Can you plan a memorable wedding in three weeks?
Yes, I did… and so can you!
THE DRESS: Don't try to find the PERFECT dress. There is no such thing. There are so many dresses out there. Narrow your choices down to a few that are priced right... and then make your selection.
Remember that this is JUST a dress that you will be wearing for a FEW HOURS but you will want to LOOK and FEEL GOOD in.
So you don’t have to LOVE the dress. You just need to like it… but you must feel COMFORTABLE in it and it should FIT you right! Buy a dress suited to your body type and personal style and have it delivered with plenty of time to be brought it in to a good tailor for a professional fitting and alteration.
If you’re reading this, you already know that you can find that dress right here on eBay! (And. yes... I did get my gown from my inventory! 8-))
There are a LOT to choose from out there so here are some tips for your search.
The BEST Bargains:
Dresses from the jilted bride (or the groom who got cold feet!) – that is, if you're not superstitious and you are just taken by the style (and the price!) and it is just your size.
Sample Sales: Most bridal shops now sell their discontinued samples on site and on-line... and if you don’t mind doing some minor repairs and/or cleaning, you can snap up some real bargains. Caveat: Most of these items are AS-IS (No returns or exchanges) so be sure you have clarified with the seller the condition of the dress and any flaws so there are no misunderstandings once you have received the item. Buyer remorse is very common with wedding gowns so most sellers have FINAL SALES on their items.
Here’s my irreverent plug: I do allow returns/exchanges on my gowns within 5 days of receipt, exclusive of the S&H fee and a 20% re-stocking fee. I believe this is a fair deal considering that I try very hard to give a detailed description and pictures of all my gowns .
BEWARE of the custom-made gown from China! (Yes... just look to the right of this guide!) Don’t get me wrong here. A lot of the famous name brand gowns are made in China but these gowns go through STRICT QUALITY CONTROL specifications of the manufacturer. The cheap designer-"inspired" custom-made gowns from China really look good in the pictures and for their price... but once you get your gown, be prepared for a big surprise/letdown! There are already several eBay guides written on this subject.
GUESTS: Keep it under 20. That would be family and a few close friends. Why?
1. Obviously, it will be cheaper, MUCH cheaper. (Put the savings aside to add to that downpayment for a house.)
2. It will be easy to find a restaurant to accommodate a small group at short notice… and all of your guests may even be able to order a la carte and get to eat exactly what they want (not chicken... again!)
In my case, I narrowed down a short list of restaurants that were within 2 miles of the ceremony, called the manager for availability and then made an appointment to see the place and sample a meal. I lucked out on the FIRST restaurant I called. It also helped that I chose a weekday and an early dinner (4 pm) so they were very open. Note that most restaurants close between 2 to 5 pm, but with the economy as is, you may find one that would love to have your party for that early time slot.
INVITATIONS: Make your own... or go green and e-vite! Really, who keeps the invitation? Nobody else, except you... ONE copy, in your wedding album!
PHOTOGRAPHY: The secret to taking great pictures is taking LOTS of pictures. Then you select the ones to make up your official wedding album. Almost everyone owns a digital camera nowadays and with photo editing software available with each camera, what else do you need? That’s exactly what professional photographers do when they show you their "wedding package". The un-official photographers during my wedding were my two sisters-in-law and a 12 year-old niece!
FLOWERS: Shop local or shop online. Personally, I visited our neighborhood florist and ordered a small wedding package: one wrist corsage (for me), a boutonniere (for my groom) and two corsages - one each for my mom and my future mom-in-law. Price tag: $75. Costco also has wedding floral packages now available on-line and you get it delivered to your doorstep. How cool is that?
SHOES: Here’s my take on this. If you’re wearing a long gown, no one’s going to really notice your shoes… so why even shop for a new pair - that you may just use once? Shop your closet -- I used a pair of boots that I LOVE... but I realized I had never even used! Make it a fashion statement --- remember her sneakers from "Father of the Bride"?
LIMO: Make sure you get a local company, or just skip it altogether. My husband and I thought it was a good idea to hire a limo so that we didn't need to drive (we just had 10 people who could make it to the ceremony; the others met us at the restaurant) ... but the limo driver got us lost and we got to the courthouse late! Never again...
Which brings me to my final point... Live the moment and embrace the imperfections! You will be laughing at them months and years after. At the end of the day, the important thing is that you had a memorable day (within your budget!) and you made the right choice for a life partner!
Congratulations and best wishes!