I promise to get back on track with natural hormone support next week, but for now I still have wedding brain. As my girls say, sorry not sorry.
I am the mother of four beautiful daughters. I have planned three weddings in the last three and a half years and consider myself an expert in wedding planning and budgeting.
Seriously, though, two of the three weddings were held in 2019–only four months apart.
Because we are a blended family with four daughters between us, we give equal treatment. Whether you decide to contribute to your daughter’s wedding is your choice. We chose to help with ours, but within reason. Let’s be real. Weddings can be stupid expensive!
We enforced a pretty tight budget with the first wedding three years ago, but had no idea that 2019 would bring on weddings two and three. I almost had a nervous breakdown thinking about it when I found out both engagements were forthcoming.
HOW I SURVIVED TWO WEDDINGS IN 2019
My oldest daughter, Amanda, got engaged over Christmas 2018 and immediately set a June wedding date.
My youngest daughter, Avery, got engaged this past February and set an October wedding date.
When that happened, I had to tell Avery that she could find and reserve her venue, but anything beyond that would have to wait until after Amanda’s June wedding. I reassured Avery that we could put on a beautiful wedding with only four months left to plan because I had planned my daughter Allison’s wedding in only two months! Long story, but yes, we only had two months to plan the first wedding.
Beyond the obvious financial burden, it was also important for me that Amanda have the spotlight all to herself as she prepared for her big day. So from February to June, the focus was on Amanda and her wedding. We gave her a budget, and she stayed within it. Anything beyond our budget had to come out of her own bank account.
By the time Amanda’s wedding took place on June 15, 2019, I had learned a lot between her wedding and her sister Allison’s wedding. You can read about my experiences here. The third wedding was definitely going to be a charm, even though my bank account was going to be hurting a little.
In July, Avery and I hit the ground running and had her dress and decorations purchased pretty much by the end of August. Again, we set a budget and worked hard to keep everything within it.
Each of my girls was into DIY, so each wedding had DIY projects. We learned when to shop at Hobby Lobby to get 50% off of floral and wedding supplies. Learning Hobby Lobby’s pricing schedule was a valuable lesson!
Do I recommend DIY for weddings? Not unless you enjoy it and need to save money. It was a lot of work having to prepare for and physically set up the venues. There is a reason professional decorators are expensive. It’s a lot of hard work! I repeat, A LOT OF HARD WORK!
My daughters were all micro-managers so even if professional decorating was in the budget, they wouldn’t have loosened the reins and allowed someone else to have control of their vision. My job as mother-of-the-bride was to hand over the checkbook or credit card and allow their creative juices to flow. These were their weddings, not mine. My own mother taught me that lesson.
So, how did we survive two weddings that were four months apart? Just like I said. We set strict budgets and focused on one wedding at a time. It worked out beautifully and neither daughter got the short end of the stick. In fact, I got a little lucky and had some serving supplies leftover from the June wedding that we reused in the October wedding!
Also, I saved money by not hiring a wedding coordinator for the October wedding. (You can read more about that topic in my prior post here.) Instead, Amanda’s best friend, who has been in and/or attended 31 weddings in the last 3-4 years, stepped up and took charge for us. She knew our family, knew what needed to be done to make Avery’s wedding run smoothly and stay on schedule, and she just made my life easier! Skip the expensive wedding coordinator and ask a trusted friend to help you on wedding day. You can thank me later for that advice.
Most importantly is BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET…and wine!
You don’t have to take out a loan or borrow money for your daughter to have the wedding of her dreams. Get creative and think outside of the box. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding dress! Each of my daughters had a $1,000 budget for their dress. Anything beyond that would eat into the venue and food budget. They chose wisely and each looked stunning in their “budget” friendly dresses. (It’s ludicrous that $1,000 is considered a cheap wedding dress.)
Get creative on the food if you’re planning to serve a meal. Amanda had Dominoes Pizza delivered to her reception. Admittedly, I was very skeptical about how this choice would appear to others, but guess what… NO ONE CARED! They got to enjoy pizza and dancing! It was a very fun, budget friendly wedding reception!
Avery had a simple taco bar at her reception with chips, queso and salsa as her appetizer. Everyone loved it!
Allison’s wedding three years ago was held at a venue that partnered with a caterer at a very reasonable cost. Her reception meal was a variety of a lot of good food choices for the guests at a cost that was rolled into the venue rental. Again, very cost effective.
You don’t need to have a formal type meal to have a great reception. In the end, your guests are not going to remember what they ate. They are going to remember the fun atmosphere and being present for the big day.
Have I mentioned that you just need to think outside the box? And, stick to a budget?
We are not a wealthy family, but we are comfortable. We didn’t tap into our retirement fund, borrow from our 401k’s or take out a second mortgage to pay for any of the three weddings. You shouldn’t do that either! Set a budget that you’re comfortable with…or don’t.
Weddings are a gift from the parents, they are not required. I think people forget that sometimes. If you don’t have the money or simply don’t want to contribute financially to your daughter’s wedding, then don’t. No shame!
Finances aside, the best advice I can give you on surviving multiple daughter weddings is to just savor every single minute with each daughter. You only get one opportunity to be the mother-of-the-bride for her. Each wedding will be completely different because each of your daughters is different. Enjoy that special time because it’s your big day too!
Here are a few pics from Avery’s wedding on Friday, October 25th:
Avery's "Budget" Dress
Because we only had four months to shop for Avery's wedding, she had to buy her dress off the rack. She was able to get exactly what she wanted within her budget. And, you'll agree that she looks like a million dollars!
Avery's Wedding Hair
We also saved money on both Amanda's and Avery's wedding hair because they had a mutual friend who is gifted in the art of hair and make up. She did both girls' hair and makeup as a gift to them. As you can see from this photo of Avery's hair, it was truly a gift!
Mom and Avery
Here is a front view of Avery's dress and her beautiful DIY wedding bouquet and corsage for me.
Live healthy, my friends, and remember that age is just a number.