For this edition of Favorite Things Friday, I wanted to share some of my favorite things that have been super helpful in the wedding planning process. Hopefully they’ll help out some of you brides-to-be or will be things to tuck away for later if you get engaged!
Disclaimer: These things have been super helpful for my wedding, but they may not work for your style. We’re on a small budget with a huge guest list, so we’re keeping it simple and chill. No matching linens (slash no linens at all, honestly) or letter-pressed stationery for us. Also, we’re still a little less than three months out, so I may have more favorite things to add later once all’s been said and done!
I self-designed our save-the-date postcards, invitations, and thank-you notes on with Abobe Illustrator and InDesign and used Vistaprint to print them. I bought a Groupon for half-off some orders, but Vistaprint is also usually running some sort of sale. Sign up for their emails for coupons, but be prepared to hit “delete” a lot since they send emails daily (if not more). I originally budgeted more than $500 for our invitations, but they ended up costing us a little more than $100! Now, these may not be printed on the most luxurious paper or have the most premium envelopes, but they are pretty, functional, and don’t look like we’re cheapskates. They’re simple and perfectly match the mood of our casual 2 o’clock wedding!
2. David’s Bridal
Lots of women have negative things to say about DB, but my experience was great! I honestly was dreading the dress-shopping experience, and I did have some bad experiences, but DB redeemed the whole process.
One store I went to was really, really unhelpful in helping me stay in my budget. The type of dress I had originally envisioned myself in was way more than I wanted to spend on a dress; the dress wasn’t a top priority to me, so I was hoping to spend less than $500. The other store I went to told me I needed to go home and do more research about what dress would realistically be in my price range and refused to help me find a cheaper dress because “I had my heart set on expensive lace.” So I cried in the dressing room there.
But David’s Bridal was so helpful! I explained that the look I was going for was probably out of my budget, but they helped me find more reasonably priced dressed that matched the style and mood of my original dress ideas. While the first store only brought me dresses outside my budget, DB brought me dresses under my budget, and the one time my sales associate brought me a dress that was slightly above my budget, she made sure to warn me before I tried it on.
So if you want to look pretty in your dress, but you don’t care about designers and want to keep your budget low, DB was great!
I’m a little humbled that this is on my list because I was not one of those girls with her entire wedding planned on a board titled “Someday My Prince Will Come.” But real talk, the website is perfect for wedding planning. I started with one big wedding board, but that has quickly branched out into a bunch of boards for various things so I can just concentrate on each task or item I’m trying to figure out: wedding hair, shoes, makeup, bedding to register for, etc. It’s a great place for inspiration, but also for pinning things you need to remember. I repinned ideas for my reception, but I also pinned all the shoes I was looking at for my dress.
4. Google Docs
I hope you already know how awesome Google Docs is because it will change your life. It’s been the perfect place to store all my planning documents: guest list spreadsheets, day-of timelines, lists of honeymoon ideas, the budget spreadsheet, etc. I can edit it from anywhere (work, home, my phone, Greg’s iPad…) and share specific docs with whoever (my mom, Greg’s mom, our photographer, Greg). I made a folder for the wedding and have each document stored within so certain people can see certain docs. Love it.
5. Real Simple‘s Wedding Magazine
I bought several wedding magazines looking for inspiration and guidance in the planning process. Although it was fun (sort of?) to look at magazines like The Knot and Bride, they just were not practical for me. Trying to sort through the ads and the actual content was annoying, and most of content was really just… superfluous.
I could write an entire blog post about the wedding industry and how it’s a huge money-suck that often loses sight of marriage and focuses on the party. But Real Simple cut through the clutter and provided a straightforward, organized wedding planning guide and magazine that gave inspiration, but also gave a really helpful structure for planning. Sure, it included extravagances that Greg and I are not indulging in, but it also affirmed that small, simple, and inexpensive are great, too. You don’t have to spend the American average of $20,000-$30,000 on a wedding, and Real Simple is helping me make that a reality.
(Side note: The magazine cost quite a bit more (~$15) than it’s competitors, but it was worth it for the lack of ads and it included a year-long subscription to Real Simple, which is really an excellent lifestyle magazine that I would happily subscribe to anyway.)
Now that I think about it, the only wedding things I think I’ve gotten from Etsy is Greg’s wedding band, but it can be a great and unexpected (many time cheaper, too!) place to find wedding things! I know my roommate got her wedding stationery design from an Etsy shop, and I’ve bought lots of accessories or gifts that people always comment on: “That’s so cute/cool/unique/perfect! Where’d you get that?” “Etsy.” Check it out for gifts, headpieces, jewelry, cake-toppers, and lots of other fun wedding items.
That’s all for now! I started to write other wedding planning tips, but I think they would fit better in an entirely different post, so we’ll see what comes of that. Happy planning (or imagine-planning)!