Wedding Shopping: Sweet success

Yesterday Amanda and I went shopping for matching ties for the groomsmen.  We entered the mall at Dillards, where I was aghast to see that not one tie cost less than $50.  And we needed 4.  $200.  Eek.  Amanda suggested J C Penney’s, so we headed there next.

The first ties we saw there were $30.  Well, $120 was a huge improvement over $200.  We meandered around comparing colors.  We came upon a table of ties that were buy one, get one half off.  That was more like it.  $90 for 4 ties.

Just when we decided that was probably the best we could do, we spotted one more table, way in the back full of $13.99 ties PLUS– PLUS!!– they were buy one, get one free.  Amazing. We walked out of J C Penney’s having spent a cool $28 for all four ties.

Sweet success.


Looking back at your own wedding, what were some of your best successes?  Which of your plans worked best?  What saved you money?  What surprised or delighted you or your guests?  What part of the day were you most able to customize to be your own?

I’d love to hear more of your ideas!


  1. elizabethk says:

    We had the ceremony just after Easter, so were fortunate to have the church filled with flowers. My bouquet was a gift from florist friends, as were all the flowers on the cake, table and for the best man and bridesmaid. We just had two attendants – why more? (imo) — and two lovely children to be ring bearer and flower petal tosser.

    We had the reception in our parish basement – so all dishware, candle holders etc., was available for our use, as well as the kitchen/dishwasher.

    Friends helped us decorate – and we had a potluck, providing our own contributions, as well as a huge, beautiful carrot cake (made by the head of the University Culinary department – and yes, we paid for it. :D) as well as a mammoth bread loaf (from my husband’s cultural tradition.) A friend and his band played the music (we paid them also…) We were able to send most people home with an extra big slice of cake (if they wished one) and a loaf of bread – as there was SO much, and it was SO good!

    We shared the top layer of our cake (were moving out of the State and didn’t see ourselves traveling with it/trying to keep it cold) with all the people that helped us – I prepared a chinese meal — as we opened the wedding gifts with them the day after the wedding.

    All the best with the wedding, planning. I have three sons, so likely won’t see this end of it. How exciting!

  2. Hope you enjoyed the cake pics I emailed you. I did think of something else that we did for my brother’s wedding. This was more for the guests. We had some family that travelled in from out of town and were staying in hotels. We did little gift bags for them. It wasn’t anything fancy, just little trial size toiletries, snacks, bottled water. My one cousin told me how much they appreciated it, because of how expensive just water was from the hotel vending, etc.

  3. One of the best things we did was to spend the extra money to get the tone-on-tone polka dotted tablecloths. They were only a little bit more expensive than plain ones, and they were perfect!

    Most everything else was very DIY–and I loved it! My husband’s high school friend was our photographer, and even though we missed some of the traditional wedding photographs, I’m sure we got better tw0-person shots because he was willing to sit still and cooperate with his friend!

  4. I forgot – I made my own mints. I found a recipe and piped stars to make star drops. I made spearmint and cinnamon flavors. Kept them separate in the freezer until the wedding. We also had grown tomatoes that summer. DH brought a crate with him to WI from MD and we sliced them on platters to serve with the other finger foods. Nothing beats a fresh, home-grown tomato. :0)

  5. Well, I’ve never been known as the most girly individual out there, so when we got married, we decided to do a Renaissance theme. Our friends still joke with us about it, but people had so much more fun than I expected. We encouraged guests to come in costume if they wanted, which at least 1/2 of them did. It was a blast watching my grandmothers dress up royalty, my uncle play Merlin, and my little cousins playing flowergirl fairies and ushers. The wedding party all dressed in garb, chosen by them, and I was even able to con my preacher into joining in.

    Anyway, some things I think were good ideas…for our type of wedding…included very minimal decorations, for one. The few we used we made ourselves, but we were lucky because the site we chose fit in perfectly for the theme as it was an old stone building with one large room where we had the ceremony (in front of a curved wall of windows during sunset) and a huge hall were we had the reception. We also didn’t have your traditional cake and instead my mother, grandmother, and aunt made a variety of cakes (spice, apple, banana nut, and another I can’t remember) which had creme between the layers and were dusted with powdered sugar and then decorated with fruits, leaves, and vines. For the invitations, my husband and I designed and printed them ourselves and then hand-folded each one and stamped it with a wax seal.

