ShootAnyAngle.com Wedding Photography Blog

What story will your photos tell? We're a husband and wife photography team, and we want to capture your special day so you can relive it every time you look at your photographs! On this blog, you'll find all things wedding to inspire you for your big day! Check back often for posts on photography, DIY, dresses, decorations, and more!


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Bridal Outfits Besides “The” Dress

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/Every woman knows about looking for the dress, but there are several other outfits that the bride needs apart from that.  Now, these could be outfits you already have, or it could be a fun excuse to go shopping!

Bridal Shower

If you’re having a bridal shower, you’ll need a dress (and more than one if you’re having multiple showers!).  Wear what you feel good in, but don’t over-dress.  This is the time for shorter dresses or maxi dresses, not ball gowns.

Bachelorette

It really depends on your plans as to what is appropriate here.  It could be a club dress or even pjs!

Traveling to Venue

This can be jeans and a “bride” t-shirt or a button up blouse.  Just note that you need to be able to get the shirt off over your just-done-at-the-salon hair.  So, a button-up or a large neck is the way to go.

Getting Ready

Generally, this includes a robe and your undergarments so you don’t mess up your hair and make-up going from that to the dress.

Reception

This outfit is optional, but some women would like to get married in a ball gown, but party the night away in a slimmer dress. If that sounds like what you’d like to do, a reception dress is needed.  It’s usually also white (or ivory) but easier to move in.  Sometimes it’s shorter or a sheath fit, but it’s up to the bride.

Going Away

This too is optional.  If you can travel in your wedding dress to the hotel, then go for it!  If you’d like to change, a going away outfit will be needed.

Night of

As someone who opened a shower gift containing a negligee in front of all of her female family members and friends (and proceeded to turn bright red when I held it up trying to figure out what it was – I was the last to figure it out), I can tell you from experience that it’s generally assumed that the bride will wear nicer pajamas the night of her wedding.  That means a nice nightgown or negligee or sexy lingerie.  What you wear (and are comfortable with) is entirely up to you.

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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What to Know About Vow Renewals

I recently had the pleasure of photographing a vow renewal of a couple in their 80s.  It’s so inspiring to see a couple still happily married years after their first “I do.”  A Vow Renewal can be a really sweet and great way to renew the marriage.  Some couples prefer a quiet ceremony with just the two of them, but others prefer to have a party along with the renewal.  Both are great options if you’re interested in re-committing to each other.

When is a Renewal appropriate?

An anniversary milestone

Celebrating your 10 year anniversary?  15?  20?  30?  That’s the perfect time for a vow renewal.  Some would argue that 5 years is a bit too early, but it is still a milestone, so it’s acceptable!  If you can’t do it on the milestone for whatever reason (interfering with another wedding, illness, absence, etc) then you can do it off of the milestone year.

Anytime past the age of 70

If you’re over 70, you don’t need to wait for a milestone because you’ve had plenty already!  Plus, at that age, you’ve most-likely been with your partner for a long time, so a renewal at anytime is fine.

There are no other weddings happening

If you’d like a big party for your vow renewal, but there’s another wedding going on in your family or in your small group of friends, it’s not the right time (even if you’re celebrating a milestone).  It’s the other couple’s time for the spotlight, so you need to let them have their moment.  So, if a wedding has occurred or will be occurring within a year of your renewal (and you want to make it like a second wedding), then hold off.  If you’re just having a private renewal on the beach and no party element though (or if you’re over 70 years old), then it’s fine to do at anytime.

Are guests required to bring gifts?

The short answer is “no.”  The purpose of wedding gifts is to help the couple start their life together and to provide supplies for their new home.  Since a renewal couple has already been living together, the couple shouldn’t expect gifts.  That being said, if you wish to give a gift as a guest, you certainly can.  Focus on sentimentality versus functionality.  For example, have a print made of their wedding picture or a photo album of their lives together thus far.

Is the couple required to provide a meal to guests?

