There are some things I won't skimp on, including but not limited to: a good hair cut (my hair is weird, temperamental and a cheap cut means 8-10 weeks of misery), running shoes (mostly because I have super flat feet and less expensive ones do awful things to my knees) and handbags (I don't have a lot of them or anything, and rarely even carry one, but I just like the real deals- no fakes). In general, though, I hate paying full price for anything and love the feeling of a good bargain.
Even in this down economy, while planning our wedding we didn't find too many outright bargains for the major things. Maybe in better times we would have had to pay more for "extras" (another bar, an additional hour of photo booth time, etc.), who knows. Anyway, a few places I was able to save:
1.) The dress
From the start I was really into the idea of a J. Crew wedding dress. I think their dresses are pretty, practical and can be reasonably priced. I did buy one from jcrew.com on sale for $75, but a week later found one on eBay that was more my style. Original price: $495 / Paid: $115
Being too lazy to go from store to store to find jewelry, I'd been looking on the Carolee website and had picked out this necklace:
I was wandering around the Loop one evening after work and found the exact same necklace at Loehmann's for less than half the price. I did have to buy the matching earrings at Bloomingdales for full price, but I did get a ton of compliments on the necklace at the wedding. Original price: $50.00 / Paid: $19.99
Other good deals:
-Fannie May Cubbies chocolate bars for out-of-towner bags
They are typically $1.50 each, but if you buy 10 or more, they're $1.00 each.
Finding good quality bags that weren't too big or too small proved a bit more difficult than I initially thought (we went to two different party stores thinking they would have them), but finally found exactly what we were looking for at the Dollar Tree on Addison ($1.00 for two)
I rarely buy anything online without checking for coupon codes on RetailMeNot.com, CouponCabin.com, CouponMountain.com. The codes came in handy for purchases on Zazzle (custom stamps), VistaPrint (save-the-date postcards) and even the Source!
The day was beautiful, wonderful, perfect and made me so happy and grateful to be surrounded by those I love. We have some time before our pictures are in, but I will re-cap the weekend soon and share about our vendors who helped make our vision come true.
but I wish I had taken pictures of us this morning stuffing our out-of-towner bags an hour before we had to leave to drop them off at the hotel. We've totally run out of time on everything, so this was a rush job and had to be done while neither of us was in the best of moods. The best part about it is that we stuffed all 30+ bags on the curb next to our parked car right on the street. We live on the third floor and were not about to haul 70 bottles of water and other assorted goods up only to bring them back down, nor were we going to move the car to a less busy street for fear of losing a good parking space. That's how you roll in Chicago when you live near Wrigley Field and it's about an hour away from the start of batting practice.
Anyway, bags are dropped off, guests are arriving, got my no-chip manicure, our parents have finally met, and I am exhausted.
We registered at Bed, Bath & Beyond, which means not only have we been receiving wonderfully practical kitchen items, but scads of purple ribbon. I'm such a pack rat for that sort of thing, so what better way to put it to use than lollipop stands for the kids room at the reception.
Cheree is also now selling the lollipop stands on her website starting at $125 for a small one. I guarantee you they will look 100 times more beautiful than one I could ever make, but I also spent just $3.99 for the styrofoam cone at Jo-Ann. And I get to re-use ribbon!
It's hard for me to believe that we've been working on this wedding for just about eight months. That sounds like a long time, but with just 11 days to go I can barely remember the good old days when I still had time on my hands. (By the way, that card box got decorated then tossed because it looked so awful. A talented and generous friend has made me one instead).
While I don't think we're quite at the point of the penny-candy-in-a-Ziploc yet, getting stuff together for the out-of-town guest bags is making me nuts and I will be relieved when finished. At this point I'm planning on just filling them with the usual stuff: water, pretzels, Wrigley gum, possibly Girl Scout cookies that may or may not have been sitting in my freezer for six months, etc. If time and budget allow, I would also love to include mini gooey butter cakes as a nod to my hometown of St. Louis, Garretts, Fannie May Cubbies chocolate bars and/or Frango mints (acceptable to me now since they are being produced in Chicago again).
I'm also a bit nervous about everyone getting their bags. I know I have to trust the hotel to do a good job on this one. Our hotel charges $5.00 per bag to be placed in a guest room (or we can leave them at the front desk and up to chance). At first I was a little put out by the charge since we're spending a good chunk of change there already. But a friend of mine in the hotel biz (whose hotel charges $6.00 per bag!) said it's a pain to do put the bags in each room. Who knew.
Every time I go to Paper Source for wedding-related paraphernalia, I swear it will be my last. Not because I don't love the paper and could stare at the shelves of cards and envelopes dreaming of different color combinations for a long time, or because I have a running debate in my head about whether or not I should own something called a Crop-a-Dile.
I'm trying to wean myself off the Source primarily because I really don't need to be taking on yet another craft project this close to the wedding, nor do I want to be knee-deep in Curry colored 4-bar cards three years from now. I've spent enough hours and dollars at the stores in Chicago (and even in Kansas City while on a business trip!) over the past six years and with an increasing frequency since I got engaged.
When I started my wedding-related Paper Source purchasing earlier this year, I started keeping my receipts, because I was curious about just how much paper craft spending I was going to do. I haven't totaled it lately, but it's been a lot.
Collecting these receipts came in handy last month during the "spend $30 get $10 off your next purchase" promotion, because I loves me a good deal and also because I started doing our color-coded placecards in gold, silver, khaki and bluebell.
Of course ran out of placecards this weekend, plus am considering a new project (I know) that requires vellum, so made yet another Source run this morning. Unfortunately I forgot my receipt with the $10 off coupon. Boo. And even though I'm in their system, they wouldn't honor it. Double boo.
I left with my (non-discounted) purchases, and stopped by Paper Boy on Belmont. Where I found even prettier vellum, by the way. This may be it for me and the Source. We had a good run.