On October 27th, 2012 I married my best friend. Surrounded by 80 of our closest family and friends, it was absolutely the best day of my life.
In true Practically Spoiled fashion, Dan and I planned our dream wedding on a budget. I’m not going to lie, it was a lot of work and a lot of gold spray paint (thanks mom), but we pulled it off. During the process, I learned a lot of ways to cut costs without sacrificing what we wanted.
As I share some pictures of our day with you below, I’ll fill you in on our wedding planning details, tips and tricks to stay on budget and sane!
After you select a venue, the madness begins with invitations. I have always loved letterpressed invitations, but they are quite expensive. After doing some research, I discovered it’s much less expensive when you provide your own design. My very talented friend, Katelyn, offered to design our beautiful invitations. They came out incredible.
We printed the invites with BellaFigura. Not only did the invitations come out perfect, but the packaging they ship the invitations in was so beautiful that I cried. Yes, I cried over packaging.
We also saved by purchasing our envelopes/envelope liners through Paper Presentation and setting and printing the addresses on the envelopes ourselves. It’s easier than you think using just a regular printer and a setting up custom paper size. All in all, we were able to get the invitations done for about half of what it would have normally cost.
One of the most exciting pre-wedding events was picking out a wedding dress. But it would have been super stressful if I had not done my homework before. There are two things you should identify before hand to make wedding dress shopping easier:
1. Style. You don’t have to have the dress picked out before hand, but you should be able to identify a few details that you’re looking for. Ivory, off-white, white? Lace, satin, silk, chiffon? Straps, strapless, halter? Ball gown, a-line, mermaid, shift? If you can identify at least two dress characteristics before you shop that will help your bridal consultant find you dresses you’ll love.
2. Budget. This is very important to know before hand and stick to while shopping. It’s very, very easy to get caught up in a dress that you simply can’t afford.
There I was in a gorgeous $4500 Kenneth Pool gown, feeling like a Disney princess, questioning how much I could get for a kidney to make this happen. The reality was I should have NEVER tried it on. It was WAY over budget and wasn’t even the color or style that I had originally wanted. Ladies, this is also the path to dress remorse. I was playing dress up and got carried away. I had to quickly remove the dress and come back down to reality.
The dress I wound up with was Lazaro style #3207 from JaeHee Bridal. When I tried it on, it felt special. I loved the combo of lace and satin. I loved the mermaid shape, sweetheart neck and the jeweled belt. But the deciding moment was when they put the cathedral length mantilla lace veil on me. I knew this was the dress. Well that, and the fact it was 10% off on trunk show.
Where were we married, you ask? This decision was easy once we had found the venue. We were engaged in April 2012 and didn’t have a target date or season in mind for the wedding. We looked at many places in New Jersey and New York that were just “eh”, a few places that were booked until 2032 and even explored venues in Florida for a potential destination wedding, but nothing seemed right.
On the verge of a drive-thru wedding in Vegas, we decided to give Philadelphia a whirl. Just a little over an hour away from us and birthplace of the cheesesteaks and Boys II Men, it made for an interesting option.
When walked into the Ritz Carlton Philadelphia, it was gorgeous! We were greeted with glasses of champagne and the nicest staff. We knew this was our venue. After our tour, we discussed availability and well as our flexibility on dates. They had two unfilled Saturday evenings left for 2012 and were offering fantastic incentives for taking either of the dates. That basically sealed the deal.
The details and decor! Here, my friends, is where Pinterest can easily make your wedding cost 5 times the amount it should. I found this out quickly when I brought my pinboard of grand ideas to a florist that shall remain nameless. They quoted me $15,000 in just decor. Hahahahaha! No.
Moving onto the next florist, Carl Alan. I spoke openly about our budget, and shared my grand ideas. They helped me scale back to something that beautiful, but wasn’t the cost of new car. Great to work with and very easy to collaborate with, they embraced my desire to DIY and were very flexible.
My DIY details included:
All the candles: The tall floor candle sticks I ordered from Kirklands and the jeweled candle holders I ordered on eBay. 10 cans of gold spray paint later, my mother and I had sprayed them all gold. The glass votives were from Dollar Tree and the pillar candles and faux crystal strands were from eBay, as well. The floor candle sticks were used down the aisle, then as decor in the main room. The cost of the candle DIY was one-fourth the cost of what I was quoted.
The table numbers: Using gold 4×6 frames from Dollar Tree, I simply printed out the table numbers on nice ivory paper from my home printer, cut them out and framed them.
The monogram cake topper: I couldn’t find just what I was looking for, so I decided to make it. It was surprisingly easy. I’ll post a tutorial soon.
The brooches in my bouquet: Using floral wire, floral tape and wholesale costume jewelry rings, I created brooch stems for my bouquet.
The napkins: Not really a DIY per-say, more of a B.Y.O.N. After finding out that renting napkins would cost nearly $400, I looked into buying them. Via eFavormart I purchased 85 gold satin napkins for right under $60. Unnecessary? Maybe, but I felt this added a luxe, extra touch to the tables for not too big of an investment.
The night was magical! And like everyone says, it goes by way too fast. So don’t let the it get away without enjoying it.
Take a moment to the side with your new life mate and look around at all the people who are there for the two of you. It will bring tears to your eyes, so keep a kleenex handy.
Eat! We made sure to sit down and eat when the meals came, and we tried to have bites of apps, desserts and whatnot as the night progressed. This will help slow the effects of the champagne that will be perpetually in your hand the entire time.
Get out there and dance! You’ll need to say hello to everyone, yes, but why not say hello on the dance floor? I was so sweaty from dancing it up that I had to peel my Spanx off at the end of the night. TMI?
Speaking of sweat, don’t sweat the small stuff. Everything may not go as planned, but such is life. It’s a wedding, not a performance!
I feel like I could share a gazillion more tips – that’s what I get for not blogging throughout the wedding planning process. If you’re curious about any of our vendors or items pictured, I’ve compiled a list with links below.
Thanks for letting me share our wedding with you.
Vendors & Details:
Venue & Catering: The Ritz Carlton Philadelphia
Floral & Decor: Carl Alan
Music & Uplighting: EBE
Photography: Chuck Fishman
Hair: Rachael from Aire Salon
Makeup: Beke Beau
Invitations: Designed by Katelyn Calautti, printed by BellaFigura
Dress: Lazaro 3207 from JaeHee Bridal
Veil: Handmade by JaeHee of JaeHee Bridal.
Shoes: Badgley Mischka Lacie in Ivory
Earrings: Nadri, retired style, purchased via eBay.
Crystal Hair Clip: Via eBay.
Tux: Rented, Vera Wang from Men’s Warehouse