For the past four-½ years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with amazing brides at Chicagoland Popcorn, who have created their own DIY bridal experiences. Since I managed my own daughter’s wedding, sharing ideas with these kindred spirits has been both exciting and educational.
1. Create a budget
Create a budget – you can shift money between areas – but stick to your budget.
2. Create a slush fund
Create a slush fund for unanticipated expenses. Trust me, they will pop up. I recommend that you set aside at least10% of the actual budget.
3. Ask for help
Ask family members and friends to contribute time, talent, or money. And when they do – thank them profusely with word and deed. A handmade card or a tin of homemade cookies sends a heartfelt thank you. I know that I’d be thrilled!
Figure out what’s important to you and your fiancé; then prioritize. My daughter and her husband are foodies. They selected a fabulous restaurant for their wedding venue because what their guests ate was important to them.
5. Plan early
Please plan early, but if it isn’t possible then plan smartly.
6. Keep good notes
Purchase a notebook, visit bridal shows, investigate and research online. Make phone calls; visit venues and comparison shop.
7. Think non-traditional
Resale shops, sample stores, coupons, markets on social media are all good avenues for finding greatly reduced items.
Repurpose and reuse as much as possible. Remember, wedding decorations, dresses, and veils have only been used once.
9. Manage your guest list.
Plus-one’s and distant relatives can max out a guest list and your budget. Pare down your list to essential guests. Then send a thoughtful wedding announcement after the ceremony.
10. Save on venue cost
Select a free or reduced fee venues, such as a friend’s backyard, private home, beach, or Public Park.
11. Have family or friends cater
I know you have an uncle or cousin who is fabulous in the kitchen and would love to whip up a delicious meal for your guests. “You have not, because you ask not.” Work out pricing and please let Uncle Bob create some magic.
12. Make your own invitations
Great ideas can be found in your local craft store or on the Internet. If you’re the creative type, purchase pre-packaged invitation kits or create your own.
13. Make your own favors
This is a “shameless plug.” Purchase Chicagoland Popcorn in bulk bags and fill favor bags yourself. Glam the bag with a DIY tag and ribbon and save tons of money!
14. It’s your day, enjoy it
Ask a family member or friend to be your day-of-event manager. Even if you have purchased, created, set-up, and for all practical purposes done just about everything for your wedding, please allow this day to be all about you and your intended! Even though I completely managed my daughter’s wedding and handled all aspects of her special day, even I asked two friends to be day-of-event- managers so that I could have the “mother of the bride” experience. I was actually able to enjoy the ceremony and my meal. Those precious moments were simply amazing.
I hope this helps!