Grab that pen and paper, it’s time to get cracking on some wedding planning. Regardless of who you are, what you’re wearing, and who’s invited, you have to get married somewhere. We’ve probably all heard of extravagant venues, complete with ornate décor and a price tag to match. Truth is, you don’t need all of the bouji bells and whistles to have a beautiful wedding.
Set the Scene
There are so many beautiful places in and around the city that provide the perfect backdrop for your celebration. If you’re planning on having an outdoor wedding, consider different parks and natural areas. The amphitheater in the Rose Test Garden in Washington Park can be rented out for special events. Several different locations in the Hoyt Arboretum are available as well, all for under 1,000 dollars. You might also have a little more luck further out. The Troutdale House by the Sandy River is a fantastic venue in Troutdale that offers a lot of services and amenities for a price that is far better than a lot of other comparable places in town. No matter what you decide on, make sure to do your homework. You’d be surprised at what you can find with a little research.
If paying for a venue isn’t your jam, that’s ok too! Ask around with family and friends and you might just find something amazing. A big backyard can make for a great alternative to renting out a space. In addition to saving money, it can make for a more personalized experience. It all boils down to what you’re looking for and what makes you the happiest while sticking to the parameters of your budget.
Say ‘Yes’ to the (Affordable) Dress
One of the most memorable, and highly televised, aspects of a wedding is often “the dress.” Ball gowns, tea-length dresses, fit and flares; we’re all accustomed to the lingo by now. Although many people enjoy trying on different styles and bonding with friends and family over the dress-buying experience, the garment itself can become a dreaded expense. Fortunately, you have options. If you have some time for trial and error, there are lots of Etsy shops that specialize in creating unique and affordable gowns. If, however, you find yourself in a bit of a crunch, there are plenty of local solutions.
If you venture into the Alberta Art District, you’ll find Brides for a Cause. Imagine a place where support for charities meets a wonderland of beautiful dresses. Granted, most of the dresses have been worn by another bride but they are all in amazing condition and are marked down to an incredibly discounted price. You are unlikely to find two dresses that are exactly the same, each one has its own story. The benefit is that dresses in a variety of sizes can be found which can help save money that would have gone towards altering a sample sized gown.
Another similar boutique, Adorned in Grace, can be found in Southwest. They also carry a great variety including a section of designer gowns. I love the idea of a non-profit bridal shop. How many dresses are stuck in the back of someone’s closet collecting dust after only being worn once? In a city that is so enthusiastic about eco-friendly living, it’s only fitting that there is such a fantastic selection of recycled wedding dresses. Another serious benefit to purchasing a new-to-you dress at one of these shops is that you can shop at your own pace. I’ve never liked the idea of feeling pressured to buy and the addition of a consultant who is anxious to make a sale can cause unnecessary stress. Bring a couple friends or family members along and have fun playing dress up! Try different styles, find out what you feel the best in, and get something that you like.
Hair and Makeup on Point
You might already be thinking about hair and makeup on the big day. A simple search will reveal that bridal hair and makeup can cost an exorbitant amount of money, hundreds of dollars. People are under the impression that you have to look perfect on your wedding day but, in reality, all you have to look like is your beautiful self! That’s not to say that you shouldn’t dress it up a bit but nobody should feel pressured to spend more than they are comfortable with on a crazy makeover. You might know a friend or two who have a passion for makeup and hair who are willing to help out. You can also get a very affordable makeover from a beauty college. I happened to know a Mary Kay consultant who offered to do two trial runs and my hair and makeup on the day of for free. Don’t be afraid to ask around.
Stay Dapper With Affordable Clothing
If you, your partner, or both are not planning on wearing a traditional wedding dress, you’ll probably find yourself in need of some new threads. Before you run off to the nearest suit outfitter, take a minute to consider the options. My husband and I neglected to put any energy into his wedding wardrobe until about 24 hours before the ceremony. We went to Macy’s. All told, his new pair of shoes, pants, button down, suspenders, and bowtie rang up to less than 200 dollars. Compare that to a 700-dollar suit and you’ve got yourself a happy wallet. Depending on your personal preference, you could save even more by trying to find some articles of clothing from your own closet, borrowing from a friend, or doing a little thrifting.
In the end, the only thing that really matters is that you are wearing something that you feel good about wearing. It’s also a nice little added bonus if you can manage to breathe. Breathing is important.