Friday, October 9, 2009

Count your blessings

When it came to saving money on our wedding I was truly blessed. My mom was kind enough to pay for it (I'm her only child so that wasn't really a surprise) however my father passed away on September 11, 2008.

So for a little less than a year she had been paying off medical bills (he was very sick) and taking care of funeral expenses and settling the estate all while adjusting to a very much reduced household income.

My mother is one of the most amazing resourceful women in the world. Whenever I needed money to go on a trip or buy a uniform for dance team or go to summer camp she did her best to figure out a way to pay for it. Only once did she ask for help and that was for a hellexpensive trip I took to Washing DC my senior year of high school, after going to New Orleans, Governors’ Scholars, and DC the summer before and when planning to go to NYC on spring break for my Senior trip...Needless to say I never went without even though she did.

Somehow as she always does my mom asked me how much a wedding cost (I guessed that we could do it for around $8,000 if we cut out non-essentials) and she simply said OK no questions asked.

We were actually able to do the wedding for closer to $6,000 because of the joy I get in finding a good deal :) of course this is a problem since I also can't turn down a good deal and have therefore accumulated a lot of junk over the past 6.5 years that I have been out on my own (including college)

Some of the ways we got lucky in planning the wedding included:

My dress came off of the clearance rack (the alterations were as much as the dress) $500 total though!

I was a music minor in college so I have a lot of friends who are very talented musicians. One of my closest college friends normally charges $500-$800 to play organ at weddings if they are not at the church where he is on staff (then he has to charge their rate) plus since my wedding was about an hour out of town he would have normally asked for an extra $20 for travel reimbursement. My total rate after the extra I threw in since he gave me such a good deal? $300

I made my own was surprisingly easy and I couldn't find one I liked at any of the bridal stores in town. They were all either the wrong length or too fancy for my dress. Total cost (including the waste of money pattern that I didn't even use) $30

We got married in the church where hubby was raised. They just ask for donations so Mom made a donation to the church for the rental space. Plus my minister was my dad’s best friend, and actually complained that my mom paid him at all after making two trips to the church for the wedding plus a trip into our town to meet with me and hubby and buying us dinner! (Total driving time was probably somewhere around 7 1/2 hours over the course of 2 weeks)

My dad had a 1976 Cadillac Convertible that is in AMAZING condition. We used it for our get-away-car (I INSISTED on it but probably had more fun driving it around all weekend since I had to leave my car at my moms when I went to pick it up than we did on the actual wedding day) The car led to a lot of great photo ops too!


Probably the biggest cost savings was the most unexpected. We had our reception in a BEAUTIFUL historic old school building that is currently being renovated into a community center. We expected to pay a discounted rate since it isn't completed but the owner let us use it for free! (which is my FAVORITE price tag) :)

As you can see my photos were beautiful and very well done. My photographer was another friend from college who is just starting his own free lance work. He did everything for a flat rate then gave me a few disks with EVERY picture he shot and signed a waiver for the rights so that I can go print them whenever and wherever I want to.

The amazing luck I had with my photographer is the point of this post. I just ordered my wedding pictures from a web site I have ordered from before. It isn't a "professional" level site but their results are still really good and great for snapshots and such. Their quality is higher than Wal-Mart or Meijer but lower than you would get from a portrait studio. I'm getting one of those fancy photo-books (not the hardcover coffee table one but one of the simpler ones) a 4X6 of every picture that I want for my scrapbook, some small pictures for our mom's, a couple of 5X7s and 5 college prints for our moms, his sister, my grandmother, and us and after shipping and everything it was just over $50. I was floored at how cheap it all was. The 4X6s alone would have been at least that much at Wal-Mart or Meijer.

Now just to figure out what pictures I want to order from the professional level site that my photographer recommended to me for our fancy frames we received as presents!

I really just ment to brag about how cheap the pictures I just ordered were...I would appologize for the legnth/wordyness of this entry...but if you didn't want to know you didn't have to read it.... :)I totally didn't plan on this being a entry about the wedding being cheap!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on finding such great deals! I'm in the process of doing all the same stuff right now as I'm planning my wedding. On a totally different note, we have something in common ~ I majored in music ed in college and am a music teacher :)