If a party or reception element is part of the renewal, then it’s a good idea to provide food of some sort.  Appetizers are perfectly acceptable though!  It’s also fine to invite everyone to a restaurant.  As long as you’re clear about it being “dutch treat” up front, then you can all have a meal together without you paying for the bill.

Is a vow renewal a second wedding?

No, but it can still be a big party, though!  Some people do make it like a second wedding, especially if their first wedding was smaller than they had originally wanted.  Though this is done, be aware that some guests may look at a second wedding negatively especially if it’s really like a full wedding.  In those cases, some people may think the renewal is for a purpose other than the desire to re-commit (such as trying to get gifts).  A vow renewal is only appropriate if you wish to focus on the commitment of your marriage.  As long as that’s clear, that’s what matters.

Should I wear a wedding dress?

You don’t have to, but some women prefer to (it’s always fun to get to wear a wedding dress!).  It’s pretty common to see episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress” where women are picking out wedding dresses for their renewals.  So, you certainly can wear a wedding dress, and you could even wear your original wedding dress if it still fits.  You can also wear any dress you’d like.  The dress doesn’t need to be white either.  Wear whatever you feel beautiful in!

Congratulations!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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Wedding Day “Hacks”

There are lots of small things to think about on the big day, and those often slip through the cracks while you’re busy dealing with flowers and caterers.  Here are some simple hacks to help deal with those little things you may have forgotten!

1.  Tuck a handkerchief in the back of your bouquet.  

This way, you’ll have something to dab your eyes with when you inevitably get emotional because you’re so happy to be marrying the love of your life.  If you tuck it in, it will blend with the rest of the flowers.

2.  Stash a bag under your table at dinner.

By that time, you may be needing some touch-ups.  You can keep make-up in there, bandaids in case those cute shoes start to hurt, oil blotting papers for your face, hair pins, etc.

3.  Bring an “emergency” kit.

I never go to a wedding without one, even if I’m the photographer or just a guest.  My kit always includes a sewing kit (with thread colors that match the outfits of the bridesmaids, groom, groomsmen, and bride), floss (both for getting food out of your teeth and for extra strong thread in case of a big sewing emergency), oil blotting papers, deodorant, hair spray, lint roller, static cling spray, and mints.  I use the travel section of Target to re-stock it.  For the most part, you can keep this in the “getting ready” room or in the car in case it’s needed.

4.  Use an Anti-Chafing Stick between your thighs and/or wear Spanx.

You are going to be sweating under that dress (ah the joys of Polyester!), so make sure your thighs can’t chafe.  It puts a damper on things when each step is painful.

5.  Choose a garter that can’t ride or roll up.

If the garter can roll up and scratch your thighs, it will create the same problem as above.  Make sure to choose wisely.

6.  Get a travel cup with a straw for getting ready.

Most of us don’t want to eat or drink before the wedding for various reasons, but if you get dehydrated, that can lead to serious problems.  One of my bridesmaids assigned herself the job of “watering the bride.”  So, she made me a cute travel mason jar mug that said “Bride” on it, and filled it with water.  Even if you don’t want to, push yourself to take little sips periodically to ensure you’re hydrated.  Using a straw will help keep your lipstick intact.

7.  Eat smart the day before.

We all want to eat lavishly at our rehearsal dinner, but if you eat something too rich, you could be sick the next day.  This is especially true of anyone who is lactose intolerant or has IBS.  Thus, you have to be smart about what you eat the day before.  Make sure it’s not too fatty or particularly large.  If you’ve had problems with a certain kind of food, avoid that at all costs the day before and the day of your wedding.

8.  Assign a bridesmaid to grab you an appetizer plate for in between photographs.

You probably won’t eat a lot prior to the wedding, so having a plate of appetizers to eat in between taking photographs is wonderful.  Just make sure she checks your teeth before you jump back in for another photograph!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

9.  Pack an “after the wedding” to-go dinner.

Most brides and grooms find they can’t eat much at the reception (tight dress, talking with guests, nerves, etc), so you may find yourself starving later that night.  Ask for a to-go dinner that you two can enjoy later that night.  We did this for after our wedding, and food has never tasted as good as it did then!

