I Do! (Not Know Where to Begin) Month 3: Photographer & Videographer

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Welcome back friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. It’s crazy to me that we’re already in a new year. 2018 was quite the whirlwind for me, and I’m so thankful to be able to be planning a wedding with the best guy around. Today we’re going to be talking about one of my favorite pieces of the puzzle: the photographer and videographer! I’m breaking my usual mystique with this one, because I am so obsessed with these vendors that I have to give them crazy shoutouts. If you are in need of a photographer or videographer -- these guys are seriously the best! Honestly, I knew before we were engaged exactly who would be hired for these jobs.

Image Source: Melanie Zacek/Photo by Ashley Largesse

Image Source: Melanie Zacek/Photo by Ashley Largesse

Picking your photographer (and videographer if you’re planning to have one) is one of the most important choices, if you ask me. This person is responsible for capturing the essence of the day and making your memories last for years to come in the most beautiful way. I knew that we needed to have someone that we were comfortable with and trusted. That being said, there was no way anyone other than the extremely gifted Melanie Zacek would be shooting our wedding! I’ve had the honor of working with Melanie on multiple of our photoshoots here at Parsimony and guys, seriously, she’s amazing. The details she captures, her whole attitude and demeanor, I knew that I needed her at my big day.

In terms of videographer, I had been told by multiple people going into this planning that one of their biggest regrets was not having a videographer. It was something that I wanted to get into the budget if at all possible, and I’m so happy we’re able to make it work. Dmitry Gordievsky and his team over at Embark Films are crazy talented and once again, there was no contest in my mind. Dmitry shot the most epic movie trailer for our Love Lost at Sea photoshoot last year and I immediately became obsessed. I’m seriously like a kid in a candy store knowing that we have both of these incredible artists on our team.

Image Source: Embark Films

Image Source: Embark Films

I think one of the biggest things that most people don’t realize going into planning is how expensive it’s going to be to have a quality photographer and videographer at your wedding. I can’t emphasize this statement enough: you need to know that you’re paying for the quality in this situation! This is NOT an area that you want to skimp in. It WILL show in your end results! That being said, just because they are more expensive, doesn’t mean that they’re the right option for you. Really study their work and make sure that their style is something that meshes with yours and is something you really appreciate! These photos and videos are something that you’re going to look back on for years to come. When your memories have faded and you don’t remember those details on your own, you’re going to want to have these momentos to flood you with those feelings and help you relive the big day. These pieces are investments and you really want to take them seriously. I’ve yet to hear of someone who regretted hiring a great photographer or videographer, but I have heard plenty of stories from people who decided to go with cheaper options and quickly came to regret it.

Image Source: The Southern California Bride

Image Source: The Southern California Bride

Along the same subject line, Jaren and I have decided to have an “unplugged” ceremony. Meaning we don’t want any of our guests to have their phones, iPads, cameras, etc. out during the ceremony. I have seen many a ruined photo or video from someone stepping out into the aisle to try and get a great shot. While I appreciate that people want their own photos to remember the day by, that’s why we’re hiring professionals! We’ll be sharing all the photos and videos with everyone after the fact, but don’t want Uncle Bob’s iPhone blocking my face while we’re saying our vows (don’t worry, there is no actual Uncle Bob). As soon as cocktail hour hits, you can snap away, but until then, phones are away. I know lots of people have started trying this out and haven’t necessarily been successful, so my advice to other couples is to be extremely diligent about it. Not only will we have a nice sign reminding people, but we will also have the officiant make a reminder announcement before we walk down the aisle. Oh, and our vendors have all been given permission to tell anyone that they need to put their devices away should any be seen. Some may think that makes me a bridezilla, but if I’m going to be investing my time into creating a beautiful day and having it professionally photographed and videographed, you can put your phone away for a half hour.

