April is always special for our family but it’s extra special this year. In about a week, my husband and I are coming up on our 5 year anniversary! I cannot believe that we have been married that long and actually can’t believe how fast the time has flown.
In celebration of such, I wanted to share a couple of special posts about our love story and wedding. It is not my normal “mommy” related post, but I know that this stuff is completely worth sharing!
I wanted to do a post about our wedding for two reasons: I obviously wanted to share some wonderful pictures, but I also wanted to share wedding advice for those of you mamas who may be in the process of planning a wedding.
If you want some wedding inspiration for a Disney theme, or simply tips on staying within your budget and reducing costs, then this post is for you 🙂
We had our wedding at the Aulani resort in Hawaii for a couple of reasons. We had our first vacation together at Disneyland where I became a little Mickey obsessed. And then on my birthday in 2012, he surprised me with a stay at the Aulani hotel. It was after dinner that he proposed to me at one of their restaurants with a waterfall backdrop overlooking the ocean. So when we were searching for wedding venues, no other place felt like it had a special meaning quite like Aulani had.
It was a bit intimidating at first, wondering if we could really pull it off. And let me just say, we did! Aside from my mom offering to pay for the Emcee/DJ and his mom helping with the groomsmen’s tuxes, we did it by ourselves. So if we can have our DREAM Disney wedding, the answer is– YES you can too.
Day and Time make a HUGE difference
When you think of a wedding, the first thought that pops in your head is probably a Saturday night. But more people are picking other days and times that wedding venues may not book as frequently to save on costs. Venues especially hotels, may host other parties (graduations, birthdays) so Saturday will always be a popular day.
See what the cost difference is from a Saturday versus another day of the week. Use Friday or Sunday. Compare lunch versus dinner. We used a Sunday morning because the cost for lunch instead of dinner was a substantial difference, I’m talking a couple grand.
And although you may hesitate on a day like Friday because it’s a normal workday, weddings are usually set far in advance that those who want to be there will be able to take off of work. And if you have it on a Friday, guests will have plenty of time to recuperate before going to work on Monday!
Cut down your Guest list
I know this may seem hard to do, but it CAN be done. When we first started wedding planning, we started at 200 guests. And the finalized number was 115. Remember that with most places, especially with hotels, you will be paying PER head.
We paid about $100/head–and the easiest way for us was analyzing who was REALLY there for us during the past few years of our relationship, and who we were really close to. Does your fiance know this person? Of course, it would be nice for all your friends to be there, but if you really haven’t seen them in a few years and the only acknowledgment you get from them is a “Happy Birthday” on social media every year, is it worth it? It is hard to cut the list but remember: the wedding is about the two of you and those who you really want to share this special occasion with.
Give and take
Unless you’re rich, there will be some things that you may have to do without for your wedding. I knew weddings were costly, but when you actually start the planning process you soon find that EVERY LITTLE THING costs money. There are things that I wanted that I couldn’t and I had to really focus on splitting wedding options into two categories: MUST HAVE and NICE TO HAVE.
I had to give up colored tablecloths and chairs and settle for all white. I gave up on a Disney castle themed cake and chose a simple 3 tier cake. (Side note: any cake that isn’t round shaped is automatically an added cost) I gave little things like that up to make room in our budget to have other things that I knew I had to ABSOLUTELY have at our wedding, like Mickey and Minnie 🙂
Be a DIY Bride
Do anything you can on your own! Trust me, I am not the most artistic person (I almost failed art class in 7th grade), but I tackled several items by myself and was at the craft store every other week. I would browse ideas online and see if I could do them myself or add my own little touches. It was a lot of work but I ended up saving money by doing things myself instead of buying it online. Every little bit counts and it’s nice at the end of it all to look at all the things you made yourself instead of bought! Here are some pictures of the items that I made.
Ask for help
Get help from family and your wedding party— that’s what they are FOR! They are there to support you and help you in any way they can.
I had my maid of honor help me tie bows on our wedding program fans. I had my family members paint glitter silver glitter on the candles that went on the table.
I decided to use cake pops as favors, and since one of my bridesmaids was good at baking, I made a deal with her. I would buy the ingredients and package them with her if she was able to make them! She agreed and we made a night of it, eating bugles and talking till late hours a couple days before the wedding just to get them done; it’s actually a night I’ll never forget.
Bring your own items
Talk to the hotel and see what supplies you can bring on your own. Sometimes there are hidden charges based on things that the hotel will be providing, but if you have the items, why not use yours? The candles I talked about making were in substitute of the hotel provided candles and other items like our champagne flutes for our sweetheart table were also taken off the hotel charge since I brought glasses myself.
Opt for an Online RSVP
Everyone is online now days. Think about using an online RSVP service like The KNOT rather than a mail in card. It’s much easier to keep track of RSVP’s and it will save you the cost of stamps. Remember that the weight and size of a card does affect stamp pricing so when you multiply that little card by how much RSVP’s you are planning to get– it will add up. If your aunty is able to post on Facebook, she can definitely RSVP to your wedding online 🙂
Don’t pay for retail price
When I was shopping for wedding shoes, I fell in love with these Kate Spade shoes at the store but they were NOT in my wedding budget. I was completely heartbroken but knew in my mind I couldn’t bring myself to spend $300 on shoes that I would only wear once.
Low and behold, I found, these shoes at Nordstrom Rack for $70! They weren’t the EXACT shoes that I was going for, but they were absolutely perfect for my wedding. Don’t give in to retail prices. 5 years ago they didn’t have apps like Offer UP and Poshmark–don’t be afraid to use them! Another women’s trash is another woman’s treasure.
Have a backup budget
Even if you think you have got everything covered to the penny, items will come up and you will want to have a backup budget for it. One thing that I did NOT take into consideration was the cost of alterations for my dress, which turned out to be $500!
So make sure you plan for other things that you may forget because it will come in handy having some money put aside for unforseen circumstances or forgotten items.
Those are my tips! I hope that you enjoyed them and find them useful. What are some things that you during the planning process to reduce wedding costs? And don’t forget to share this with others if you like this post!