10.  “Contact anyone on the day of the wedding, except the bride!”

The day of your wedding, you should not be having to answer any calls.  So, create a contact list for your wedding party with the names and phone numbers of who they should contact for specific issues.  Make sure to include your vendor contacts as well.

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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The Guest List: How to Say “No”

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/One of the biggest headaches when getting married is the dreaded guest list.  In the beginning, you think it’ll be easy – just add family and friends, and done!  Right?  Wrong!  That’s before your mother gets involved, your mother-in-law gets involved, your cousin gets involved, and your bridesmaid gets involved.  “Not their call,” you may say, and you’d be right.  But, sadly, unsolicited advice is a common occurrence in life, but it’s REALLY common during wedding planning.  So, how do you deal with disputes that arise?

First thing’s first.  Pick and choose your battles.  A new boyfriend who is on the shy side is a safer bet than a likes-to-get-drunk-at-all-social-events co-worker.  You can’t fight and win all battles, so choose wisely making sure to keep in mind who the request is coming from and how both you and your fiancé feel about having that guest there.  If acceptable, invite those guests with a smile.  Then, it’s time to deal with the guests you don’t want to invite.  Here are the typical ones that will come up and some ideas for how to diffuse the tension and get the wanna-be-guest (or guest’s sponsor) off your back.  These are just suggestions though (and mostly untested), so always use your best judgement when coming up with your tailored response.  The final words need to be your own, and I find it best to keep it short.  After all, you know the person and the situation!

1.  Your Boss

Sure.  He/she may pay your salary, but weddings are personal.  As we all know, they are called “Personal Days” for a reason.  Your work is a different world than your personal one, so if you aren’t all buddy-buddy with your boss, you do not have to invite him/her.  So, how to dodge the question if it comes up?

Try:  “We’re limited on space and budget, so we have to stick to family and close friends.”

Or:  “We’d love to invite you, but then we’d feel obligated to invite the whole office and my fiancé’s co-workers too, and that’s too much.  So, we had to limit it to friends and family only.”

2.  A Guest’s New Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Every bride hates this one.  Here you are paying an arm and a leg for the wedding, and a guest wants his/her new fling invited without any thought as to how much more it will cost you.  Well, if he/she is a new flame, it’s not that serious.  So, if space is tight, you don’t have to extend an invitation to the significant other (or give the guest a plus one).  Now, if the couple has been together a significant amount of time (say, 6 months or more at the time of the invite – and especially if they’ve been together longer than you and your fiancé), then he/she should be invited.  Same goes if the guest has a significant role in the wedding (bridesmaid, groomsman, reader, officiant, etc).  If neither of those are applicable and space is tight, here’s how to handle that one.

“I’d love to invite him/her, but we just don’t have the space or budget to accommodate all the extra guests that we’ve been asked to invite.  Plus, he/she doesn’t know anyone at the wedding except you.  We wouldn’t want him/her to feel uncomfortable.”

3.  The Aunt/Uncle/Cousin You’ve Never Met

It’s funny how long-lost relatives all the sudden pop up once someone is getting married, but they do.  Some people believe that as long as there is a blood-line, then an invite is required.  As someone who has over 50 members on my mother’s side of the family alone (that I know personally – but there are more), I can’t afford to subscribe to that theory!  Even if you don’t have a huge family, a relative you’ve never met is oftentimes a guest brides don’t want to invite.  Here’s how to handle that.

“I’d love to meet him/her in the future, but we just don’t feel our wedding is the appropriate place.  As it is, the guest list is just too tight.”

4.  The Random Person Who Your Relative/Friend Already Invited

Shocking, but it does happen.  When it does, it can be very stressful, but try this approach.

