Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bride on a Budget

Well, this is my first first first experience at doing bear with me while I figure all this out! :)

If any girl knows how to plan a wedding on a budget...well....that's me!! Hubby and I got married back in March at Davis Island Garden Club. The perfect venue for a DIY bride. During my planning process, I definitely learned how to "wheel and deal" on many aspects of the wedding. We had to get creative on where to spend the money and where to cut down on things we "oh so badly wanted."

Experts always say to cut down on the guest list. That's stating the obvious isn't it? What happens when you have done that and you can't cut anymore?

Over my next few posts. I will walk you thru my real-life experience of planning my wedding. Let's look at some not so obvious ways. The first thing you and fiance need to do is decide what is important to you and what you envision on your big day. For me, it was:

  1. Decor
  2. Food & bar 
  3. Music
Let's go ahead and jump to what every girl wants to know before getting to the other details....saving on flowers!!

Since the decor was a very important aspect for me but can be very expensive I started researching. As much as I wanted to have beautiful centerpieces from an amazing florist, I'm realistic too. There's no way I could afford $200/per table for 17 tables. I searched Tampa blogs and researched ways to transform a reception. I was able to find a floral wholesaler and ordered beautiful flowers from them at great prices (check out or

I also realized that I could have the flowers shipped to me earlier then I did. My family, bridesmaids and I were rushing thru Thursday to get all the centerpieces done....the flowers definitely lasted longer then I expected. For a Friday wedding, I could have gotten away with having the flowers shipped on Monday or Tuesday. Giving me more time to relax and get ready for the rehearsal dinner.

I already had small cylinder vases laying around that would be perfect for the cocktail tables. I found large glass cylinder vases at Home Goods for $8.99/piece and cute little garden buckets in the $1 section of Target. I had originally got this for the 4 or 5 kids who would be attending the wedding. I thought it would be great to put crayons in but as I was preparing my centerpieces, a new idea came to me:

I hung the buckets on shepherds hooks that lined the aisle.

I then decided on a whim to throw crystal garland in the vase to "bling" up the table. The garland cost a little more then I expected for how much you get but it really made a nice touch:

I ordered 6000 rose petals that cost me $149.79 to line the aisle and scatter on the tables. This really added lots of extra color. I also found small cylinders to add to each table with floating candles:

I had six cocktail tables outside that I dressed up with gerberas. These were fun, garden flowers to go with our garden wedding:

I was able to get all my flowers for the centerpieces, aisle runner and cocktail tables for $579.98. This is nothing compared to the quotes I received from florists all over town. The quotes started at $2475.00 for the bare minimum before adding the service and gratuity. I did pay for the few key arrangements. Botanica created my bouquet, the gazebo decor and a few of the reception tables. They helped add that extra "drama" I wanted. Botanica does amazing work if you can afford it:

We used the gazebo decor and placed it on our sweetheart table after the ceremony.

Botanica also provided my lighting and draping. These all made such an impact on the design and atmosphere of the night. 

To stick with our "garden theme" and cut down on more costs... I decided to give my girls parasols instead of bouquets and it was a hit:

Parasols cost me $8.99/each equaling $44.95.....bridesmaids bouquets were quoted at $96/each...that's a savings of $435.05...I was darn proud of myself and so was hubby!! :)

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