Probably the hardest thing about planning a wedding is being on a DIY budget while having exactly zero DIY inclination. I am not a crafty person. I was the kid sobbing in frustration into my craft project while everyone else happily attached colored ribbon to barrettes or crocheted hats for newborn babies. (I was home sick when everyone else got to choose their volunteer activity and got stuck making hats for preemies. "Why don't you just make the pom poms," my middle school teacher eventually suggested, "and please stop crying.") I even failed at the adult coloring book craze after trying it and deciding it was an awful lot of effort, and I'd rather just watch tv. Believe me when I tell you I have zero desire to make a flower out of tissue paper or put glitter on anything.
So it really kills me when I see beautiful weddings from real people on the wedding blogs, and it seems like every last one of them reads like this:
- So along with at least a dozen of our peeps, we DIY’d everything from the lighting (LED lantern strings, rented up-lights for the white walls, and lots of white candles in jars), to the burlap table runners, the flowers (baby’s breath arranged in mason jars by Dawn), and the games (we made big boggle and giant jenga).
- Here’s the full DIY list: a huge photo seating chart with pictures of each of the 150 guests (that was a LOT of Google stalking to find some of those photos!), hand cut photo place cards on the reception tables, backed with textured yellow paper, table names in frames that each told a piece of Luke and Kayte’s love story, billy ball bouquets for Kayte & the bridesmaids, boutonnieres for the groomsmen, billy ball centerpieces for the reception and cocktail hour tables, gold polka dot burlap placemats for the center of each reception table, a “date night idea” station at the cocktail hour, gold glitter Mr & Mrs bunting for the sweetheart table and other bunting throughout the mansion, a customized mailbox for the gift table for guests to put cards in, large framed Chipotle menus in the buffet rooms, the program, which featured a map of the venue and timeline of the day, and all of the signage for the day were made by Kayte.
- Seemed like everything was DIY! We found the fabric for the napkins and Ned’s mom made like 250 napkins. Ned’s mom also made the bunting that went around the photobooth stage. We made the tissue poms that hung from the ceilng. We made smaller paper flowers out of books and tissue paper and gave that to the florist to incorporate into the vases on the cocktail tables. I’m a graphic designer, so I did a lot of little things like make the stamp for our favors – little packets of carousel tickets for our guests, all the signage, the menu, the program. I made the board with the seating arrangements by making a frame our of crown molding and using pages from Romeo and Juliet as the back drop. I also made the cake toppers! GAH!
Gah indeed, Trish.
This is...not me. I am very much a "throw money at the problem" type of person, but without the unlimited wedding budget to really do that. So, here are my ideas so far for how to keep the budget in check while still having a beautiful, wedding website-worthy wedding:
Book a beautiful venue that needs little in the way of decoration. This includes big, gorgeous historic mansions surrounded by beautiful gardens, but sadly excludes my beloved barn or "big empty shell" type venues (the ones that look gorgeous when dripping in flowers and decked out in twinkle lights and bunting and kitschy chalkboard signs, but who has time for that??)
I've also had someone tell me, "Don't waste money on flowers! We spent $2,000 and they just die after!" But, I like flowers. They don't have to be anything fancy, but I would like to have at least some flowers. But if you think that I am capable of scouring thrift stores for coordinating (but not too matchy) vintage vases, and then procuring and artfully arranging these flowers the morning of the wedding, then you are crazy.
I've also been advised not to bother with favors, because "no one cares about a baggie of Jordan almonds." True enough, but can you really get away with not having any favors at all? I'm afraid that would seem stingy or ungenerous.
Along those same lines, can we get away with not having programs for the ceremony? Aka that and all those other lovely things you painstakingly pour time and money into that just get thrown away as soon as people get home? What about those fancy signs on easels welcoming people to your wedding? And what about those artfully calligraphied chalkboard signs telling people what they will be eating, or drinking, or where to find the bar, as if your guests are incapable of figuring these things out on their own? If you get rid of everything that makes up a wedding, is it even still a wedding???
As you can see, I'm having a lot of thoughts. Mainly what it boils down to is:
I would like to have a beautiful, Martha Stewart-worthy wedding, without touching any of the details myself, while also paying as little as humanly possible for it.
Because the idea of spending a new luxury sedan's worth of money on a party that lasts a few hours and then is over, while still driving around my dented 2006 Ford Focus, gives me hives.
But I'm afraid that what I want are two contradictory things, and that I'll have to end up compromising on one end of the spectrum or the other. So, a medium-good wedding and a Kia budget?
Any advice from those of you who have already been here and made these types of decisions would be much, much appreciated.