Friday, September 26, 2014

Save on Wedding Flowers

Flowers are another very large part of a wedding budget.  Flowers were very important to me because they are some of my favorite things, but when I saw the general price tags, I thought it might not be possible.  Most people feel that in order to save money on flowers, you have to go to silk.  THIS IS NOT TRUE!  Although they do have some pretty real looking silk flowers now, it still seems tacky to me and nothing can beat a real flower.  Besides, those really nice silk flowers aren't the cheapest either.
In order to keep my dream of flowers while not breaking the bank, I discovered these tricks:

Find a Venue with Natural Beauty
The biggest way to save on flowers is to find a place that has a lot of natural beauty growing!  Now this doesn't have to be a flowery garden, but finding a place with nice green grass, large trees, and many bushes and plants of various shapes, sizes, and colors will already look very pleasing to the eye.  Then you don't have to fill it with flowers, in fact, doing so may be over doing it!

Use a Chain Florist or One with Packages
You don't have to go to a specialty florist for wedding flowers.  There are large chains like Sam's Club or Costco that have pre-made packages specifically for weddings that include all your needs: bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, petals, etc.  They have several different options of flower types and colors that can fit almost any style wedding.

Sam's Club Wedding Collection Pink
It doesn't have to be a big chain though. I wanted a specific orchid and found a local florist that offered similar packages that had the orchid I wanted already in a package. If you can find a local florist that does this, it can be even better because you can customize it more. If you live in the SF Bay Area, check out Valley Florist in San Jose which is who I used.
Use Preserved
Although I wanted fresh flowers for my bouquets, for centerpieces and decorations, preserved flowers are a great option.  Now don't skip this because you think they will be faded and dry like dried flowers.  Preserved flowers look exactly like the flower did while still on the stem, they are just made to last longer.  They are a little more fragile, but flowers are no matter what.  What makes these great is that since they last so long (up to six months), you can order them in bulk and create your own arrangements without having to do it in the last few days before the wedding like you would with order fresh flower in bulk.  Here is a fantastic site that offers a lot of preserved flowers as well as many other wedding decorations at cheaper prices:

Preserved Orchids

Order in Bulk
I put this last because while it sounds like a great idea, I chose not to do this because in order to have fresh flowers fresh, you have to work days before the wedding.  Plus you have to have a cool place to store all of them.  But, if you really want all fresh flowers, this can be a way to save a lot of money.  If you have time, the day before it might be fun to have a bouquet making party with your bridesmaids to make their own bouquets.  Here is a good site for ordering flowers in bulk: 

I hope this helps in lessening your flower budget.  Flowers are gorgeous and every bride should be able to have them at their wedding, no matter their budget!

Learn about other ways to save money on your wedding here

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Setting a Wedding Budget

The first, and probably most important, thing to do when starting to plan a wedding is to figure out your budget.  This can be difficult to do, but you have to make an estimate so you know what you can work with.  Things always end up costing more, and there are things you generally don't think about, but having an idea is important.

I always say to start by researching what your dream wedding (well dream wedding in a realistic way) would be.  See what that ends up costing, and what each individual thing costs, and you can decide if you need to cut back, what the most important things are, and you can work around that.

For those people that are budget conscious, these are the areas that I found affect price the most:

Guest Count
This is by far the biggest expense factor.  There are so many things that cost per head, not just the food and drink which is pricey, but many other things.

Time of Year
Everyone gets married between the months of May and August.  That means the prices are high.  Even if you're not into the winter wedding idea, spring and fall can be beautiful, and maybe even nicer weather.  You'll save thousands.

Day of the Week
Saturday is the highest price for a wedding.  Friday and Sunday are slightly cheaper.  And weekdays are even cheaper.  You'll save at least $1,000 just by changing to a Friday or Sunday and double or triple that during the week.

While general areas are more expensive, don't let that deter you from one area.  There are smaller or lesser-known places that are cheaper.  This just requires a lot of research.  Just know that places that you know about before you start wedding research are probably going to be insanely expensive.  Find places that are hidden gems, believe me, they do exist.

Food and Drink
Wedding CateringFood usually starts at $30 per person and can go as high as $100 per person.  Buffet option is usually cheaper than seated courses.  But if you don't mind forgoing the normal catering for a wedding, there can be other fun options to save money like having an afternoon picnic wedding or renting food trucks.

Drink prices can vary greatly depending on what amount of alcohol you want to pay for.  Obviously having your guests pay for their own drinks is the cheapest option, but it is a bit tacky.  There are usually three payment options for drinks: bring your own, per person, and per bottle/drink.  Bringing your own can save money by ordering in bulk directly from a distributor but be aware of corkage fees at your venue.  I found that the per person option was the easiest to determine your drink budget because it can be nearly impossible to figure out how many drinks will be ordered.  By paying per person, you can guarantee that your guests will have all they can drink for a set amount.  This doesn't have to be all alcohol.  You can pay for just beer and wine and have your guests pay for hard liquor, etc.

These are the areas that I found most influential in the budget.  As I said before, it is important to figure out what is most important to you.  If you really want good food, it's okay to spend a little more on that and cut back in other areas that aren't as important to you.  Although I'm all about saving money, it is your one chance (hopefully) to have the day you've always dreamed of.  There will have to be some compromises but make sure that there many things that you are very excited about so you don't mind compromising in other things.

Learn about saving money on wedding flowers here

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Back From a Hiatus . . . . And Now I'm Married!

So I took an unexpected break from blogging, because I got engaged and was planning a wedding!  It took a lot more of my time than I had thought and things became very crazy, so I kind of put this on the back-burner.  I got married on August 24, 2014 and it was the most wonderful day of my life!  We went on a honeymoon to Ireland for 8 days, got back and started moving into our new apartment the very next day!  We are still getting stuff and settling into our home together, but I thought I would try and start this back up.

Because I've spent so much of my time lately planning a wedding (needless to say on a somewhat smaller budget) I'm going to dedicate the next few of my posts about how to save money while planning a wedding.  If it's popular enough, or I realize I have so many posts about that, I may just have to separate it out into it's own new blog.  But we'll see where the future takes us!  Glad to be back!