“I’m very sorry, but there’s been a misunderstanding.  I’ve been told that you received an invite to our wedding.  Unfortunately, that person was not authorized to extend invitations, and we’re already at capacity for guests.  I’m terribly sorry for the position this has put you in, and I hope you understand.”

5.  Exes

Yikes!!  You’d think it’d be self-explanatory that exes are blacklisted from weddings (unless everyone involved are friends and alright about them coming – which is rare), but I’ve heard some horror stories about brides and grooms being pressured to invite exes.  Here’s how to deal with that one.

“Our marriage is a celebration of our relationship, not relationships of the past.  We want to look towards our future, not at what we chose to leave behind.”

6.  The Person Who Invited You To Their Wedding

People change and some drift apart.  Just because someone invited you to their wedding does not mean you are obligated to reciprocate – especially if things have changed.  You already gave them a gift after all.  Try this.

“We’ve decided to have a more intimate wedding, and we already have more family and close friends than we have room for.  I hope you understand.”

~

Now, these suggested responses are all well and good if they work the first time, but what if you are dealing with someone irrational (we all know someone like that!), and they keep pressuring you?  At that point, I’ve found it best to be polite but firm.  Something along the lines of “I’m sorry, but we cannot invite him/her, and that decision is firm.”  If that still doesn’t work, it’s sometimes best to just ignore future appeals.  So much of our communication these days are via email and text, so those are easy to leave unanswered.  If the appeal is done in person, you can simply say, “I’m sorry, but that’s a stressful topic. Let’s talk about something else.”  Remember, try to always stay as polite as possible.  Anger will only lead to animosity, so keep that at bay.  It’s okay to say no as long as you do it respectfully.

Good luck!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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How My Wedding Changed My Life

shootanyangle.com/weddings/Mostly, we hear about how our marriage has changed our lives, and it absolutely does.  I was with James eight years before we got married, so he was changing my life long before we actually tied the knot.  He has made me a better person, he brings such pure and complete joy to my life every moment, and he is my absolute best friend.  I’m the luckiest woman in the world to be his wife, and I love him more and more everyday.  So, my spouse has absolutely changed my life, but the wedding day itself changed my life in very surprising ways.

The bride is usually the one planning the wedding, so we’re forced to learn the ropes very quickly.  We’re all the sudden the CEO in company that we’ve never worked for.  Brides have to not only learn what it takes to put together the massive production of a wedding, but we also need to understand each aspect well enough to make the best decisions.  That’s a lot of pressure on us, and it’s extremely stressful.  Some brides crack under the pressure.  Some brides plan out of necessity and are quick to forget it.  But, some brides bloom and become more confident and better decision makers.  That’s what happened to me.  I guess it’s that whole “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” thing (something I previously didn’t subscribe to).  There were days I thought my head would burst from the stress, I thought I wouldn’t be able to continue with all the tasks on my list with a smile on my face, I felt I didn’t have enough time, and I believed I didn’t have what it took to be the CEO of my own wedding.  But I did.  It all taught me a very important lesson: there was a power inside of me that I didn’t know I had, and when utilized, I could move mountains.

On the big day, I also felt the most beautiful I’ve ever felt.  I could finally see what James and my family had been saying all those years, except now, I felt it from within.  For months later, I would feel blue that I’d never be that beautiful again, despite my husband constantly telling me how beautiful I am (even with crazy bed hair and toothpaste drool down my shirt).  It may seem like a vain thought, but our self-image is a critical part of our mental health.  That’s why we often feel upset when we don’t think we look nice, or when we feel under or over dressed at an event.  It’s because we care about how we are perceived by others.  For awhile, I let myself wallow in self pity.  Then, something flipped in my brain.  I started trying to recapture the beauty I had on my wedding day.  I started trying to learn new hairstyles, I was more careful when applying makeup, and I started paying more attention to my everyday clothes.  I always liked fashion, but I put more effort into it post-wedding.  I was slowly reflecting on the outside what I had felt on the inside, and that in turn enhanced the confidence I had earned from the wedding.

