With 70 days to go...here is what we have so far. The items marked with a "$" are our big money savers. The more"$" there are, the higher the savings value was.
Date: October 8, 2011
Guest List: Complete with addresses
$ Save the Date: I made a picture montage video that told "the story of us". We emailed and used Facebook to send it out. No cost at all!
Colors: Lots of shades of purple and green!
$$ Flowers: No florist. We'll order fresh cut flowers and make simple bouquets. We'll plant mums at the reception site. We'll probably have the few corsages we need made.
$$ Photography: No professional hired. My cousin Jersuha will be a part of my day taking pictures with her sister Alyx helping as well. We've been over several lists of "must have photos" we found online and developed our own list.
Church: Sacred Heart, my family's small Catholic church in my hometown.
Priest: That of the church. We've met with him twice.
Engaged Encounter: A Catholic church requirement before the sacrament of marriage. We did this back at the beginning June with our two good friends getting married in August, Sara and Adam.
Readings: We haven't chosen the readings but our Godfathers will be doing them.
Bridesmaids: Too many too choose from but I finally got it! Rachel, my sister, is the Matron of Honor; Holly Jo, my cousin, is my Maid of Honor; the four bridesmaids are: Dani, my college roommate and fellow communication major; Becky, also a roommate but also a track teammate; Kelli, a high school friend; Valerie, my "random" friend I met during a high school summer program, Governor's Scholars.
Groomsmen: Michael/"Gohmann" is the Best Man. The groomsmen are: Nic, my older brother; Seth, my younger brother; Adam/"Gress", Jon's friend from Louisville, Aaron, a soccer and high school friend; Daniel, a high school and scouting friend.
Ushers & Attendants: Our ushers are two good friends, Chad and Ben, along with my cousin and Jon's fried, Josh. My cousin, Caitlan, and sister-in-law, Michelle, are keeping the Guest Book and handing out programs.
Little people: Our Godchildren will be our flowergirl and ring bearer.
$ Church decorations: Caitlan is making some decorations for the pews. I have bought some flowers for the alter vases they already have.
$ Gown: I found a dress on sale. White and beautiful. Still not "cheap" with alterations but well under $1,000 and that included the bra, slip and alterations which, in the end, nearly doubled the price of the dress.
$ Veil: My aunt is making it. It's pretty simple but even the simple ones will run you a $100 at times.
Bridesmaid Dresses: I tried to get them to each just choose any purple dress in order to save them money and shop on their budget. None of them did this except my sister who looked at the David's Bridal options so we went with those for everyone. I still kept them in 3 different shades of purple and let them choose their style. They had the same chiffon material, though.
Groom's attire: Jon had the freedom to choose what he wanted for attire. He did choose tuxes, though. (And I was glad of that). Since my gown was from David's Bridal the tuxes were discounted for all of the guys.
$ Reception Site: On our family property. This spared us having to book a site and pay them or choose their catering services; however it comes with it's own expenses. We'll need outdoor restroom facilities brought in. Tent rental and a dance floor are also additional expenses. Parking will have to nailed down, but I've asked my cousins to direct this.
$$ DJ: We've asked our friend Ben to run the show. He sent us a list of the rental equipment we'll need.
$Catering: Due to a fairly large guest list this will be more costly than we'd like, but to keep it simple we're doing a cookout style. We're having burgers and hotdogs with sides of bake beans and pasta salads. We'll have some snack trays.
$ Alcohol: Serving our own so we do not have to hire a bartender which saves. We're doing bottles and cans so we can either return unused stuff or give it out as gifts to those who have helped. We'll also have wine and possibly a limited amount of one signature drink that is TBD.
$ Cake: My friend is making a small cake for us to cut. My sister-in-law and cousin are making cupcakes for the bulk of our "dessert". It continues with our cookout/picnic theme.
$ Tables & Chairs: We expect a lot of people to be mingling and running around so we don't want to pay for unused chairs and tables. We've gotten a lot but additionally we'll have hay bales covered in burlap for seating. We'll also have outdoor games like cornhole and yard golf set up to give people stuff to do.
$ Invitations: We got "print yourself" kits that have the card, envelope, RSVP card and envelope. We're giving people the option to RSVP online so we don't have to include a stamp for RSVP cards. I bought extra cardstock paper to print additional information like hotel accommodations and directions.
$$ Videography: If it fits in our budget I'm going to buy a video camera (nothing fancy) to be set up for the ceremony and then passed around at the reception. I did this at crazy college parties all of the time with my old camera and it always survived and ended up with great footage. I'd like the same for the wedding. Then the money spent is a long term investment.
$ Wedding Music: We didn't hire any outside musicians. We'll either use the church organist or my aunt.
Registry: We felt awkward doing this. It's not about people throwing us parties and buying us gifts. We did it, though, because we knew people would appreciate having something to go buy when shopping. We registered at Target and Sears (not recommended, by the way! The Sears we registered at was a pain, then half the stuff we registered for didn't even show up online!) and I did our china and a few other things online.
Transportation: This is one spot I spent more money than our budget would seem to fit, but I'd planned for that. I wanted the wedding party to be able to go from the ceremony to the reception together and the only thing to do that (with a bridal party this size) was a stretch hummer. The majority of the time I'll be paying for it will simply it's drive to and from Lexington (an hour and a half but the closest service we could find). We are not using special transportation to the church or from the reception.
Day of Time Line: We've started one with the major events lined out.
$ Rehearsal Dinner: We'll do it in the church basement (no cost) and we're having one of Jon's all-time-favorite meat & produce shops in Louisville do the food. They won't actually cater. We'll pick up the food and serve ourselves. It's a pretty laid back approach, but with a big wedding party there are a lot of mouths to feed so we want to keep the cost low.
Hair & Make Up: I had a test run on my hair this week. I wasn't thrilled with it. I went in not knowing what I wanted but a general idea. The back was pretty (I want an updo) but the way she pulled it back was pretty simple. The biggest turnoff for me was that she didn't even have any modern books or magazines to look through with ideas. The place was small and she's the only hairdresser so with a possibility of 8 or 10 girls getting hair done I'm opting out. Holly has booked us with a new salon that her old guy just opened. I'm still figuring out make up. We'll do our nails the day before.
Favors: We were originally going to go with burnt CDs. I love that idea. But it is a lot of work and it will be an expense to buy cds, cases and to label them. I think we are instead going with can koozies. This will help people keep drinks cold that night since we'll have cans and bottles. We're going to print them to have space for people to write their names on them to help keep track of their drinks. My parents run a screenprinting business so getting these at a cheap price shouldn't be too hard.
Bridal Party Gifts: Jon is going with beer mugs for his guys. He wanted to do renaissance style, leather mugs but they are quite costly for a wedding party this size so he's going with mason jar style beer mugs. For the girls, I'm doing a grab bag of items: $2 flip flops from Old Navy (for the outdoor reception), a personalized bag to carry stuff in (using my parents' business again), a white flower hair clip and jewelry that is TBD.
$ Rings: Done and paid for. More money than we'd like to spend at one time, but still VERY cheap comparatively. Neither of us got stones in our bands, so this saved a lot of money.
Flip Flops: We bought flip flops at Hobby Lobby on sale for only $1 to leave out at the reception for people to change into, particularly women in heels, since it is outdoors.