Monday, January 6, 2014

A Simple, DIY, Hudson Valley Wedding - Intro

Flower and Spiral White Topaz Engagement Ring Set by Moonkisdesigns

To be honest, I've been planning my wedding to Thomm in my head for the past two years - and who can blame me? Weddings are gorgeous! Any excuse I have to look at wedding paraphernalia is good enough for me. But recently, we settled on a date and an engagement ring, so now I'm starting to get into the logistics of holding an actual wedding, which can be a bit overwhelming.

For those of you who don't know, the Hudson Valley is one of the most expensive places to get married. Pretty much anywhere around New York City has an average wedding cost of $30,000-$45,000, although most people get married for less than that, and the biggest weddings may throw off the scale. Chelsea Clinton's wedding in Rhinebeck cost 2 - 5 million, but another recent celebrity wedding between Kristen Bell and Dax Shephard only cost $142 including gas (this wasn't in the Hudson Valley, though). Still, no matter your price range, it's almost impossible to get around the fact that in weddings can be very expensive, both in time and money, and the little things add up fast. 

Wedding Shawl Bridal Accessory white ivory natural by MollysPurl
Now most advice you get on how to hold a "budget" wedding involves cutting your guest list, going off-season, only serving desserts, hors d'oeuvres, or breakfast for the reception. Most DIY books simply show you how to make cheap crafts rather than recommending creative ways to feed people, get them to dance, and get those photos shot. (However I did just read A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene and, aside from making me cry repeatedly, it goes into those sorts of things). On top of that, there’s ton of professionals telling you about the horrors of DIY and everyone from your family to complete strangers telling you what you need to make it a real wedding or how your guest won’t have any fun without a full bar. Some of those people do have your interests at heart, but others just like being bossy or want you to hire them.

Baroque Crystal Pendant Necklace, Silver by merryalchemybridal
So if you have your heart set on those 100+ people, having a wedding while it's still nice outside, and feeding people real food, what are you going to do? First of all, I recommend figuring out what is most important to you and putting most of your money to that. For me, it's going to be the wedding venue and possibly the videographer, but, after that, I'm going to have to work twice as hard (or possibly 4x) to figure out how to get the most bang for my buck. Like I said, it's a huge time expense but that's worth it to me. Luckily, as I'm an artist, I'm going to get creative! I hope I come up with some ideas you haven't thought of for your own wedding. 

Holidays White and Gold Ornate Dangle Earrings by pulpsushi
Once you've decided on what's most important , figure out approximately what your budget is. This number can be as loose or as tight as you want it, but it should have some bearing on reality, so get an idea how much your family, or their family, is (or isn’t) wiling to contribute, and how much you and your fiance can contribute as well. Now, if that number turns out to be way more then you expected, don’t just start throwing your money around for the wedding willy-nilly! Just because you have the money doesn’t mean you’ll want to spend all of it or that what you’re spending it on will be worth it the day of. Also, if you’re not careful, you might go over-budget, even if it seems like way more money than you could ever spend on one day. I’m sure your family will be pleased if you don’t spend it all, or you can always save it for the honeymoon! Now, if it’s less than you expected, don’t fret too much yet. It will work out somehow and worrying will just drive you crazy and then you might just end up over-spending on comfort food and cozy blankets to try and relax.

Blue Geek Men Tie Tack TC004 by GetGlassy
Finally, figure out what resources you have at your disposal. These aren’t just the objects you have that might help with decorating or serving your guests (though those help) but also includes any skills you and your friends have. These things might not actually save you money, but it will make things more personal and make your friends and family feel more involved. To do this, you really have to be the one to approach your friends and family. They may offer to help but you probably have a better idea of what you need. Most importantly, play to your helper’s strengths! If you have a friend who is awesome at baking, get them to bake something. Don’t ask them to help address invitations - that’s more of a job for someone with great handwriting. Keep in mind that, if you’rd asking someone to use a specialized skill, at least offer to pay for the materials they’ll use! This is especially true if they already are doing it professionally. You can ask how much they usually charge and they’ll probably offer to do it at a discount or for free as a wedding gift, but don’t expect it. They’re helping you out, so help them out as well. Also, you should be the one to bring up the money issue, as they might be too polite to and chances are you might forget when things start getting crazy later on, so they might have to remind you anyway. Although this might not save you much money, wouldn’t you rather show off a beautiful dress made by a friend than one picked up at a bridal salon? 

Dress by Holly Mccabe possibly available at Surviving Sisters' Boutique
 (Model: Amber Hawkinson, also Holly will be making my wedding dress)

Keep in mind items you can collect over time or borrow. For example, I already have a small collection of empty pasta jars I’ll be using as vases and my mom has a lovely white serving platter I intend to use for something. For this, you might just want to start keeping a list of things to ask to borrow later on, even if you’re not sure who would have it - you’d be surprised how many people have sound equipment sitting in their basements waiting to be used.

No matter what happens, whether things go exactly as planned or not, whether you spend hundreds or millions on the day, the important part is that you’re celebrating the love you have for one another and the uniting of a family of friends and relatives. Years later, you and your guests won’t be discussing how much they loved the deluxe porta-potty you sprung for, they’ll be telling stories about the toasts that were given, how much fun they had, and how the two of you just glowed while looking at one another.

P.S. If any you guys out there have any wedding suggestions, feel free to leave a comment! We could use all the help we can get.

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