I Do! (Not Know Where to Begin) Month 2: First Round Guest List

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Welcome back friends! Can you believe it’s time to start going over the events from month TWO?! Holy moly, time is just flying by. The first thing we’re addressing this month is the process of starting to develop the guest list. Ugh. To be honest, I had already started coming up with a rough idea of this months before we even got engaged… that’s just who I am. This whole thing is definitely my least favorite part of wedding planning and reminds me why I stopped having parties growing up.

Image Source: @becccawaugh

Image Source: @becccawaugh

The guest list is pretty much synonymous with stress. Being that we’re trying to keep things small, you know going into it that you’re going to end up disappointing some people. Being a people pleaser, it’s really rough going into things knowing that. While I would love to invite all our friends and family from near and far, we’re just not looking to have a 200 person wedding (or have the budget for something like that). So, with that being said, Jaren came up with a really great guideline for us to follow: anyone being invited to our wedding has to be someone we both know on a first name basis and are familiar with. The more I sat with it, the more I loved the concept. Anyone that’s going to be invited to such a small an intimate gathering should be someone that we’re both comfortable and friendly with. It’s truly the people that we can’t imagine saying “I do” without.

Even within our families, there have already been some potentially ruffled feathers -- which I was totally expecting. Being that I come from such a large, close-knit family, my numbers kind of shoot up right off the bat. Just my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins total around 20 people. They’re all people that I can’t imagine getting married without. My cousins aren’t like normal cousins, we’re incredibly close and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. We grew up with my two closest cousins in age living less than 5 minutes away. They’re practically a second sister and brother to me. So that was my non-negotiable family list. With that, there wasn’t much room to add in any great-aunts or uncles. That wasn’t to the pleasing of my grandparents at first, but luckily they’re very understanding and know we’re working with small numbers. Jaren’s family is much smaller and therefore he has a lot more flexibility to pick and choose who he really wants there. His numbers round out to be just under 20, so we’re pretty close on that front.

Image Source: Mod Weddings

Image Source: Mod Weddings

When it comes to adding friends into the mix, there’s not much room to play with. I think with our first round, we’re around 15 guests each, including plus ones, putting us right around our max guest goal of 70. It was difficult to make the decisions here, but at the same time, I tried to follow a similar mindframe as with my bridesmaid selection. Who are the people that I’m closest with in my life and really keep in touch with? The list kind of fell together and just felt right.

It’s funny to look back at some of the articles I’ve written pre-engagement and how my advice stacks up to what I’m actually doing. I actually looked back at my guest selection guide to help with the process. One thing that I hadn’t thought of before that has since been brought to my attention is having a secondary list. It’s possible that a lot of guests on our initial list may not be able to make it to the big day, which means we have two options: have a smaller wedding or add more guests to the list. Honestly, the idea of having a secondary list gives me anxiety too, because I’m worried that people are going to be offended if they weren’t invited originally but then get invited later on. But I would hope that on some level they would be happy to be invited in general. If not, they always have the option to say no.

Image Source: Junebug Weddings

Image Source: Junebug Weddings

With the wedding being almost two years out still, and save the dates not going out for quite a few more months, there’s always a possibility that things will change. That’s why I think it’s so important to develop your list early, so that you have time to tweak and really think about your choices. Right now, I’ve hit a point of acceptance where I’m trying not to overthink or stress over the guest list. With us not taking action on it for a few more months, there’s no use in fretting. I tend to be an overthinker, so instead of driving myself crazy, I’m focusing on the more fun and exciting aspects of the planning process! But more on that next week.

Wedding Planning 101: Finding the Perfect Invitation Suite

Image Source: Minted Weddings

Image Source: Minted Weddings

Picking your invitation suite can be a bit overwhelming, there are so many options out there! All the different styles, packages, and price points can be difficult to navigate. That’s why we’re going to break it all down for you today and share some of our favorite resources for purchasing your suite! Keep in mind, you can go as crazy or simple as you want. Your save the date cards do not have to match your formal invitations. Your invitations can be simple or comprehensive -- including components like song requests, hotel information, RSVP cards, registry information, and more.