With this newfound self-image, I started becoming a different person.  Or, at least, a more improved version of myself.  I started pushing myself harder and taking more risks with my work.  They started paying off left and right.  With each success, I found my creativity opening up.  I trusted my instincts.  I found that things that normally would make me anxious or scared no longer had that affect on my nerves.  I was calmer, collected.  Instead of wondering if things would work out (as I had always done), I just understood that they would.

I always knew my marriage would change my life for the better, but no one ever told me about the wedding gift that first day would bestow upon me.  It was the best wedding gift I could have received.

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Valentine’s Day is this weekend, and whether it’s the first with your sweetheart, the year that he might just pop the big question, or a holiday that you and your honey have had almost every year together, it should be special. So, we decided to create a table setting to give your meal a little extra romance! We’ll leave the cooking up to you though!

The color red is always a typical Valentine’s color, but we decided to add in some champagne, gold, and green as well to give it a bit more class. The red is also a darker red, which we like better than the bright red and purple we tend to find in the store. Actually, the plates and decorations are mainly all gold and champagne, so the red is brought in through the flowers alone. You don’t need to have a lavish floral display to impress. Here, we just used loose flowers bought from Safeway amongst the candles to create this relaxed yet classy look. It’s much easier than getting the floral tape and Styrofoam and taking hours to design an over-the-top centerpiece, and it looks just as nice.

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

For the wine glasses, we wanted something special, so I created something specifically for this date night. Those started off as plain, clear champagne flutes. First, I taped off the diagonal line on the top of the glass, and mixed Mod Podge with gold glitter. Just use a brush to paint it on. I recommend a few coats. By mixing the glitter into the glue, the glitter will not come off at all. It’ll also be relatively smooth to the touch. It’s the best way to apply glitter, in my opinion. My husband, James, hates loose glitter with a passion, so he’ll only use it if the glitter won’t come off. Next, tape off the top of the flute, including the glittered portion, and use gold spray paint on the rest of the glass. I found Krylon’s gold spray paint to work best.

How to make fancy champagne flutes ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

How to make fancy champagne flutes
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Since I had so much fun transforming everyday objects with gold spray paint, I did a run to the Dollar Store, and found a simple glass candlestick and a round vase that reminded me of a fish bowl. I spray painted the bowl and glued it to the top of the candlestick with glass glue (and I added gold glitter inside the candlestick to give it a little extra glitz). Leave the bottom of the bowl unsprayed, though, in order to ensure a good hold for the glue. This made it look like an old-fashioned lamp, so I added a candle inside, and used it in the center of our table.

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

With just a little bit of creativity, you can make the perfect setting for you and your sweetie without spending a lot of money.

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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How to Plan an Inexpensive Wedding: Lots of Tips to Save Over $20,000 and What Is Worth the Money (Part Two of Three)

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Part One!

Invitations and Other Paper

Our Save the Dates were made by utilizing a technique called

Our Save the Dates were made by utilizing a technique called “light painting.”
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

I was lucky to have such crafty people help me for our wedding. For invitations, I had a fantastic card-maker ready to make them for me – my mother! I come from a very crafty family, if you couldn’t tell already! My mom and I worked on the design of the invitations together, and then she made each by hand. This is a bit of a long process to be sure, but they came out beautifully. She also made my shower invitations even though friends hosted the event. She also made simple “reserved” signs for our front row. For the Save-the-Dates, my husband and I took point on those. We did a nighttime long-exposure shot that utilized a technique called “light painting.” We did the photography ourselves (it’s our job after all!) and I designed the final product around the image. I had them printed at Costco. By using these techniques, we saved around $450.

