BL3: What vendor/item surprised you most to learn the cost of?
Nikki: Catering was cheaper than I expected.
Amena: The cost of venues was no surprise to me but what was crazy was the fact that if you want to have a birthday party or other event in the same venue it is 10 times cheaper. We went with an inexpensive venue that is part of Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation. The price is great, but it does come with some limitations.
BL3: We know you did some DIY. Could you estimate how much you saved by going the DIY route?
Nikki & Amena: We have no idea about the budget overall but we are not going with a florist or a wedding planner. We are buying flowers wholesale from Costco and making our own bouquets and arrangements. We are also planning the wedding ourselves and going with a day coordinator. This is saving us at least $5,000-$7,000 and that is a conservative estimate.
BL3: What items/vendors cost the most?
Nikki & Amena: The caterer and the photographer are the largest single items in our budget.
BL3: What has been the best part of wedding planning that cost little to no money?
Nikki & Amena: DIYing our decorations is a low to no cost part of our wedding. It has been fun being creative and figuring out how to use every day inexpensive items as wedding decorations. We have also enjoyed DIYing projects together. Coming up with our wedding playlist has also been fun. We were originally going to have a Spotify playlist but have since decided to go with a DJ. This DJ is going to mix our playlist so coming up with the playlist was not in vain even though is no longer a low or no cost item.
BL3: If you had to do it all over again, is there anything that you would change so far?
Nikki: I don’t know because we have had a lot of time to be meticulous about planning our wedding. I think everything we wanted is what we have.
Amena: I would have been more diligent about saving early on. We will be able to afford this wedding but we are having to hustle toward the end.
BL3: Are you paying for your wedding yourselves? How are you paying for it? Cash, credit, side-hustle, bartering, etc.?
Nikki & Amena: We are paying for the wedding ourselves. We are paying for it with a mixture of cash, side hustles and the generosity of family and friends. Nikki is an artist and sells artwork on the side. We host Airbnb guests in our home to make extra money. A friend is paying for the wedding cake. Other family and friends are serving as the officiant, soloist, makeup artist and hair stylists.
BL3: How did you save for the wedding? Joint account? Etc.?
Nikki & Amena: We have a joint account.
BL3: Any advice for couples who may be in the beginning stages of planning their wedding?
Nikki: Make sure you have enough time to save enough money. Don’t get overwhelmed with the process. Do what you can and don’t freak out if you can’t do something. Stay connected with your partner in the process. Communicate what you want and sometimes you are going to have to agree to disagree.
Amena: I agree with all of that. I would add to remember that the people that are going to come to your wedding are coming to support you. There is no need to try to impress anyone.
Those that support you want to be there to witness the public commitment of two people who love each other. That does not cost a thing. Your wedding should be a reflection of who you and your partner are. You can’t put a price on that.