100 lb. Club - OT: Planning a Wedding

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04-15-2004, 09:01 PM
My daughter is planning to get married in December. We've reserved a place, bought a dress, and found an online place to get invitations. The couple can choose from a list of caterers so that's only a matter of tasting (yum!). To save money, the two bridesmaids will carry single flowers, and my daughter will carry a bunch of roses.

My next project is getting a photographer. I've looked on the internet for photographers in my area, and am horrified at the prices. For those of you who had a photographer at your wedding, how did you find that person? I want them to have a good photographer, but I also don't want to pay $3,500.

Also, any good suggestions to save money are greatly appreciated! Also stories of what worked and what didn't would be helpful, too. I've even been watching that For Better or Worse show on TLC and I hate reality shows so you can tell I'm a touch desperate.

04-16-2004, 02:12 AM
When my best friend married, she called the local high school's art teacher & asked him (she was a former student of his) to recommend a student from his photography class who not only had promise, but who wanted to be a professional photographer for a career. He recommended someone & my friend went to the HS during this girl's art class to talk to her a little, to ask her if she'd be willing to shoot the wedding for the cost of film & development. She & her 'assistant' only charged my friend for the cost of the film & development. My friend let her keep a number of prints for her professional portfolio. My friend fed them, too.

04-16-2004, 02:15 AM
The other thing to do for pictures is to purchase about 20 disposable cameras & leave one on each table @ the reception for ppl to take their own pics, then drop them off by the presents as they finish up the roll. That's a good way to get some amazing shots that a photog might not be able to catch.

04-16-2004, 01:03 PM
You beat me to the punch SAPF! When my daughter got married a disposable camera was left at each place setting and at the end of the reception a bridesmaid collected them all in a big basket and while the "kids" were on the honeymoon I had them all developed at Wal-Mart. Okay, I'll admit there were a lot of silly and out-of-focus shots, but there were also many absolute gems that have since been blown up and put into the album. As for the "formal" pictures, SAPF's idea is sound. My daughter has her degree in journalism, so she had the thought of contacting her school and was put in touch with a student concentrating on media photography. He did a wonderful job at a great price, so I can highly recommend getting in touch with your local college.

I can't help out much on other things as the rest was pretty much taken care of in a package deal - she was married on an old-fashioned paddle boat and the ceremony and reception took place during a 4 hour cruise. It was beautiful - nobody fell overboard and I was honoured to walk her down the gangplank (err, aisle).

Aren't you relieved she didn't elope after all, Sheila? And just think, by December you'll be at goal and can purchase the "mother-of-the-bride" outfit of your dreams! I was only 4 months into my weight loss adventure when my daughter got married and though I'd lost over 30lbs. I had a long, long way to go, so I'm still a wee bit resentful when I look back at the wedding pics that she had a whirlwind romance and not a long engagement (yes, it IS all about ME :D)

04-16-2004, 01:06 PM
For my first wedding, I had a lady who was just getting back into photography so my pictures were only $250 and I got a ton of 5x7s. She even developed the pics my aunt took for free.

When I married the love of my life, I just had my aunt take pictures and had them developed at wal-mart. Of course that was almost 2 years ago and I've yet to get any big prints blown up yet.
I ditto leaving around the disposable cameras. we got so many good candid shots and I think I just had 5.

It sounds like you are well on your way to planning it with it being in Dec.

Goddess Jessica
04-16-2004, 08:16 PM
My best friend and her husband took pictures as a gift for our mutual friend's wedding. They both had a ton a talent and the pictures were great. However, may I stress that the one thing that is worth the investment is the photography. No one will remember the food, the DJ, how the hall was decorated or those stupid almonds that they always put on the table BUT photographs are forever.... or at least until you burn them and curse his name of a full moon while dancing naked.... or so I hear. ;)

04-16-2004, 11:24 PM
Good ideas!

