Category Archive Do It Yourself

To The Bride on a Budget

To the Bride on a Budget: Top Cost Saving Techniques When Planning Your Wedding

As sales people, and more importantly, Louisville wedding planners at the Ice House – we often hear “how can we cut our budget?” – “is this charge really necessary?” – “the estimated event total is much more than we expected”.

We get it. Budgets are undeniably important, yet often difficult to stick to – and the total overall cost does not come without a great deal of sticker shock. It is our goal to not only exceed your expectations, but to ensure no one goes homeless, broke or hungry throughout the planning process.

Quite often, you will hear your Ice House and/or Crushed Ice Catering team member say – “trust us”. Trust that we know what is best for you and your event. Trust that we know our venue best. Trust that we know some of the best cost saving techniques when it comes to food, beverage and venue costs. Share with us your budget – it eliminates the guess work and allows us to get down to the bottom line. It is your day – and you should have it exactly the way you want. We are here to offer some of our best techniques for cutting costs, without cutting out your vision:

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Every Bride and Groom should set a realistic budget

#1 – Negotiables versus non-negotiables: Just as important as your guest list, begin a list EARLY on in the planning process of what items are must-haves (non-negotiables) and which items are flexible (negotiable). Perhaps it has been your dream to have a live band and that is #1 on your non-negotiable list. But you and your fiance aren’t big on cake. Forgo the cake – and hire the live band! Just remember to offer your guests another dessert option (more often than not, at a lower price).

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Deciding what is important, may be the most important thing you do.

#2 – Expectations versus reality: We live in a Pinterest driven event world. More often than not, clients come to us with inspiration boards from Pinterest from high-end weddings taking place in New York, Los Angeles, Hawaii, etc. It is difficult for us to explain that yes, we can execute that look – but for a substantial cost. Keep it realistic. Pinterest is wonderful tool for inspiration. But understand that while you can shoot for the moon, your budget may not permit.

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Pinterest is a great tool, but proceed with budgetary caution.

#3 – Beer and Wine Darling is Fine: It is perfectly acceptable to offer beer and wine only. By eliminating liquor from your bar package, you are not only saving a few bucks, but you are also saving some of your guests from the dreaded hangover the next day. If your caterer is as cool as Crushed Ice Catering, we can even have one or two secret bottles stashed for Wedding Party only, or your Bourbon Loving Dad.

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Your guests will be satisfied with a limited bar.

#4 – Off-season is in: Check with vendors for special off-season or non-peak discounts. Typically, Friday and Sundays are cheaper than Saturdays, and off-season months will save you some big bucks (as long as an outdoor wedding is not in the picture – remember guest comfort should be your #1 priority).

#5 – The Guest Count Debacle: By far – the easiest way to cut your budget is to trim your guest list. From our experience, this may be the easiest cost-saving technique, but it is BY FAR the toughest on this list. Discuss with your fiancé your “rules” for who is invited and who is not, and stick to your guns – no matter what your future MOL might say (unless she’s fronting the bill, of course). Here are some of our suggestions for who makes the cut:

 

  •                 Have you met this person before?
  •                 Do you allow a plus one if you know they are not in a LTR, engaged or married?
  •                 Have you sat down and had a meal with this person in the last 2 years?
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Who do you want to share in your special day? Spend some time on the guest list!

#6 – Hire Local: In hiring local vendors, you are not only supporting the local economy, but you’re saving a few bucks along the way. There is no charge for travel expenses, accommodations, etc. Also, many caterers offer discounts for vendor meals, so be sure to ask! Inquire about the Ice House’s list of suggested vendors for some of the top local talent!

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Local vendors are the best vendors!

#7 – Shop Smart: Shop for Bridesmaids dresses, wedding weekend outfits, shoes, and all of those other important fashion accessories on discount designer sites such as Hautelook, Zulily, Gilt. You can often find designer items for 50-60% off the full price. If you are okay wearing last season Badgley Mischka’s (who sees your shoes anyways?) then this is a great technique to cut your budget, but maintain your style.

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Online savings are the way to go!

#8 – Forgo Favors: Favors are a great way to say “Thank You”. But let’s be honest – who really needs another koozie to add to their bar collection? Favors are typically cheap, so you aren’t trimming too much fat from your budget – but a couple hundred bucks saved here can go towards something higher up on your non-negotiable list.

#9 – Chaaaa Chinnnnng, Make payments with credit cards: Why HELLLLLLLLO points! Want your Honeymoon paid for? Make your large wedding related purchases with that little piece of plastic and relish in the points that you earn. Depending on the card and their rewards, you could get your airfare, hotel and dinners paid for on your Honeymoon.

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Rack up those rewards with your credit card’s point system.