Mode of Purchase

In our day and age of advanced technology, your method of creating your paper goods is somewhat limitless. You can pick a pre-designed photocard, a pre-designed photo-less card, or you can have something designed custom-made just for you. You can order cards and have them printed and shipped to you, or you can order a template and print your cards yourself. If you’re looking for the most cost-effective method, we suggest doing your research to compare what costs end up being if you do select a template. You’ll still want high quality printing, so most likely not done at home. Check out the cost to make prints at places like Staples or CVS, and also remember you’ll have to purchase envelopes on top of it compared to if you order pre-designed cards from somewhere like Shutterfly, where envelopes will be included.

Image Source: Basic Invite

Image Source: Basic Invite

Places to Check Out

There is such a wide variety of options for places to look! If you’re looking for something more unique and personalized, check out Etsy. Lots of shops offer templates or even personalized suites. While they’re usually still pre-designed, not as many people think to go somewhere small like individual stops on Etsy. That being said, there are so many options of templates for pre-designed suites on sites like Shutterfly, Mint, Basic Invite, Vista Print, and Simply to Impress are just a few of our favorite options. There’s room for upgrades like foiling or even clear invitations. You can get matching sets or opt to mix and match. Price will often vary upon the amount ordered. That being said, you really can create some beautiful suites. Most of these sites have so many color options within each design. You can create regular paper invites, magnet save the date cards, postcards, etc.

Image Source: Simply to Impress

Image Source: Simply to Impress

We’re big believers in starting the hunt early! Create a spreadsheet with all the details for your favorite options: where they’re from, the cost, and a direct link. Often times you can order free or inexpensive samples to make sure you’re going with your favorite option. Starting the hunt early also means that you can watch for any sales or coupon codes coming down the pipeline. Regardless of what you choose, your invitation suite should be a reflection of you and your partner’s style, so have fun with it and choose what suits you best!

Bridal Style on a Budget: The Shoe Game

Showing off your style as a bride is such a fun part of the wedding planning and designing process! But when it comes to your attire for the day, expenses can stack up realllllll fast. Who would’ve thought that shoes would be so dang expensive?! We love a good shoe, but realistically, you won’t really be able to showcase those stunning heels under your wedding dress. Keeping that in mind, it’s hard to swallow the price tag on a lot of those Instagram-worthy shoes. That’s why we did a round up of our favorite places and styles of shoes that won’t break the budget for your big day! We love shopping for shoes at places like DSW, Famous Footwear, and Off Broadway to really find a good deal. You can usually find sales and even coupons for places like this versus going directly to somewhere like Steve Madden. While it can be hit or miss, check out your local TJ Maxx or Marshalls too, you can find some great steals there! While all the shoes shown here are going to be more traditional bridal whites and off-whites, shoes are a great way to bring in a pop of color or even your “something blue,” so definitely keep that in mind during your shoe hunt.

Flats

Sandals

Strappy Heels

Pumps

I Do! (Not Know Where to Begin) Month 1: Finding My Bride Tribe

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Welcome back friends!

Today we’re going to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart: picking your bridal party. If I’m being honest, this is something I’ve thought long and hard about for years. And in that time, a lot of people have changed on the list! When we decided to keep the wedding small, I knew that it also meant that I would want to keep my bridal party small. I have so many amazing friends that I would love to have stand by my side for my big day, but if I had them all up there, who would be our guests?!

All wrapped up!

All wrapped up!

There are a lot of politics involved, and I really didn’t want to deal with that. I know we’re going to deal with that when it comes to trimming down the guest list. This should be a fun and simple choice. Traditionally you don’t need to pick your bridesmaids until the 9-12 month mark. But seeing as we’re two years out, I’m stretching the timeline a bit and didn’t want to wait that long (especially because they already knew!). That’s one of my favorite parts about having all this time before the wedding, I can really take my time to ensure that I’m doing things exactly how I want, and I have way more flexibility in when they get done. You can see our traditional one year timeline here and my modified two year timeline that I’m following here! So the decision came down to this: who am I the closest with? Who are those people that I talk to constantly and trust with my life? Like I said, there are so many great friends who would be wonderful bridesmaids, but three people were miles ahead here. My sister, my cousin (who is like a second sister), and my best friend for as long as I can remember (who is also like another sister).

