Follow our new "Budget Breakdown" column, where we'll spotlight some of our favorite DIY projects and cost-cutting tips from real brides like yourself. We'll also reveal just how much it costs to put together those amazing celebrations from our Real Weddings gallery, to help you come up with a realistic budget for your area, guest count, and wedding style. First up: Dylan and Nancy's "Love, Rainbows, and Glitter" bash in Manitoba, Canada.
The daughter of a professional shutterbug, Nancy would tag along to Dad's photo lab and swoon over the proofs before newlyweds came to pick up their memories. So, it's not surprising that she chose to splurge on a top-notch photographer for her nuptials. She still believes that you should never leave home without your camera: "I love being there to freeze a hug, a knee-slapping laugh attack or a bride gently wiping a tear off her cheek as she listens to the love of her life profess his love to her."
This bride's DIY list is a doozy: She made the invitations, ceremony fans, favor tags, guest book, party placemats, signage, seating chart, table numbers, and more. Now the graphic designer is sharing her know-how with BG readers—click below to get the instructions for two of her favorite crafts!
The Canadian couple's big day rings in at $12,000, which included rentals, outfits, vendors, and materials for all of her creations. She didn't have a traditional budget per se. Instead, she'd snatch up items as she found them on sale ("not what I would advise to everyone"). The biggest savings were the centerpieces (they added just one hydrangea to each), bouquets and bouts.
The best part about making your own bouquet: "You can make it and take it apart a hundred times until you come up with something that you love, which is better than getting flowers on the wedding day and being just okay with them." For the bouts, her sister used polymer clay to adhere the designed illustration onto, baked it, and then covered the edges with red glitter.
Think of your celebration in terms of a brand—what's your signature style and what do you want guests to take away from the day? Nancy's quirky glitter-glam brand began to take shape when her friend drew a cartoon of her and her fiance for a "congrats" banner at a party.
Take a cue from Nancy and hit up chain stores after the holidays have passed. She purchased heart ties for the groomsmen after Valentine's Day that cost less than $2 each. Getting married in the fall? Consider throwing a pumpkin carving or stenciling party with your bridesmaids (forget the goofy faces—try a pretty lace-esque pattern). Christmastime brides can stock up on ornaments in their wedding colors and hang them from the ceiling of their venue or create an ornate cake topper.
Nancy urges brides to stay true to themselves throughout the planning process, which isn't always an easy feat. She and her husband served fun morning meals like pancakes at their reception because they eat breakfast for dinner at least twice a week at home. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to keep it casual; "keep the wedding real to who you are, just glamourize it a little."
"Don't fret if you can't afford the shiniest dinnerware, the $5,000 dress, fields of flowers, or the tent draped with jewels and chandeliers (although I love all those things just as much as any other bride). Focus on your passion and what you love in life— build off of that!"
All photos courtesy of Sugar & Soul Photography