    Sorry…this just turned more into a walk down memory lane for me than tips for you… I’d just like to point out that what was the most fun for me has been looking back and remembering the fun we had with our guests who all had a surprisingly good time and how low-key the stress of the day was. I hope your daughter’s day is the same.

  6. As you know I just got married in September. We tried to keep it simple and basic.
    We hired the kilts for the wedding party, and also the tartan tie for my brither who was the MC.
    We got married in agreenhouse so no worries about flowers or decs for that room.
    We did give out favours, but we got personalised packets of sunflower seeds made and then just added a little chocolate to them. I brought the chocs from a supermarket and put it all together.
    We got all the weddign stationery from a website that does personalised stuff, when they had a sale on it was very cheap.
    Our photographer was the cousin of my cousins husband and he had done their wedding the year before. I ,oved what he did so asked him to do ours, he was a little worried and kept sayign were we sure, but so glad we did. He took over 1000 pics and gave them all to us, No albums to worry abotu we will get the developed when we are ready and put them together how we want them.
    It turned out to be a very relaxed family day and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I loved my day

  7. Our wedding was up in the mountains at a retreat where parking was EXTREMELY limited. We chartered a bus that picked everyone up at the reception site (in town) and took them up to the retreat. My sister-in-law hosted breakfast on the bus, and people really enjoyed getting to talk and get to know each other (and sleeping on the way back down the mountain!) People didn’t have to worry about trying to find the chapel in the mountains, saved gas, and their cars were there at the reception site for whenever they wanted to leave. I had lots of people tell me afterward how much they enjoyed the bus trip! (and…I didn’t have to worry about my guests not arriving on time!)

  8. We asked the photographer to take a group picture following the ceremony of us with all of our guests — he ended up on a really tall ladder.

    The shot is just so special and was a great way to remember everyone who was there to share the day with us. We ended up emailing the picture out to everyone with a– thanks for coming to celebrate with us note.

    Now we have a large print of the picture hanging in our house and I’m reminded when I see it of all the people that we are so blessed to have in our lives. It really didn’t cost anything extra, but I’m so glad that we thought to ask for that picture.

  9. we were clear with our photographer that we wanted as few posed shots and as many candid shots as possible. i do not do a nice ‘posey’ smile, and i want to see what the day REALLY looked like. real smiles, real moments. that was really important to me.

    our wedding favors were chap-sticks we ordered from ebeehoney with our names and the date. they’re awesome because people actually use them, and i have a bunch leftover that will be a sweet reminder for a long time.

    my other favorite part was that i chose EVERY SONG that played. i wanted the music to be special and customized for us, and now i have CD’s of Our Wedding Music that are really special. these would also have made great favors and aren’t too expensive (download the songs, buy blank cd’s, and you’re set!)

  10. Hi! I am the oldest child of ten kids 🙂 Since I was the first to be married, my parents wanted a big wedding. (700 invites!) However, we also didn’t have a big budget.
    Our wedding was PERFECT! I think a lot of the credit goes to my mom for that – she did a ton of planning!
    Here are some things we did:
    Made our own invitations – we had the invitation part printed on vellum (found cheap online) then layered it over an engagement photo and glued it onto a matching piece of card stock. If you are interested, let me know and I will send you a picture of what it looked like (it was very classy). Our wedding was the end of May and had a very springtime feel to it. Our favors (my grandmother was ADAMANT that we HAD to do favors) were pastel colored mini Hershey’s bars we got on sale after Easter. Flowers were from Costco (they have BEAUTIFUL roses) and were done by a friend. The cake was done by a friend and we got sheet cakes from Costco as well. Our wedding was early afternoon so we served fresh fruit and appetizer type food. Our main focus of the day was honoring God and PEOPLE in our lives. Plan as much as you can ahead of time, but when it comes down to it, enjoy the day and don’t sweat the little stuff. I hope your daughter’s wedding is as perfect as mine was 🙂

  11. I made my own favors. They were different, but people still mention them today. I got little 1/2 pint canning jars and made apple butter and salsa. I then got “address lables” printed that had our name and the date and a space at the bottom to write what was in the jar. Cute little useable favors!

