Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm Poor but I Want to Get Married! Inspirations!

First and foremost I should start with the moral of this blog: Inspiration is Free! It only takes a little bit of time and interest, and if there is one thing that us Budget-driven Brides have it usually is interest. So, here's a tip: Get searching! Can't afford all those wedding magazines? Guess what? The Internet is your friend! Most (if not all) magazines have websites online, and searching through there is just as easy as reading the magazine. I'm telling you, get on any and all wedding sites (usually free to join), pick up the magazines, watch a wedding show, Google weddings. Another thing to remember: Don't limit yourself when searching! Don't ignore something just because it appears expensive. I've gotten plenty of ideas watching shows like "Platinum Brides" and have catered them to my own taste and $ amount. But here is another thing to remember: not everything you see can be catered down. Sometimes that $14,000 dress, really is out of your reach. But, if you're a little clever, a little crafty, and/or know someone who is, you can overcome some obstacles.

Now that we are done teaching, now it is time to see pretty things! My inspirations! I've gathered a bunch of photos of things that I think are pretty cool, or that I want to incorporate into the wedding somehow. These inspirations are mostly in the decor and food. The look of the wedding, minus fashion. We'll start with the mouth-watering food! Hope you enjoy!

OMG! Pink milk in tiny glasses! Ohhhhh! I doubt whether or not I can figure out a way to fit this into the wedding, but isn't that just perfect for me?!?

This has 2 things that I love: the wood cake "stands" and the cakes themselves. I'm not into the "One Cake to Rule Them All" deal. I have too many people who like too many different things. I have people who are diabetic, and some people who can't have gluten, so I want to cater to their needs as well. Which is why I have decided to do several different cakes, and have a personal "sweetheart" cake for me and my fiance. Also, I want a homemade love kinda feel to the wedding, so this picture perfectly gets the feel of what I'm thinking.

Okay, so this isn't for sure yet, but we're thinking instead of having a meal, which we really can't afford anyways, we might concentrate on dessert instead. Our wedding is going to be early afternoon, we are going to take a break, and then follow with the reception later in the evening. This means: everyone gets food in between, and we provide a dessert bar! A little something for everyone. Yes, this can get expensive, but since we are concentrating on simple pleasures, our desserts can be just that: simple, delicious treats.

Whoever came up with this idea is BRILLIANT! Rock Candy on Cakes! I love, Love, LOVE this idea. A really cheap way to add a little sparkle and/or color and/or Bling to your cake. I mean, it's Rock Candy ... on your WEDDING CAKE!! *Heart this!*

Not sure if this is for me or not, but I do like this: it's a bouquet of brooches. Flowers can be expensive and last for a very short time. But you can find brooches in the attic, at second hand stores, rummage sales, flea markets, or auctions, ranging in price from expensive to "please take these off my hands" Not to mention, your entire bouquet can have your "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue" in it. Like I said, I don't know if this is something I want to do, but it certainly makes me think outside the box on how to cut back on the floral budget.

My real wedding inspiration. Alyssum. I love these flowers SO MUCH! They were on bushes outside the house I grew up in. I fell in love with this flower commonly called "carpet of snow" If I can find a way to have these flowers in my wedding, I will!

These luminaries touch my antique heart! Take old books, or pictures, or sheet music; tear out some pages, glue them on to candle holders and put in your candles. But don't limit yourself to just luminaries. I have seen similar things used as vases, favors, and candy dishes. Neat huh? This also has the ability to last beyond your big day and make amazing conversation pieces in your home.

I know, again with the luminaries?! Hey, I love candlelight! Add to that my love of mason jars and doilies, and you have the perfect addition to my wedding! These are so adaptable! Like the luminary above, this can have other uses as well, and again, also makes the great transition from wedding to home!

Oh, you can bet I will be doing this! Vintage suitcase turned card holder! I've seen some that are fairly plain (like this one) or some that got a complete new makeover for the occasion. One even used the basic idea of the paper luminary and applied it to the suitcase, and you know what? It was brilliant! Something else to consider: easy transport on the wedding day, and easy storage for your wedding memorabilia afterward.

Again, I am SO DOING THIS! All you need: Christmas lights (colored would be cool too) and paper doilies - BAM, you have a fabulous addition to your lighting decor! Both cheap and fabulous looking. Also: Christmas decorations!

I Love this! This is an altered version of an old tradition (variations found in many cultures). The bride and groom were to walk to the church together surrounded by family and friends as well as their attendants. Usually they would be led by a child - usually a girl with flowers (hence the walk down the aisle proceeded by a flower girl). This takes that tradition, but uses it for the exit of the couple from the church and to either their new home, or the reception. I love this idea, and I really want to use this in our wedding!

This is the Master Inspiration photo. I'm pretty sure I shared this with the blog before, but its worth posting again. Vintage, lilac, alyssum, mason jars, burlap ... This has it all! It is sweet and simple and beautiful. This is what I want our wedding to be.

PS: I figured out a new sign off for these posts! It's kinda corny, but I love it:

Hugs and Kisses from the future Mrs!

