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:

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. 


  1. First off, that Dawn who arranged baby's breath in mason jars? That's not me. I don't DIY. Well, I *say* "do it yourself" -- when "yourself" is not me. Sorry for the circles. You know what I mean.

    I didn't want a wedding -- I wanted to elope -- but, despite that, I had a wedding. (Because everyone else wanted there to be one.) So I guess, since I'm the "I don't care about weddings" type, I might not be the best to give any advice. But my thought here is this: pick one thing. One thing that's the most important to you. And that seems like it's the flowers. So skip the favors (as a guest, I wouldn't notice that there were none), skip the programs (I didn't even know that was a thing), and put your money into the flowers. You like flowers, they *do* make an otherwise drab space look lovely, and they will make you happy. Just don't forget -- and I know that you know this -- that it's not the venue, the decor, the food, the music, etc. that makes the wedding. It's the people. It's you, your beloved, your friends, your family. Trust me on this, please.

  2. Ugh yeah this is why we eloped in Jamaica. If you stay a week at a Couples Resort (that is their brand name, we stayed at Couples Tower Isle) for a week, you get a wedding for free! It included cake, champagne, photos, etc., so we just did that and didn't invite anyone. I guess I maybe get a little sad when I think about never having a "real" wedding, but...not really? It was just never important to me and all the things you listed above stressed me out so badly PLUS cost so much that it just wasn't even a realistic option. Like if I had thousands of dollars I wouldn't spend it on a party, ever, I'm too selfish for that shit. This way we did a wedding and honeymoon in one, and no one was sad that they couldn't come because no one was invited!

  3. I'd agree with the above posters. If you can't elope, then try to focus on one or two or three things that really matter and ignore the rest. We used a great online invitation company, MyGatsby, but its been bought and I don't know about the current quality of the invitation company. But you can get free sample invitations from them here: https://www.theamericanwedding.com/wedding-samples.html . Eight years ago, this was the most inexpensive source of nice invitations but that was quite awhile ago.

    Also, it might be worth going to Michaels with 40% off coupons and seeing if you like anything in their wedding aisle that looks like it won't be too much work. They have a whole section on favors and stuff. Just buy one sample to make sure it won't take too much time since some of the DIY stuff takes forever.

  4. The 40%off coupons for Michaels are online and only good for one item at a time. If you don't have Michaels near you any craft store (hobby lobby Joanne's or even Walmart will have a wedding aisle that you can see if anything in a box would work for decor, favors, etc without taking up too much time.

  5. Oh -sorry - my wedding was long ago, so things are slowly coming back to me. If flowers are really important to you, you can go to a nice florist and give them a budget and some sample ideas. If your budget is small, they might not be able to give you your exact flowers you want but they can get things that are similar within your budget. They should discuss that with you ahead of time, and show you samples of things that will work for your budget.

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  7. I had to delete and repost because grammar.

    DIY for weddings/parties is exhausting and I am someone who loves DIY. I think some of the wedding DIY stuff has gone off the deep end (and it often really doesn't save that much money). The biggest cost saver for us was really limiting the number of people we invited. (Some of my second cousins twice removed are still a little miffed, but it otherwise turned out fine.) Anyhoo, your wedding is about you shouldn't feel like you need to lovingly hand carve dessert forks for the next six months to have a nice wedding. One of the most fun weddings I ever attended was held in the basement of an Indian restaurant. There were (as I recall) no flowers, no favors, no hand-drawn signs... You being happy will make everyone happy for you.

  8. My main thought, especially from our wedding, is that just because something is "traditional" doesn't mean that you have to do it. And frankly, people won't even notice it and won't miss it if they do. For example, we didn't have any favors. We also skipped the champagne toast - we still did toasts, but with whatever people were drinking anyway. If people wanted champagne, they could get some at the bar, but could also toast just fine with beer or wine.

    I agree with the folks above also. Determine the things that are important to you, and do those. Nothing else is really critical, except that you and Simon are there and enjoy yourselves.

  9. I barely remember that day, though i should it may have been the last good one lol!!! how's that for being positive, i do know the bartender was quite impressed by the amount of derelicts i had there cuz we drank him out of 4 different whiskies and 3 types of beer... that said there is no cheap wedding girl, especially in DC, all i can say is good luck... El Kono

  10. Agree agree agree, only pick and choose the things that are actually important to you... We didn't do favours, or toasts, or have a program. SQUEEE, so excited for you.


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