By: Revanche

Wedding planning: 25% complete

September 12, 2013

Taking a deep breath here: I’m actually making progress with the wedding planning!

This is NOT a thing I expected to be excited about, but since we committed verbally to a date, the weight of planning has felt like an opppressive weight around my neck, haranguing me to get things done. So, to work I go!

The problem with the oft-proffered PF blogger advice on cutting costs for weddings “do it in the backyard!”? We need to HAVE a yard!

So we don’t have one and while I think my aunt is funny-haha for suggesting it, I’m not trying to buy a house in SoCal so that we have a shiny new place in which to be wed. Ahem, “wed”. Knowing that while we wanted something as casual as that, we would have to pay for an actual place, we made some high-level decisions early on in this round of wedding planning.

In the spirit of priorities and keeping a reasonable budget: No save the dates, no favors, no fancy decor, no fancy invitations that’ll just get tossed out, no DJ, no big ceremony requiring an officiant, no 16 hour stress-filled day. Yes to good food, drinks, fun stuff, DIY invitations, dogs, and relaxing.

Only one of them was reversed, through very little fault of our own: it turns out that our final pick venues require the use of a professional DJ which I think sucks. I don’t want some stranger directing the activities, nor do I want “wedding activities” where I have to be the center of attention any more than absolutely necessary. But that’s my inherent distrust of strangers speaking.

We’ve been reassured that the DJ will do as we direct and I’m going to play whack a mole if he doesn’t.

So, things are getting done!

Venue, check.
Our first “final” choice that we actually visited and liked turned out to be at least $7k more than we wanted, before we hired a photographer and DJ. They didn’t tell us that an actual DJ was required until we were at the commitment stage … at which point I started backing away slowly and researching alternates. Hidden fees/poor communication? Not a vendor I want to give my money too. Good thing I did – both our brains did micro explosions when we saw the ridiculous total. Nope. Nope, that’s not happening.
I had to have logged more than 30 hours researching and comparing possible venues and their associated costs and discussing them with PiC.

Guest List, check.
(Sort of.) We came up with our own lists, divided into categories: his friends, her friends, his family, her family, mutual people.
Then I had to consult with my dad about the family guest list because I’m terrible with names and I don’t keep in touch with the elders and cousins that I grew up with and there are COMPLICATIONS shall we say.
Several hours of arguments and post-call fuming eventually culminated in his caving and agreeing to invite SOME family. *eyeroll* For the record: if you concede that we can’t possibly invite 400 people on just our side of the family, I think you have to concede that some smaller headcount of that 400 is a more reasonable way to approach the problem, not: don’t invite any of them.

Invitations, che….
PiC and I bought cardstock and envelopes on clearance, thinking we were so clever to save money that way, and it turns out that was the opposite of clever. I couldn’t print them using our home printer so now I have to go to Staples or Kinko’s, neither of whom are able to print on cardstock that’s not at least 8.5 by 11. What.
I’ve designed the invitations about 20 times. And for something that I feel like shouldn’t take more than an hour because it’s not a high priority: so many hours have been spent on this!! It’s because I’m using free photo editing software (picmonkey) which, I’m sure, is REALLY not meant for this, but it’s what I know and I just wanted to get it DONE. And now it basically is, I just have to commit to printing them.

Centerpieces, halfway there
I found really affordable vases ($1/each) that were moderately sized and will decide later whether to fill them with: candy, flowers, potted plants. Whatever works when we’re closer to the time. (Clearance Halloween candy, anyone? Is that wrong?)

Still to do

Top up the wedding site with information.
Actually print the invitations, labels, mail them.
Clothes for PiC and my dad.
Hire a photographer.
Finalize the food selections.
Make a bow tie for Doggle.
Make some arrangements for my head (hair, face).
Crafting day to create some quick and easy decor for the place.
Buy the contents for the centerpieces.

It’s very possible that I’m forgetting something but I’m operating on the assumption that if it hasn’t occurred to me now, it wasn’t that important. Let’s hope I’m right.

13 Responses to “Wedding planning: 25% complete”

  1. Abigail says:

    It sounds like you’ve already committed to a venue, but don’t any of your friends or relatives have backyards? Call it the ultimate wedding gift. Tim and I got married in a hall at his parents’ community center. His parents paid the $50 refundable deposit. Also, check on Craigslist. Some people rent out land that they have. The prices are better than a lot of reception halls.

