As a parent there are certain milestones in your children's lives that can bring about a variety of different emotions. When they are younger, there are many milestones fairly close together...rolling over, crawling, walking, their first words, their first day of school, riding a two wheel bike. Then the milestones spread out and bring them that much closer to independence, total independence. They turn 13, then 16, then get their drivers license and no longer need mom to drive them everywhere. On to graduation, possibly college and maybe moving out on their own, and then that one day, when they get married.
This past December my oldest reached a milestone. She became an engaged young lady. WOW! Am I old enough to have a daughter engaged and getting married? She will be 20 when she gets married this December. I realized my mom was 19 when she got married and turned 20, 3 months later. While it's tough to realize that one of our girls will soon be out on her own it is exciting to be experiencing a new kind of relationship. I loved the relationship I had with my mom as a young adult, married woman, and eventually mother myself. I only wish we had more time together.
I am thankful that my girl has a good head on her shoulder, knows who she is and is such a deep lover of people. She will be an amazing wife and someday mother.
I am also thankful that she isn't a bride-to-be that is set on making her parents take out 3 mortgages on their house, sell the cars, the dog, the cat and her sister in order to finance this big day. Phew! What a relief. I truly believe you can have an amazingly spectacular wedding on a budget, dare I say, even the wedding of your dreams, because, really, what does that equate? If it equates tangible things that only last a few hours, I'm not convinced one would ever have their "dream" wedding because there's always something more. But if it's a beautiful, stress free day (or evening in our case) with friends and family and knowing you paid for it without debt hanging over your head, then to me that is more of a "dream" than anything else. Does it mean that sometimes on a budget you have to be more creative, maybe not have something you thought of having, or needing to do more searching for things in your budget? Yes, but it can be fun, if you let it be. If you don't stress, if you don't compare or set unrealistic expectations. Will there be times of stress or frustration? Sure, but it'll be worth it.
I hope over the months ahead (we have 10 months before the wedding) and after the wedding, to share some of our ideas, tips, etc..without giving away too much...lol.
My daughter is an organizer and I tease her that she will have this wedding planned in 3 months and have nothing to do the rest of the year. She might be okay with that since she will be juggling college classes, work and wedding planning.
Here are a few ways we've saved some money already:
- We have reserved a venue. Did you know that if you get married during a weekday (mon-thurs) you can save several hundred dollars. We checked out several venues that seemed to be able to seat what we wanted and in our price range. Many venues required you to use their own, or from a list of approved caterers (cha-ching) and did not include any options for other rentals. They were fairly basic and would also require quite a bit in the way of decorations to make them pretty.
- She already purchased a dress. While yes, going to the large bridal salons affords you with the latest styles, it also can kill the wallet. We weren't opposed to going to these places, but we found a few bridal shops in the nearby city of Portland, Oregon that were non-profit dress shops. Their proceeds from dress sales (all dresses are donated from larger bridal shops, designers, or brides...often maybe a year or so back in style) go towards a variety of causes. One shop's proceeds went to stopping sex trafficking (which is very prevalent here). Another shop donates 50% of it's sales to the cause Wish Upon a Wedding where it grants wedding and vow renewals to couples facing terminal illness or other life altering situations. So while we could've went to a larger, franchise shop, the option of shopping local and helping a cause at the same time was more appealing. We attended an event put on by one of the shops, and let's just say my girl saved 90% on her dress and loves it. She, in no way feels like she settled.
- Join some Wedding FB pages. We haven't purchased anything on these yet, but there are always things brides are selling, great places to find photographers, tips on what works and doesn't work, a place to say "hey where can I find this for a good price".
I don't believe you have to settle because you are on a budget. I guess in some ways maybe you will. Instead of the 5 course sit down dinner that you would love to have, you may "settle" for a simple buffet, but I believe it's how you decide to feel about every choice you make that makes all the difference in the world. For us the 5 course sit down dinner, while it would be great, is not realistic, but a buffet might be (though not what we are doing).
I'll share more as time progresses. We are looking forward to this fun journey.
With Joy UNquenchable,