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Frugality and Networking While Planning a Wedding!

By January 23, 2009Jessica, relationship, Wedding

I know. To many of you the mere thought of trying to save money on a wedding is sacreligious to what we are told sold. The literally recession-proof wedding industry makes close to $70 billion dollars a year telling you what is “in” and what is “tradition.” Being a bride myself, I understand how they make this money: fear and perfection. Yes, the fear that every bride has… that their fairytale wedding might not be ‘perfect.’ Over the years, this has led to not only jaw-dropping final bills, but huge vendor markup because if its not complex and expensive, is it good enough?

Well, I’ve finally drawn my line in the sand. I want to save money on my wedding. Why not? Saving money and my frugal lifestyle  feels good in life, and if I’m not sacrificing anything I would have gotten from a vendor why not spend the time, learn some new skills, and come out with something meaningful and beautiful that I created myself? Not only that, but simplifying also brings less stress which to me means a more enjoyable wedding.

So, not only will I be doing my own invitations/programs/labels (I’m a graphic designer by trade, so this isn’t much of a stretch), I’ve set out to do my own flowers. I won’t be taking on any extravagant arrangements or complex flowers, but simplifying my goals and utilizing skills I already have (Fine Arts Degree).

1) The first thing I did was divide my floral needs into categories

  • Surface Florals
  • Bridal/Bridesmaid Florals
  • Boutonnieres/Corsage

2) Next, I did what anyone else would do…Google. I googled every possible keyword, looking at vendors, but moreso looking at other bloggers. The advent of social networking and online weblog publishing has produced thousands of communities and individual bloggers doing the same thing I am; Planning my wedding and looking to not only save our money, but be creative and create more meaning and individuality to our day. I have found some great sites:

Major sites:

  • Martha Stewart: Not only can you read and research the site, you can sign up for daily/weekly e-mails with new tips and news.
  • Do It Yourself: I haven’t used this one as much yet, but I will as I get more into my table decorations.
  • Real Simple: The budget tips and simplified nature of the tutorials and projects makes this a great daily read. Sign up for the e-mails!
  • Etsy: Not a project site, but great for ideas and handmade products created by people like us!


  • Snippet & Ink: By far my favorite so far. Updated daily with lots of pictures, ideas and networking to other bloggers.
  • DIY Bride: Great projects, tips and links!
  • Wedding Fanatic: Inspiration and professional advice.
  • The Brides Guide, by Darcy Miller: Blog of Martha Stewart’s Wedding Editor. I just bookmarked this yesterday!
  • Making it Lovely: a blogger who has soared to popularity and been featured in national magazines and mentioned by Martha Stewart!
  • Decor 8: More of a craft/interior design blogger, but still popular and great for networking!
  • Bakerella: Thinking about creating your own treats? Great site!
  • Hostess with the Mostess: Great wedding tips and giveaways!
  • A Cup of Jo: Joanna Goddard is a magazine writer and new bride-to-be in New York. She’s a lot of fun!
  • Toast and Tables: She hasn’t posted in 6 months, but it was a great resource for table design!

In addition to these great Websites and blogs, Google Image Search is a great way to not only find inspiration but blogs of people who have written about weddings. It was through this method that I started my collective of image inspiration and ideas. So what decisions have I made?

Surface Florals

Small leafy herbs are not only easy and inexpensive, but are sustainable gifts usable on the day of your wedding and for months to come!

Surface Florals are anything that will find a surface, whether it be the dinner tables, the wedding party table, the photo table, the cake table and the wedding alter or surrounding surfaces. We acquired our extra large reception location and small chapel for free, and it allows us plenty of room to dress up or dress down the locations. Through research we came upon this image and decided to “go green” and save money by having living plants as our centerpieces and favors for our guests. Not only are they beautiful, fragrant and LIVING, but we will be growing them ourselves. We have chosen Rosemary and Lemon Thyme as our herbs and fragrant Scented Geraniums as our center flower. This was intentional, as these are hearty plans that can easily be started indoors and grown by a novice (me!). All for under $350! See more of the original blog post here.

Bridal Bridesmaid Flowers

A simple grocery store bouquet is made elegant with simple arranging and beautiful ribbon.

A simple grocery store bouquet is made elegant with simple arranging and beautiful ribbon.

The average bridal bouquet usually runs between $80-$150. Cost is often dependent on the type of flowers you want and whether or not they are in season, but the range is accurate. Anything over $150 will use specialty blooms like Orchids, Callas, or tropicals. Now I, like most brides I know want beautiful bouquets not only for the special occasion, but for the pictures we pay at least $2k for. Until yesterday, I was prepared to pay someone, because I didn’t think myself capable. Then I stumbled on this, and this. The mystery of  creation be solved! Simplify the design by using in-season,  easy-to-find flowers, 1 or 2 types of blooms, or a pre-made bouquet from a store; combine with rubber bands, beautiful ribbon of your choice and you have your wedding bouquet. Repeat several times in smaller amounts for your bridesmaids and you have successfully done your own bridal flowers in literally minutes for at least half the cost. They are modern and chic and in the beautifully simple shape that looks gorgeous with any dress!

I’m pretty sure I’m going to do white and fair pink roses with a vibrant green ribbon to match our color theme.  I’m so excited that not only I can do this myself but that I’ve saved myself the stress and trouble of involving another vendor and worrying if it will come out alright, or they will arrive on time. And its so simple! You can even use greenery and flowers you have in your  yard or grow in a park to accentuate your flowers. All it requires is a little planning ahead!


So yesterday, while I was in my “awe of discovery” over creating my own bridal flowers, I thought “well if I can do this, surely I can do boutonnieres and corsages!” And as it turns out I can. Easily. Not only will they be modern, chic, and custom, but I won’t have to worry about again adding another vendor and them wilting before I get them pinned onto their recipients. I found these gorgeous boutonnieres made of dried and silk flowers/greens and although they don’t match exactly the color/materials I would use. Their simplicity is perfect for my theme and new motivation of DIY. So for the next few weeks I will be hoarding my Hobby Lobby coupons (they come weekly) of saving 40-50% and buying up materials and beginning experimentation with some of the materials I already have. I am so excited to play with flowers, ribbon and design. Doing it myself also allows me to make them all a little different or completely the same, which would cost me an arm and leg at the florist.

So my friends, the lesson is this. The internet and the concept of “DIY” are your best friend, and there are thousands of brides and “crafties” out there networking and using skills to create beautiful weddings that won’t break the bank or destroy your future happiness. In times like these, we’ve got to focus on the meaning and less on perfection and “keeping up with the Joness’.” I hope my resources help, and if you want more tips, just stay tuned, I’ll be doing a lot more as July grows nearer every day!