vivid and special memories from that evening.
Schedule time to spend with each of your parents
It is almost harder to spend time or really see your parents at all that day than anyone else. With the amount of family and relatives in town. It is a big day for them too. They are excited and there is nothing better than getting to share some of that excitement together. Here are some fantastic ways spend time with your parents in a memorable way:
Go out to breakfast with one or both of your parents. Ask what their favorite wedding day memory is. Do you know what their first dance song was? Ask what they are most excited about for your wedding.
Do hair, make-up or nail appointments with just your mom. Chat away and enjoy the pampering. You will leave feeling excited and closer from the experience. You also won’t forget it.
Moms usually don’t give the bride away so give your mom a special task such as putting in your veil or helping you with jewelry and then make sure the photographer captures it. Usually, the only photo you get of you and your mom from that day is just from the family shots.
As you are waiting to walk down the aisle, turn those few minutes with your dad into a memory. Ask him if he can remember standing up there waiting for your mom.
If you decide to do a father daughter dance, make sure to chat with him during. Make it into a memory. Don’t worry if you two can’t dance. Again, forget the audience and spend that quality time together. You will remember it, I promise.
Piece 3: Spend money and time before the wedding where it matters
You are already putting in so much time and money into your wedding to make it perfect. Therefore, it is silly to skimp out on these items in order to save a few bucks here and there. It is so much better to be safe than sorry.
Pay for trial runs on hair and make-up
I know, it costs extra to have trials done, but if you just book and hope for the best, you could very well end up hating it. With how much money you are already spending on your wedding dress, flowers and photography, the amount spent on a trial run is trivial. And if you end up hating it, you will hate your wedding photos too which probably costed you a few grand.
I know first-hand how important trial runs are because I had one for both hair and makeup and absolutely hated both. I then had second trial runs with a different hairdresser and a different makeup artist and absolutely loved the results. My hairdresser was even able to find a way for me to have my hair up for the wedding with a veil and then down for the reception.
Pick the dress you love
I know you are probably confused on this point because I emphasize that it is only one day. However, you will hopefully only shop for a wedding dress once. More importantly, you will only get to be the belle of the ball once.
If you are considering two dresses. One you like and one you love, spend the extra and get the one you love. I know too many women who years later still hate their wedding dress because they liked a different one more. Remember those pictures that you will have forever. Take the time to make sure you will love how you look in them.
Don’t leave your photography to chance
When you pick a photographer, it’s usually because you like their portfolio. However, you are not guaranteed those shots. Additionally, only you and your spouse really know all the different family shots and wedding shots you want. Give them a list of family pictures you want. Give them picture ideas of ones you want with your new spouse. Focus on the style and poses in these photos. Just browse Pinterest and fill up a list.
I even printed out these photos and had them handy during our photo session between the wedding and the reception. By being familiar with what type of photos I wanted, it took less time to get us positioned each time as I already knew what the photographer was aiming for. I really loved silhouette ones and that is what I got.
If you don’t give your photographer ideas, you run the risk of not liking as many photos. With how much photography costs, spend some time prepping and you will be really happy with the results.
Spend the time to thoroughly plan every detail
A wedding goes by fast. You don’t really have time to plan on the spot. Have you made sure you have accounted and allotted time for everything? Considered the flow of events? Considered where everyone will be and when? There are so many moving pieces during that day, don’t leave anything to chance.
Don’t blow off the rehearsal
You spend so much time planning but almost every wedding I have been in, the bride didn’t really plan out the rehearsal. It might seem silly or very easy but there are key things to consider here.
Where you stand and how you position your wedding party should be considered especially if you want the best wedding shots possible.
Do you know when you want your wedding party up there with you? The whole time? Just at the beginning? What about during vows? Or do you just want your maid of honor and the best man?
Are the groomsmen going to be ushers prior to the wedding? Do they need specific instructions on seating for specific people?
If you have readings, do you have extra copies of those for the readers who didn’t bring theirs? Remember, don’t leave anything to chance.
Pursue your perfect wedding Today
Besides the person who you married, you will want ways to remember your special day by and you will want special memories. You have a wedding to celebrate the one who your heart chose. You want to have it be filled with memories of family and friends. Before getting married, leave some time and money in your budget to put towards pieces of your wedding that will last beyond the day.
Spend Money where it matters
Spend Time where it matters
Spend Money and Time before the wedding where it matters
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I am a wife, teacher, and mother to two awesome girls. I write about what I am passionate about, which includes being a mom, house projects, beauty and skincare. I love to share my experiences, failures, and successes with my readers. Let this space be a resource for you to pursue your very best day.