I understand I’ve been missing these past few months. I’ve been struggling to find a way to be useful and not self-destructive with this blog while suffering from difficult emotions, and I have to say that while my posting regularity may not be up to speed yet, I’m happy to interact with people again.
I am working with an editor on the book, Wedding Planning for Spoonies, and an old family friend with a degree in design is working on my final book cover. Both iterations of the project should be done by January and I hope to release the book six months from that time (with preorders!).
I’ve also created a Facebook page for the book if you’d like to give it a like and a share.
In the past, I was an art student studying graphic design. It was my dream to create beautiful things for others. But then I dated some jerk who told me I was too fragile to spend time in the studio without him, and I switched to the liberal arts.
It was the greatest regret of my life. I vowed that I would never let anyone or anything keep me from achieving my goals.
As some of you may know, I’m in the process of being published. I will be talking about this a lot for more than one reason, namely because it’s an emotional rollercoaster, and anyone who reads this blog knows I am pure emotion. I am 100% F in the INFP.
My post yesterday revealed the staggering amount of rejections I received in a month as well as someone attempting to con me. I’m not giving up, but I do need self-encouragement on my journey.
A weird thing I like to do is go back to my art roots and design dummy covers. Every morning I design about 6 and choose one to three that I like best. I choose my favorite to be my wallpaper on my phone and computer, and the grand slam of the week is printed out and taped to my desk. It helps me imagine a book on the shelf.
I have a creative vision of what the book will look like: delicate, cute watercolors. Because the book covers so many different types of conditions, I wanted a classy way to be inclusive. No bodies will be represented with images. No mobility aid depicted in a pictorial form. Just symbolic representations of what it means to traipse along the wedding planning process in a whimsical way. The book is full of whimsy.
The book needs to communicate that the differently abled, disabled, and chronically ill are people who are loved. People love us. The world needs to know that.
And with my pep talk, I hope you are looking forward to the weekend, and have a happy Thursday.
I planned two budget weddings for the same man. The first wedding was our big 100 person shindig that cost us exactly $6,000. Then I was diagnosed with lupus during my first semester of graduate school and lost my ability to walk long distances. I had to go through the process all over again as I was forced by my family to have a home wedding. That wedding cost us about $500. Either way, they were far, far under the usual $30,000 mark most American couples spend on their weddings. The result? Bear and I were able to buy a house!
Tip #1: Shop Local
Leveraging your community is your biggest, most important aspect of budget wedding planning. By shopping local, I was able to:
Get specialized, custom Vegan Italian food from a local Mom & Pop restaurant for $13/head. My guests loved it!
Bought my wedding dress for $200 from a local Quinceanera shop after explaining my health problems.
Bought all my decorations in bulk off of Craigslist in my hometown (where my venue was) for $30 from a previous wedding which had also been held in my hometown.
My photographer gave us 50% off because we were locals (having the venue in the same small town she was) and not forcing her to drive long distances as a new mother with small children as most of her clients did.
My hometown venue was in a tiny small town with few hair stylists, and I got my hair done for $30.
Tip #2: Use What You Have
Does your family have tons of heirloom china and fancy cutlery? Use that instead of buying or renting plates and silverware! It’ll be a personal touch. It doesn’t matter if everything doesn’t match.
Does your family have heirloom crystal pieces? Hello, centerpieces!
Does your immediate family or extended family have land or a nice house you could use as your venue?
Christmas decorations can be repurposed for any time of year. My altar was created using tulle gifted to us and clear Christmas lights, as an example.
If anyone in your family has antiques they’d be willing to lend, ask and let them! Another part of our altar was an heirloom grandfather clock.
Tip #3: Let Your Friends Help!
This really, really should be the most important part of making your day go smoothly. During my planning process I:
Had my first 300 acre venue for a $60 deposit for a total of $600 for 24 hours… actually more like 48. We had been friends with the manager of the venue for 15 years.
Speaking of the venue owners, the wife of the manager and their daughter offered to be our wedding planners and day of coordinators for FREE.
Bear and I had wedding decorations gifted to us throughout the process.
Many of our friends volunteered to help set up for the big wedding.
During our small wedding, none of Bear and I’s mutual friends could make it because it was on a week day and it was short notice. But my old roommate and a family friend who were both still in college came and served food, drinks, cake, played music, and helped set up and clean up after the wedding.
My father being a Preacher had the church to borrow white chairs from for both our big wedding and our small 20-person wedding.
My dad being a Preacher officiated our wedding for FREE.
My old roommate was great at makeup and did my makeup for FREE.
Tip #5: Grocery Store Florists
In Texas, grocery store florists are nothing to be sneezed at. I don’t know what it’s like in other states, but my bouquet was gorgeous and our flowers only cost around $250. They came from a grocery store called HEB.
