Wedding Envy: Is It Happening to Me?

Oh my gosh, her shoes, I love them! The heels, the sparkles, the lace! Look at that bunting, so perfect! Cake pops and a vintage vanity sitting in a meadow, with a strategically placed barn in the distance, with fairytale turquoise doors, grinning newlyweds and a horse. A HORSE*! A Notebook inspired wedding – ahhhhh! It’s almost too much for me to bear!

And I snap back to reality. Please give me a minute to get my feet back on the ground. One, two, there we go…

I spend my life in front of a computer. Working, doing schoolwork, writing – always in front of a computer. So, unable to break my habit of following my favorite wedding blogs post-nuptials (Offbeat Bride, Ruffled, The Broke-Ass Bride, DIY Bride, to name a few), I often find myself gazing through pages and pages of real weddings. I scroll through amazing dream dresses, colorful couples full of character, artisan hand-crafted decor and desserts that would make even Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, jealous. I see whimsical woodland weddings and beautiful, beachy weddings, rustic barn weddings and fancy golf course weddings. You picking up what I’m putting down? Good.

Anyway, I catch myself comparing these weddings to mine and, sometimes, I ask myself the question that no new bride ever, EVER, wants to ask herself: do I have wedding envy?

I imagine that most new (and maybe even not-so-new) brides feel the same way sometimes. As time passes, we long to go back to the happy times; the times that made us laugh, cry, scream, stress and feel. We long to go back to a time that made us feel alive. And, for so many of us, our weddings provide this needed escape. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the full definition of envy is “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.”

Though I am aware of the beautiful and amazing and OMG weddings in existence, I do not consider those brides and grooms to have an advantage over anyone else, especially my husband and I. And I mean absolutely no disrespect to any newlyweds out there because those weddings were their weddings, perfect for them. We all have our own quirks and idiosyncrasies that make us who we are and those are the things that make weddings so wonderful. It’s the little things, the reflections of two personalities destined to spend their lives as one. If we lose sight of those, then what do we really have left?

The second part of the definition of envy deals with having “a desire to possess the same advantage.” Aside from not considering advantage to be a factor here, I also would not say that I have a desire to possess said advantage. What’s perfect for one couple may not be the right thing for another couple. My husband and I had the wedding that we wanted, that fit us, that suited us, that meant something to us and that we created with our own hands. And it was truly magnificent.

Photo by John Munson | Beacon Photography

Photo by John Munson | Beacon Photography

And I mean that. Not only did our crafting, building, painting, sawing, sewing, wire-tying, glue-gunning, pinning, cutting, designing, baking, glazing, drawing and paper-cutting (and thus blistering and bleeding) add to the decor and feel of our wedding, it also brought us closer together. We spent months making everything perfect for us. So to answer the question I’ve been asking myself lately, despite what it might seem like, I am happy to announce that I am most certainly, awesomely, definitely not suffering from wedding envy! I wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding even if I could… because it was ours. Our first of many endeavors as a married couple. And the boost I needed, and thus my handy hubby needed, to dive into the life of domestic DIY!

*Silly bit of info: Horse was my first word.

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My Budget, DIY Wedding: 6 Ways I Saved a Bunch of Money

I am going to join everyone else in doing a bit of reflecting today, on this past year and all that it has blessed me with. One thing stands out (quite obviously) and that is my wedding. Being admittedly obsessive-compulsive, the fact that I can look back on that day without any worries, anxiety or regrets is truly an amazing feeling.

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*Credit: All photos in this post were taken by John Munson at Beacon Photography.

With that in mind, I want to share a post that I’ve wanted to write for a while now. As I mentioned previously, planning my wedding is what reignited my creativity and inspired the creation of this blog. Since weddings are super expensive and only getting more so, and planning one can be extremely stressful, I want to share the 6 ways that I was able to save a boatload of money in planning my wedding:

1) Discounted and DIY Stationery.

Save the Dates: When it came time to make the save the dates, I was still very new to the whole wedding planning process (or strategy, if you will). I knew we had a very tight budget (I’m talking incredibly tight to the point most would find it unattainable) and large families. So I waited until there was a 50% promo code for save the dates at Minted and I ordered them. Easy enough – and I saved about $150 with the promo code!

