How long after you got engaged did you begin planning the wedding?
I started planning about thirty seconds after he popped the question, but I kept all these plans as secret mental notes, and we didn’t start “officially” planning until about four or five months after our engagement.
How did you determine the wedding’s budget and who contributed what?
My husband and I both come from families with lots of love, but limited income, and we knew from the beginning that we would need to finance the majority of the wedding ourselves, which was completely fine by us. We started our budget out very small, at around $5,000 dollars. But as the planning process proceeded, it got a little away from us. The total ended up at around $7,500. I’m still very happy with the financial decisions we made for the wedding and don’t regret any of the little splurges we made.
How did you keep track of your wedding planning (book, planner, Excel, other?)
That was all Luke. I’m the dreamer and he’s the planner. I put together what I wanted for the wedding and researched vendors. And he organized all the dates and details into a GIANT Excel spreadsheet – the sight of which still gives me shivers. I am soooo thankful I have a husband who is good with details because otherwise we’d still be planning.
When you discussed the wedding, what 5 things where most important to the two of you and how did you incorporate them into the wedding?
- Family. We built our entire wedding theme around the idea of growing our family tree.
- Cost. We didn’t want our wedding to put us into debt or put our married-people plans on hold. It is only one day of your life after all.
- Food and Drinks. Everyone in our family loves a good party - with good food. So we couldn’t skimp there.
- Simplicity. We didn’t want the wedding to be super stressful for anyone involved.
- The Honeymoon. This goes along with cost, but we wanted to have enough money left over to have a rockin’ honeymoon. We went to the Dominican Republic, and it was the best week of my life.
Did you register for gifts and was it a good experience?
Yes and yes. I think this was one of the most fun parts because there wasn’t any cost associated with it - and it really didn’t matter to us that much. We just got to go around the store with price guns and play. We made a fun date out of the event.
Could you share some wedding planning advice for newly engaged couples?
Don’t get too mired down in the in the tiny details. The more complicated you make it, the more stressed out you will be in the days leading up to the wedding. The day is a wonderful, beautiful blur for everyone involved, guests included. And at the end of it nobody is really going to notice the chair ties or monogrammed candy. Their eyes will be on the happy couple. Save yourself the money and headache.
I’ve known so many brides who, on their wedding day (myself included) were sick from all the stress that goes with tying all the loose ends together. Keep it simple, simple, simple.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
A large chunk of our money went to food and photography. We knew we wanted good food at our wedding because celebratory meals are so central in our families. And we were willing to cough up more for photography because we knew the day would fly by – and we wanted to remember it.
We saved by doing a lot of things ourselves and asking friends and family to pitch in. Our cousin, an ordained minister, married us. My husband’s best friend works in the film industry and volunteered to make our wedding video. And we made our own invitations and favors…just to mention a few.
What specific cost surprised you (pleasantly or unpleasantly)?
At 4 bucks a pop – invitations can get super expensive, fast. We decided to make our own using a kit from Staples and cut the cost down to less than a dollar per invitation. Read all about it in this blog post.
Could you share a favorite DIY project from your wedding?
We had a lot of fun popping on a romantic movie (haha, my husband even got into these around the wedding) and putting together our wedding favors - blue spruce and mulberry tree seedlings for our guests to plant in honor of our marriage. Read more about our favors on my blog.
Did you use any tutorials or downloads from other websites/blogs while planning your wedding?
We did for making our save the dates. My favorite story as a child was The Giving Tree, and these easy-to-make save the dates were a fun way to pay tribute to the story and promote our family tree theme. We colored in the leaves on the branches to give them a more hand-made look.
Could you share some wedding day advice for newly engaged couples?
Before you take your first step down the aisle, take a deep breath, and leave all the planning details behind you. From then forward, it’s all about the two of you and the commitment you are making to each other. Nothing else matters.
Could you share your favorite photo from the day and tell us why you love it?
I know this isn’t the most romantic picture, but we’re a goofy couple, and I think it symbolizes how much fun we have together. Every time I see it, I smile. He really did drop me for a second; that’s pure terror on my face.
Image Courtesy of: Eliperrin
Thank you, Elizabeth! What great advice about focusing on the purpose of the day – your wedding sounds like it was so meaningful and fun!
Tulle Nation, would you like to ask Elizabeth any questions about her wedding experience? Leave a comment and we'll try to get back with you! In the meantime, be sure to check out Elizabeth's blog.
***Look for LOTS more from Elizabeth in June – we have something REALLY special planned!***