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm Poor, but I Wanna Get Married! save the Dates, Bridal Expos, and Bridesmaids dresses

Let me start this with a confession: for a while there, I lost all enthusiasm for planning this wedding. With all the personal changes in my life, the wedding took a backseat in a major way. I didn't even enjoy looking through magazines anymore! Why? Well mostly because I lost my job, and I still haven't been able to find anything. Money is TIGHT right now. So, the last thing I wanted to do is think about a wedding that I can't afford to have.

What got me out of this wedding depression? My two best friends. My wonderful Matron of Honor and my darling fiance. I owe so much happiness to these two people, simply because of their presence in my life. But each went the extra mile lately to really help me get out of my financial "funk."

My MOB is designing our Save the Dates, and not too long ago she sent me the proofs of a dozen design possibilities. Sorry, no previews until we finalize the designs, but I can say that they were wonderful! Looking at all the options and talking together about what we liked, and what we loved - just the act of making wedding decisions together about something made for us by someone so close to two of us, really perked me up and got me excited! Here's the savings part: we're sending out our STDs via email (yes, I know how terrible that looks and sounds, bear with me.) We're looking at our guest list - which will be another post once we haggle over that - and figuring out who needs printed out copies, and who can recieve them via internet. In this day and age, almost everyone has an email, so that will dramatically cut down on postage costs. Less fun, but more practical.

My wonderful fiance went out of his way to encourage my renewed enthusiasm. He surprised me yesterday by taking me out to Bemidji for dinner and a surprise. The surprise turned out to be us attending the Bemdiji Bridal Expo. When I heard about the expo a couple months ago, I got really excited that I finally was able to go to something like that. But, the idea went out the window with everything that was going on, and I didn't think we had time, so I just kinda forgot about it. I honestly cried when we got there. I threw my arms around him and cried, I was so happy.

Granted, the Bemdiji Expo is small compared to expos in larger cities (there was only 30 vendors), but it still was a wonderful time! A word of advice: come hungry. That was our biggest regret was that we ate beforehand and didn't have room to try everything we wanted. GO HUNGRY!! Also: go to have a good time and learn a lot! Right away, at registration I was made to feel special (I got a 'Bride' sticker!) Congratulations came from everywhere, and at each vendor, I felt inspired. Nevermind the fact that I could never afford most of their services - it was just nice to sample items and see all the new trends. It was $10/person, and at first, I felt bad about spending that money, but it was totally worth it. Sadly, I did not win anything, but I still got so many samples and gifts, and information. I enjoyed the samples more, but the information I gathered was more useful. Leaving that day I had so much to think about.

Warning: it can be very overwhelming, so take your time, put everything away, and sign up for every give away you can find!

Now on to the Bridesmaids dresses. Well, obviously, I can't afford to buy the dresses for my girls. So, I felt bad about asking them to buy dresses that they would only wear once probably, and also something that they wouldn't like. I'm a people pleaser, and I like it most when people are pleased with me. So I decided that I would give them options and let them decide what dress style will work for them. As we are going for a very casual feel, I am requesting that the dresses be cocktail length or short (no full gowns!).

Now, we hit the hard part: color. I have the pet idea that every woman needs a little black dress; Its the fashionista in me. So, I figure, this is the perfect excuse for my girls to treat themselves to something every girl should have.

I love the simplicity of a black dress - and also, believe it or not, the versatility. You can add a dash of color so easily. The shoes, the flowers, hair pieces, belts, you name it. And better yet, with the black as a base, the color will pop and draw attention to it.

Now - another option: Purple and green. This is the traditional side of me. Also, because those are our two main colors. (We're not limiting ourselves with colors - really is just too constrictive for me, and makes it harder for me to design with secondhand and found items) The only difference is: they get to choose the look and the shade.

Not sure how this will play with the girls. Somehow I think this color scheme will be the least popular option because of the restrictions. I also worry about this because there are so many shades to choose from, and it is possible that they will clash together. This is the wildcard choice.

Last option, and a recent developement: Creams. I fell in love with this idea because of this picture:

I'm in love with this and I would love to see everyone in this scheme (sans cowboy boots). I guess mostly because of the beauty with the variety. It's a picture of innocence and simplicity. Everyone looks angelic. I'm not about drawing attention to myself, so I liked the idea of the girls being in similar shades as I am. As a designer, I also know that this look creates a cohesive statement. A color family. Literally. There is only one member of my bridal party that is not relation by blood or marriage, and she falls into the category of family through love, so I like this idea a lot. Keeping with the neautral shades also makes it easier for the girls to wear it again.

The morals of today's entry:

* Options are your friend, and having as little restrictions as possible makes planning a wedding with a HUGE budget restriction a lot easier.

*Have your friends and family help with the wedding: it makes it more personal. You will be pleasently surprised how talented these amateurs are, and most of the time, they will help out gladly (and freely, or at cost).

* Include your bridesmaids in the decision making when it comes to their dresses. Girls will be more gracious about buying their own dresses if they have a say in them. Bonus: you feel less bad about making them spend money for your big day