In my recent dabbling in what most would call event planning but I would call "stumbling along with good fortune" I managed to put together my wedding at an unprecedented budget to be envied by the conservative-spending crowd. A few comments before I "sing my own praises". Marriage is sacred. Getting married is important and requires respect. What in my opinion it doesn't require is a debt the size of the deficit. Any couple who are getting started young or old really should get off to the best possible start. So, taking a second out on a house or extravagant spending that has to be "paid off" makes no sense to me. So if you're getting married and want to avoid the debt aftermath, here are some really great tips to help you along.
eBay and my wedding dress (cost $100 + shipping): This experiment was definitely an "experiment" in the sense when you buy on eBay who knows what you're going to get. The clues that it would be all right: brand new dresses and many, many of them. It seems that eBay is the dumping ground for wedding dresses that are overstocked or last year's style. You might expect a NEW wedding dress purchased on eBay to be flimsy or perhaps poorly made. To my utter delight, my dress arrived in its gorgeous chiffon glory -- well-made, well-sewn and easily 25 lbs of fabric, which hardly defines the word "cheap". Your only downside is you must buy the perfect size or bigger. Bigger can be tailored and fitted -- smaller, well, ladies you just bought a dress you can't wear. So here is my thought: I figured for a $100 what did I have to lose? Not much! So why not.
Flower girl dresses on Amazon: Another great and inexpensive approach is to buy your other dresses on Amazon. You have hundreds of choices. Now your bridesmaids may not appreciate not being able to try on the dresses. But for little girls, go out to the physical store. Figure out her size and buy it online.
Wedding Day Packages for Destination Weddings: find a service that sells the whole package at a really great price. First, you will be spared the coordination of the various ceremony pieces. My package provides the ceremony, transportation, flowers, cake, photographs, and a champagne toast at the very end. This whole package's total: $1500. The best part, no heart failure or stress for us as we try to coordinate or find someone to coordinate all of those aspects of the wedding.
Reception Supplies and Set up and Break Down: Another package you can customize and order online. We found a place in Truckee titled EventMasters. In a single phone conversation I was able to order the tables, chairs, table clothes, utensils, plates and glasses to my liking and quantity. They will set up early in the morning of the event and break down the next day, which presents none of my guests from the "honor" and they can all enjoy. Total cost for 30 people: $408.
Other really fabulous and generous offers from friends and family covered the rest of the potentially expensive and crazy costs. Our total we will slide out the door with is roughly $2500. Now I realize not everyone has a family member able to offer a condo in Tahoe for the honeymoon or generously offer to pay for the reception hall. BUT I will say this: open your heart and be receptive to those who truly want to help. Help and support is really wonderful for an event that can turn upside down and become stressful, which nobody wants. If someone offers help and support, take it. And simply express your appreciation and thanks.