At first I didn’t like the idea of having an odd number of bridesmaids, but I decided that the number isn’t what matters. I don’t have anyone else that I would put on that same level and if I started to branch out, I felt like I would get into that territory where I could potentially hurt someone’s feelings. I know it’s no fun to expect to be in someone’s bridal party and then not get asked. So by keeping it nice and small, I felt really confident in my ladies. Not that I need to justify my choices to anyone, but sometimes with the politics of wedding planning, it really feels like you do! I know that people will look at my bridal party and think “oh yeah, that makes total sense.”

Just a little something fun!

Just a little something fun!

So this was all my thought process before I even had that ring on my finger. Which meant that they all knew it and once we were engaged, I had to backpedal a little bit! Even though they knew I would be asking them, I still wanted to get them each a little something special because you only ask your girls to be your bridesmaids once! So to Etsy I went. I went personalized everything, because why not. Cute little boxes with their names on them, makeup bags with their names on them, knot bracelets with their initial on them, and probably the most perfect card I could ever find. “Now act surprised like you had no idea this was coming.” I’ll take three, please.

I think it’s so fun to get your girls a little something, especially knowing all the time and energy they’re going to be putting into helping you with your big day. Nothing crazy, but just a little something that says “I appreciate you!” I’m so lucky to have three amazing ladies to make up my tribe and so happy they all said “yes” to standing by my side! That’s a wrap for the month one breakdowns, but be sure to stay tuned because we’re only a couple weeks away from diving into month two and all things guest list, photographer, and more!

I Do! (Not Know Where to Begin) Month 1: The Venue Hunt

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Hi friends!

Jill here again. In case you missed last week’s introduction, I just got engaged and am starting the wedding planning process while sharing all the real time details and steps with all of you! I hope that this can give you some direction in planning your own big day, especially if you’re an everyday girl with an average budget just like me. Today we’re talking all things venue-hunting. Buckle up, because this one has some bumps in the road!

Before we got engaged, our original plan had been a fall 2020 wedding (October 10th to be exact, because how cool would it be to say your anniversary is 10/10/2020?!), but upon engagement we decided to try and get things together for an October 2019 wedding instead. Well, friends, that was probably one of the most stressful weeks of my life. I reached out to 20+ venues, all of which were already completed booked solid for October 2019, many of which already were partially or completely booked for October 2020 as well. On top of dealing with the venue search, we were being overwhelmed with love and support from friends and family -- which is great, don’t get me wrong -- and the chorus of “when’s the wedding?!” already beginning one week in.

Off to venue hunt!

Off to venue hunt!

We hit a point where we pretty much accepted that it was going to be a 2020 wedding and that there was a good chance that it wouldn’t be on 10/10 either. From there, the pieces sort of fell into place. It’s amazing how life works out when you just accept that things will be what they will be! We re-visited our list of venues that we liked, narrowed it down to a handful that were in our ideal budget and location zone and reached out for their availability. For round one, two of the three had 10/10 open and a third had a later October date available, so we set up venue tours.

