The Family Band

Music and the DJ play significant roles at a wedding. The DJ is the life of the party, keeping all of your guests entertained, excited, and ready to dance! With just the right playlist and attitude, your DJ can determine the excitement levels of your wedding.

Here’s the clincher – DJ’s, typically, are expensive. For an awesome, highly trained, professional DJ, the price range can just about topple you over. But here’s the good news – if you have musically talented family members or friends, you could have them DJ at the reception for you! Having family or friends act as your DJ can really help to save you a bundle.

The Average DJ Cost

DJ prices are all over the board. You can hire a DJ for as cheap as $300 to as expensive as $5,000 for a 4-6 hour wedding. Depending on the expertise level, the cost of a DJ can really fluctuate. You want a professional DJ who is going to come professionally dressed with professional manners and professional equipment. Like I said before, the music determines the whole atmosphere of your wedding. So if you want someone to DJ professionally, you’ll probably look at prices at around $800-$1,500 if not more.

Do Your Research

If you don’t have musically inclined family members and friends who could professionally DJ or play instruments at your wedding, than make sure you do your “DJ research.” Another tip – book a DJ way in advance! This will help save you money as well. Compare, ask around, and don’t be afraid to ask for videos of their previous gigs.

DJ by auroramixer

DJ by auroramixer

The Family DJ

If you’re looking to save money on your wedding, saving hundreds, if not thousands, on a DJ will certainly help. I know of several people, myself included, who had family or family friends DJ or play instruments at their wedding. Having family members or friends act as your DJ and/or musicians will ensure that names are announced properly, the music you want is played, and everything is professionally and accurately done. Your family and friends are dedicated to making sure that your day is perfect, so they will do all that they can to get you the rocking reception you want!

With family or friends as your DJ and/or ceremony musicians, you can save a lot of money. From a trio of family violinists playing classical tunes at your ceremony, to a fun and crowd-reading DJ, your wedding and reception are bound to be entertaining, memorable events for all!

A Backyard Wedding

Looking around for the perfect wedding venue can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are tons of options out there, from indoor church venues to rustic barn weddings, country clubs and  parks… you name it. The problem is finding the right venue for the right price. A simple solution is having it in someone’s pasture or stunning backyard! If you know someone with gorgeous property or photo-worthy landscaping, you could always ask if they have the time, space, and are able to host your wedding. Here are a few practical tips and things to think about when looking at properties or backyards.

Venue Prices

Today, the average wedding cost runs at about $28,000, and that includes everything from the photographer to the wedding invites. The average venue cost for an outdoor wedding is anywhere from at least $1,000-$4,000, if not more.

Backyard Wedding: The Aisle by Undersan

Backyard Wedding: The Aisle by Undersan


Backyard Beauty

Backyard weddings are a fantastic way to save a lot of money on your wedding. By hosting it on someone’s property, you can easily spend the money on something else, like a down payment on a house, rent, or anything else you can think of. Here are just a couple things to think about if you’re interested in going the backyard-route:

  • Ask around and see if any of your family or friends have acreage or a decent sized yard, and make sure they’re ok with having all those people on their property. Also, have a clean-up crew there and ready to help take care of the after-mess!
  • Make sure the location is as central as can (practically) be.
  • Map out and see how many guests can comfortably move around and socialize on the property. You don’t want people to feel claustrophobic when they’re at your wedding; you want them to feel comfortable. Having the space to move around, dance, and socialize is important.
  • You also want to check out and see if there are good areas to take your wedding photos too. Nice, clean cut landscaping is important.
  • Make sure there’s a place for you and your bridesmaids to comfortably get ready at. Having enough space, bathrooms, electrical outlets, mirrors, and adequate AC or heating are all important.

Having a backyard wedding is ideal for saving money while still having that fairytale ceremony and reception of your dreams. With the money you save just on a venue location, there are hundreds of practical things you can use the extra Benjamin’s for!

“Hiring” your Family Friends to do the Dirty Work

Having your wedding catered can be really expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, one way to squeeze a few Benjamin’s is by having family friends cater the wedding for you. As a personal side note, I had several family friends and acquaintances help with the catering of my wedding and it not only saved me (a lot) of money, but it made my day even more special and personal! So here are a few of the many benefits to having family friends and acquaintances cater your wedding.

 Catering Average:                           

Like I said, you’ll save a lot of money when you go the friend-route with catering. Depending on what type of meal you’re having, whether it’s a buffet style, gourmet meal, or heavy hors d’oeuvres, the average catering cost is figured per person. For a roundabout idea for a dinner setting, $25pp (per person) is the average amount for restaurant catering. If you’re having a medium to large size wedding of about 150-200 people, that can come out to about $3,800 – $5,000. And that’s just a ball park price.

