Now if you've followed my blog in the past, or really even know me at all...you probably know I am a bit of a penny pincher. I hate wasting money, and LOVE finding a good deal. I posted a blog a while back about my goals for the next 365 days. Some of them, I have not gotten very far on, and two of them I have thrown out completely. But the wedding planning part...well it's coming together...and I'm getting there :) But one of the main ones for me was getting completely out of debt. We are well on our way to this one...my soldier and I have been sticking to a strict budget lately, and just in the past 2-3 months, we have paid off three credit cards. Two of which, I actually called a couple of days ago to close the accounts completely. I hate the idea of being in debt and owing someone else money. I would much rather be having opportunities to save and invest our money, and plan for our future, rather than getting sucked into a hole by having to pay debts from our past. Now we are focusing on getting his truck paid off. All that to say, I am trying to be as frugal as possible with the wedding planning. I want it to be as perfect for us, but I am a firm believer that it doesn't have to cost us a fortune for that to happen!
I have been to so many weddings that have been so extravagant that I think, "Gee, I bet this wedding is costing more money than I make in a year." And I've even been to some that I didn't think were all that fancy, just to find out they still cost over $20,000. No, thank you! As of right now, I am planning our wedding on a budget of about $8500 total, and that's including our honeymoon! Depending on how our debt snowball goes, we may end up having more to spend, but I really want to stick to this budget. So I thought I would start sharing little "tips" I am learning along the way on how to plan a wedding on a small budget :)
First of all...we are doing a destination wedding...and let me just say, that is a HUGE way to save a bunch of money up front. I have gotten some flack from a few people, and some of them have been downright rude. But honestly, I don't care. This is one of the best decisions I could've possibly made about our wedding, and while I understand that it is going to be impossible for some people to come due to the cost, it is OUR wedding, it is what WE want, and it is saving us a BUNDLE of money! For the most part, I have actually gotten really positive responses regarding the destination wedding...I mean really, who doesn't want a reasonably priced vacation to the Caribbean?! A lot of our family and friends are really excited about it, because the wedding is still 10 months away, everyone still has plenty of time to save up :)
As I told you in a previous post, we have chosen the Iberostar Cozumel for our wedding-moon. This is an all-inclusive resort, which means all of our (and our guests') food and drinks (including cocktails!) will be free. Now, their prices are already pretty reasonable, but because we are booking so far in advance, we saved another $500 because they have an early booking special going on right now! On top of that...our guests that have kids under 12 will get to bring their kids for free...they have to pay for a plane ticket, but kids stay free at the resort :) The wedding itself is going to cost a base price of $1750, which includes a wedding coordinator, flowers, decoration and set-up for the wedding, dinner for us and all of our wedding guests, a wedding cake, sparkling wine for everyone to toast with at the cermony, and they even decorate our room and give hubby and I chocolate covered strawberries and champagne on our wedding night! Really can't be that! Now...we do have to pay an extra $20/person for every guest we have over 10 people, but even that won't end up being too bad. PLUS, if we get enough people that 20+ rooms are booked for 3+ nights, our entire wedding is FREE and still includes all that stuff! So I've got my sister and a friend trying to recruit random people to come to my wedding just so we can get it for free...HA! :) It would not hurt my feelings to get a free wedding...not one bit.
Aside from the fact that we are saving tons of money just by doing a beach wedding, I have come across some other great finds to save us some money.
First off, since we are going through a travel agent to book everything for the wedding, the travel agency sent out trifold brochures for free that had information about the resort, our wedding date, and contact information for our travel agent...so we didn't have to bother with paying for Save the Dates or the postage!
Then I was looking online the other day, trying to decide what to do for invitations, and came across these fun little guys:
I found these and several other examples on etsy.com, and got really excited. I also found some RSVP cards that look like mini boarding passes.
I think they are perfect! A.) Not only are they cute for a destination wedding, but B.) They will also have plenty of room to include all the information we need about the resort, and itenerary for the weekend of the wedding, and we are still considering the possibility of doing either a pre-wedding party before we go or a reception when we return, so that we can still celebrate with our family and friends that can't make it to Cozumel, so we could just add another page and include that information, rather than sending out completely separate invitations. I got really excited about these...then I looked at the prices...they ranged from $3.75 to $6.75 PER invitation. EEK!
Fortunately, I have a really talented, creative sister with lots of fancy computer software that was more than happy to help me out...she's going to design them for me! :) I'm planning on paying for all the supplies she needs to make them (paper, ink, etc.), and then maybe exchanging some work on her house when I get back to the midwest for her design services ;)
Another idea I got from etsy, was doing these program fans :) Most of them are going for $2-3 per fan, but I figure this is simple enough that I can just type it up myself, print it on some card stock, glue it to a paint stick and tie a ribbon around it. Can't be that hard right?! :)
These are just some of my ideas so far...I have a whole other post coming up about our wedding attire along with more frugal finds :)
Do you have any good beach wedding ideas? Or just simple ways to save some money when it comes to wedding planning? I am always open to new ideas!