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Confidence: the secret key to pulling off a guilt-free budget wedding

When I was planning my wedding, cost was a big factor. While I wanted to enjoy the day and have it represent my partner and me, I didn't want to do it at a premium cost. So I SCOURED the internet to find ways to slash my budget. The problem was that some of these "20 Ideas to Cut Your Budget" just weren't feasible. Here is where I think the biggest difficulties in planning a budget wedding lie: that it's really hard to find affirmation in choosing the "cheaper" way. So here are my tips for planning a guilt-free "budget" wedding…

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Package deals, tax write-offs, and pants: Save money on your wedding without the DIY headaches

As you know, the budget-friendly DIY craze has swept the wedding industry. But what if you're the kind of person who doesn't want a DIY wedding? What if the idea of making your own decorations makes you break out in a nervous sweat just thinking about it? OR, what if you've already got the DIY thing maxed out, but you still need ideas to get the budget beast under control? Fear not! You can still save some serious cash with my budget-friendly tips below…

69

What Dungeons and Dragons taught me about wedding budget frustrations

I'm an avid player of all tabletop roleplaying games. But my favorite, the one I keep coming back to, is good ol' Dungeons and Dragons. I have played characters at all levels, from a 1st-level rogue who could get knocked out if a goblin sneezed on her the wrong way to a 27th-level bard who ultimately became the avatar of a god, and everything in between. I've scoured books and websites looking for just the right prestige class, feat, or special ability to make my characters the very best they could be. But what does this have to do with wedding planning? Or budgeting? Turns out, quite a lot…

60

Our wedding venue stole our money and ran

When I eventually got engaged, I had one venue at the top of my list; Brooklyn's reBar. We immediately put down a deposit and made monthly payments for 18 months. We had 17 days until our wedding, I was freaking out over whether or not my mantilla veil had been delivered, when I got a Facebook notification that reBar was closed.

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Couldn't afford it, don't regret it: why I skipped wedding photography

In our area, an "average" wedding photographer charges about $1500. A "good" photographer, about $3000. A photography student from the university, about $800. So, we could either have the wedding we wanted, or a low to mid range photographer with absolutely nothing else. Put that way, the decision was easy. It's not that we lack appreciation for the art form of photography or don't think there's any skill involved. It's just not something we've personally made a priority.

51

The myth of the "gift grab"

In my more than seven years of publishing a wedding website (and then four years of running a parenting website) one of the things that came up time and time again the concept of a "gift grab." Maybe this logic used to make a little more sense during a time when most couples A) weren't paying for their own weddings or B) weren't living together before getting married. But back here in 2014, round these parts? 43% of us are paying for our own weddings. Why in the world would we spend money on a wedding (or even just a reception) just to get gifts?!

32

How much money are you willing to put into your offbeat-ness?

I've just started looking around at venue options, and I'm realizing that my dream venue (funky and yes, offbeat) is potentially going to cost us TWICE as much as this more traditional, kinda-boring venue that offers wedding packages. Thinking about this reminded me again that offbeat does NOT necessarily mean less expensive! Then it made me wonder how much other Offbeat Bride readers are willing to spend to pursue their nontraditional visions — versus going lower-budget for a more packaged wedding. Given that many corners of the wedding industry are set up with packages, how do you decide between an easy/low-budget package vs. a more expensive but more authentic offbeat vision?

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Does wedding DIY save you money?

My fiancé and I are totally excited about including some DIY elements in our wedding, but I am wondering if it makes sense financially. What are your experiences? Did your DIY projects save you money or cost more?

30

Trade day of coordination duties with other engaged friends

"We knew we wanted/needed a day-of coordinator, but it also wasn't in our budget. We wanted someone objective who would help execute our plan, and we wanted our families to have a great time and not to have to worry about anything. We ended up doing a trade with our friends, who were getting married a month after us. They coordinated our wedding day, and we coordinated theirs. It worked incredibly well. "