    Oh, inre: vases… Depending on what color they are, maybe consider to fill them up. We had initially thought candles or something (before we found the cobalt vases at the thrift store) but little kids were attending. So then we thought about flowers but balked at the price. We were SO casual about the wedding planning that the day before, when we were setting up, I realized I hadn’t decided. A bridesmaid stuffed some tulle into a vase with a bit fluffing up on top. The effect was quite pretty, but really only for certain colors, I’d imagine. Email me if you want to see a pic. I’m sure that was captured in a photo.

    I know there are printers that can do cardstock. You might want to put out feelers to your friends who have printers to check if they can do cardstock printing. If not, check into a local person. Tim wanted silver embossed lettering on ours (blue cardstock, so it had to pop). I had to call a few places, but I think we got away with around $150 for 100 of them. And that was with the extra expense of embossing.

    I know it’s not cheap, but it may not be much more than Staples or Kinko’s would charge you. If you do go through Stasples Copy & Print, go through a cash back site for a little boost!

    Also, dunno how fancy you are trying for. We didn’t want to pay a caterer. We ended up doing a small buffet — which also allowed us to invite people right up until the last minute — with basic stuff but it went over well. Fruits, veggies, some potato salad and the like. Plus cold cuts with bread and condiments so people could make their own sandwiches. People were actually really enthused, which startled me. But most of our friends and family aren’t really formal folks, So I don’t know if that would work with you.

    • Revanche says:

      All good ideas. We didn’t want to do super fancy, just kinda nice.

      We are committed to a venue now but we don’t have any friends who would be wiling to host a wedding – only a very few of them have large backyards and we’re not close enough to them to ask that question.

      Vases: definitely casual about them – the only thing is I want people to take them home. We might do super cheap cut flowers.

      Invites: we can get them done under $100 for 100+ invites from Staples so that’ll be ok, it’s just the waste of the other cards that I’m kicking myself for 🙂

      Unfortunately, none of the venues allowed using outside catering w/o extra charge so it was cheaper to do their buffet. 😛

  2. Michelle says:

    Ha you are doing much better than me. I bought the dress and paid for the photographer. That is all so far!

  3. Juli says:

    You don’t have to print invitations. They can be hand-written. Do 20 or so at a sitting so your hand doesn’t drop off. If PIC does the same, it shouldn’t take long, especially as you aren’t inviting a lot of people. You don’t have to have perfect handwriting. It’s a personal touch to people you care about. You can simply write the standard text you were going to print, or personalize it.

    • Revanche says:

      We’re inviting over 200 guests & I can’t even trust myself to sign my name right 30 times in a row so writing out an invitation by hand would proooobably be asking for, well, a lot more frustration. I’d rather frontload that into the design bit and be sure I can’t screw up the execution 🙂

  4. Katie C. says:

    Halloween candy never goes bad! True but kind of gross story: I hid my candy one year after Halloween and forgot about it. Found it the next summer. It was just as delicious. 😉

  5. Holy mackerel. I’m sooooo glad my father bribed my ex- to elope with me so he didn’t have to pay for a wedding and reception. This sounds like absolutely, hugely more work than it’s worth.

    Too bad you don’t have an Apple. The iPhoto program has templates for all sorts of cards…might simplify life a bit.

    Abigail is right: call around to find a printer. And you might look for printers outside San Francisco, where they have to pay the same high rent you do. Try Prismagraphic and O’Neill in Phoenix — even with shipping charges, it may be cheaper than having to throw out the card stock and pay for high-quality paper. If they can’t do it, they may know who can.

    • Revanche says:

      Happily, Staples managed to do the job quite affordably w/little pain, after all!

      Eloping only went so far for us 🙂 but again, family and culture and all that.

  6. Margaret J. Harris says:

    I think you’re doing good with the whole planning thing and some of the details of the wedding. I know there’s still so much to do as you have listed them here. I hope you will find a backyard soon if you are still pushing through with that plan. It sounds a good idea to tie the knot at a backyard and yes, much cheaper too. Vases with candies or flowers sound a great idea as well. Well, good luck and congratulations.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This website and its content are copyright of A Gai Shan Life  | © A Gai Shan Life 2017. All rights reserved.

Site design by 801red