Fist of all I would like to say THANK YOU too all the lurkers who un-lurked. High fives to all of you! Welcome. I now expect you to stay out of the shadows. Muahahahah!
As well, thanks to everyone who commented on my question about where to spend on a wedding, and where to cut. It was very very helpful, and Adam and I talked about some of your suggestions and made some cuts of our own I hadn't expected.
Here's a look at how we're planning to save:
Venue: One of the main places I wanted to save on was on the venue. Adam's folks have a BEAUTIFUL house, in one of the most naturally beautiful places in the US. So, BAM. Venue cost = $0.
Flowers: Agreed by all who suggested. Spend next to nothing on flowers. First of all Adam's parent's house is BEAUTIFUL with everything from wildflowers to flowers from the garden, so we're saving a lot there. Secondly, we'll be buying flowers in bulk, and making our own boutonnieres, MOH and bridesmaid bouquet, and maybe even mine. And, babies breath is my go-to flower of choice for the wedding. CHEAP, easy, BUT, also very pretty when done right.
Save-The-Date: I agree with all of you. Save here. This is why Adam and I took our own Save-The-Date picture, and I designed the cards myself. Also, we'll be printing at Kinkos! We're doing a postcard, and I know people suggested to scrap it, but since this is a destination wedding for 99% of the guests, we're going to send. Also, because I'm proud of my design! The world must see my work!
Invitations: Again, designing myself because I just CAN'T pay someone $1000 to do something I can do for free. The invitations too are already designed, a combination of free templates I found online, stock photos and free fonts. I'll print on nice paper, toss them in some pretty Paper Source envelopes, and probably spend the bulk on stamps. BUT, I know it will cost much less than a designer so I'm a happy camper there.
Favors: THANK YOU FOR THE SUGGESTIONS! Originally Adam and I thought we'd make 2oz smoked salmon favors for our guests. I'd sew little burlap bags, stamped with the AJ cattle brand we're using in our wedding (Adam and I will have the same initials after we're married), and inside you'd find your smoked salmon, and a card explaining how Adam and I caught, prepared and smoked the treat ourselves. Our way to bring Alaska to our guests!
But then people reminded me that favors just don't matter. Even though we'd save on our favors because I'd make the bags, design the cards, and we caught the fish ourselves, WE COULD SAVE HERE! How did I miss this?
Per your suggestions we've scrapped it. Yes, we still want the smoked salmon at the wedding because we're proud of our catch, proud of our recipe, but why not just let it be the feature snack at the cocktail hour and call it a day? WHAT A GOOD IDEA YOU GUYS. Thanks for the tip. You just saved me a lot of time sewing bags and vacuum sealing tiny bags of smoked salmon most people either wouldn't eat, or would forget to take home.
Also like most of you suggested, we're spending most of our money on food, the wedding shuttle, photographer, and I think I'm going to pull the trigger on a videographer. Since I can edit final video myself I am going to save there by picking a good company that will give me raw audio and video, thereby cutting my cost in half.
We're doing event signs, custom napkins and adorable event flags ourselves. Sorry Etsy, you've got cute shit, but I wont be paying $35 for 10 ft of vintage looking flags when I need about 200 ft worth. I also refuse to make a seating chart because A. I don't want the headache, B. because weddings I've been to where I got to seat myself made me feel like an adult, and C. this saves on making a seating station thingy. Go, be adults and FIND SOMEWHERE TO EAT LIKE BIG KIDS!
UPDATED: It has come to my attention (please see the hilarious comment below) that one of my dear friends will have a panic attack if there is not some kind of seating arrangement in place at the wedding. Please note this woman is a social butterfly, and is sweating thinking about attending my wedding sans seating chart. OK. So maybe I need to think a little more about this. What are your thoughts on seating charts? … Continue on.
Most lighting will be Christmas lights wrapped in the trees, and I'm pretty sure we're going DJ free and rocking the iPod with an under age cousin on the mic. If you can't legally drink at our wedding you already are bored, so why don't you pull your weight and manage my iPod. Many thanks young one.
Our ceremony will be performed by a family member or close friend. Written by us.
I'm most likely doing my own hair and makeup, rocking cowboy boots all night long (purchased already, THEY ARE SO PRETTY), and Adam will be tux or suit free. I thought I was going to save on the dress since you only wear it once, but when I tried my dress on I just couldn't say no. It's still WAY cheaper than most, but it definitely didn't stay under my original thought of spending no more than $500. Oops. You only get married the first time, once. Right?
At the end of the day I want to have fun. Not break the bank. Be surrounded by the people that matter the most. And most of all, enjoy the night as I marry Adam.
Thanks for your input everyone. Things are starting to feel like they're really coming together!