Invitations: As the wedding got closer, I started pondering what on earth we were going to do for invitations. Knowing how expensive they are, I panicked a little. Once I got back on my one-minded, budget-planning track, I weighed my options. We could either order really crappy invitations because it would be all we could afford, OR… wait for it… we could make our own! If you can’t already tell by my enthusiasm, we went for the latter.

I had a bunch of leftover envelopes from a friend’s baby shower that I planned a few months earlier, so I decided to use those and then get more of the same. My husband (bless his soul) and I bought the extra envelopes at Staples. I ordered cardstock paper online from The Paper Mill Store in the texture and color I wanted, using a promo code to save me 40% on my order.

Once I had the materials, I used Microsoft Publisher to design the invitations which consisted of a main invitation, guest information card, ceremony info card (for our immediate family, as we had a very intimate ceremony), a silly “celebration rules” card and an RSVP instruction card. We had everyone RSVP online through our wedding website, so we saved money on an entire set of envelopes and stamps! We tied all of the pieces together with some twine and called it a day. *There will be a tutorial on DIY wedding invitations coming soon. In the mean time, check out this printable stationery checklist from DIY Bride. I used this and just adjusted it to fit my own vision.

2) Free Ceremony Venue and Discounted Reception Venue.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. We had an intimate ceremony with just our immediate family, and we had it in our backyard, overlooking the ocean with a view of the Boston skyline. And just like that we had the beauty of nature (free décor!) and a budget-friendly venue (free!). Aside from décor and attire, all we shelled out for the ceremony, other than the champagne and beers purchased by my new in-laws (I can’t thank them enough), was the $100 officiant fee.

For our reception, we chose the yacht club down the street from our house, at which my (now) husband is a member. Not only do local function halls tend to be less expensive than the bigger, more popular venues, but, with his member discount, my husband was able to save us over 50% on the fee for the hall! I knew that I would just have to create decorations that would give us the most bang for our buck, so to speak. The amazing views also helped, as they drew a lot of attention away from the hall itself.

3) DIY everything… no, really… everything.

My husband and I made our own photobooth and saved over $600. We also made our own centerpieces, arbor, bouquets, boutonnieres, guestbook, card box and the rest of the décor for both the ceremony and reception. A major way that I found to save money was by not having any real flowers. Yes, you heard me right. We did not have any real flowers at our wedding!

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4) Open Seating Plan and Delicious BBQ.

The key to keeping most any wedding guest happy is good food. It was really important to my husband and me that we choose yummy food options that would keep our guests full and satisfied. If you’ve ever planned a wedding, then you know how terrifyingly expensive catering can be. That being said, we chose a BBQ joint in our area (Blue Ribbon Bar-B-Q… yummmmm) to cater our reception. We saved some money by having them drop the food off and having the staff at the reception venue serve it. We also opted to have an open seating plan and let our guests choose where they sat. By doing this, we saved money on place cards. We also decided not to have a cake. Instead, we had a dessert table; I baked a lot of dessert breads and froze them ahead of time, while various friends and family members brought desserts to add to the table.

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5) No Professional Band or DJ.

We paid a friend to be our DJ. This allowed us to create the entire playlist ourselves, so we could ensure that the music being played would be something we liked. This did provide for a bit of a challenge because, as it turns out, we underestimated the length of our playlist, but it was just a minor hiccup in the day and really didn’t make much of a difference. In fact, I’m not sure if anyone else noticed. Since DJs can run upwards of $1,000+, we saved oodles of money in this area.

6) Thrifty and Fun Attire.

The total cost of both my attire and my husband’s, including the boutonniere and bouquet materials, was under $500. And $150 of that was for my cowboy boots (splurge!). Being shy and, I think, sometimes socially inept, I knew I wanted to buy my dress online. This might not be the best option for everyone, but it worked for me. After months of searching, I found my dress at Macy’s for $70 (and I got a promo code for free shipping). My husband and his groomsmen wore jeans and I ordered my birdcage veil and flower clip from Etsy. I chose to do my own nails and my future sister-in-law did my hair and makeup (she’s amazing). All in all, it worked out better and we saved more money than I could have ever hoped!

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