    I also let my bridesmade choose her own dress so she could wear it again. It was from the JCPenney catalog. I just chose 3 or 4 that were the right color and let her choose. I did the same thing for the flower girl, my neice.


  12. 2 things:
    In NJ weddings are over. the. top. Favors are a big deal. I really am not a fan of favors because most of the time they end up being dust covered and thrown away. So, I decided to make a donation to a food bank instead of favors. I made a sweet card for each place setting on my home computer that told about the charity. I was able to donate an amount that I was comfortable with and know that I wasn’t spending any money on junk. Also, we had place cards. I was an English major and my husband is a writer. So I spent one night looking up quotes on the computer. Using a copy paste function I printed them to clear labels and put them in each place card. My friend who loves Bruce Springstein got a quote on love from him. It was so much fun to match quotes to the people I loved and I hope they felt that I thought of them in the planning of my wedding. It cost almost nothing and it added such a personal touch.

  13. money savers at my wedding…

    $2 for the chapel length veil from Bible’s for missions thrift store.

    potluck reception so my 400+ gigantic family could all attend

    Friends did the photography

    Grandmother’s friend made the dress for $100

    Mother and brother made a lot of decorations

    I told my bridesmaids to buy blue sleeveless dresses that were long, the rest was up to them and they all wore their dresses again later. It looked really neat at the front with all those different shades of blue, (Husband’s kilt tartan has several shades of blue in it so it worked.)

    I wrote a song for my friend to sing for the procession.

    We used a gong at the front that people had to ring if they wanted us to kiss. (We wanted to arm small children with wiffle bats to create a gauntlet that people needed to run before ringing it but we were vetoed by, well, everyone. I still think it would have been a lot of fun. 🙂

  14. I also forgot to mention that we donated all the leftover food to the soup kitchen. Our church had a homeless shelter in the basement and our reception was in what is normally the soup kitchen, which was a bit of work to redecorate. But the homeless people downstairs got to share the meal the next day.

  15. I just got married last summer . . . . so all this is very fresh in my mind.

    I am glad we made the ceremony VERY much OURS.

    We did things different because we wanted everything to be meaningful. Such as we wanted to stress that marriage was a covenant, so instead of just “I do” we said “I do so covenant with the Lord and Amanda/Lawrance.” And, we didn’t just say it once, we ended up answering four or five separate questions this way.

    We also found awesome vows that were FULL of scripture to use.

    I don’t regret at all having three junior bridesmaids. I loved that these little girls (ages 8-12) felt like such an important part of my wedding. They were VERY HELPFUL and SO SWEET. Many people commented later how they never would have thought to include junior bridesmaids, and how much more helpful then “real” bridesmaids they were (because they didn’t have to worry about their hair and makeup and boyfriends).

    I also am VERY glad we saw each other before the wedding. And, actually wish we had done ALL of our couple photos beforehand and not just some of them.

    I’m glad I only had three months to plan the whole thing . . . less time to stress over the details.

    I’m glad we saved our first kiss for the wedding day.

    I’m glad we had a sweetheart table at the reception for just the two of us. It allowed people to come up to us at any time to talk and not feel as if they were interrupting, and it allowed us to come and go freely without feeling like we were abandoning anyone.

    I’m glad we had a photo-guest book. We used a white board and had guests write messages on it, then get their pictures taken with the board. Just used a digital camera. We LOVED looking at these photos on our honeymoon.

    My biggest favorite thing is what I mentioned first . . . we made the ceremony OURS. It was long . . . but significant. I am very happy about that.

  16. I found a really nice deal on wine bottle favors from that was way cheaper than the wineries offered in person when we went to Sonoma and Napa. Try places that specialize in favors, rather than the places that do favors in addition to their specialties.