Ring Pillow

Use an object you already own as the ring bearer pillow. http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Use an object you already own as the ring bearer pillow.
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

I think the ring pillow is a place where you can let your imagination really come out. James, my husband, actually came up with the idea to use an object we already owned that had special meaning for us. Since we had gotten engaged in Disneyland, and we had gotten Mickey and Minnie wedding ears to commemorate the occasion, we decided to tie the rings to his Groom Mickey Ears. It was adorable on its own, but to make it even better, our ringbearer ran down the aisle waving the ears behind him! It was so cute. By going this route, we saved around $45.  

Venue

Find a venue that isn't well-known for weddings. http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Find a venue that isn’t well-known for weddings.
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Odds are, you are going to spend a good chunk of your budget here, and it’s one of the places where you should if you want a specific look. It was very important for us to be outdoors in an area that we both loved. We had previous connections to the Rengstorff House, and we loved the grounds, so we went for it. They do quite a few weddings there, but it’s not well-known for being a wedding venue. That kept their cost down, so they were pretty reasonable. If you go with this particular venue (or any that does not have sufficient lighting), just note that you will have to buy twice as many hours as your event to allow for set-up and break-down of lighting. Of course, if you or your fiancé have a nice big property available to use for free, go for it, and save even more! By going with a venue that wasn’t known for weddings, we saved around $200 off the 2013 average for venues (their national average venue cost is listed as $1,993, which seems quite low to me – at least for the Bay Area, California, so this is an underestimation of what it saved us).

Officiant

Have a friend officiate! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Have a friend officiate!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

In some venues, an officiant may be assigned to you – like at a Church. However, we weren’t able to have a priest due to rules about being married outside. So, we decided on using a friend of ours as the officiant. He did such a great job, and he really cares about us, which made it much more special. He got “ordained” online for free, and then we gave him a gift as a thank you. So, we saved around $150 here.

Planner

Talk with your friends - some may love party planning! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings

Talk with your friends – some may love party planning!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings

As I mentioned earlier, one of our bridesmaids was a born planner, so she handled this role for us. We did get her nice gifts as a thank you, but even with that cost, going this route saved a lot. I worried that it was too much work for her, but luckily, she loved it! Check with your friends and see if any love planning parties. By using a friend, we saved around $1,600.  

Stay tuned next week for the conclusion, Part Three!

2013 averages from http://www.weddingstats.org/

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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How to Plan an Inexpensive Wedding: Lots of Tips to Save Over $20,000 and What Is Worth the Money (Part One of Three)

Let’s face it. Though a wedding is a very important day, it is just one day. Sadly, some couples spend so much on their wedding, that their savings are hit hard. There are ways to make the day great without breaking the bank though. After all, being able to afford a home someday would be nice!

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s important to know what aspects of the wedding are the most important to you. Those are the aspects where you should spend the money. For me, it was photography, details, and the venue that were the biggies. Photography was the number one because, besides the marriage, that’s what will last, so it better be good!

Catering

Save money by using a restaurant instead of a wedding caterer! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Save money by using a restaurant instead of a wedding caterer!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Catering is really expensive – I mean REALLY expensive. When we were planning our wedding, I talked to several caterers and provided them with our catering budget and our overall budget for the whole wedding so that they knew what we were working with. Every single caterer came back to me with a quote that was more than our ENTIRE wedding budget! How is that right? The second they heard the food was for a wedding, their quote skyrocketed.

So, we decided to have a restaurant cater. A restaurant doesn’t care if it’s a wedding or a birthday party or a small dinner with friends – their prices remain the same. They are also a lot easier to deal with, in my opinion, because they aren’t trying to sneak in extra costs like the caterers were doing to me. You also can spend a little more to give your guests more options and yet it still comes way under the price of a wedding caterer. We used the Old Spaghetti Factory, and everyone loved the food at our wedding, and it worked out perfectly!

By going this route for our 150-person wedding, we saved around $4,300 when compared to the 2013 average for a wedding caterer.