#10 – Don’t blow your life savings on one night: Yes, your Wedding is the biggest day of your life thus far. It is a fleeting moment that will be enjoyable for you and anyone that loves you no matter what amount of money you spend to make it one-of-a-kind. Remember what is important throughout the process – and that is the fact that you get to marry the love of your life and start your lives together. You don’t want to start the beginning of forever in financial peril. Your guests may not remember the gold flatware, or letterpress invitations two years from now (unless all of your guests are planners J). What they will remember is the two of you beginning your journey together, and being a witness to a phenomenal thing called love.

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In the end, remember the real reason for the festivities.

Keep in mind, these are merely just our suggestions to the common questions and concerns that we hear daily. It important to set a realistic budget, and even decide how much wiggle room you will allow for overages, if any. Ultimately, remember throughout the process to have fun, love each other – and accept help (and offers of help) from anyone.

Cheers and Happy Planning!

Erica

Our Favorite DIY Projects

Bottle and flowers as a centerpiece.

Over the Past few years, new websites like Pinterest have provided us with a treasure trove of Do-It-Yourself ideas for home, life, events and more. Taking on DIY projects to use at your wedding is a great idea but it can be a little overwhelming when you see how many ways an old wine bottle or wooden palette can be used in a new creation. Before you stress and become a wine bottle hoarder, let the ladies at the Ice House and Crushed Iced Catering share a few of our favorite projects that we’ve seen online or in our Louisville venue!

 

DIY Party Favors: Party favors aren’t a necessary item for your wedding, but sometimes it’s nice to remind your guests that you truly thank them for sharing in your special day. There are so many cute, inexpensive ways to DIY small party favors that everyone will use and love. We love “living favors”, plants, seeds, etc. Succulents are very popular right now and look so pretty in your home. Why not gather up some small pots/buckets, have a planting day with your bridesmaids and put together some personalized pots for your guests to take home. Find cute paper that matches your colors and just wrap the little plastic pots they already come in- easy enough! Plus, succulents can go a long time without water and will be a perfect hardy option for your favors!

Pack up seeds for your party favor!
Seed from your favorite flowers are a fabulous and small favor for your guests
Wrap your pots in paper to match your theme.
Step by step wrapping for your little pots!

DIY Guest Book: Although the traditional Guest “Book” is a nice and classic way to have people sign and give their well-wishes, couples are experimenting with more fun options that reflect their personality and the theme of their day. Louisville loves their bourbon. If you do too, then maybe having guests sign a painted bourbon barrel head is a fun option for you. Frame your favorite quote or new monogram on heavyweight paper and have your guests sign around  it. Let your guests have a little fun adding leaves to your “tree of life” or go movie themed and have them stamp a balloon! Choose a design that allows you to hang it up or display back in your home instead of storing on a dusty shelf. All you need to make these is just a steady hand and a little creativity!

A "Tree of Life" guest book option
These little wooden shapes can be ordered at most craft stores and put together.
Use guest's thumbprints and names to create your picture
If a storybook romance is up your alley, then try something like this!

DIY Menu Boards: Let your guests know what thy’re loading up their plates with by labeling your menu. This can be one simple board at the front of a buffet line, or place cards by each individual item. The Ice House and Crushed Ice Catering use items as simple as small square mirrors with a paint pen/chalkboard pen. Grab your friend with the best handwriting and toss her a pen! Cute handwriting adds a personal touch and saves you money on printing fees. You can use whatever items you can find that go along with your theme.

Mirrors with chalk pen used for menu board.
Mirrors are a good way to reflect the lighting inside the venue.
Chalkboard bar menu.
Chalkboards are always a good option for listing out drinks or food items.

DIY Centerpieces: Centerpieces are going to be a huge component of your decor. Floral arrangements are most commonly used in the center of a table, but that doesn’t mean that you are limited to using only giant vases full of flowers. Here’s where your wine bottles can come in handy! Find a color of spray paint that will compliment your colors without overpowering, and spray different sizes and shapes of bottles. Place flowers or candle sticks in each. Glitter is also good for bottles or jars. However, before you go buying a bunch of glitter, know that it does not always stay where you place it and that you may be picking glitter out of your hair until the second you walk down that aisle 😉 Be sure to work with the season too! Colorful leaves,  pine cones for fall, or ornaments for winter make for very inexpensive centerpiece additions.

Bottle and flowers as a centerpiece.
Painting old bottles and pulling flowers from your other decor is a great way to make a centerpiece.
Winter centerpieces.
Pulling pine cones and other greenery is the perfect chance to reflect the season.

 

So there you have it! DIY can be a great way to add a fun personal touch to your big day and it could end up saving you some money in the long run (and who doesn’t love that). Have you done a DIY project that you feel the world needs to know about? Share it with us and maybe you can be our next feature! As for now, Happy Crafting!

 

Cheers,

Madeleine