A Bride on a Budget
Lisa Sokolowski’s wedding blog shows couples how to say I Do without saying I’m Broke.
Lisa Sokolowski could write a book about wedding mishaps, near disasters and outrageous and unnecessary expenses, but she runs a website instead to help brides, grooms and well-meaning relatives create organized, cost-friendly ceremonies.
From her home office in Leland, Sokolowski, 30, blogs about wedding cost-savers (skip the champagne toast), DIY decorations and favors (candy bags for guests), remember-to-pack lists for the best man (deodorant, wallet, socks) and maid of honor (make-up, perfume, emergency kit), before-the-wedding to-do lists, even items to stock in restrooms (bandages, lint rollers, antacid…). Her site, abrideonabudget.com (“because your big day shouldn’t cost you big bucks”) lists deals at area retailers and online shopping sites, with discounts and codes and the dates they expire.
“I got engaged in 2012 and was writing a coupon blog at the time,” she says, “and when we got engaged, I started looking at coupons for weddings, and then I moved it over to my own blog after that. We’re from New York originally, and weddings there can be really over the top. We went to one with a welcome hour, then champagne and pastries at the reception, a cocktail hour, then dinner, then another area of deserts … it was phenomenal.” Phenomenally expensive.
In addition to cost-savers, A Bride on a Budget has a Before Your Wedding tab (registry, invites, rehearsal dinner tips, etc.) and On Your Wedding tab (centerpieces, decorations, young-children scenarios), as the best memory of the Big Day should not be the Big Ooops. And if the Big Ooops happens, it will be accidental interference, not the bride and groom’s fault.
Sokolowski knows, because her wedding in 2014 was like Murphy’s Law in overdrive: the rings were almost left in the limo, her maid of honor fell and got hurt just before the ceremony, the florist didn’t bring the entire order, and the photography incident …. “I did get it into my blog post about why it’s important to use a professional photographer,” she says.
She recalls a friend’s wedding when a hurricane grounded flights — the couple’s honeymoon escape, guests’ trips home — “so they had a family honeymoon, everyone hanging out at their house.”
And her cousin’s that coincided with a major New York snowstorm. “And my grandma said, you better make a bigger donation to the church so they’ll turn the heat on.”
A Bride on a Budget helps with the controllable. “Whatever people want, I will help them figure it out and help with the plan. Because even if it’s strange to me, it’s not strange to them,” she says.
Her idea for a major cost-saver? The Pot Luck Wedding: Use a local park, have guests bring food (“an entree or side, so not everyone brings potato salad”), and a stereo system for music. And don’t rely on DIYs from sites such as Pinterest and Etsy, which can be costly. But, it’s OK to buy things.
“If I could give one piece of advice, it would be pick one thing to make your wedding stand out,” she says. “If you’re on a budget, have one thing that is unique and special to you. That’s what people remember.”
To see more, go to abrideonabudget.com.