Author Archives: Katie Jakub

Beg, Borrow, or DIY (it’s a steal!): Wedding Accessories

Your dream wedding on your budget.

Welcome back Katie, our contributing wedding writer who is getting married this Pi Day!

When you go accessory shopping for your bridal trousseau, make sure to bring a nice brown paper lunch bag.  Not because you filled it with snacks, which you may also need, but to stop the onslaught of hyperventilating from sticker shock.  Shoes, jewels, and veils are a notoriously high wedding cost, but there are some easy ways to incorporate more meaning and spend less on the pieces that tie your look together.


If you’re a shoe girl like me, you will have to will yourself away from every new pair of shoes that could be perfect for your big day.  While I love the idea of perfectly pristine white pumps with cute glitter accents, I can’t see myself wearing the shoes a second time.  I decided to take a spin through my shoe collection.  Warning: sometimes this can cause an adverse effect and reaffirm that you need shoes. Proceed carefully.  Several years ago, I purchased a pair of Kate Spade navy polka dot strappy heels with a bow! on clearance for about $60.  I’ve already broken them in and worn them to a ton of different events.  The multiple wears does mean that my wedding kicks might have some stains or imperfect soles, but the shoes are perfect for the theme of polka dots with navy and coral tones.  Even better: they are the right height for my dress—no hemming required!


Every bride needs to sparkle, but we’re not all made of gold bars.  I’m still deciding on earrings, bracelets, and necklaces for the big day, but I’ve got some great options including pieces that I’ve worn in previous weddings as a bridesmaid, as well as a set that my future mother-in-law gifted this Christmas.  I’d really like to use those beads as they belonged to my fiance’s grandmother, but they need some TLC due to aging and use.  If I can get the parts I need to do some fixes, the family memories can’t be beat—even if it means adding them to the bouquet or rethinking a necklace into a bracelet.


DIY Style or borrowed family heirloom veils can add some bling without cha-ching.  As a DIY-er, I could not even believe that a plain veil that was finger tip length was $100 at a national retailer.  While the tulle may have been a higher grade than the craft-store-next-door stuff, it certainly did not have $100 finishes.  I took a stab at creating my own bird cage combining tips from several different YouTube tutorials and in total, it cost less than $8 including the tulle, thread, and package of combs.  A little tip: buy enough material to make two so you can play around with shapes and lengths.

Veils are another great place to ask around your friends and family as many women still have their veil and have no big plans for it.  My future sister-in-law who married last July offered me her gorgeous veil, and another of her friends will be using it after me—sisterhood of the traveling veil!  After spending a bit too much time looking a bridal party photos on Pinterest, I’ll be using both veils at different points, but I won’t feel bad about having spent too much!

Cut the Wedding Catering Crap

budget wedding catering

Source: NTC Photo

When we walk into a meeting with a vendor, we have done our research.  We’ve called several related vendors, received verbal price quotes, and researched all the wedding resources that we can, but we can’t know where the excess is with every vendor. Brian and I have established a good cop/bad cop routine, if you will, for these situations. I ask all the questions about timelines, wants, requirements, and how to make the word full of more polka dots and Brian is in charge of the “what can we do to make this less expensive” shtick.

With having to use one of four caterers, we knew that we were going to go with the cheapest option, but still thought it was high priced.  When it came time to get down to the nitty gritty overpricedness with our caterer, we were a bit surprised at how well it turned out, especially given the experiences we had with them via e-mail.

A few things our catering rep helped us with:


Like going to your grandma’s house, caterers are going to sashay more appetizers around the room than your wedding guests will ever possibly eat in 1 hour.  Our package included 2 table displays (veggies, fruits, cheeses) and 5 passed appetizers in addition to our dinner, cake or pie or both for dessert, and food favors.  During our internet investigation stage, we saw the app displays from previous weddings at our venue and we got to taste test the passed apps at our caterer meeting.  We were able to cut 2 of the passed appetizers at $3 per person from the list and feel confident that our guests will be well fed.


Our package called for two entrée options which left us at the higher end of the budget by thinking beef and fish.  After asking our caterer about options for vegetarian friends, who to be quite honest may not even be vegetarians now, we were able to add on a third option which was significantly cheaper (almost $20 a plate).  Now, when we budgeted out the cost of our total bill, we went based off the most expensive option so we have no future price shocks.  Whether or not anyone orders the vegetable napoleon is to be seen, but our budget may see a credit if they do.


The full table of glistening dishes wasn’t part of our vision.  We got ruthless here.  We cut appetizer plates and bar glasses trading for plastic which the caterer is providing.  Instead of having a bread plate and butter knife, we’re having our croustade served on the salad plate.  Our knife does double duty as a steak knife and dinner knife.  We swapped dessert china plates for eco-friendly paper plates that we’re stamping to match our wooden forks.  We ousted the spoons, tea cups, and saucers for polka dot stirrer and insulated cups and fun creams for the coffee and tea service.  We’re spending under $75 to provide our items, which means we were saving almost $750 plus the tax and delivery fees that would be added on top from the rental company.

In the end, all Brian and I can say from our experiences is: don’t be afraid to ask how you can work with the vendor to help minimize costs on your end!

Wedding DIY or BUY #1: Colorful Cutlery

Wooden Cutlery with Dots

Our venue does not provide tableware. At a certain point of paying .69 per fork and spoon, you might want to bang your head off the table instead.  Is it really worth it?  I mean, I love you, mom (thanks for reading!), but I’ve set the table at family dinner for years and we get by just fine with our knife, fork, and spoon.  We even reuse our forks for dessert sometimes—we’re heathens!

When we met with our caterer in October, she gave us some ideas on things we could cut.  I’ll share more ideas in a future post, but one idea she suggested was to do something fun for the dessert course plate and fork and not rent those pieces.  I loved the idea and immediately searched the far corners of Pinterest for cheaper alternatives.  We decided to purchase plastic plates, but the forks came down to two options: dipped handles on metal forks or stamped polka dot handles on wooden forks.  And as my family advised, there’s no way I wanted to watch 140 painted forks drip dry.

In total, the project cost us just under $15 for 200 forks and took about an hour with soon-to-be-newlyweds teamwork.  That’s a $74 savings for our wedding budget and $35 cheaper than anywhere online.  Cha-ching, saving!

Your Shopping List:

–          New #2 Pencils – one per person per stamp color
–          Stamp Pad – pigment ink works wonderfully and makes nice, bright colors–dye ink can be duller
–          Wooden Forks/Spoons/Knives – order extra to account for any broken tines/pieces
–          Libations of your choice (not included in cost)

The In-depth How To:

  1. Set up a comfy area to sit and stamp.  Drink your libation.  This is going be one of the easiest crafts to save some money.
  2. Ah, step 2, yes, this is where you get ready to actually start the stamping. Lay out your forks in sets of 3 or 4.  Watch out for broken pieces—there will be a few, discard those.  You should probably take a sip because this craft is so stressful!
  3. Start with lighter color dots and move to darker colors using the eraser end of the pencil as a stamper.
  4. Periodically sip your libation.  Do not accidentally put your pencil eraser in the wrong ink colors and not on the handles—this will happen the more you drink. Not that I’m saying that from experience or anything.
  5. If you’re making a confetti dot pattern, use overlapping dots as well as dots off the sides of the handle to add a nice visual effect.  There are many stamps you can purchase to do stripes/chevron/swirls/words/perfect polka dot patterns.  They cost more money.
  6. Let forks dry while you repeat steps 2-5 as necessary.  Forks are generally dry to touch within 20 seconds.
  7. Impress your guests with your crafty skills!