Caterers by Narayan Nayar

Caterers by Narayan Nayar

The Benefits of Family Friends:

Having family friends cater your wedding will practically slash that price in half, if not completely. If you ask several people to come to your wedding to help with the catering, (don’t forget to mention the benefit of free food! Everyone loves free food…) you’ll more than likely have enough help to take care of the serving and clean up. Just remember to let everyone know that should they need help with catering any special events in the future, you’ll be there to help them! What goes around comes around!

Giving People A Chance to Help:

A lot of people have a servant’s heart and would love to help! Having family friends help cater your wedding will give your whole reception a family-feel. You want to be surrounded by people you love, know, and care for. Between family and close friends attending your wedding, and acquaintances helping to keep your day going, your wedding couldn’t get much better!

“Hiring” friends and family acquaintances to help cater your wedding can save you thousands of dollars. If you’re trying to pinch a few pennies and save a few dimes, cutting out the catering cost will really help. Just remember to make yourself available to help anyone who helped serve at your wedding. A kind “thank you” and willingness to help them in return will give you a boost in the friend department!

Renting Your Wedding Dress

Wedding dresses are the bride’s most treasured piece in the entire wedding. The dress accentuates the brides blushing beauty, drawing awe-inspired gazes and sweet smiles from all the guests. The dress is the wow factor. From lacey A-line dresses to full out Cinderella-fashioned ball gowns, you want to find the perfect wedding dress for your day.

But you’re on a budget, and you want to save some of your wedding money for a down payment on a house, first and last month’s rent, or buying furniture. Renting your wedding dress will give you all the wiggle room you need to have your cake and eat it to! Here are just a few things to think about if you’re tossing around the idea of renting a gown.Wedding Dress by Matt Mallett

Wedding Dress by Matt Mallett

 The Pros of Renting:

When you rent a dress, you can have your designer gown with all the lace, pearls, and material you want, without the expense. With renting, your options become a whole lot greater.

Another thing to think about when tossing around the idea of renting is you won’t have to worry about where to store your dress. To be honest, storing that much material is just shy of a pain in the neck. Your closet is going to be full of you and your husband’s clothes, and finding enough room to store your gorgeous dress without worrying about tearing, staining, or ruining it can be tough. With renting a dress, you can send it back after your wedding, no hassle, worry, or extra storage space needed.

The Cons to Renting:

Wedding gowns hold sentimental value for just about any bride. It’s the one outfit you wore when your entire world changed; you started a new chapter with the love of your life in that gorgeous dress. Granted, if you’re on a tight budget, you might have to skimp on something else in order to have the gown of your dreams, but it’s well worth it. Plus, if you’re like some, you want your daughter to have the option of wearing it or sowing a piece of your dress onto hers on her big day.

Depending on what you want most, whether it’s the perfect dress and extra closet space, or skimped décor to have the perfect wedding dress for forever, will depend on how you shop. Take the time to mull over what matters most to you, then go out and shop till you drop!

Your Wedding On A Budget

Whimsical beauty and awe-striking extravagance don’t have to come with a hefty price tag. In fact, there are several ways to have a budget-friendly ceremony and reception while still having a gorgeous, fairytale wedding! Here’s a short list of just a few of the many ways you can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, on your beautiful day!

Renting Your Wedding Dress:

Although some women, understandably, disagree with renting a wedding dress, renting will save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Plus, with renting a dress, you have more options to choose from – You can have that gorgeous designer gown or chic and vintage lace dress for half the price.

Hiring Family Friends to do the Dirty Work:

Yep, I said it. Hire your family’s friends to do all of the dirty work! By asking a few family friends to help pitch in with serving and cleaning at the reception, you can save hundreds of dollars on your catering budget. Just ask everyone to wear black shoes, black slacks, and a white top to make the cleaning crew look professional and uniformed.

Backyard Wedding:

If you want an outdoor wedding, ask your family or friends if they have enough property, and if they are willing and able, to host your wedding. By having it in someone’s manicured backyard or rustic barn, you can save thousands on your venue budget. 

Tent and Garden Wedding by Festivities MN

Tent and Garden Wedding by FestivitiesMN


The Family Band:

If you have musically talented friends or family, you can hire them to play the music for your ceremony, and even your reception. With a family member or friend acting as the DJ, you can save, yet again, hundreds of dollars on the music aspect of your wedding.

This is just a sneak peak on how to save big bucks on your big day. By hiring friends and family to do the catering and DJ’ing, renting your dress, and having a backyard wedding, you’d be surprised on how much money you can really save! Stay tuned to see in detail how you can save money on your gorgeous day! Your dream wedding doesn’t have to cost you an arm, a leg, and 6 fingers. With just a few tips and a couple penny pinching ideas and suggestions, you can have the wedding of your dreams, and still have a few dollars left over for a home down payment, your honeymoon, or anything else!