Melissa, Parsimony’s Owner and Creative Director, impressed on me the importance of viewing multiple locations of different caliber and style to really get a feel for what we want and what our options are. That being said, if you don’t have the budget for a $10,000 venue, don’t go see it. Because chances are you’ll fall in love and then be crushed when you can’t afford it or you’ll compare every other venue to what you saw there. That last condition crossed quite a few options off our list! It’s also extremely important to review what is and isn’t included in your venue fee. Are tables and chairs included, or will you have to rent those separately? Can you bring in whatever vendors you want, or are you stuck choosing from a preferred list? Does the venue host multiple weddings a day, or are you the sole occupant for your day? If catering is only in house, do you have minimum spending amounts? You can download the full list of questions I asked here. The cost of catering can really come into play quickly with your budget as well. Many of the places I started to look at had low venue fees, but astronomical food minimum spending requirements that knocked them out of the running. That’s fine for some people with larger guest lists and budgets, but we just aren’t looking to drop $15,000 on food for one day. This is why it’s really important to know what is included with your venue fees. Is it just for the space, or is catering included? It can be really deceiving to see a venue with a super low fee only to find out something like this where it’s crazy pricing for the in-house catering. Definitely keep that in mind during your venue hunting process!

Exploring venues in person proved to show a huge difference at times from what you see online. It’s almost like house shopping where you look at the space and think “hmm, they must’ve really gotten up into this corner to get a great angle to make this space look so large online.” Smaller spaces, deteriorating conditions at times… it was certainly an eye-opener! Driving all the way out to places, having a great tour, only to be told that they actually aren’t available on the date they said they were, but that they have a Friday open instead. It was definitely a frustrating process at times. After our tours, we had a favorite of the three. It was a beautiful location, checked most of our boxes, was budget friendly, and had 10/10 open. But something just didn’t feel totally right. We took a few days to really think things over and weigh our options. It’s difficult when you feel like you’re up against a clock and dealing with a budget. Was this the best we were going to get for our price point? Can we overlook the things that didn’t really align with our vision for the day? After reaching out to a few more venues, we decided that yes, we thought this was probably going to be our best option, so we asked to see a copy of the contract to start reviewing.

Then, my mom threw us a curveball.

This, my friends, is a perfect example of “it doesn’t hurt to ask.” My mom had mentioned a specific venue to me on multiple occasions and I basically just assumed it was way out of our budget from places in the same area. Well, my mom decided to put in an inquiry to find out some more information. And man, are we glad that she did! Not only did they come in right around (if not slightly under) the same price point of the first option, but it was absolutely beautiful. We immediately set up a viewing to go see it in person. And let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint. Like I said, the price point was right where we wanted it but our dollar went much further at this place. I think it actually checks all the boxes on our list. While it’s a little further out of our initial radius, we easily conceded that point for all the added pros it has over the other locations we looked at. I really think it’s going to be the perfect location for our wedding!

Moral of the story: it doesn’t hurt to ask and never settle! Go with your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Sure, we would have had a wonderful and beautiful wedding at the first location, but the second place really just blows things out of the water. Ask questions, review your options, and really just don’t give up! Researching a variety is key if you ask me. We went from looking at a big venue that can host up to almost 200 people to a venue specifically designed for smaller, more intimate weddings that max out at 90 people. Not only did the spaces seem to fit what we were looking for more, but because they’re expecting smaller groups, it was priced much more accordingly.

Not only did we find a perfect venue (for us) but we got our date… 10/10/2020. Things have a funny way of working themselves out. All that’s left is to dot the I’s and cross the T’s and we’ll officially have our venue!

I Do! (Not Know Where to Begin) Month 1: First Steps

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Hey friends!

If we haven’t already met, hi, my name is Jill and I’m the Editorial Director here at Parsimony. This company is my heart and soul, so when I recently became engaged and we discussed my writing a column in real time to share the struggles and ups and downs of the planning process, I couldn’t wait to start! Coming from a background in the wedding industry, you would think that I would have been adequately prepared to start this journey -- I thought so too, but NOPE! I’m just your average girl with an average sized budget trying to create my dream wedding. Each month, I’ll share what’s been going on in the planning process. The highlights, the struggles, what I expected versus the reality… all the good stuff. When applicable, we’ll also provide resources and downloads that have made my life easier along the way. So with that being said, let’s dive in!

Our “we’re engaged” selfie!

Our “we’re engaged” selfie!

