I get it... eloping is cool.
It's one of the latest trends circling around the internet lately and some of my closest friends, and even bridesmaids, have done it. However, since I was old enough to put on my first Cinderella dress, I always knew that I would have a wedding. I would dream of the dress, the flowers, the music, the dancing, and of course, the handsome Prince that would be waiting for me at the end of the isle.
But for the majority of us dreamers, our imaginations can easily outgrow our budgets and having the "wedding of our dreams" seems like something other girls get but not us. Well, just wipe that nasty thought right out of your head because I am proof that you can create the most magical day of your life and not kill yourself over it either. No matter your budget, here are six simple things to help you in creating your own happily ever after...
1. A Wedding on a Wednesday
I know this sounds weird but please, let me explain. For most venues, the price depends on the day. Saturday is obviously the most expensive, usually followed closely by Sunday, then Friday, and then Monday through Thursday. We booked our wedding on a Wednesday because a) it was the only day available during the time frame we wanted and b) it was less than 1/3 of the Saturday price! We got everything a Saturday wedding would get but for thousands of dollars less. And since a lot of our guests were flying in from out of town anyways, it didn't affect them too much. A lot of people who made the drive even ended up booking a week in Estes Park. Our wedding become the focal point for a lot of well-deserved vacations, which equals... happy guests at your wedding :)
2. Picking Flowers
I learned that this can be one of the major money suckers for a wedding! I was pretty nervous going into my first florist meeting, thinking that I would see all of the beautiful things that I would never be able to afford. However, they were so sweet and helped show me less expensive versions of the flowers I really loved. I LOVE peonies, but of course I do, their like super duper expensive. But have you heard of a Jane Austin rose? (Yes you heard me correctly!) They have light delicate petals just like a peony but for a fraction of the cost. >> There's a blush one right in the front of my bouquet above!
Also, I incorporated a lot of greenery, which cost WAY less than flowers. And since my whole theme was very enchanted forest like, it looked magical! I also used fake flowers for all of my reception decor. They were way cheaper and complimented all of the real flowers. Pssst.. no one could tell the difference!
3. Choose a Style, Not a Brand
I know it's hard... I myself had been following certain dress designers on Instagram, so sure that I would have a ________ dress no matter what! Then I went dress shopping...
When I found my perfect dress, it wasn't by any designer I recognized, but I knew it was the right one. I knew the style and the "look" I was going for and everything just sort of fell into place after that. The bridesmaids wore dresses from David's Bridal on sale and the guys outfits I constructed at H&M. I sent them links and told them to wear brown shoes.. done. I had a vision in my mind for the feel I wanted and honestly, I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. Your photos will showcase the overall look and that is what you want to remember.
4. Wedding Cake Realities
This was a no brainer for me. Those three wedding cakes were the most beautiful and delicious cakes I had ever seen and they were from (drumroll please)... your local Whole Foods Bakery. Going to an actual wedding cake bakery can cost you up to a few thousand dollars and that just wasn't worth it to me. Besides, what's more delicious than a fresh cake from Whole Foods?
I had had my heart set on the Apple Harvest cake which usually doesn't come in till October and with a late September wedding, I was thrilled when I heard that they would have it in time. However, at the last minute, the order got delayed and the nervous manager on the other end of the line helped me come up with a solution that I honestly loved more than the original. We ended up with three circle double layer vegan carrot cakes and one large double layer chocolate sheet cake, all with the famous Maple Glaze Icing. I normally hate icing but this stuff I could eat by the spoonful. They still decorated them like the apple harvest, using cinnamon and cinnamon sticks to give it that fall festive look I really wanted. All in all, it was under $200... enough said.
5. Focus on the Theme
Our venue was so breathtakingly beautiful, that I really didn't want to take away from it. So, first I thought about what theme/overall feeling do I want at my wedding? For me, I went for a enchanted forest/fairytale feel. I wanted my guests to feel like perhaps they had just wandered into a storybook and didn't want to leave. Knowing this, when it came to decor, I based everything around that "feeling." Sure you may really want to do that photo booth or certain centerpiece that you've had pinned since you graduated high school (personal confession) but you'll be happier the day of if you stick to your original theme. I truly think part of what made our day so magical was that every single little detail complimented the overall look and feel and never felt like it was competing or oddly placed.
Stay tuned for an upcoming post on some of the DIY projects I did for my wedding!
6. Decide What's Important
The last piece of advice I have to give you is to sit down and decide what are the most important aspects to your wedding? What mens the most to you? What are you most willing to do a little splurging on? For me, it was the venue and my dress. We've already discussed how I was able to save on both of those, however, I knew that those were two of the most important purchases to me. Knowing that, it became easier to make decisions on the cake, food, bridal party attire, accessories, etc... When you put your priorities in place right from the start, it will honestly help with the rest of the decision making process, and trust me, there will be PLENTY of decisions!
Everyone told me that the day would fly by before I even had a chance to take it all in. How I remember it, September 28th, 2016 was one of the longest, prettiest, dreamiest, and most perfect days of my life. You will experience your wedding and so will everyone you love. It's truly worth it to put your heart and soul into making it everything you ever dreamed of. You don't have to break your bank to do it either. It just takes a little hard work, planning, creating, and perhaps a little bit of magic.
All photography by: Kole Impressions