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Ocean-bred and NYC-based fashion and lifestyle blog.

5 tips for wedding planning with a budget

Tiffany Geiger

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while now but was like no one wants to talk about money when it comes to your wedding they just want to see the fun stuff. And though that's true I recently had an adorable girl reach out to me on Instagram saying she'd fallen in love with my wedding through the feature on Inspired by This and her and her fiancé are planning and paying for their their own wedding so she'd love if I could share some details on my planning process (hey Brittany!). So that was the final push I needed to write this blog post. Below are my tips for planning your wedding on a budget. 

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For those that don't know, Cory and I planned and paid for our own wedding. We currently live in the NYC area but are both originally from South Florida and knew without a question that that was where we'd marry. We wanted our day to be authentically us through and through. More about our wedding day here. So below are my tips for getting what you want and staying within budget so you can have that WE DID IT moment like we did above. 

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one - decide on a budget

Cory and I reverse-engineered this a little. We looked at the average national wedding cost, looked at what The Knot said was average to spend on things like flowers, DJ/band etc. and pulled some estimates to figure out what we would need to plan to spend. And then we decided if that was a number we were comfortable with and could afford and then worked it down to a number we could. Not sure if this is actually the right way to do it but that's how we did it and it worked for us. 

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two - what's a priority to you?

There are going to be areas you have to make sacrifices (I would've loved a lounge area or a live band but that wasn't in the budget) so decide up front what items are most important to you so you can plan to spend a little more there. For example, photos were BEYOND important to me - that is how your day lives on. So I spent a little more than I may have initially intended and then balanced it by giving up calligraphy and DIY-ing a lot of items (and all our calligraphy). So decide what's most important to you - is it flowers? the band? the decor? - so you can prioritize where you spend your money. 

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three - estimate and negotiate

I had 3 event rental vendors day of. That is not exactly normal but I had no issues and they all worked together well (as far as I know anyway). I rented a dance floor, the structure that was above our head table (scroll down to see pics), lights, chargers and the bars and estimated doing this so many ways - with 1 vendor, then parsed it all out among vendors then asked vendors to meet another vendors prices etc etc and ultimately I just ended up going with chargers from 1 vendor, dance floor from another and the structure, lights and bars from a third. So it might not always work out this way but I tell you this to encourage you to get multiple estimates and not be afraid to ask them to negotiate - they may not but they also may. 

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four - the dress

There are so many options for wedding dresses these days! You do not have to fly to NYC and drop $10,000 at Kleinfeld's. Real talk - my dress was $1,500. Still expensive as far as a dress is concerned but not when it comes to a wedding dress! I wanted something that wasn't overly bridal and fit the relaxed beach vibe of our day which may have helped cut the costs a little. But there are so many options when it comes to wedding dresses so be sure to check out them all! Think beyond the traditional bridal shops like Etsy, Net-a-porter.com and there are lots of sites out there now that will make you a custom dress like Anomalie (some will even do one super close to that designer dress you're in love with that costs $15,000) though the materials are expensive, when you're not paying for the branding girl you're guaranteed to save.  So explore your options! I mean, you're only going to wear this dress once. 

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five - DIY

I'm not going to tell you to DIY everything because I certainly wouldn't recommend arranging flowers the morning of, doing my own makeup (that'd just stress me out too much), baking a wedding cake until 4am or anything else that can't be done and finished at least 1 week in advance of your wedding. But, I DIY-ed a lot of items & if I can do it from NYC for a Florida wedding, you can too! I DIY-ed my invitations (I designed them, had them printed with a printer - who I loved shout out to Mighty Simple Design Co. then hand painted them and addressed the envelopes), all the calligraphy (envelopes, place cards, escort cards and some miscellaneous decor), bought all the centerpieces (i.e.: lanterns, vases, picture frames, the pendant lights in the head structure). It was a lot but it was a lot of fun and all things that I could get done well in advance so I could just enjoy and be bridal for wedding week. Plus some DIY touches just make it that much more personal. 

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Those are my 5 top tips for planning a wedding on a budget. Is there anything I missed or you want to hear more about? Do you want to hear more about the planning process and keeping it all organized? Or about my budget regrets? Let me know in the comments.