The average wedding in the US costs around $25,000. Over on the Broke-Ass Bride, our aim is to help brides create their dream wedding for less -- way less -- by using creativity as currency to rock a wedding without breaking the bank. I've put all my tips into a book, The Broke-Ass Bride Guide, coming in December 2013 from Clarkson Potter.
One of the costliest items on any wedding checklist is the venue. If you're lucky enough to own your home, have a backyard wedding and check that off your list for less. Or, if you have access to public spaces like a rooftop patio or a community garden, you can stretch those dollars a lot further by ponying up for gorgeous outdoor decor that you'll reuse in your home or share with the community after the wedding. If your backyard is a little lackluster, take some of the money you were planning to invest in a venue, party rentals, or flowers, and use it spruce up your yard with a few signature pieces from Wayfair instead!
But first, do your research. Create a vision board and, maybe more importantly, a seating chart. Figure out how you'll fit everything (including rentals, dessert bars, dance floors, and everything else) into the space you have. Once you're ready to get your hands dirty, find out what flowers are in bloom in your area during the month of your nuptials, and get planting. Hydrangea bushes, rose bushes, small fruit trees are all great options. You'll want to go for color and volume. (And make sure you buy perennials because they'll grow year after year.) If you're over a year away from your wedding date, that's even better. Plant them for a test drive so you'll know what to do different next year. Your aim is to have enough fresh blossoms to please your wedding photographer, and to fill your centerpieces. If you have the opposite of a green thumb, succulents are an easy cheat.
Once you've settled on your flowers, start planning what kinds of furniture you'll need for the space. You'll want a few focal points, like a gazebo or pergola. What about a cake table? Or a patio bar? Maybe something particularly eye-catching, like a fire pit, or this sleek, modern, tabletop fireplace.
Seating is a very important consideration. If you aren't doing a formal dinner, remember to leave enough room for people to mill about comfortably. That's paramount. If you find yourself with a surplus of goodies post-wedding, gift some to your bridesmaids, your parents, new in-laws, or anyone who helped make your big day a success.
Do you want to craft your dream wedding, while simultaneously creating your ideal backyard or improving on a communal space at the same time? Or are you too tempted by the ease of renting a venue, despite the potential cost?