Fall Wedding Bouquets

For the bouquet, there are so many different flower arrangements for you to choose from, that sometimes it can seem a little… intimidating, shall we say? But with a few helpful hints and a couple flower arrangement ideas, finding the perfect bouquet doesn’t have to be so hard after all!

They’re Silk?

They’re less expensive, they last longer, and you don’t have to worry about dead or crushed flowers on your wedding day. Silk flowers are fabulous keepsakes too- take it from me, I still have mine and they’re gorgeous, a year and a half later! With silk flowers, you don’t have to worry about them being in season or not- if you want sunflowers, roses, calla lilies, or anything in between, you can have them! Not to mention, they’re usually about half the price of regular flowers.

Fall Wedding Bouquet by FestivitiesMN

As Real As It Gets!

As nice as silk flowers are, there’s nothing better than the sweet aroma of freshly picked blossoms. The kiss of soft petals on your fingers will send a wave of blissful excitement through your veins. Real flowers are fantastic, but they are a little pricey, especially if you want flowers that are out of season. But not to worry. There are many different floral options for you to select from, giving you a wide array choices.

A Little Bit of Both

There’s always a way around a hefty price tag while still getting what you really want. If having real flowers as your bouquet would mean the world to you, than splurge on yourself- you deserve it! Your ladies can have gorgeous silk flower bouquets that look just as real as yours. Nobody will really be able to tell the difference.

Color Combinations

Ah, colors! With a gorgeous bouquet, it can really accentuate your dress’ beauty! There are hundreds of different color options, but here are a few color and bouquet combination suggestions!

  • Orange calla lilies, red roses, cranberry ranunculus, and red berries
  • red, orange, and yellow roses, calla lilies, golden mokara orchids, and hypericum berries
  • Sunflowers, red roses, and berries (sunflowers seem to be a popular fall choice for bouquets)

With just the right flowers, you can really set off the whole décor of your wedding. You can even use some of the same flower combinations as centerpieces, aisle and alter decorations, and so much more.

Flowers are beautiful, and with just the right bouquet, your whole wedding will have a classy, elegant feel to it!

Fall Wedding Bridesmaid Dresses

They’ve been there for you throughout the entire wedding process; they’ve helped you get everything in order, making sure your wedding day turns out perfect. Your bridesmaids are your right hand ladies, am I right? Your wedding is your day; you’re the gorgeous centerpiece everyone gets to dote on and fawn over, but your bridesmaids deserve a little loving too! With just the right dress, they can feel prim and pretty on your big day!

There are so many different dress options out there that it’s easy to get lost in the mountains of fabrics, colors, and style choices. Choosing the perfect dresses for your ladies can be a daunting task, but with a few pointers, bridesmaid dress shopping doesn’t have to be such a headache after all!

Fall Bridesmaids Dresses by by MightyBoyBrian

Twinning It Up:

Some like the idea of matching dresses- it adds a sense of oneness, organization, and equality among the ladies. But make sure that you pick a dress that goes well with different body types! Not only that, but you want to make sure you pick colors that coincide with your theme and the season. Also, length is important. For a fall wedding, a longer bridesmaid dress can keep your gals a little warmer, as well as add an air of sophistication. Deep purples, mahoganies, deep oranges, grays, and browns are all classy, warm fall colors that are excellent choices.

We’re All A Little Different:

Nobody has the same body type, and that’s ok! Finding the perfect bridesmaid dress that fits the sinewy, curvy, petite, and lofty ladies can seem almost impossible- that’s where letting them choose the style comes in handy! For several brides, picking the website, color, material, and length are the only boundaries they set; as far as style goes, their bridesmaids are free to choose! From one shoulder to sweetheart, halter top to short sleeves, the options provide the opportunity for your girls to choose a dress they feel sexy and classy in.

Just A Few Extra Tid-Bits of Advice:

  • For cooler days, adding a shawl to your bridesmaid’s wardrobe can help ward off the chill-bumps. With a classy shawl draped over their shoulders, they’ll feel warmer, elegant, and cozy.
  • Renting dresses is the greatest idea since sliced bread- let’s be honest, no lady is going to wear a chiffon wedding gown a second time. Another bonus point- renting is cheaper!
  • Pick a material that’s comfortable and won’t easily wrinkle. Chiffon is a popular choice- it’s comfortable, easy to maintain, and looks good right out of a suitcase!
  • Choose a shoe style that matches the gowns and theme of your wedding. Not only that, but make sure it’s comfortable and easy to walk in if your wedding is out doors. Cowboy boots, ballet flats, and close-toed heels are all popular choices.

Your big day is all about you! But make sure your ladies feel pretty too- they’ve helped make your wedding day perfect!

Fall Wedding Centerpieces- From Simple to Extravagant!

