As I might have mentioned, wedding planning can be stressful. There are hundreds of factors that must all come together seamlessly on one day. It might be hard for you to break into wedding mode, or know where to start. But since you settled on a venue and budget, it’s time to get a feel for what you want your wedding to be like. Do you want a small gathering of close friends and family in a cabin in the woods, eating gourmet s’mores and drinking root beer out of vintage canning jars? If so, I love One Love Photo’s weddings for inspiration. Do you want a lavish, glimmering silver affair with resplendent lighting, a monogram of your new last name spotlighting the dance floor and a six course meal? Try Jasmine Star’s wedding photography. Since I was a photographer, I found a lot of inspiration from reading the blogs of other photogs. Basically, what is the ambient setting that you’d like to pursue?

While you pore over magazines, blogs, websites, etc, you need a place to keep your inspirations. Pinterest didn’t exist when I was getting married, but now that it does, you’re pretty much set. Go get a Pinterest, make a “Wedding” board and when you see something that you’d like to incorporate into your day, pin it. For the magazine pages you’ve torn out and pages you’ve printed from venue meal plans, etc, a binder full of sheet protectors. Now, go shop. Take a friend, a relative, your future husband or wife. Or if you like getting away from it all, you can always go by yourself. I can’t promise that you’ll laugh as hard as if you go with your mom though (assuming that your mom is as funny as mine).

We started at Michaels. We grabbed cardstock and made a ton of color combos with them to see what would really resonate as an accent or color block. We picked up silk flowers, compared all of their sizes and colors. We walked, well, stood, in the wedding aisles and just soaked in all of the prepackaged bridal glory. We observed what the average, the extraordinary and the cliché had to offer in person.

If you do this with someone awesome, like my mother, you will enjoy your time (you probably can’t go with my mom, sorry). We went to a wedding “plaza” which was actually one big store in a shopping plaza so I think perhaps “wedding plaza” was a stretch. We went to wedding superstores, mini stores, craft stores and regular old shops with wedding aisles. I’m going to save you some time. Do you want plastic goblets at your wedding? Are you planning to mix rainbow sand in a jar during your ceremony? Do you feel the need to spend $30 for a $3 “unity” pillar candle because it comes in a cardboard “wedding” box? No? Ok. We can skip most of the stores I named.

If you want a unity candle, make it the way you want it. Go to Hobby Lobby, buy an unscented white pillar candle ($1.50), some E-6000 glue ($5.00) and an ornate metal cross ($1.00). Boom. You’ve just made your own unity candle, it looks gorgeous and it cost you $7.50 with leftover glue that you can use for many other DIY wedding projects. Go Google unity candles. $20 was the cheapest I could find for one, and trust me, you do not want to use it. How much more special is it to have a candle with the scent and color that you love, that you personalized yourself, at your wedding? Maybe it doesn’t matter to you and maybe it does. But either way, it’s hard to argue about a $13 savings.

When you find something that inspires you or is what you’d like to emulate, remember that you can personalize. I saw seed packets online that people had pre-printed labels for, to send home as favors.

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 I loved the seed packet idea, but wanted a more affordable and homemade feel so I put my own spin on it.

Simple, less expensive, and I love it. There are so many creative ways to celebrate your wedding day on a budget. I loved the challenge of creating something new for each project I tackled.

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