And now to the part you've all been waiting for, the WEDDING! (Just a note, I don't have my official wedding photos back yet.)
I come from a family of seven kids, five of which are girls (my parents really wish they'd invested in a reception center!) Needless to say, I planned my wedding on a budget. Usually I don't make the best associations when I think of the word "budget," but in this case I was able to have the wedding of my dreams and not end up overwhelmed by the money issue.
Here are a few of the things I learned and did in the wedding planning process that made my wedding great:
Bridesmaids: If you've ever seen the movie 27 Dresses you'll know that there are a lot of ugly and impractical bridesmaids' dresses out there and they're not all flattering. Two of my bridesmaids were pregnant, one is super skinny, and one is kind of short, and the other one kind of tall…so I decided to go with something that is flattering on anyone, the classic black dress. I let them pick their own after giving them a few rules and then we accented the dresses with my wedding colors using ribbons tied around their waists.
Invitations: Traditional invitations (photo, tissue paper, invitation) have never been my style. Stuffing that many things into an envelope sounds like a nightmare to me, so I decided to go with something a little easier—photo cards. However, I really like invitations that have a normal sized photo included. After getting the prices for several companies known to do wedding invitations, I stumbled upon a real find—Bell Printing (http://www.bellprinting.com/). They require that you print in odd quantities (500 two-sided color or 1000 single-sided color) but the prices were great (around $250 for 500) and I was able to have both pictures, and invitation without the hassle of stuffing multiple things into an envelope.
Bridal Attire: My now sister-in-law Lindsay, went dress shopping with me a month or so before I got engaged. I found the perfect dress after 3 stores, but didn't buy it till I had the ring. I found my dress at a cute little mom and pop bridal store in Provo, Sweethearts Bridal, but it was a little too long so I had to wear heels. (I also got a free, matching veil from the same store. Their rule is you buy a dress and you get one item for free). I wore pink heels and my shoes ended up being my favorite part about my ensemble. I have never been a huge fan of heels (I'm clumsy) but I found the thickets heel that I possibly could and they were perfect.
Reception Center: Finding a reception center was kind of frustrating because things started to go very quickly. One place that I was almost decided upon was stolen that very same day and the place we ended up having the reception at was nearly taken too. Ultimately I was glad that we went to the place we did (the Wight House in Bountiful, UT) because it was half-way between my in-law's house and my parent's house. The room our reception was held in was brand new and was beautiful, the serving staff was great, and the parking lot was big enough that we didn't have frustrated guests (we went to a wedding a few weeks after where people had started to illegally park it was so bad).
Wedding Favors: I didn't originally intend for this to happen, but it ended up turning out quite well. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm a big fan of graphic design and so I made these books to sit on the tables at our reception to keep people entertained. Originally ordering only enough copies to have one on each table, I thought it'd be enough. I made the books in PhotoShop and published them through MyPublisher using the buy one get one free deals, and so I ended up only paying about $40 total. Well, there were so many family member requests for the book that I had to order more and we've been giving them to the people who asked for them. I thought these books (made to look like a timeline) were a cool alternative to a wedding video (even though I had one of those too).
Cake: I decided to use the resources I had, my Aunt. She's a baker at Soelberg's Market out in a small town about 30 miles from SL. I didn't receive a discount or anything but because it's a small town their prices were better. Instead of going with the popular fondent, I decided that flavor was more important to me so we used this fluffy frosting that I don't know the name of (it wasn't butter cream though, it was more like whipped cream).My biggest advice to those of you planning your wedding right now, is make sure it fits your personality. Just because it's "tradition" doesn't mean you have to do it. Also, shopping around, finding a reception center early, and using those you know helps.