Wedding Dress and Bridesmaid Dresses

Always check the sample rack, you may just find the one! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Always check the sample rack, you may just find the one!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Buy special occasion dresses online rather than from a bridal store. http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Buy special occasion dresses online rather than from a bridal store.
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

I was quite lucky when it came to my wedding dress. I love fashion, and I do feel the dress is one of those places where it’s okay to spend a little more. I’ve seen women who bought a cheap dress just because it was cheap, and they were not happy with it. That shows on their face, and this should be the happiest day of your life – so feel your best! Luckily, I found THE dress straight off the rack. It was a sample dress. The price was so low that it cost the same as my mother’s dress cost 30 years ago! So, don’t forget to check that rack – you may just find the one! As for the veil, I knew purchasing one was out of the question for me. As a seamstress myself, I’m just amazed how much money a bit of tulle can go for once it’s labeled as a “veil.” So, I made mine. Grand total cost to make it? $3. Yup, $3. That’s much nicer than the 2013 average of $128 (and they can go for a lot more than that!)

For bridesmaid dresses, I was determined to find something that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. It’s important to realize that though the wedding may be the center of your life, it is NOT the center of theirs. When I was a bridesmaid, the bride did not take into account how much each girl was spending on her. It ended up totally over $1,000 each, and that was money we didn’t really have to spend on someone else. I was determined not to do the same to my girls. Instead, I went to Amazon.com to get ideas. I ended up finding a pretty mint/turquoise dress by Ever-Pretty. The cost? $43 plus another $5 for the add-on lace.

By buying a sample dress and making my veil, I saved around $805 when compared to the average. By buying a dress online instead of an official bridesmaid dress, each girl saved around $75-$250.

Flowers

Get flowers from local stores, and assemble them yourselves! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Get flowers from local stores, and assemble them yourselves!
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

I was very blessed to have a bridesmaid who is an absolute natural when it comes to all things “wedding” – including flowers. That being said, we still needed to buy them! She came up with an alternative to a florist: buying them from Costco and Whole Foods! We went with Baby’s Breath, Chamomile, Hypericum Berries, and Spray Roses. Then, she assembled them herself. They were stunning!  I also added fabric flowers that I had made.  Each had a memento from a family member.

By going this route, we saved $1,500 off the average cost of flowers.

Cake

This beautiful cake stand was made by my father for our wedding.  He made it look like a tree since we love the outdoors.  He even carved in our initials and wrote a special note to me in Italian. http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

This beautiful cake stand was made by my father for our wedding. 
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Like catering, cake can also be very pricey – especially if you have a multi-tiered masterpiece. We liked the idea of cupcakes better (and it’s becoming more and more popular), so we used a local bakery that is actually quite famous for the heaven that is their confectionary goodness. This way, you also don’t have to worry about cake cutting fees (which are just silly!). We also made the cake stand ourselves – or rather, my father did. He’s an expert wood-worker, so he created the perfect stand for our cupcakes.

So, by buying cupcakes and a small cutting cake instead of going the traditional route, we saved around $290 off the average cost.

 

Decorations

Beautiful gold mason jars hanging from the chairs.

Beautiful gold mason jars hanging from the chairs.

Old cameras and books as centerpieces.  Perfect for a photographer-author couple! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Cameras and books from our own collection with handmade table numbers. http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

This beautiful (and huge!) sign was made for us on our wedding day.  We'll hang it in our home for years to come! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Handmade sign!   http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

I love crafts, and luckily, so did my bridesmaid! Between her, my mom, and I, we made most of the decorations at the wedding. The signs were all handmade by my bridesmaids using frames I had bought for cheap at garage sales. I made the props for the photo booth, my mom made the table numbers by hand, and I made the guest book online using a freebie coupon. Though not handmade, the old books and cameras that served as our centerpieces were from our own collection, so we’ll continue to display those for years to come.

By making most of the decorations, we saved around $850.

Stay tuned next week for Part Two!

2013 averages from http://www.weddingstats.org/

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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