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Can you tell which is the Mr.’s  and which is the future Mrs.’ handwriting?

Whew. So. In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve been just a wee bit busy planning a wedding, on top of my already busy work schedule. Not much time for blogging these days!

We have selected a date — Jan 13, 2012!  Our venue is booked, and almost halfway paid.  The tasting has been scheduled. The save the dates have been mailed.  The website has been created. We’ve agreed on a photographer and paid her retainer.  I’ve purchased my dress (and it is gorgeous, if I do say so myself! If there’s anything in this whole wedding planning process that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by, it was shopping for my dress. I fell in love. HARD.)  The colors have been chosen — ivory, gold, and mocha. I’m going with a classy, elegant, wintry theme. The bridesmaid dresses are picked out (but all sizes are being sold out, as we speak, so I’m not counting this as complete, until every last BM has her dress in her appropriate size).

Things that I have yet to complete? Too numerous to count. Invitations, flowers, DJ, cake tasting, ceremony planning, and hair and makeup trials are the big ones.

This is most definitely NOT going to be a frugal event, by any means. But, we are not going to do anything we haven’t budgeted or can’t afford.

There are “big wedding” girls and there are “small, intimate wedding” girls. My sister, for example, is very much a small wedding girl.  I’m a big wedding girl. I’ve known this about myself for as long as I can remember. I love to surround myself with loved ones, I love throwing parties, plus I do have a big family, and I want to share the biggest day of my life with every. single. one. of. them. In fact, I’m so giddy and excited about seeing everyone, I’ve brought myself to tears many time throughout this whole process!

Being a big wedding girl, I had to plan accordingly. I’ve had a separate “wedding fund” set aside that I’ve been depositing money into on a monthly basis for the last three years, ever since I read this frighteningly realistic post that the average wedding cost $28K(I’ve already mentally separated myself from the money in this fund, by not counting it in my overall net worth, but I will say that I’m still having a case of separation anxiety…)

It turns out, that article and my original post on that article was no joke. Wedding venues cost A LOT. The one thing we don’t have is time, so we are paying more $$ to not do everything ourselves, which I’m perfectly all right with.

I will reach my maximum contribution in my 401k this month, and will fully fund my Roth IRA, and my HSA accounts as well. That’s a projected savings rate of 52% of my take home pay this year just for retirement! If I can still pay for my half of the bills and the wedding on top of that, then I’d say I’m being pretty darn frugal, and I hold no regret over forking over so much cash for our wedding.  We’ve set a realistic budget, and have decided money leftover in our wedding fund will go towards our mortgage. (Which, by they way, I am in the process of doing a second no-cost refinance on, dropping my rate to 3.5% fixed for 15-years!!)

I’m just so stinking excited to celebrate the big day with all my family and friends!!  It’s going to be worth every penny. :)

There are a couple of things I’ve done to cut costs so far on the wedding:

  • Booked the wedding on Friday the 13th. Oh yes, I did! I was considering doing a mid-week wedding to get the lowest rates, but then when I found out that I could get a Friday wedding at the lowest rates because it fell on the 13th,  I didn’t even hesitate. I’m not a superstitious bride, just a frugal one! :)   This has been our biggest savings, by far.
  • We were waffling over whether to send physical Save the Dates or not. But I figured it would be a nice heads-up for our out of town guests,  so I looked to do them as cheaply as possible. I ended up going into Target and creating a “fake” registry, just so I could get the $20 Shutterfly gift card that you get when you register. PS, Don’t try to look up our registry on Target, it’s not public (and contains things like candy bars, and whatever else Tony got gun-happy with! haha).  I combined my $20 gift card with a 25% off code, and got 125 Save the Dates for $31.42 after tax.  After postage, and the cost of DIY address labels, I ended up spending just shy of $100 to mail our STDs, which is a bargain!
  • I found one of my BM dresses on eBay, and gave an offer of $100 (half the price it’s selling for in the store), which was accepted.  That right there saved one of my bridesmaids $100.  I also purposely avoided the “traditional” bridesmaid dresses, because as a frugal bride, I hated seeing my girls pay over $200 on something they would never touch again!!

One not-so-frugal item I originally dismissed but am reconsidering:

  • Videography. I swore I would never pay for a videographer, and that it was an unnecessary expense. We are, after all, paying for my dream wedding photographer that I’ve been stalking admiring for years (thank you honey for obliging me). Photography was our #1 priority, videography not so much. But now, after reading this post, I’m not so sure! It literally had me bawling by the end.  Then I started thinking about all the family members I could capture on film.  There are many times over the past year that I’ve regretted not tape recording some of my conversations with my grandfather that recently passed.  I can still hear his voice telling me one of his many stories, and I think it would have been neat to get a little voice recorder and tape one of these conversations. But I was always too busy, or didn’t invest the money in a recorder, or found some other excuse and time ran out. I don’t know, what do you think? Are still images enough? Or shall I splurge on video, too?

3 Responses to “Thrifty Odds ‘n Ends: The Wedding Planning Edition”

  1. Mom says:

    You sure know how to bring tears to your old Mom’s eyes (always have, haven’t you…) . A videographer would be lovely, have wished so often that I had a video of Dad walking me down the aisle. It was a precious moment, & it would be so nice to see that again. I know you would enjoy watching your wedding with our future grandchildren too :) Whatever you decide, your wedding day will be a treasured blessing to all of us!

  2. Trini says:

    So excited for both our weddings!

    These are some of the frugal things I did for mine:
    Bought my dream wedding dress on eBay for less than half the price. I was lucky enough to find the same designer gown in my exact size! I made an offer for $200 less than original asking price and ordered through mrrebates for an additional $30 savings. To top it all off, it also included the veil and shoes (in my size as well!).

    Online RSVPs, between the cards and the postage we probably saved a couple hundred dollars just on that.

    One of our requirements for the venue was that they would allow us to bring our own alcohol. We bought liquor using your $50 DIAGEO rebates over the last year or so. We also took advantage of BevMo’s 5c sale to buy wine at 1/2 the price! :)

    One no so good frugal attempt was ordering the bridesmaids dresses online on houseofbrides.com. I ordered them on 6/14, they are still not here and my wedding is 20 days away! For all of you out there reading this post, stay away from that site! It’s not worth it!

  3. kc says:

    I haven’t visited in awhile but I am trying to catch up! I was a big wedding girl too! I love reading about all your frugal wedding ideas and laughed at the Friday 13th wedding. My MIL would just die… LOL so funny, I think it was a great compromise for the sake of frugality!

    I did have a video done. My mom thinks it was a waste and while I have only watched it a few times, I think catching glimpses of friends and family from that day is fun. I wish there was more of that. If I were to do it over again I would ask for more random other people shots in the video, to capture the whole experience.

    Now I am off to catch up on your crazy travel stuff. I haven’t been over to Flyertalk in a long time so I am hoping I can ride on your skirt tails for a good miles deal or too!

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