Monday, July 20, 2009

2nd Guest Contributor - Bella

I am proud to introduce Things Mommies love 2nd Guest Contributor, Bella from The Little Budget. You can learn more about our Guest Contributor, Bella, at the end of her article.


Guest Contributor article:
When breaking the bank for your wedding isn't an option

Big pink letters, scrawled across the top of the page, "Recessionista wedding on a $10,000 budget!" I tossed that magazine on top of the big pile of second hand wedding magazines spread across my floor. With my hands on my forehead, I wondered how in the world I was going to pay for this wedding. Maybe $10,000 is considered a "budget" wedding to some, but personally, I don't have $10,000 to spend on a one day party. I have student loans and a mortgage to pay off, so I set our wedding budget at $2,000.

I know, traditionally, in the US, the girl's parents are supposed to pay for the wedding. My parents won't pay for my wedding and even if they wanted to, they for sure don't have the means to pay for some lavish affair. I was left with two choices, well, three actually - we could just not get married, or we could get married at the courthouse, or I could take a big look at what was necessary and create it, then cut everything else. I chose options number three.

Later that night, hunched over my laptop in bed, I scrolled through tons of wedding Web sites. It was more of the same stuff that was found in the shiny magazines all over the living room floor - strapless, A-line dresses, bridesmaids in expensive dresses they were never going to wear again, $800 cakes, Swarovski encrusted everything and fancy china patterns. I didn't want all of that for my wedding - and I couldn't afford all of it with my budget - I had to cut something out.

"Maybe I could just try to make a cake? I don't have to have glitter, I guess. Maybe I could make my own bouquet from flowers from Trader Joe's!" Rolling around in bed, I couldn't stop thinking about what to cut. Grabbing my lap top from the side table, I flipped it on and began to type. "Wedding Traditions History." Enter. "Hmmm, ok, so basically every wedding tradition (http://thelittlebudget.blogspot.com/2009/07/when-for-sake-of-tradition-heaps-on.html) is based upon confusing evil spirits and trying to become super, extra fertile."

The light bulb clicked. I didn't need all this to have a memorable wedding. Those traditions weren't relevant for me. I could cut out all of it. All I needed was my fiance and a minister to show up to have a great wedding. Everything else was just icing on the cake. I decided I didn't need to impress anybody with overly expensive flower arrangements, champagne bars or $90 a person plated dinners. Everybody who is invited knows I can't throw a platinum wedding so there was no need for me to pretend like I could. When I decided what was important for me, it became easy to start cutting out tons of unnecessary stuff - after all, I was paying for this wedding so I didn't care what anybody else thought.

Walking through the mall with my fiance, I spotted the most gorgeous dress for sale in a boutique - a 2007 wedding gown - for $1,299! It was way out of the budget of $2,000 I had set for myself. I talked with the owner of the shop and she said she could get it down to $800. I decided to wait. After all, it was a 2007 gown, but my wedding wouldn't be until June 2010. Hopefully by this winter the dress will be drastically discounted. Either way, it gives me time to get my booty down to the size 6 the dream dress is (it's a floor model) so I can buy it outright in cash on the spot.

It was a flamenco looking dress so I decided, "Hey, this would be a great theme for the wedding!" I began scouring the Internet for pictures of Spain and flamenco festivals to get ideas. I didn't want to do the whole "two colors are my theme" thing. This allowed me to get on the lookout for Spanish, Mediterranean and flamenco themed items in whatever color was in stock at the store or what I already had on hand at home. I didn't have to spend extra money on special ordering things in a rare shade of peach. I could carry a flamenco fan down the aisle, wear shoes I already owned and take whatever was being offered on Craigslist to use for my tables. There are always people getting rid of stuff and sometimes you can hit the jackpot for wedding goodies if you keep your eyes peeled on sites such as Craigslist or Freecycle.

When I was in school, I used to work at a bakery. We did catering orders all the time. I realized that for my own wedding, I could easily make the food served at my reception because we're serving a buffet of tapas instead of a sit down dinner. As well, we're not having a fondant covered wedding cake. After working at a bakery, I never want to eat a cake again and cheesecake was too costly for 70 people. Instead, we're serving up a huge platter of Mexican wedding cookies / Russian tea cakes. My fiance’s sister and one of my good friends offered to help me make all of the food. I've decided instead of a wild and crazy bachelorette party (I rarely even drink) we're going to spend Saturday prepping and assembling the food because we all love to cook.

I needed to look for a location for our wedding - after all, I didn't matter how cheap I bought wedding stuff for if I didn't have a location to set it all up. One thing I insisted on when looking for a location for our reception was the ability to bring in our own food and drinks - simply because it's so much cheaper when you can compare prices. I looked around online and couldn't find a spot. My fiance’s parents live in an upscale gated community with a golf course and country club. They happen to be members of the country club which is very popular for weddings and they get a deep discount on renting out the facility, but, it was way out of our budget. The rental fees range $800–5,000 - out of the question for us. In addition, if we booked there, we weren't allowed to bring in any outside food or drinks; everything had to be bought from the onsite caterers. Their meals range $40–60 per person and tax, alcohol and an 18% service charge are additional. Although beautiful, we just didn't have the budget for such extravagance. Instead, my fiance’s parents said we could use their backyard terrace for both the wedding and reception! We were getting the same lovely scenery at no cost.

I'm still in the planning stages of our wedding and because my fiance and I cut out the traditions that didn't make sense to us, kept our eyes open for deals and didn't get caught up in the minute details, we've well on our way to making our budget. This, along with a little planning, some bottles of paint, a stack of paper, a bunch of glue and a ton of patience, allows us to save a bundle by DIYing most of our wedding "stuff." Anybody can plan a unique wedding without breaking the bank. For more tips and ideas, check out http://thelittlebudget.blogspot.com/

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About Guest Contributor:

Fearful of racking up more student loans, graduating without any job prospects and having no way to pay off her loans, much like many of her newly graduating friends, Bella, a 21-year-old bride to be decided that going to a university out of state wasn't a financially sound decision. She moved back to California and realized that a journalism degree wasn't her ticket to a fabulous job as newspapers across the country are going under. Bella decided that if she couldn't find a publication to work for, she'd create one herself. This idea spawned the newly created site, The Little Budget, a blog chronicling her journey to live the good life in the San Francisco Bay Area, at the fraction of the cost. In the future, she hopes to expand the blog into a user-friendly site to include forums, tips, and free online financial classes to teach other young people how to live a financially sound lifestyle without sacrificing the little luxuries in life.

Bella has 4 years of journalism experience and a passion for business, finance, holistic nutrition, homesteading and politics. She lives with her fiance, Dre, their two chihuahuas, Maximus and Tiberius, their cat, Furball and their kitten, Sophronia.

2 comments:

  1. Great post, Bella! I know how you feel - I planned my wedding on a budget. But it really forces us to be creative!

    I love your theme idea, it sounds really unique, exotic and romantic. It's gonna be AWESOME!

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  2. I know what you mean when other people's idea of a "budget" for a wedding is $10,000!!
    We also did a wedding on a budget and did a lot of DIY-Made our invitations-etc. We rented a lot too-Dress,Tux's,Bridesmaids dress-etc. We found a great location:A historic mansion -had the wedding outside-Reception inside. I happen to like our wedding and we spent under $2,000 about $1500 or so.

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