I like weddings. Just think... in 5, 10, 15, 20 years.... it could be me!! :O:O

Make sure if you do go w/ the disposable cameras you like, ah, write "BRIDE & GROOM" or something on them so people don't mistake them for their own. At my sister's wedding, it was a lot of confusion b/c everyone had their *own* disposable cameras, and there were lots of mix-ups.

Good luck!

04-17-2004, 12:58 PM
Hi Sheila,

I'm getting married this year myself -- July 24, 2004!!!! Only 98 days away!!!!! :D

So far, we've got the date, the Church, the priest, the photographer, the reception hall, the cake, have picked out the food, decided which invitation we wanted though we haven't ordered it yet, the wedding dress, the bridesmaids dresses, we've picked out the flower girl dress, and done alot of research along the way.

We went with the package deal photographer because it was the difference between $900 and $2500, but going to the school sounds like an even better deal.

We did go to a baker and get a professional cake because it was affordable because of the package discount that we got, but a friend recommended an even cheaper route. She said that many wedding cake bakers do it on the side at home cheaper if you can find out who does it (ask at cake decorating schools). And that wedding cakes baked at home turn out moister than those baked in commercial ovens. Also, big bakeries do their cakes ahead of time and freeze them. Independent bakers make them fresh the day before or the day of. She also suggested going to places that teach cake decorating and asking if a talented student would be interested in doing the cake decorating for less. You could even bake the cakes yourself and just have someone do the decorating (if you have lots of time). Of course, if you have lots of time, you could just learn cake decorating and wedding cake construction yourself.

This isn't money saving. It's just neat. A friend had their engagement picture blown up and matted and placed it where the guest book would have been. Instead of having guests sign the guestbook since people seldon read them, they had them sign the matte around the photo (they protected the photo), and had it all framed after the wedding. It now hangs in their dining room.

We were having problems with our head table when we first began wedding planning -- seating issues with difficult relations, so we just simplified the whole thing. The head table will be just me and Steve. It's certainly appropriate. We'll be like the king and queen -- which we are for that day, no one is insulted or uncomfortable or separated from their spouse, and we might actually get a couple of minutes to eat before we start visiting all the different tables or dancing.

Another tip from a friend. When the bride and groom are announced at the reception at the beginning, go immediately into the bride and groom's first dance. After everyone eats, people don't pay much attention. Before they eat, you've got their attention. Then, you can have the other dances after dinner.

When we got engaged, I bought a bunch of books on wedding planning. I found "Bridal Bargains" to be most helpful. I recommend that one. They give you websites to visit too.

For flowers, we'll probably go with the package deal, but I am tempted to go with www.freshroses.com. They're in CA, and do volume discounts on roses and wedding flowers. Here's one package they offer:

Standard All Rose Wedding Package $390 including shipping

16 bunches (400 stems) standard roses, 5 bunches of filler, 5 bunches of greens, and FedEx priority overnight delivery. Available in bridal white, champagne, sonia, dark red and bright red. The listed varieties are the only available in the standard package. For premium varieties, like Black Magic or Leonidas, please look at the premium package.

What can I do with this package?

Enough roses, greens, and fillers to make 11 table arrangements (18 stems each), 10 boutonnieres (1 stem each), 6 corsages (3 stems each), 5 bridesmaids bouquets (18 stems each), 1 brides bouquet (25 stems) and a head table arrangement (59 stems). Of course you can break that down however you want. For example you could use all 400 roses for tables if you wanted.

I've also heard of people going to their local supermarket or to Sam's club and ordering their roses (if that's what you like) ahead of time and at a discount. BTW, some supermarkets do wedding cakes too. It IS cheaper. The downside is you generally have to assemble the cake yourself and that is not easy. You don't want the cake to fall over.

I'm not sure how long my reply is allowed to be, so I'll just open another reply to continue this.


04-17-2004, 01:23 PM
If the wedding dress needs alterations, an independent seamstress will probably be cheaper than bridal store alterations -- as long as the seamstress is used to wedding gowns. They are more difficult than regular clothes with all the beading, embroidery, and slippery fabric.

