Now, having the chance to look back – below are a few thoughts on their suggestions and my thoughts on the feasibility of each idea:
- Streamline the invitations.
Brilliant Earth: Just a few years ago an email invitation might have seemed way too casual for a wedding, but as life increasingly plays out online (and invitation sites like Paperless Post offer ever more gorgeous designs) wedding evites just make sense—and save money and trees, of course. If you have your heart set on paper invitations, save by eliminating the reply cards and asking people to RSVP via email.
Evergreen Bridal: While I agree that the formality of paper invitations has relaxed immensely, it is still such a fun and memorable wedding experience (and sweet keepsake!) to send out your own paper invitations. Wedding sites like minted.com, weddingpaperdivas.com (my favorite for prices and ease of use) and theamericanwedding.com make it easy and affordable to customize and send out your own invites.
*Also, I will say that we opted to have people RSVP via our wedding website. While this saved money and was easier for me to collect, it seemed to confuse many guests and if I could do it again, I would send out RSVP cards – just for ease of guest use. Just be sure to remember to slap a stamp on those too, for return postage. This makes me wonder if evites could be equally as confusing for some guests as well…something to think about.
2.Let the drinks flow, affordably.
Brilliant Earth: Limiting your liquor options to a single signature cocktail, plus beer and wine, will slash your bar costs. Another sneaky way to save: Serve fancier wines at cocktail hour, then switch to less pricey ones at dinner—by that time your guests aren’t likely to notice the difference.
Evergreen Bridal: Totally agree on this one – read more on my thoughts here (previous post).
3.Use local, seasonal flowers.
Brilliant Earth: Not only will it cost a lot less, it’s better for the planet than flying off-season flowers in from a hothouse in Holland. For ideas, use Real Simple’s Wedding Flower Finder tool.
Evergreen Bridal: Yes, of course. Not only to save money, but using seasonal floral makes more sense, and also looks more fresh. No reason to special order an out of season option – you can more than likely find a seasonal comparable alternative and no one would notice the difference. I’m sure you can achieve the same look you hope for with local, seasonal floral. Lucky for me, white hydrangeas (love) are available year round in my city.
4.Focus on one favorite type of blossom.
Brilliant Earth: Instead of combining many varieties of blossoms, go big with one affordable one (labor is a big part of a florist’s price). One idea with meaning: Orange blossoms, which were traditionally part of Victorian bridal ensembles because they were thought to symbolize fertility, and are still the traditional wedding flower in Spain. Another cheap and chic idea: Baby’s breath—these lovely little white flowers were once a filler but now big bouquets of them are taking center stage.
Evergreen Bridal: Have to agree here as well. Why not? I have to say I would rather have a higher quantity (and good quality too) of one blossom than a lesser amount of mixed floral – if I had to choose. And I looooove the baby’s breath idea. I have seen so many beautiful and creative uses of bb on pinterest and think galvanized buckets filled with baby’s breath lining the aisle is so beautiful and striking!
5.Ask a friend to do the honors.
Brilliant Earth: If you aren’t having a traditional religious ceremony, why not ask a close friend to officiate? It’s easy and affordable to get ordained by the Universal Life Church (though laws on officiants vary by state, so check the legalities), and you’ll save the officiant’s fee or church donation.
Evergreen Bridal: Nope, nope – can’t agree here. The ceremony is such a sacred part of the whole experience. If I had one of my close friends officiating, I would definitely not be able to take them or the ceremony seriously. That’s just me however, I am sure plenty of people would find this very special. I would find it too casual and just – funny. However, an acquaintance, or perhaps someone in your friend group that has experience running a wedding ceremony – I would be ok with that. I think the experience matters as well – someone who can hold the attention of a group – as well as you and your fiancé! You don’t need the ceremony to be a show – but you want to keep people awake.
6.Rock a dress you can wear again.
Brilliant Earth: The idea that a wedding dress should be a once-only thing is a modern one—in Edwardian days a bride wore her wedding gown to parties for six months after her marriage! As we noted in our 2014 trend report, many of today’s brides are skipping bridal boutiques in favor of glam ready-to-wear gowns they can wear at fancy events in the future.
Evergreen Bridal: Eh, I mean I wish I could wear mine again, but I bought it to wear on my wedding day, and it would look pretty awkward in any other setting. Like I mentioned here, I feel like you want your wedding dress to look like a …wedding dress. Not a dress you would wear to any other event other than your wedding. So – I’m out on this one, can’t agree.
7.Use something(s) borrowed.
Brilliant Earth: If some of your good friends are married already, they’d probably be flattered to lend you accessories from their big days. You’ll save money and give your wedding extra meaning by using pre-loved items from those close to you.
Evergreen Bridal: Yes, absolutely – why not! Buying everything you need and want not only costs more money, but it takes up a lot of room at your residence – trust me, I needed a U Haul. It’s special to see things that were used or belong to people you love as well, so borrow away!
8.Don’t demand cookie-cutter attendants.
Brilliant Earth: Instead of asking bridesmaids and groomsmen to spend their hard-earned moolah on identical outfits, simply ask them to wear the same color, or colors in a certain palette. This strategy lets their unique personalities shine through.
Evergreen Bridal: First, I still think it’s sort of weird to call your wedding party your “attendants” – but that’s beside the point. For the ladies, I think this gets tricky. I actually love the idea of having your bridesmaids pick their own dress and have different dresses and colors within the same palate – however, it really is dependent on several variables.
First – do your girls want to pick it out or does that add stress to their already busy role as your bridesmaid? I know plenty of my girls were immediately stressed out at the idea of picking their dress themselves wondering if they were picking a dress similar enough to the other girls, formal enough, casual enough, the correct color, etc… However, if your girls are all similar in height and build, this might be a good way to keep them from looking like a group of quadruplets.
Another reason you may want to choose to keep the ladies in matching dress is to ensure they stand out and are noticed by other guests as someone you had chosen to stand up with you both as you get married – your nearest and dearest thru the whole process. When they are in non matching attire, it’s harder to stand out amongst the crowd. Well – and they might end up wearing the same dress as one of the wedding guests!
A good way to address what Brilliant Earth mentions above regarding showcasing their individual personalities is to have your girls wear the same dress, same color, in a different style. Donna Morgan, Alfred Angelo and David’s Bridal do this well.
9.Enlist talented friends.
Brilliant Earth: Save money and do your friends’ wallets a favor by asking them to contribute to your wedding instead of buying you a gift. You probably have some talented people in your circle—could one be the DJ, the photographer, the calligrapher, the driver who chauffeurs you from ceremony to reception?
Evergreen Bridal: Agree, agree, agree.
To be continued…