It’s been almost one month since I said “yes.” Which seems totally crazy! It’s certainly been a whirlwind month to say the least. I think once the initial crying and jumping up and down wore off, it was almost like a “what now?” kind of moment! A million things on the to do list immediately jumped into my head. The first being: we need to tell people… the right way. This meant making sure that all our loved ones found out from us and not from social media. We sat down and made a list of those people (romantic, right?) and decided we were going to hold off on social media for a few days. By the end of the night, we were completely exhausted from all the phone calls, facetimes, and texts we exchanged with friends and family. We gave ourselves a few days to just soak it all in and get some nice pictures before we went public with it.

You can mentally prepare yourself as much as you want, but I don’t think you’re ever fully prepared to announce your engagement and have so many people reach out to congratulate you. People you haven’t spoken to in years will come out of the woodwork. People whose numbers you don’t even have in your phone anymore will text you. And some of these people will even ask if they’re invited… awkward! My best advice is to smile and just roll with the punches, things will quiet down after the initial excitement wears off. Laugh off the questions about when the wedding will be and just say you’re enjoying the moment and excited to experience engaged life. You don’t owe anyone any answers but just remember how lucky you are to have so many people who care and love you enough to want to share the happiness of your big news!

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Now when it comes to the actual planning, the first step is definitely sitting down and establishing a budget. We had a rough estimate of what we wanted to spend, but after sitting down and looking at average costs, we made some adjustments. It’s also a time to consider whether or not you’ll accept any assistance offered by loved ones and whether or not that will affect your budget or if it’ll just save you money from the original bottom line. It’s important to have a clear-cut established budget right off the bat to make sure you aren’t going wild only to find out you spent 75% of your budget on a venue. We have a great outline illustrating what percentage of your budget should be used for what category. You can download the worksheet here!

In our budget meeting, we reviewed a couple of venues to get a feel for what we were both looking for and discussed general ideas and came up with a first round guest list. We both want a small wedding, so we’re looking at a max of 70 people thanks to my large, close-knit family. Style, guest list count, and budget will be three of the biggest factors in your venue hunt, so make sure you discuss them before you start seriously looking.

From here, the real fun begins! Your next step will be officially starting the venue hunt, which I can pretty much guarantee you, will be an adventure. We’ve had quite the wild ride with this one, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it next week!


In's and Out's of Wedding Planning: Picking Your Guest List

Determining your wedding guest list is no easy feat. This is an area where everyone has an opinion, but it’s important to remember that not everyone gets a say! While you should take your parents’ opinions into consideration, depending on their financial contribution to the day’s events, you don’t need to take it as a final say. At the end of it all, this is about you and your future spouse. So we’re putting together a list of tips when it comes to planning your guest list to help you navigate the murky waters.

Image Source: Mod Wedding

Image Source: Mod Wedding

1. Set a Rough Goal and Budget

The first step should be sitting down with your partner and discussing two things: what your budget is and what size wedding you have in mind. This will obviously have a large effect on the length of your guest list. If you have a tighter budget, you’ll probably have a smaller wedding. Likewise, if you want to keep things more intimate, you’ll have a smaller guest list. Discuss in a general sense what kinds of guests you picture having at your big day -- all family? A handful of close friends? Or everyone and their brother? This will get your brains on the same page before you start really digging into the specifics.

2. Start with Immediate Family

Unless you have a strained relationship, you’ll most likely be starting with parents, grandparents, and siblings. You can move onto your aunts, uncles, and cousins from there. Starting with your closest relationships and stretching out from there.

3. Distant Relatives

If you’re having a smaller family, you’ll most likely pass on the majority of your distant relatives, unless you have a close relationship with them. That being said, if you’re worried about hurting feelings, some older relatives may appreciate an invitation just out of courtesy, even if you know that they will most likely not be attending. As much as you may like, it’s pretty much impossible to invite everyone, so you may need to start making some tough decisions here!

