So often, wedding planning is framed as a stressful, expensive, and drawn-out chore. And sure, it can sometimes feel this way even when you're excited beyond belief for the big day! We won't pretend that every little detail in the planning process is fun. But there are plenty of ways to find joy in it, and one that not enough couples value is by organizing the process to produce lasting gifts and benefits.
The simple fact is, you'll have to make a lot of purchases while planning your wedding. And while some of them are solely for the wedding day (like catering costs, photographer fees, etc.), you can find ways to make other purchases last.
Find lighting pieces you love
Provided your wedding involves either candles at tables or an evening reception (or both), chances are you'll be looking into various lighting options. We've actually discussed how to 'Make LED Candle Decor Look Like the Real Thing' in support of the idea of purchasing artificial but high-quality lighting options. These can be easier to manage during a wedding and/or reception, and the truth of the matter is the high-end options look incredibly convincing and beautiful. To our main point here though, artificial lighting options can also serve you in the future! If you have LED candles on tables for instance, or faux-flame lanterns at the entrance to a tent, you can have them packed up for your home after the wedding. Your wedding decorations can become lighting options for future holiday tables, outdoor dining or cocktails on summer evenings, and so on.
Buy your future home speakers
The idea of skipping a DJ or band in favor of a playlist and a good set of speakers appears to be gaining steam. There's a whole debate about whether Spotify can effectively serve as an automated wedding DJ, and just a few years ago FiveThirtyEight crowdsourced and "ultimate wedding playlist" - effectively speaking to how many people are taking on this idea on their own. Now, to be clear we'd still recommend the band or DJ route for your wedding! But if you are exploring the self-DJ option for an elopement, you can use it as an opportunity to splurge a bit on some speakers you can enjoy in your home following the wedding. You want the best possible sound at the wedding, so going for something on the higher end is more than reasonable. And if you do so, your speakers may last for years as your go-to home audio option thereafter.
Shop for rewards
Beyond the big-ticket items there is a lot of general shopping that goes on for a wedding. This can cover everything from invitation materials, to rehearsal dinner outfits, to makeup and jewelry, to miscellaneous party favors. You'll undoubtedly need to spend in this are, and largely on things you won't end up keeping. What you can do to get a bit of self-gifting out of this process through is look around for stores with discount and reward programs. These perks aren't identical across the retail spectrum. However, Groupon states that some of the most attractive reward and discount programs exist at stores that are relevant to plenty of wedding needs: places like Ulta, Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy's, and even Target. Among these stores, various member cash back programs and assorted other benefits can help you earn perks for your expenses. As long as you're racking up costs for your wedding, you may as well set up ways to get a little more for your money down the line!
Buy flowers you can plant later on
When it comes to planting wedding flowers, most of the focus tends to be on doing so in advance. Just this year, The Spruce's look at cheap wedding flower options included in the idea of growing them yourself, or even picking them where they're already growing. But if you'd like to turn a wedding purchase into a treat for yourself long after the big day, you can also focus on buying some decorative plants that you'll be able to plant at home later on. We're not talking about the bouquets or most table arrangements, of course. But if you have, say, hibiscus plants in pots around the reception, or evergreen mini-trees marking the entrance, you may well have the option of taking them home and making them part of your landscape or garden. Basically, you'll be getting a jump on home exterior decorating through purchases you're already making to beautify your wedding venue.
So there you have it! Your wedding is already all about you, and you'll be getting plenty of gifts for others over the course of the celebrations. But these suggestions speak to a few areas in which what you're already spending money on can work out to be a long-term gift for yourself. From buying artificial lights you'll use in the future to earning store rewards you can buy things with later, there are plenty of fun little ways to treat yourself during the planning process.
*This is a contributed blog post.