Now I’m not saying I bought the flowers next to the check out – most grocery stores have a floral department in our state with licensed florists that can make custom arrangements that are perfectly wonderful. Check with your local grocery store to see if this is plausible for you.
Tip #6: Gentle DIY
At my house wedding, all the decor was DIY. My big wedding was going to have DIY decor too from the prepackaged Craigslist decorations.
What I really want to stress here is that I had light DIY invitations – I bought these wedding invitations from Hobby Lobby for $7.99 at the time. I also used Canva to create menus, signs to put in frames, and styling to decoupage on wood for my big wedding’s rustic theme. Canva provides prepackaged free templates for all of these things. You can change the colors of the designs to fit your theme.
I say gentle DIY because you don’t want to go too overboard and stress yourself out. I was a grad student with a chronic illness. You may be that too, or you may have a demanding job and still want to have a life outside wedding planning.
Tip #4: Buy the remainder of what you don’t have from the previous tips online.
Did you know you can make lists on Amazon? Make an Amazon list for your wedding to get organized, and share it with your party. Add things to it, and slowly eliminate what you already have or is out of budget.
I ordered send-off bubbles, fake succulent table decorations, napkins, picture frames… not a whole lot because I already had enough. But Amazon has pretty much everything.
…and don’t let anyone scare you out of it or change your mind!
Not your groom.
Not your mom.
Not your MIL. The biggest takeaway here is before you start planning or buying a dress, know your theme, know how you want the wedding to look like. Make that Pinterest board proudly. You can make that classiness happen on a low budget, girl. You can make anything happen if you stick to what you want. Your vision will guide your choices so your wedding won’t end up a huge mess – or over budget from making mistakes because you didn’t know what you wanted. Ultimately though, it’s really about marrying the love of your life.
Even if your wedding gets derailed by everyone in the whole universe, you will have your person. Remember that.
With the onset of COVID-19, I’ve seen many distressed brides grieving the loss of their wedding dates. Some brides have been planning for over two years only to have their hard work and dreams wiped away. To you, I apologize for this post, and take consolation in my disappointments in my own wedding.
It’s hard to look at my wedding photos anymore because of wedding regrets. I have many, and my biggest golden kernel of advice to couples is this:
Never, never EVER let someone else pay for your wedding. Not if you’re marrying a trust funder, not if your parents are insisting, not if you can’t pay yourself. Save up your dollars and have an extended engagement, then use those cold hard Benjamins to have the wedding YOU want.
Why am I saying this?
When you pay for your own wedding, you have complete control over how the wedding goes on. If your mother or your in-laws are calling the shots because you’re too broke or you’re used to taking hand-outs from your rich parents, guess what, it’s technically their show.
My wedding was a nightmare. It was thrown together in 48 hours after my parents decided I was getting married a day early in their house, not at our friend’s venue, and our guest list was going from 80 to 20. Because of the short notice and that it was being held on a week night, none of my friends could get off work so they couldn’t come. It was me and my husband’s family, who I had issues with. There was no music, no dancing, no fun. This was the opposite of how I wanted it.
The door bell even rang as we had our first kiss.
Additionally, I was in pain the whole time, and my face looks horrible in pictures. It’s in a huge frown because of the physical and emotional discomfort I felt.
So, my parents insisted on paying for my wedding, and they forced me to jump ship on my already planned one for an emergency Bridezilla catastrophe because they held the purse strings.
So, what did I originally want?
I wanted to get married at Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World in the summer. My husband vetoed, saying his parents wouldn’t come to a theme park for a wedding. So my next step was to go the traditional route for my parent’s religion, and get married at our friend’s children’s camp. I tried to order catering from Freebirds, also vetoed by in-laws. I quickly realized I was going to have to miraculously turn beer into champagne on my meager budget.
I planned a country wedding at my parent’s behest and with their dollar. But I had been dreaming about a Disney wedding ever since I learned about them at age 13.
Bear and I should have saved up money to go to Disney World, or some other place nearby. That way, we would have been in control.
If you’re unable to wait to get married on champagne tastes, or even beer tastes, please consider a court house. Halfway through wedding planning you’ll be dying to run to one anyhow.
But really, is there any such thing as being in complete control of your wedding?
Remember, wedding regrets are normal. But there’s a big way to avoid catastrophe wedding regrets: take the reins.
The best way to not have wedding regrets in the midst of COVID-19? Focus on the love of your life.
All in all, I do not regret getting married. There is a big difference between wedding and married. I had wanted to get weddinged in the summer, however, we all know this crazy coronavirus mess is going on right now and we don’t know when it’s going to end. I’m currently riding out the coronapocalypse with my sexy awesome husband who I love very much, and am extremely glad to have married! I just wish he could have been my official Prince Charming in Cinderella’s Castle, possibly in December when we had wed.