The date's been set, reservations made, and mom begins to panic! Keep in mind, it's a one day event, and there's nothing worse than a stressed-out mom. You've heard the old expression, "if mom ain't happy--ain't nobody happy." You can pay a professional and let them do the choosing and purchasing, and drive the family to bankruptcy, or start early, do it yourself, and enjoy a real sense of accomplishment and pride when it's all over. And have money left to give the happy couple the money you've saved to help them make a start. The following are tips for a less-stress wedding both mom and daughter can be proud of (trust me, I've been through it twice and this method works!).
- Decide on the date, place , colors to be used. Also, amounts needed for wedding attendants, parents, servers, window decorations, and reception tables. Once you've made the initial decision, stick to your guns! Otherwise you'll be buying and returning over and over again!
- Start early! If plans allow several months until the wedding, take in end of season clearance sales. Proms are basically over now and nice formal dresses are probably in abundance at markdown prices. If you're a real do-it-yourselfer, make bridesmaids dresses. Walmart has inexpensive and really simple patterns. I made four for my son's wedding and, by finding a good sale on fabric, they cost less than $20 each. (Remember mom, this isn't really an expense you are obligated to). By keeping the cost down, your daughter can have as many bridesmaids as she wants. You are only obligated to provide flowers!
- Prepare an "items needed" list and potential stores to find them. For example: bouquet holders: Walmart, Garden Ridge, Carolina Pottery, Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Family Dollar stores. Just about any item you need for your wedding can be found at these stores. I purchased a $40 damaged cake topper at Garden Ridge for $4--removed the broken bride and groom and custom made a small flower arrangement in the wedding colors and no one but myself and the bride knew it had come from a damaged merchandise rack.There are lots of bargains to be found if you look--with the mindset of saving money!!
- Make your own invitations, programs, and scrolls: most department stores sell print-your-own invitations and, even though you may need to purchase an extra ink cartridge, you still come out money ahead by not ordering pre-printed items.
- Check out yard sales and thrift stores: many times you can find exactly the baskets, glassware and votive cups you need. Melt down any wax in a barely warm oven, wash and it's good as new for use.
- Customize your own design using a cheap guest book, ring bearer's pillow and basket for the flower girl. These and the ribbon you will need can be found at Dollar Tree stores.
- Napkins: inexpensive $1 a pack napkins will work fine. If you want them printed, most book stores will engrave them for a fraction of the cost of ordered napkins. I paid $6 for 100 to be engraved.
- Candles: cheap candles will work fine. The secret is to place them in the freezer overnight before using to help them burn longer.
- Cake: borrow pans if possible and bake early in the week before the wedding. For less problems, use a plain white simply decorated design and put small clusters of silk flowers between the layers. Cupcakes go a long way! That was a time-saver I chose and it's a lot less mess! Place them on a pretty 2-3 tiered glass plate. (Borrow if you can).
- Flowers: shop around for the best prices on the most realistic looking flowers for bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages and table decorations. Silk is always better because so much can be done in advance and stored in plastic to prevent crushing or wrinkling the ribbon.
- A week before: check out grocery sales ads for the items you need for the reception and recruit plenty of help. You'll be surprised how many friends and family are flattered to be asked to help get food ready for the reception. Trust me, no matter how independent you think you are, no one can pull off a reception by themselves, it's impossible!
- Follow this advice: get an early start and remember, save money! You'll have champagne taste on a beer pocketbook!
By Sharon from Ravenna, KY
About the Author: Sharon is a long time contributer and reader of ThriftyFun.