Fall Centerpiece by doug.neiner

Ok ladies, we all know centerpieces are, well, the centerpiece of decoration! No matter if you’re going simple or extravagant with your adornments, it’s important to get that “wow factor” from all of your guests. With a few simple pieces, your wedding will be the talk-of-the-town!

Centerpieces are routinely used to draw attention, add décor, and provide pops of color to your reception room; it’s important to remember to use bright, coordinating shades. For those looking to have a fall wedding, oranges, yellows, reds, deep purples, and browns are just a few perfect choice hues. Here are a few tips on how to have the perfect fall centerpieces- from simple to extravagant!

For simplistic beauty on a budget, fruit is a must-have! Apples and pumpkins are a couple foundational fruits that will add just the right amount of color to your décor.  The best part? You can find real-looking foam apples and pumpkins, keeping within your budget but still adding fantastic color to your tables. With the apples, you can place a few red or even green apples in a glass vase, add some water to give the “floating affect,” and top the vase off with lit candles. Or, you can simply place a few apples in a vase, top it off with some flowers or even a few sprigs of wheat, and call it perfect!

Centerpiece by Bunches and Bits {Karina}

Caramel apples are delicious and a big hit with just about anyone- adding them as your centerpiece will have you named “favorite bride of the year!” With the caramel apples, you can use them as party favors, name placements, or just as centerpieces. The options are endless!

If fruit isn’t exactly your favorite idea, and you’re looking for something a little more “fallish” and rustic, twining together wheat bunches and adding a few surrounding candles or pumpkins will give your table a simple yet beautiful touch of décor.

Extravagant and all out- you want the perfect wedding with gorgeous centerpieces! There are so many options to choose from that sometimes it can seem overwhelming to find the right one! Here are a few more extravagant ideas for fall wedding centerpieces.

Flowers, flowers, flowers! Flowers give off the aura of elegance and beauty, giving the perfect touch of décor to any table in any room. There are several different fall flowers that will make the perfect floral arrangement- and with the right extras, your centerpieces will wow all of your guests.

A few fabulous flower choices include red, orange, or yellow roses, Burgundy Berry Calla Lily Flowers, Craspedia Billy Balls Orange Flowers, and orange Bulk Dahlias. With a gorgeous crystal or glass vase, and a few lit red candles, your centerpieces will be glorious.

Want something different, gorgeous, and original for your centerpieces? Try using hollowed out pumpkins as your vase, filling them with gorgeous yellow, golden, burgundy, red, and brown flowers! Between the color combinations and the pumpkin as the vase, you’ll have guests impressed!

It’s important to remember cohesive, bright colors can make all the difference in your decorations. With just the right centerpieces, whether extravagant or simple, you’re bound to wow your guests and leave a lasting impression!

Hello from Tiffany!

Happy Monday, everyone! My name is Tiffany and as some of you may know from the last blog post, Nicole (the founder of The Plunge Project) has passed the torch to me – your new editor in chief! I’m excited to continue what Nicole started and I hope to bring you just as many great ideas and posts as Nicole did.

A little about me – I am a wedding photographer in Lancaster County/Philadelphia, I love books, anything vintage, traveling, and I’m a fan of storms. You can see some of my photography at Echo Life Photography. I live in a farmhouse with my husband and our five cats (yes. I’m a crazy cat lady). Let’s see, what else… Oh, I love to cook and bake, especially vegan or gluten free recipes. And I tend to bake late at night. Well, I think that’s enough for now (because that’s all I can think of for now), but I hope we get to learn more about each other as I continue bringing you blog posts!

The Next Plunge Project Chapter

Happy Wednesday! Today, I’m sharing a pretty big announcement about the future of the Plunge Project.

As many of you know, I started the Plunge Project in 2010 when I was planning my own wedding. I found that I loved blogging about weddings so much that I decided to continue to blog and focus on growing the Plunge Project into what is it today, even years after tying the knot myself.

As amazing as it’s been to be founder and editor-in-chief all of these years, it’s time I must pass the torch. And I’m excited to announce that I’m passing it to someone who has much more wedding industry experience than me — I’m passing it to Tiffany Fulmer, a freelance wedding photographer! Tiffany lives and breathes weddings everyday, and I have no doubt that she’ll bring her experience and expertise to the Plunge Project in a way that provides even more stunning wedding inspiration to all of you lovely readers.

In addition to photographing weddings, Tiffany loves adventure, capturing love through her lens, and has a passion for writing. When she’s not photographing, she enjoys being with her husband and 5 kitties in their farmhouse. Tiffany is excited to take over the Plunge Project and to continue to bring you wedding inspirations, and I’m thrilled that the Plunge Project will be in her capable hands.

It’s been a blast blogging with you all over the years, and I will miss you dearly! Take it away, Tiffany :)

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