The Life of Jennifer Dawn: Remembering Our Wedding

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Remembering Our Wedding

Wedding season is winding down, but lately I have come across so many blogs and articles discussing the alarming costs of weddings. Well, the costs are alarming to me. The average American wedding now costs over $29,000. Twenty-nine thousands dollars. Wow! Typing it in word form doesn't make it look any better. That should be the down payment on a house and not the cost of a wedding. Some of these websites have even offered tips to save money when planning a wedding. They tell of weddings costing only $10,000-$15,000, and then boast that these are budget savvy weddings. Are you kidding me?! With numbers like that, we are still talking house down payment. I asked my best friend who happened to be the maid of honor in my own wedding what the grand total of her wedding was. Her response: "It was around $5,000. My dress and the food were the expensive parts. For everything else, we either knew people or got great deals!" Her red rose, black satin, evening of supreme elegance and professional catering was $5,000. Another friend told me that her simple but gorgeous affair inspired by an afternoon in Tuscany was $8,000. My sister told me that the most beautiful wedding she ever attended (other than my own wedding...wink...wink) only cost $2,500. They had a Christmas ceremony and a reception of draped twinkle lights and a delicious dessert buffet.

Moral: You don't need to spend $29,000 on a wedding.

I was curious about the cost of my own fairy tale wedding centered around the city where we got engaged--Charleston--with the pastel colors of Rainbow Row, chocolate seashell favors, and lanterns. After pulling out receipts and the wedding organizer where I recorded all purchases, I was able to come up with a grand total of... You'll just have to read on to find out. Let me just say though...I had to beg, borrow, and steal to have a wedding on the allotted budget. Just kidding! You don't have to do these things to have a beautiful wedding on a budget. I did use coupons, research the best deals, shop around, solicit the services of family and friends, and allocate most of the money towards the things that were most important to me (dress, cake, and music) while cutting corners on the things that weren't important.

Tim and Jenn's Early Spring, Afternoon Wedding on a Budget
March 15, 2008

Marriage license: $25 with our marriage counseling discount.

Wedding Invitations: $60 for the supplies to make my own invitations.

Postage: $60

Ceremony and Reception Location Fee (combined cost): $275 for a church wedding with a reception following in the Fellowship Hall.

Music: $430 to book Sequoyah Strings (stringed trio) to play for the ceremony. (This was a great touch to the ceremony.)

Bride's Dress and Accessories (dress, tiara, veil, blusher, 2 tier slip, bustier): $1,147.48 for an organza a-line drape dress with customized beaded cap sleeves and a crystal embellished veil and tiara with freshwater pearls.

Alterations for the Dress: $162.79

Bride's Hair: $50

Shoes: $15 for a pair of white Manolo knock-offs. (Shh...don't tell anyone they were fakes.)

Groom's Tuxedo: $49.15 for a black tux with 2 button notch jacket and a pocket square adding a southern touch.

Officiant's fee: $150

Photographer's fee: $125 for a college friend who does photography to drive to Knoxville and take the pictures.

Videographer's fee: $50

Sound System fee: $50

Flowers (used for wedding site, reception centerpieces, bride's bouquet, bridesmaid's flowers, and corsages for the mothers and grandmothers): $146.42 for pink and white roses and white hydrangea stems. (These were ordered through Sam's wedding floral department. It was a D.I.Y. project for me. My lovely attendants were eager to learn the art of making bouquets and were a tremendous help. There is a very long, disastrous story that goes along with the flowers, but I won't get into that.)

Decorations for the Wedding Site: $129.47 for spiral candelabras, arch, aisle markers...rented from Rentals Rentals.

Wedding Programs: $10 for pastel colored parchment scrolls containing all the wedding details and tied with a pink satin ribbon. (I designed and printed the programs myself. Then my parents and I rolled and tied them into scrolls.)

Aisle runner: $0 (bought by the Maid of Honor. Thanks again!)

Unity Candle: $12

Guest Book: $15 for a guest book photo frame featuring a picture of Tim and I together.

Gifts for Bride's Attendants: $0 for pearl jewelry given to each lady. (I hosted a Premiere jewelry party and used my free jewelry rewards to buy pearls for my lovely bridesmaids.)

Gifts for Groom's attendants: $42.03 for a pocket square for each gentleman. (Paid for by the Groom)

Reception Tables and Chairs: Included with the site fee.

Reception Decorations (supplies to make centerpieces, lanterns...) $75

Reception Equipment (tablecloths, food platters, plates, cups, silverware, napkins, buffet serving tongs...) $119.19 How I do love the great deals Party City has for all your food serving needs. The reception also had a table for the children with chocolate lollipops, coloring pages, and cookie decorating.

Printed Napkins: FREE because they made a mistake in the ordering. What a lucky mistake!

Food and Punch: $350 of hors d'oeuvres and desserts bought from Sam's Club and beautifully prepared and served on a buffet table by the maid of honor's mother. (I find it rather funny that people thought we spent a fortune on the shrimp cocktail, veggie and fruit trays, pinwheel sandwiches, mini quiches, chocolate eclairs... Many thought the our $350 assortment of food was the best part. Of course, we didn't tell them how much we actually spent.)

Wedding Cake: $300 for a multi-tier white cake with butter cream frosting made by Elaine Mason of "I Do Cakes".

Groom's Cake: $40 for a decadent chocolate sheet cake.

Reception Music: $0 for music compiled by the bride and groom and played on the sound system softly in the background.

Table Cameras: $45 bought slowly with 40% off coupons from A.C. Moore.

Wedding Favors: $15 for D.I.Y. favor boxes that Tim and I stuffed with handmade chocolates we made for another $20. (An artist friend of mine also made ink prints of Rainbow Row in Charleston--FREE!)

Bubbles: $20

Total Wedding Expenditures: $3,988.53 (Tim and I made some of these purchases ourselves, but I need to again thank my mom and dad for most of it! Thanks for a beautiful day!)

True Value: PRICELESS! (Tim and I were married over a year ago, but I still look back on it as one of the most beautiful days of my life--right up there with the birth of our beautiful daughter.)

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