Dress accessories: try ebay for petticoats, slips, and accessories, but just about ANYPLACE on the web is cheaper for these items than a bridal store. www.mygowns.com has decent ones, but there are even cheaper ones out there. I like these because they are lined --- no scratchy fabric against your legs as you move. :) Also, they are drawstring waist -- no sizing necessary! I had a site that was even better, but I can't find it now.

Veil. I'm making my own. I want a big, long, beautiful fancy cathedral length one and a smaller one to put over my face as I walk down the aisle. What I want would cost me $300 in a bridal store. I'm going to make it myself for maybe $15. You can get cheap "bridal illusion" (that's netting for veils) at www.fabric.com.

Wedding rings: we did buy ours from a jeweler because we wanted a particular design that we could not find on the web, but plain gold bands are very cheap on the web and you can get many beautiful designs on the web too. www.e-weddingbands.com has 14K gold bands starting at $31!!

For a video, we're just going to ask my Dad to set up his camera on the side and let it run. We don't want a professional videographer, but we wouldn't mind a video. We'd rather spend the money on our honeymoon.

That's all the springs to mind at the moment.

Hope this is helpful!


04-17-2004, 01:31 PM
Favors: If you're looking for tulle circles or decorating items, go to www.cudge.net. They are a wholesale florist's supply who will sell to anyone. Or better yet, skip the tulle and just give a favor. Christmas Tree Shops has cheap stuff, but you can get cheap favors on the web too. Just go to Google or your favorite search engine and start typing in words like favors, discount, wholesale, cheap, inexpensive, budget.

We're getting chocolate coins made I think with our names and the date on them. You can get them cheaper on the net than locally. We'll put them in the tulle circles with some starlight mints and wrap them with a personalized ribbon. At least that's the plan du jour. Personalized ribbons can be very cheap. I can't remember where we found the best price -- it's bookmarked on Steve's computer. I think it would end up being about .20 per ribbon. The circles were going to be .5 each so that our wrapping costs would be .25. Then we were going to get a favor and try to spend .75 so that our total cost per favor would be $1.00.

That beats going to a craft store where just an organza bag alone can be $1.00!!!!! And that doesn't include any ribbon or favor or anything!!!!!

We got our toasting glasses on ebay. We looked at toasting glasses for $35 in stores and then decided we liked the ones for $1.99 on ebay better than the expensive ones. We bought a cake cutting set (knife and server). In store's they're $25 or $35. We got ours for $8 on the internet. I think we got that at www.cudge.net. We bought a cool cake topper. It's a porcelain gazebo decorated with pink flowers. That we DID buy in a store because it was so special. That was expensive ($40 I think), but we love it and plan to display it always. We bought a dancing couple to go inside on the internet for $1.99 which is cheaper than anything I've seen. I also like the couple we got better than the expensive ones. Gazebos are special to us. We've visited many throughout our courtship and have frequently waltzed in them.

Good luck with wedding planning!!! You can pm me if you like too.


04-20-2004, 01:39 PM
Thanks to everyone for such great suggestions! Jeanne, thank you for taking the time out from what must be an incredibly hectic schedule to give me some great tips. I found a ribbon place online and am getting samples, and once my daughter gets her computer set up, I will send her the website information. I'd asked her about making the veil, but neither of us are very handy. Luckily, she used to work in a bridal shop and they gave her a 20% discount on the dress and veil.

I called the community college with a photography program, but haven't heard back. I'm going to keep calling! But I did find someone who advertises as "sanely" priced and we're meeting with her today. Her cheapest package is under my budget, and appears to cover everything. I think we're going with a single rose for the two bridesmaids and a bouquet of just roses for the bride plus a single rose boutonnieres. I told my DD that the mothers don't need corsages. :)

04-21-2004, 12:06 AM
You're welcome, Sheila! Yes, since getting engaged, my schedule has definitely been hectic. Steve and I are basically planning the whole thing together. I'm just passing along what I've found and what people have shared with me.

Good luck in your planning process!!! :)