Every wedding is going to be different because it is a special day that is catered to one specific couple. A couple’s wedding day differs from any other wedding because it is based on three major factors: 1) The wedding budget, 2) The wedding theme, including season, time, and venue, and 3) The personality of the bride and groom. I think it’s a wonderful idea to research/collect ideas from other weddings, I believe it serves as wonderful motivation to plan your own wedding day, share your plans/vision with your Day-of-Coordinator, and then enjoy your special day.
The reason I preface this post with the differences in weddings is because many folk spend thousands of dollars in order to execute/replay someone else’s wedding day vision. There is nothing wrong with gaining ideas from someone else’s wedding and then implementing some/most of those visions into your own. However, we must keep in mind the three factors that I mentioned previously. Do you want to have the same/similar wedding vision because that is truly THE vision for both of you (does that other wedding vision fit your personality and is it possible to execute that vision during a different season/at a different venue without “breaking the bank,” if so, carry on, if not you should rethink the beginnings of your plans and then go forward with selecting a date, a venue that complement the date and budget, and a theme that compliments both the date and venue)?
I always wanted to get married in September, I always knew that the wedding colors would be royal blue and silver/pewter, and I have always been frugal, therefore I knew that even if I had the money to spare, I would NOT have an expensive wedding (which is how I came up with my wedding theme “Simple but Elegant”). After the proposal in February of 2011, a quarter of the wedding planning ideas were already complete (we knew where and when we would get married, we knew the colors of the wedding and based on those factors we came up with the theme).
The remaining tasks were announcing the engagement, creating our wedding website (at http://ourweddingday.com/), informing our friends and family (word of mouth and electronic Save the Dates through our wedding website), creating gift registries (Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, and Wal-Mart, however, I do wish that I would have included Belk instead of Wal-Mart, I wanted to ensure that at least one of the registry vendors was local for every guest, especially those that may not have internet access to order gifts online, PLUS Belk has wonderful Engagement parties), researching guest accommodations and also researching vendors.
Lauren Conrad’s Wedding Planning Timeline closely parallels with my own wedding planning timeline, therefore, I will refer to it from time to time (specifically, for this post). We had roughly 7 months to plan for our wedding, so time was of the essence. As I mentioned previously, a fourth of my wedding planning was done during the proposal stage (which was a great help). I would recommend that you plan your own wedding, however, if that is a bit intimidating, then I would suggest hiring a Wedding Planner (they serve as wonderful planners, confidants, protectors, negotiators, and Day-of-Coordinators).
Regardless if you decide to have someone plan your own wedding (once again I highly suggests that you plan your own wedding, there are so many bridal blogs and information on the internet that can assist you) or you Do-It-Yourself (DYI), your Day-of-Coordinator is going to be a vital part of your planning and ensuring your vision is executed on that special day. Diligently, do your research on Wedding Planners/Coordinators, this should be one of the first vendors you meet/consult with (they also serve as wonderful resources; they can provide referral information on other vendors that match your budget, so that you do not have to research them yourself, PLUS, they have a working relationship/know of the vendor’s work ethics).
Our wedding took place on Saturday, September 3, 2011, at Mount Peace Baptist Church at 10 a.m.; the wedding budget was 3000.00 (for a total of 84 guests including the bridal party), I went over by 1819.28 (less the honeymoon and groom items, such as gifts to groomsmen, grooms haircut, and the groom purchasing food for the cookout following the ceremony and reception). Below is a list of our vendors and payments (based on the contract/ability to make earlier payments). Please keep in mind that these prices were provided four years ago and based on the amount of guests in attendance (however, it should give you a good idea of “reasonable” and expected expenses). Happy Labor Day!