Image Source: My Wedding

Image Source: My Wedding

4. Your Friends

This is where things can really start to get tricky depending on how much you’re trying to constrict your numbers. Our recommendation is to stick with your closest pals. This is definitely a group decision as your partner may have a good outsider view on some of your relationships with friends. Also, just because you may have been invited to someone’s wedding, doesn’t mean you need to extend an invitation to yours! They may have been working with a larger budget/guest limit than you are. This is about you and your partner committing to forever, so only include those who you can’t imagine the day without. We’d also like to take this time to state that inviting exes to a wedding is never a good idea. Period!

5. Colleagues

Another area where things can get messy is the extension of invitations to your colleagues. Who makes the cut? Who is appropriate to invite? Well, it totally depends on your situation! If you have a couple of really close co-workers who you would like to be there, then go ahead and invite them. If you’re close with your boss, that’s fine too! This is another one of those areas where you can unintentionally hurt people’s feelings, so try to keep that in the back of your mind. While it is your day and you should invite who you want, remember that when all is said and done, you have to work with these people still! If the idea of picking who can and cannot get an invite is too much, don’t invite any of them. No one will think anything of it.

6. Plus One?

Plus ones can very quickly get out of hand. Our rule of thumb for keeping a handle on things? If you’re not in a serious relationship, no plus one! Sorry! Friends and family can’t expect for you to extend the courtesy of a plus one if they’re single. Even if they’re in a new relationship, you don’t need to feel obligated to invite their new beau. How do you make it clear that you’re not giving them a plus one (or that you are)? Address the invitation to only that one person, or to both people if you’re extending an invite to their partner. This makes it very clear and also says “here’s an invite for you as a couple” not “here’s a plus one for you to bring whoever you want.” It’s a special day, you don’t need strangers attending if you’re looking to keep things intimate.

Image Source: The Wedding Playbook

Image Source: The Wedding Playbook

7. Kids?

Do you include your friends or relatives kids on the invite? It’s totally up to you! In our opinion, it depends on ages and what your vision is for the day. If your cousin Susie has 5 teenage sons who you aren’t close with, it’s safe to leave them off the guest list. If you want an adults only event, that’s totally fine! If you have a good relationship with some of the kids, it’s also totally fine to extend the invitation along to them, too.

8. Family Influence

Even if they’re not contributing financially, sit down with each partner’s parents and get their take on things. How awful would you feel if you somehow missed an aunt or uncle just because you were overwhelmed with the decision making process? It’s a good idea to have a second and third check! Your parents may be insistent on certain relatives or family friends making the list that you didn’t originally have making the cut. Sit down and have a conversation about it. If you’re really set against it, explain why and hold your ground. If you’re on the fence but really want to keep things small due to budget constraints, offer to send an invitation if your parents are willing to pick up the extra expenses incurred from the extra guests. If they want them to attend so badly and you don’t care, it’s okay to ask them to pick up the tab.

The Total Budget Breakdown: Bride vs. Bridesmaid

Image Source: Sanctuary Weddings

Image Source: Sanctuary Weddings

It’s no secret that weddings aren’t cheap for anyone involved. Which can make for some confusion, uneasiness, and even awkward conversations when it comes to knowing who is financially responsible for what. While some brides may shift things, there are general etiquette rules most choose to follow. So, if you’re a bride looking for some guidance, or a potential bridesmaid trying to figure out if you can afford to stand by your girl on her big day, we’re here to help debunk the mystery!

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Typically, bridesmaids will be in charge of covering the costs of their own dresses and alterations. To try and keep costs low, see if a bride is willing to do a dress rental instead of having her girls purchase expensive dresses that they may never wear again! Many brides are trending towards Rent the Runway for their bridesmaids as they can have more upscale dresses at a fraction of the cost. If that’s not the direction a bride wants to go, see if she can pick a color and let each bridesmaid pick the style dress that’s in their budget.

