Friday, May 26, 2006

Top 6 Cost-Cutting Decisions

I feel bad that I haven't posted in a while. I really want to write a wedding and honeymoon recap, but every time I think about it, I get this feeling of dread. It seems so daunting! I'll see if I can write a little at a time at work, so I'll eventually get part of it posted.

Anyway, I posted this on IndieBride, and I thought this would be something good to post here too. I hope this is helpful to someone! (Or at least interesting...)

From thread titled: Your Top 5 (or more) Cost Cutting Decisions

Our end total (not including honeymoon) was $6300. For Southern California, I think we did really well! Here are our top 5 (okay, 6):

1) Having the reception at a restaurant - We only had around 50 people at the reception, so the back room of a local restaurant worked really well. I liked that I didn't have to go hunting for both a caterer and a location, but it wasn't a "wedding factory". The cost was only $18 per person, and there was no site fee! So including cake-cutting fees, taxes, gratuity, and $700 bar tab, the entire reception cost us just over $2200. (The manager wasn't as on top of things as I would've liked, but it all turned out okay)

2) Costco/DIY flowers - Since I didn't need gobs and gobs of flowers, I couldn't take advantage of some of the free shipping offers. I also wanted rose petals, so I either needed more roses (and then deal with their minimum quantities) or a package of petals. So I bought 14 dozen roses at Costco for $120 the day before the wedding, pulled off the petals of some, and arranged the rest into bouquets and bouts the morning of the wedding. I even had leftover flowers too!

3) No DJ/iPod - We don't like a lot of contemporary music, and don't like cheesy DJs, so we did the iPod thing. Since we received some wedding present money early, we used some of it to buy a refurbished Klipsch iGroove dock off of eBay. It cost just under $180, but it didn't actually cost us anything, since we used the gift money. Incredible sound, comes with a remote control, and we absolutely LOVE that we now have a cool iPod stereo for our own personal use.

4) eBay - I got the best deals on eBay. My dress, modeled after a $900 Maggie Sottero, cost only $264, including shipping. I received so many compliments! I got the iGroove, my crinoline, and lanterns for centerpieces (10 for $50) there too.

5) Having the wedding near Easter - My wedding was May 6, so our church was still decorated for the Easter season. There were tons of flowers and swags of white cloth draped from the rafters. I actually meant to make pew decorations, but I ran out of time. I don't think any of the guests felt anything was lacking, and the church looked gorgeous. And most of my guests thought that I had put up all those decorations myself, so I got lots of compliments!

6) Photographer through Craigslist - The most basic packages in our area are well over $1000, but we found a fantastic photographer who charged $750 for 6 hours of unlimited pics, a DVD of all pics, touch-ups and artistic things (black/white, sepia, etc.), a wedding album, and I think 500+ prints. We negotiated out the wedding album, so it only cost us $650.

Things that upped my costs:
~ Church fees - I ended up paying $805 in church fees. Because I wasn't a parishioner at my church, the "suggested" donation for using the church was $500. (But they wouldn't make you give that much if you didn't have much money) The church-provided ceremony coordinator and altar servers cost $155, and the pianist charged $150 for coordinating the music and playing at the wedding. Other musicians (instruments or vocalists) would've been an extra $100 or so, but I had my brother sing, so that was free. Our officiant doesn't accept monetary gifts, so we'll be giving him a gift basket and a thank-you card. And our ceremony was beautiful and perfect, so I think the $805 was well deserved.

~ Rings - DH's ring was purchased from a Zales outlet store here in town for about half the price ($430 instead of $800+), but that's still a lot of money. Mine was even more - $590 from Linda Clifford Celtic Jewelry online, including shipping from Ireland (Mine's the two-tone one with the sapphires). But they kinda match, they're gorgeous, and we absolutely love them, so we felt it was worth the splurge.


At May 26, 2006 12:58 PM, Blogger Samuel said...

I wouldn't call the rings a splerge. These rings are going to be what we wear for the rest of our lives. Most people pay much more for their rings than we did. We got lucky.

At May 28, 2006 12:13 PM, Blogger Kristine said...

I know that, but we didn't have to spend as much as we did either. I'm not saying I have buyer's remorse for them at all, I just see it as something we really wanted and therefore didn't mind spending the extra money on.

At June 05, 2006 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I actually just googled Joannessa's name to see what came up, and I'm so glad to see that you were happy with her! Please post and let us know how the pictures turn out!

At June 05, 2006 4:53 PM, Blogger Kristine said...

Hi Anon! I'm still waiting for the pictures to come back, but I was very pleased with how professional and helpful she was. I will certainly let everybody know how they turn out, and will post some samples to boot! (When they get here!)

And Cara, in response to your question about Cinderella Bridal. I was very pleased with the quality of the dress. The embroidery was gorgeous, and the fabric was a great quality (heavy and nice to the touch!). My dress was also a customized dress, and I was pleasantly surprised that they were able to get the exact color that I wanted for the embroidery and lacing.

That said, if you order from them, you should expect to have alterations done on the dress at a later time. Even though I gave my measurements to them so they could custom tailor it to me, it came out a little too tight in the ribs (I do have wide ribs, though...) and WAY too long. The rib part wasn't too big of a deal since it's a lace-up dress. (Be careful putting it on/taking it off too fast... I ripped a small hole in the seam. I don't think it was a quality issue so much as it doesn't have any give or stretchiness.) But I paid about $100 for the dress to be shortened because it had about 5 extra inches on it.

Also, their busy time is around late Jan. through March. So if you know what you want, order quickly so you get your dress with lots of time to spare.

So, to wrap up this novel (*blush*), I recommend them, but only if you're ready to pay for possible alterations. But I figure it's still a fabulous deal, since you'd pay for alterations at a regular bridal shop anyway. Hope this helps!

At June 08, 2006 12:51 PM, Blogger cara said...

Thanks! I have a great seamstress who has agreed to do alterations. I'm a little concerned that they haven't gotten me a fabric sample and they are sort of slow to respond by email. Also, I want to get the cut of one dress with the embroidery/beading of another (although I am still narrowing down which cut and which embroidery lol) and I'm a little nervous about what happens if they get it wrong :) Yours came out beautiful in the pics btw! I am considering that embroidery for mine.

At June 09, 2006 1:04 AM, Anonymous Sharon said...

It's great to see so many cost savind ideas. I have been struck by just how expensive tiara's are over here so have bought the beads and wire myself and am making my own! Costs about 10% of the cost of tiara's in shops! Thankfully I have 3 months to perfect it but it seems to be going well so far! *fingers crossed*

At June 15, 2006 4:11 PM, Blogger Kristine said...

Cara - Sounds awesome! I also wanted to customize basically everything in the wedding. Good luck with all the decisions! There are so many! When is your wedding? I hope you have a lot of time before you need the dress. In any case, stay on top of your seamstress and keep records of all the email correspondence. Not to say they won't come through for you, but better safe than sorry!

Sharon - I saw your tiara on Craftster. It's beautiful! Good job! I've seen tiaras like that costing a fortune, even at online "discount" stores. Even DIYing a few things saves a lot of money!

At March 12, 2008 4:57 PM, Blogger AlexandraHere said...

My husband and I bought some really beautiful titanium rings online too! They were a lot less than the white gold, and, we were totally happy with them! Plus my husband is really hard on his rings. The tungsten is super tough so it will stand up against his abuse!


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