David’s Bridal Wedding Dress 112.00 (I purchased it right off the sales rack, David’s Bridal provided cleaning and alterations for free) My mom purchased my veil
Stephens Catering 250.00 Deposit (Paid on June 22, 2011) and 750.39 (Balance Due September 3, 2011 paid on July 26, 2011): Total 1000.39
Pastor Terry (Officiant gift, provided June 22, 2011, should have been on day of wedding) 50.00
Church/Vendor Donation 100.00 (Paid on July 28, 2011) Church Clean Up Crew 30.00 (Given on September 1, 2011)
Xpressions by Alicia (Photographer) Retainer 50.00 (Paid on March 24, 2011) Engagement Session 25.00 (Paid on March 24, 2011) Engagement Pictures/Prints 100.00 (Paid on March 31, 2011) Bridal Session and 4 hours of wedding time (25.00 + 150.00=175.00) Bridal CD 75.00 (Paid on August 10, 2011) Bridal Picture Framed 106.00 (Paid on August 24, 2011) 171 Wedding Photos 221.00 (Paid on September 28, 2011) Total: 752.00
Tia (The Perfect Plan/Day of Coordinator) 50.00 Retainer (Paid on March 31, 2011) 150.00 Balance Due (Paid on July 26, 2011) Total: 200.00
Jessica B/Gigmasters (Soloist: Ceremony and Reception) Retainer 195.00 (Paid in July 2011) 400.00 Balance Due (Paid on August 23, 2011) Total: 595.00
Expression of Love Florist Retainer 86.75 (Paid on March 31, 2011) 270.98 Balance Due (Paid on July 26, 2011) Total: 357.73
Tier Bella (Cake Decorator) 88.75 Retainer (Paid on March 31, 2011) 266.25 Balance Due (Paid on July 26, 2011) 50.00 Refund of Deposit (Received on October 27, 2011) Total: 305.00
Abriel at Cupcake Couture (48 Cupcakes for Co-workers) 117.45 (Paid on August 8, 2011)
CE Rentals 10 Table Linen 169.71 (Balance Due August 23, 2011 Total Paid on July 26, 2011)
North Carolina Register of Deeds 20.00 for 2 copies (Paid on July 28, 2011) Marriage License 60.00 (Paid on July 28, 2011) Total: 80.00
Wedding Invitations and Thank you Cards from Wal-Mart and Programs from Joann’s Fabrics (75.00 total, I printed everything at home), Postage stamps (for invites and thank you cards) 90.00 Total: 165.00
Bubble Wand from Wal-mart (Favors for guests) 15.00
Honeymoon: Homewood Suites in San Francisco (This was the groom’s expense 🙂 2400.00 (hotel, rental, and eating/shopping for two weeks, PLUS Hilton Honors points; Hilton has several beautiful resort locations, however, we wanted to keep it “simple” and visit Napa Valley, therefore we reserved a hotel that included several amenities and we were also gifted a 3 day 2 night stay at a timeshare in Vegas from a family friend)
Groom’s Tux was 50.00 (at Men’s Wearhouse the Groom can rent/receive a free Tux after the wedding party purchases 5 Tux, there were only four purchases including the Groom), he already had shoes, his haircut was 15.00 with the tip, and his gift to the guys were silver/pewter handkerchiefs 40.00 Total: 105.00
Miscellaneous: 800.00 (I found a lot of my miscellaneous items at Wal-Mart, Joann’s Fabrics, the Dollar Store flowers from Harris Teeter (a great advantage is using common flowers such as roses/daisies for your wedding), favors for the ladies at Claire’s and Dots, and a free makeup session for my Bridal Portraits at Ulta where I purchased makeup for the day of the wedding). The Groom drove to the church the day of the wedding and Tia (the Day-of-Coordinator) picked me up from the hotel the day of the wedding, so we also saved on transportation costs.
Here is a list of vendors that you may want to consider if you live in/near the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area:
You can create your wedding website on one of the following webpages (this is a WONDERFUL method of communication for EVERYONE; I would also suggest that you create a wedding gmail account, especially for vendors at Bridal Shows).
Bride on a Budget