|  By Sharon Hupp, Events Coordinator  |

Untitled-1I have seen so many brides get flustered as to the cost of getting married.  Simple can be so much more majestic and beautiful than the most detailed, ritzy wedding of the century.  Let’s face it; most of us can’t afford to be like Prince William and Duchess Kate.  I have seen and learned over the years at The Arboretum that a really elegant wedding can be done with some elbow grease from the couple, their friends and family paired with some creativity.

If you find yourself not to be the “crafty” type, which I can totally appreciate as my abilities are a little above stick people, Pinterest is a great place to start for ideas as well as wedding websites and blogs.  A lot of the websites will have comment areas from other brides so you can get an idea of the level of difficulty it was to pull a certain look together and pictures to guide you to your own unique look.

One key element to affording what you desire is to start planning early.  Consider venues like The Dawes Arboretum with our stunning vistas where natural decorations are built into the scenery for free.  Many venues will book a year or two in advance with a small down payment.  This will allow you to make payments or perhaps wait until tax time and pay the majority off.  Be aware of deposit and payment policy as some could be non-refundable.

Secondly prepare your budget for each step of the wedding.  Wedding websites provide checklists.  You can use that to setup what you want to do and what you don’t want to do and appropriate funds to each section.

Focus on the one or two things that are truly important to you.  If you have always dreamed of having a Cinderella gown, budget higher in that category—or if distinctive photos mean the world to you, invest in a great photographer with a second shooter.  This is your day to share and show your love to the world and for you to enjoy as a couple.  Make sure what is important to you comes first.

Good caterers can provide excellent food within in a budget.  Be upfront with what your budget and expectations are so they can prepare a custom quote to best fit your needs.  Some caterers will allow you to provide your own beverages as a cost savings.  Check their policies.  Instead of using rented table clothes purchase fabric on sale.  A quick sew on the edges and it will look great!  Round tables work just fine with a square cloth.  A fabric burlap runner with some wild flowers in assorted sized vases with a few candles scattered on the table is simple and such an elegant look.  Have your bridal party and family help you pull this together.

Ask family and friends that have certain skills to help you in an area as their wedding gift to you.  Perhaps there is a baker in the family that can do your wedding cake and thank you favors, maybe you have a crafty aunt that can put together your invitations—hand-made invitations are beautiful and more meaningful.  This year at The Arboretum I have seen fathers building beautiful arbors that can then be transported to the reception for decoration behind the cake, mothers sewing table clothes, cousins and friends playing instruments for the bride to walk the aisle and one groom sing his bride down the aisle.  There was not a dry eye in the garden including mine.

With careful and creative planning you can have the fairy tale wedding you dream about.  Happy planning!