Avoiding Costly Mistakes

I married my high school sweetheart at the tender age of nineteen. We were brand new graduates with a taste for adventure and a longing to experience this life together as soon as possible. We were also (unbeknownst to us at the time) very naive. Due to some crazy life circumstances, we planned a wedding in less than a month (!!!), and despite our best efforts to be as cost effective as possible, we made a few expensive mistakes. One of those blunders was coffee beans.

Being young and blissfully unaware of economics (and also not being coffee drinkers at the time), we decided to make our reception table centerpieces using vases filled to the brim with coffee beans and exploding with a variety of gorgeous flowers. We thought it would be fairly inexpensive; little did we know that coffee beans are extremely pricey and before we could turn back we were in way over our heads! By the time the centerpieces were completed, we had probably spent several hundred dollars on coffee beans alone! (As a side note, it was totally worth it; our arrangements were beautiful and the reception hall smelled like freshly brewed coffee.)

I wish we would have done some research and come up with a more cost effective way to re-create the lovely centerpiece arrangements we had seen in a bridal magazine and fallen in love with. Hindsight really is 20/20, so how do you avoid such a costly mistake while you're in the midst of planning the biggest day of your life? Here are some ideas from a wife who learned the hard way...

Tips on how to avoid expensive mistakes when planning a wedding from a wife who's been there, done that.
photo credit: hgtv

Have a Plan
Sit down with your fiance and create a tangible wedding budget that you both agree you'll stick to. Be precise in the cost breakdown regarding how much you'll spend and exactly what you'll spend it on. If you know you only have $200 for flowers, forego the overly expensive arrangement you've been eyeing. Your discipline will pay off when you have more money leftover for that one item you feel you must splurge on (or even your honeymoon!).

Find Creative Solutions
My husband and I easily could have re-created our centerpieces using a less expensive bean, spray painted a rich cocoa color. You love that $2,000 dress but it's out of your budget? Why not check out some rental gowns or sale racks for similar styles? You love the stunning bridal bouquets created by your local florist but can't afford one for your own wedding? Order the blooms through a flower shop and make your own! When planning a wedding, there are so many ways to get creative that will really cut costs.

Research Your Options
If you're on a strict budget, find out precisely what things cost before diving into something head first. There are deals to be had if you know where to look. Shop around and compare price tags. Remember to shop locally when you can!

Are you planning a wedding? Have you been-there-done-that? What are you doing or have you done to avoid making an expensive mistake? Sound off in the comments!

By the way, happy Friday!

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