Fact: the average cost of a wedding in the DC-Metro area ranges from $65k-122K.
Seriously? My wedding budget isn't even a third of that lower end number and I have made it my goal to be at least $2,500 under budget. I have found so many ways to cut costs and save money that I am impressing even myself. It doesn't hurt that I have an amazing family and amazing friends that are also making my life incredibly easy.
The budget application on theknot.com is wonderful. I highly recommend it to anyone who is planning a wedding sans wedding planner/Hadley. I put in our budget number and it populates different fields (i.e. reception, ceremony, beauty and attire, flowers and decor, etc.) to let you know how much you should be allotting based on your budget for those different things. I printed this out the other night and as Brandon and I plan and get things, I have written down (and plan to write down) the cost on the back of the sheet. I think seeing how much we're saving here and there is going to make this challenge more fun.
To keep on my money saving high, Brandon's Aunt Patti has made an incredibly generous offer to us. Aunt Patti paints glasses, serving dishes, murals, etc. and is extremely talented. She has offered to do our wedding favors. I was so touched by the offer. Of course, Brandon and I plan to accept. She wants to paint our wedding flowers (hydrangeas) on champagne flutes for our guests. We are hoping that we can tap into Aunt Patti's creative side for help on another project (that will inevitably save us a ton of money). Brandon's mom came up with a really creative, really budget friendly idea for the reception centerpieces. She suggested we get tall hurricane vases and have Aunt Patti paint them with our flowers on it, then put big ivory candles in them. I mean, as much as I love love love flowers (especially hydrangeas) it is much more cost effective to have candle centerpieces. And really, I still get my flowers. :)
I also signed up for David's Bridal sale announcements which I didn't realize would be SO beneficial. I mean, you don't have to be on the list to get the deals, but unless you're on the website every day, you're not going to see these things! Anyways, last night I was able to buy a $40 guest book for $9.75. Incredible. Chalk up that $30 savings. At first when I told Brandon I got the guest book, he looked at me like I was crazy; then when I told him how much I saved, all of a sudden it was ok to buy things for the wedding. I told him that if we buy things along to way and just put them away, then we will save money by buying things on sale and not see the costs all at once. I would much rather spread out costs over the course of 19 months, then be buying everything in a daze when the wedding is 19 weeks away. There is a method to the madness.
Brandon and I also spent probably three hours one night looking at Save-the-Date notices. Can I just say that stationery is ridiculously overpriced? Don't get me wrong, I love stationery and have some with my name on it, but that doesn't change the fact that it is expensive. FineStationary had Save-the-Dates for $30. How wonderful! Oh, you only get 10 for that price... how not so wonderful. After hours of searching the world wide web for decently priced Save-the-Dates that were either in our wedding colors or that weren't terribly ugly, Brandon came up with a genius idea (he has his moments). Why don't we just make our own? We looked up prices for postcards and found that it would be the most cost effective way (besides an e-vite) that would let all of our friends and family know our wedding date. I already have a Picnik account, so the artsy part wasn't going to be hard to put together and I could use our wedding colors. The boy is a genius. If anyone is looking to create and send postcards, I highly recommend zazzle.com. They have great prices, you can pick the number you want so you don't have to buy in bulk, and the prices are so reasonable. 150 postcards for $97. Love them.
Another money saving friend Brandon and I have found is Michael's Arts & Crafts. While the cost of ink may not going to be my friend -- it is still MUCH less expensive to buy our invitations through them and print them ourselves. Even if I had to buy 4 ink cartridges, which is not even close to being a possibility, I would still be saving money by doing that and printing my own. I am going to look into what the cost would be to have Staples do the printing. Michael's also had Thank You cards on sale the other day and we were able to get like 120 thank you cards for $18. Hello savings :)
I told you -- this money saving thing is going to become an obsession... now if only I could get this feel good high on money saving to transfer to my money spending on clothes&shoes so I didn't buy as much, Brandon would be a much happier man. :)