The Thrifty Bride: 8 Ways to Save on Your Wedding Expenses

It’s just the third month into the new year but I already know at least seven couples who have been engaged! With my own wedding just less than a year ago, it’s a welcome treat that friends come to me for queries on processes, supplier referrals, and even tips. It makes me feel useful as I know how confusing planning a wedding can be.

Throughout the process of sharing Pinterest boards, Google spreadsheets, article links, and retelling the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of wedding planning, I came up with a list of the different ways you can cut your wedding cost. I had to be un-influenced so I made sure not to search online for other tips and to only rely on my experience. This way, it’s honest and more relatable to brides-to-be, especially in Cebu.

So here goes:

Look for a White Dress, Not a Wedding Dress
This was one of the things I was really overwhelmed with. When you start looking for a wedding dress, you’ll realize the huge discrepancy of bridal dresses vs. regular bridesmaid dresses or any dress for that matter. I actually tried an experiment wherein I asked for a quote for a white party dress and then later asked for a quote for a bridal gown. Aesthetically they didn’t differ much but labeling it as a bridal dress really made a big difference. If you find a regular dress that you feel like walking down the aisle in, grab it! Remember Kitchie Nadal’s 800-peso wedding dress? It’s all about feeling confident in it.  Another trick you can try is to purchase your own fabric and then have your dress sewn by an expert seamstress. Nothing says personalized more than that!

Get an On-the-Day Coordinator Instead of a Full Planner
First of all, don’t get me wrong, you can very well ask assistance from your most reliable girl friends or family members. I did and it went well. But as many a movies have taught us, it’s not always ideal to have a friend do the entire wedding planning for you, unless if that friend does events planning professionally. Aside from the fact that it will only create superfluous drama between the two of you, individuals who are not used to this kind of responsibility can get lost in all the commotion and may not be as comfortable with dealing with the suppliers as a professional coordinator would. I have truly learned that the best gift you can give to yourself on your wedding day is a coordinator. Like really! I heard of brides who had to deal with last-minute calls from caterers or other vendors while in the middle of being made up because some things did not go as planned. Now you wouldn’t want that, do you? No BS but I honestly did not feel any disarray on my wedding day because I had a coordinator who dealt with them. To save cost, hire an on-the-day coordinator to oversee the flow of the entire day instead of getting a full planner. Your on-the-day coordinator will most likely be hands-on even days before the actual day. You won’t really be needing any professional help with bookings or meetings months before the wedding. You only need one day to be a stress-free bride.  

DIY Whatever You Can
Do-it-yourself weddings have become a trend not only because it’s a great way to express your creativity but also because it’s an excellent means to save cash. I applied as much DIY as my prowess and time would allow me on my wedding and it remains to be one of the smartest things I’ve done in my life! There are lot of items that you can DIY. Buy some Continue reading

Not Your Ordinary Bride: One Ceremony, Two Celebrations

Something beautiful happened around this time a year ago. I can’t believe it has been a year as the memory of Tara, one of my dearest friends, tying the knot with the love of her life, Jude, still feels so vivid to me.

I say it was beautiful for two reasons. First, being that theirs was an against-all-odds kind of love story that ended happily. And second because Tara was a total DIY bride whose wedding turned out just as she wanted it to be.

The couple opted for an unconventional wedding. It was a civil ceremony with two separate celebrations.

Karaoke Party

The ceremony was followed by an intimate lunch at Music One, a karaoke bar in the city. It made so much sense since the bride’s family was an ensemble of good singers and musicians.

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Naturally, Yoyi’s Pastries and Desserts provided the cake and other sweet treats at the gathering.

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Tara’s mom, a DIY apostle herself, made the elegant, vintage-y bouquet, personalized ring boxes, and the guest book.

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We got to take home the champagne glasses we used during the toast since they also served as the wedding giveaways for all the guests. Classy!

It was an honor not only to be one of the (reads: one of two, ehem) legal witnesses at Continue reading

Top Wedding Tips FRIENDS Has Taught Me

I’ve always thought of my life as episodes from Friends, coming up with “The One With/Where/When…” titles when something significant happens throughout my day. From watching my baby on a sonogram to confessing my annoyance over confusing my baby for being a girl, I have always enjoyed making references to the now classic sitcom. Instinctively, as I plan my upcoming wedding, I’m often led to look back at an episode or two.

We’ve all (I mean Friends fans) seen it over and over: Ross and Emily’s wedding, Ross and Rachel’s Vegas wedding, Carol and Susan’s wedding. Rachel’s ex-fiance and ex-best friend’s wedding, Chandler and Monica’s wedding, and Phoebe and Mike’s wedding. And in each wedding episode, there’s a lesson we can take away. Well sort of.

Here, I share just some of the many “lessons” I learned about weddings from Friends. I could think of a lot more but these are ones that are vital to remember if you’re a bride-to-be.

Agree on How Much You Want to Spend
One of the things that Monica had struggled with during her wedding preparations was how to get Chandler on board with her when it comes to the budget. Monica, of course as Monica, already had a big celebration laid out in her head (and scrapbook) ever since she was little. Chandler on the other hand, was hesitant on spending all his savings on a “party.” Likewise, Phoebe and Mike, had to go back and forth to a charity because they couldn’t seem to decide on whether or not they want a fancy wedding or just donate the money to less fortunate kids. It’s crucial to make up your mind and agree on how much you two, as a couple, are willing to splurge.

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You Can’t Have Your Best Friend as the Planner
A day before her wedding, Phoebe decides to fire Monica as her planner because she couldn’t take Mon’s tyrannic way of organizing the event. Although she later realized that she needed the bossing around after all, things got a pretty uncomfortable between the two girl friends. Just like in any business plan, it’s not a good idea Continue reading

305 Days and Stuck

It’s funny how I enjoy planning and visualizing somebody else’s wedding but just couldn’t get myself to work on my own. 305 days away and I still got nothing but a barely used notebook I bought months ago to supposedly organize my thoughts and keep track of important supplier arrangements. So today I’m urging myself to start the ball rolling to hopefully come up with a helpful post for confused brides-to-be, like me! ♥

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Lacey Mason Jars: DIY Wedding Giveaways

Eight months ago, I shared the raw look of the wedding giveaways my friend ordered for her December wedding. There were two different looks but in both, lace, twines, and mason jars played lovely roles in creating vintage, shabby inspired mementos that would celebrate the union of two persons in a long distance relationship.

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Five thousand miles stood between us
But we never fall apart
For our love bridged the gap
As we are linked heart to heart

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_MG_9298 _MG_9304 _MG_9310An unexpected bump on the road happened when a week before the wedding, I was at the hospital giving birth and was only 60% done with all the 50 handcraft pieces. Luckily, I got my mom, sisters, and brother-in-law to help out. We must have done a pretty good job since I got other brides-to-be asking me if  I’d be available to do their giveaways as well. Who knows? I might just actually consider turning this hobby into a business. ♥

* Materials for these items can be purchased at krafty.kaeratana.com.