The 10 Commandments to Having a Budget-Friendly Wedding YOUR WAY.
September 29, 2018
California
CasualWhimsicalVintage
Planning a wedding is stressful on SO many levels. From living up to the Pinterest wedding in your dreams to finding the YOU in a world (and a blog) that is awash in classically styled weddings (that often look like they cost a million dollars). So today, we're sharing a wedding with a couple that managed to do just that. To use their relationship, their culture, their first loves as a framework for planning a day that felt uniquely "them." Photographed by our sweet and talented friends, the vondy's, we have an interview with the bride followed by the Ten commandments to having a budget friendly wedding while preserving what is most important.
Hey Amy! What was your vision for the wedding day?

We wanted a classy, yet casual day that really reflected our personalities and style. We wanted to feel comfortable and we wanted our guests to have fun and get to know each other as many, including family, were meeting for the first time. Ultimately we wanted it to feel like we were hosting our best friends and family at a dinner party in our home.
What was your color palette?

Navy & Berry Pink with vintage gold accents
What unique moments or DIY elements did you include? 

One of our best friends performed the ceremony which made it very personal and intimate with a little bit of humor that wasn't forced. My husband's family is from New Orleans so we surprised them with a NOLA style second line recessional complete with parasols and waving hankies and they played through cocktail hour - it was the perfect kick start to the party.
What was your favorite moment on your wedding day?

My favorite moment was breaking the rules and walking down the aisle together as a couple - it was hugely symbolic for us of the partnership we were entering together. 
My husband's favorite moment was the jazz band surprise and the delicious BBQ dinner!
From the vondy's... Amy wanted to incorporate her husband's New Orleans culture into their day, so she surprised him and all the guests with a brass band after their ceremony! All the guests were given hankies to wave as they passed by. Navy blue and gorgeous floral details lined their long dining tables for their BBQ dinner. Complete with milk and cookie bar plus a red MG getaway car!
MORE from Amy...Our venue had an amazing outdoor garden that was begging for lawn games and were were lucky enough to have friends capable of building and painting (with your invitation flower motif) a custom corn hole game and Jenga blocks. 
We served signature cocktails, a southern BBQ buffet and our favorite dessert - cookies & milk. We borrowed a friend's vintage red MG as our getaway car!
What is one piece of advice you could give to future couples?

Other than choosing photographers that you love - you spend a lot of time with them during the day! Let's see...
Our second best advice is to spend a lot of time thinking about and touring venues and invest as much of your budget as you can in choosing the right one for you. It sets the tone for everything and serves as the backdrop for the rest of your planning - from decor to tablescapes to flowers to party flow, everything!
I love old homes, preppy style and vintage decor - we found that perfect mix in our venue and it made styling and planning the day so much easier!
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THE TEN COMMANDMENTS TO HAVING A WEDDING YOUR WAY


(while staying on budget)


Thou shalt begin and end with your venue.

The venue is everything. If you have a clear vision in your mind of jenga and maragaritas, a hotel ballroom is NOT going to support said vision. Finding the right venue, and finding it very early in the planning process, will allow you to save money on decor, find a gown that really fits the look, hire vendors who are familiar with the space, and build a wedding that makes sense financially and aesthetically.

Thou shalt enlist the help and expertise of friends.

Most of my friends and family WANTED to help me with my wedding. But I was such a control freak that I graciously declined. Wrong move. Whether you ask friends to build you a corn hole game like Amy did above, officiate your wedding, hand out favors at your reception, make sure people get on the right bus, do a reading, sing a song, tend to your grandmother...I promise they will not only be happy to help, they will feel like they are so much more a part of the day. AND Your wedding will innately more personal while saving money in the process.

Thou shalt break the rules.

You know, so many of our wedding tradition are incredibly dated and rooted in ideas that are no longer even relevant. Ditch them! Do what YOU want to do. Make the day yours and arm yourself with confidence and excitement, letting go of anything that will make you nervous or anxious. Amy and her hubs ditched tradition and walked down the aisle hand in hand. The perfect beginning to their own unique marriage.

Thou shalt include your true loves. And we don't mean boys. 

Even if your true loves are BBQ and Tequila. There are so many ways to put your own personality stamp onto your day...the menu, the colors, the town your marry in, the venue, the songs, the entertainment, the tradition. Maybe you get ready for the day together, rather than apart. Maybe you hit the courthouse solo and then throw a party after. Maybe you skip down the aisle waving ribbon wands or stop mid-ceremony to sing All You Need is Love...you do you boo.

Thou shalt make FUN a requirement. 

I can't guarantee sunshine or guests that behave but I can guarantee you this: if you build a wedding that is foundationally fun, you will always remember it as the best day ever. For me? Fun means good food, a great playlist, lots of dancing, tons of sweets and some good ole fashioned alcohol. You?

Thou shalt borrow and beg, though thou shalt not steal. Otherwise known as the Friends and Family Round. 

Whether you borrow a car like Amy did or you borrow a backyard like other SMP brides have done, don't be afraid to ask your friends and family before you rent or buy. Mismatched white linens from friends (just take pics before so you know what belongs to whom), lanterns to grace the walkway, candles to set on tables, little black dresses for your bridesmaids, oversized lawn games (mine have been borrowed a dozen times)...the options are endless.

Thou Shalt celebrate your culture.

The thing with weddings is that they are ultimately designed to bring two families together. Let us not forget that. And families often come from beautiful, storied cultures that deserve to be celebrated even if it's only in some small way.  Amy brought in a second line to celebrate her husband's New Orleans heritage. Perhaps just including a dessert from your own background. Or readings or songs or a menu inspired by one of your cultures. It doesn't take much... but the impact is so meaningful.

Thou shalt consider how you want your wedding to FEEL not look.

We all want to host a beautiful wedding. But I've been to a handful of spectacular weddings that also happened to be spectacularly boring and without character (I'm not naming names). Amy wanted her wedding to feel like a really special family dinner. I met another bride recently who just wanted it to feel like really fun dance party (and that it did!). Build from the feels not from the looks and the entire day will be much more successful.

Thou shalt think inside the box but with the lid off and the music playing. 

From the venue you choose to the color of gown you wear. From the food you serve (pizza anyone?) to the music you play. From the time of day or day of the week or season of the year. From the way you choose to walk down the aisle to the way you choose to spend your money. We once met a pair that was holding their reception at a Magic Dinner Theater. Show included. Pretty freaking awesome, right? That said, stay a bit inside the box. When you get a little too crazy with creativity, sometimes your budget is the one to suffer the consequences.

Thou shall find experts to help and if they can't...#DIY for the win. 

Let me first debunk a common wedding planning myth: it's cheaper to DIY everything. WRONG. Sort of. While some areas may allow you to save money, you're not placing any value on your time at all. Or the stress that taking on a lot of projects in the days leading up to your wedding will cause. Putting together flower arrangements the night before, instead of cuddling with your soon-to-be or frantically tying program ribbons while a makeup artist is trying to get you to sit still. Not my idea of fun. First, ask your experts.

Planners can save you tons of money in mistakes that novices make. Florists can work around your budget and if they can't, they will TELL you. A good stationer or photographer or cake designer will give you honest feedback as to whether or not they can achieve what you want on your budget. When it comes to the major components of your wedding, start with the pro's and give them a chance...and only if you get a no (or if you're really pumped about doing it yourself) should you then start down the DIY road. Save the projects for the minor players: the favors, the welcome bags, elements of decor that you can then move into your home after the i-dos.