Back from my honeymoon hiatus, I am so beyond ready to share with you how I further personalized our wedding – while stretching our money as far as possible – through our choice in vendors.
When we started thinking about the wedding together (basically our entire “engagement” trip up the west coast), I was hellbent on DIYing EVERYTHING. I am a Pinterest girl semi-raised on TLC and HGTV. I have watched family and friends get married, and in recent years have taken up the hobby of mentally noting ways people could have saved money or done things themselves for their own parties. I have always loved to sew, knit, craft, and produce. Cake, music playlist, dress: I wanted to make it all. I even went so far as to nearly take my grandma up on her offer to hold the celebration in her very large backyard. Good thing dad was there to stop me, as one tiny restroom wouldn’t have done well for the expansive guest list we were entertaining.
So, with THEME in mind, Timmykins and I went to a few bridal shows, and I – along with my mom and sister – did some venue research both in person and online.
Initially, we wanted to get married outside. I have always dreamed of a beach wedding. However, seeing that we are geographically located smack dab in the middle of the continental United States, we strayed from the beach part of it. We didn’t want to elope, and we couldn’t expect our large families to make that financial commitment. The outdoor wedding idea was quickly pushed to the side when we thought not only of the fluctuating Missouri weather, but were also reminded that our families strongly felt we should be married in a church.
So, we picked Timmykin’s home parish for the ceremony (a given as his dad is a Deacon and could preside over the wedding – extremely important to me and personalized to US), and found near-perfection in our venue choice, the 28 Event Space in downtown Kansas City. I say near-perfection because this obviously isn’t an outdoor wedding venue. BUT, it is a large, contemporary space with murals on the walls of Kansas City, and gold curtains that can be drawn over those murals for a more classic look. We chose to have the murals covered during dinner and pulled the curtains for the remainder of the evening. And that outdoor wedding we wanted? Well, this space has large glass garage doors that can be raised, and string lights and lanterns hanging from the ceiling, which made us feel like we were dancing the night away under the starry skies. I could go on and on, but you will just have to check them out yourselves (or ask me questions later)!
Other things that we couldn’t quite DIY (while still keeping our sanity):
1. Catering. We left this up to a catering company that my dad recommended. We got a pretty good deal, AND planned a personalized menu of: BRUNCH (minus pancakes, waffles, and French Toast. But that’s because we had a cookie table, cakes, AND pizza delivered)! Tip: Ask around for contacts and referrals for better prices. Also, you don’t have to go the regular fish and chicken route. Do something that is totally YOU! Our favorite meal happens to be brunch. Additional Tip: breakfast items tend to cost less.
2. Dress. I have always wanted something a little different than the trends, so I thought I would have to make it myself in order to get what I wanted. But I found everything and more at a little bridal shop! Tip: Shop sales racks and last season items first. Also, look for trunk shows, etc.
3. DJ. OK, we were planning on making a playlist and having my brother run up and make announcements, BUT opportunity fell into our laps. There just happened to be a DJ wanting to be put on our venue’s recommended vendor list, but he had to DJ an event at the space first. We were selected to receive DJ services for FREE. And it went fabulously! Tip: Ask your venue for preferred venues, or see if there is anyone looking to be on a preferred vendors list. Ask for deals in return for recommendations and more! You never know unless you ASK.
4. Photography. Being a photographer, I couldn’t leave this bit up to just anyone. As much as I would have liked for my sister to take care of this for us, I wasn’t about to let her get out of being my Maid of Honor. So, I did extensive online research, and found the look I wanted at a very reasonable price. Tip: NEVER SCRIMP ON PHOTOGRAPHY. Yes, you want a reasonable price, but don’t go with your cousin’s best friend’s sister just because she charges $50. My sister-in-law did someone a favor by hiring their family member, and is not happy with the photographs. Choose a respected, trusted photographer (read reviews), have an engagement session to get comfortable around the person and make SURE it’s the right fit, THEN pull the trigger.
5. Transportation. We were lucky, as this was included in our venue package, but remember that you will want someone to drive you around for your pictures (if you are taking off-location pictures) as well as drive you to your hotel room that night. There is nothing worse than leading a caravan of people to the photograph location and losing them along the way, or needing to sober up from your own wedding to drive somewhere completely exhausted. It doesn’t need to be a limo, but it needs to be someone else driving.
That’s about all in the way of vendors. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was determined to DIY everything.
Our FAVORITE food: BRUNCH! Our DJ had us play a fun game! Our starry night. Our oh-so-classy venue 🙂 We ADORE our photographer. The look of her work and capturing moments perfectly 🙂 My dress and the beautiful venue!
Oooooh, and if you are going the route of tuxes, I recommend going with a small, local shop. They can get you the BEST deals.
❤ The RoaminTwin