 
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Once again, accessories and shoes are traditionally paid by the bridesmaids. Luckily, these are things you can most likely use time and time again. These items can fall anywhere in a large range on the price scale, so it’s definitely one of those areas that you want to discuss with the bride ahead of time to determine a budget to stick to.

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The financial responsibility of the bachelorette party falls on the bridesmaids. Planning a bachelorette party can easily grow into a monster of costs, so once again, discuss with your fellow bridesmaids to set a budget to stick to! Bachelorette parties don’t need to be a huge, expensive production. Traveling to a big destination isn’t realistic for most people’s budget. Consider a staycation or a fun girls weekend roadtrip instead of jetting off somewhere.

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When it comes to traveling to the location of the wedding, that falls solely on the bridesmaid. This would be the same if you were just attending as a guest. The couple is paying for enough as it is, it’s unrealistic for everyone’s travel to be in the budget for the weekend! If the wedding is an intimate destination wedding that is out of your budget, sit down and have a discussion with the bride and try to visit different options that may help you get there for a lower cost.

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As with the travel to and from the wedding, lodging for the weekend also falls on the bridesmaids’ shoulders. Ideally the couple will have secured a hotel block for the wedding guests offering a discounted rate on rooms to help keep costs lower. If you’re going solo, try to share a room with another bridesmaid to cut costs even more!

Image Source: Simone Lennon

Image Source: Simone Lennon

 
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Even as a bridesmaid, you should still be getting the newlyweds a present. Your presence isn’t present enough in this case! Check in with the other bridesmaids and see if there’s a specific item you can split and gift together. This gets the couple something special while minimizing individual costs.

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So this is where it depends on what route the couple chooses… if there’s a traditional bridal shower, the responsibility falls on the bridesmaids. However, if the couple opts for a Jack and Jill, they’re financially responsible. Check out our guide on throwing a Jack and Jill on a budget if that’s the route you’re going! If the bridesmaids are throwing a bridal shower, there are many ways to keep costs low and usually female relatives (mothers, aunts, etc.) will also pitch in and cover a lot of the costs.

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It’s the bride’s responsibility to pay for the florals for the big day. This includes bouquets for the bridesmaids and the boutonnieres for the groomsmen. Most couples will choose a floral package that covers all of the needs for the big day. Brides beware… the flowers will be one of the largest expenses of your day! To keep costs limited, pick in-season flowers and focus on one or two special elements you want incorporated. Unfortunately, that floral arch you saved on Pinterest is probably $3,000… aka your entire floral budget.

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It’s the big day! How’s everyone getting from point a to point b? If your party is getting ready for the ceremony at a separate location, it’s on you as the bride to cover the cost of transportation to the event. Same goes for your reception being at a different venue than your ceremony. Many brides will ride in style, choosing a limo or town car to transport themselves and their crew to the festivities!

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If, as a bride, you are requiring your bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup professionally done, the financial responsibility falls on you. If the bride is not requiring her bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup done professionally, yet a bridesmaid would like to get done up by a professional, then the costs fall solely on her shoulders.

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Your girls are spending a pretty penny to support you on your big day, so show your appreciation with a small gift of gratitude! This can be something simple like a swag bag when you ask them to stand with you for the big day or maybe gifting them each a matching accessory to wear the day of the wedding. Nothing big and fancy is needed, but a small token is a great way to thank them for all they do!

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If you’re in a situation where the bridesmaids need to be on location the evening before the wedding, the lodging costs fall on the bride. Most likely this will be for the rehearsal dinner, but if your bridesmaids were attending your big day as a guest instead of in your bridal party, they wouldn’t have to be there the night before or spend the money on an additional hotel room.

Image Source: You & Your Wedding

Image Source: You & Your Wedding

While these are great guidelines to follow, it’s important to always sit down with your crew and discuss a budget and any financial concerns you have. Wedding planning is stressful enough without the lack of communication, so make everyone’s lives easier and be open and honest to give everyone the best chance of creating a magical day!