It’s that time again. Wedding season. A time to be brave and take risks. Hey, just being alive involves taking risks in many ways, and one step after another, whether down the wedding aisle, the supermarket aisle, or a slippery, mucky path in a forest.

A few weeks back, I was doing the latter in Lighthouse Park, while we filmed a video for my new song “Brave Like a Mohican”. Amazingly, my old wedding dress that was part of the costume barely got any dirt on it, one of many blessings on what started out as a super rainy, and kind of risky, day to film an outdoor video. We’d originally had plans to incorporate a local suspension bridge into the shoot, but the masses of tourists made that shaky option completely nonviable. So, flexible we were, and off we went, towards the sun that rose to greet us with open arms.

Before the shoot itself, like for any special event, there was a lot of pre-planning, and for me specifically of how to go about it all on a slim budget. We’ve also since done an indoor shoot for the same video and there have been several ways I’ve saved money.

Using a second hand dress was one way of saving, along with getting a great deal on a $25 earthy, flowing dress from Winners for the indoor shoot. Making a handmade veil out of some scrap fabric I had was another saving.

For hair styling, pricing of products doesn’t always make sense, such as a curling iron for $29 instead of one right beside it, of the same brand with just an eighth of an inch difference in curling capacity, for $45. Um, okay, I’ll spend $16 less, thank you. And my dollar store bobby pins did the same job as those four times the price.

For some background props I used an old curtain from home, along with a $3 second hand, nice quality, tablecloth from the local charity shop, that can certainly be used in the future for regular life. I took advantage of my charity shop visit and picked up four summer tops, all in great condition, for a total of $9. Just in case I needed a wardrobe change at any time. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. And while I seem to be allergic to ironing, I reacquainted myself with a small, second hand iron I’d purchased for $5, to help our shoots go, you got it, smoothly.

While I haven’t ended up using them yet (can you say “awkward”?), the false eyelashes I got at the dollar store for $2 were a whole lot cheaper than the super similar ones for $10 from the local drug store. And I could have spent $8 for a tiny tube of body sparkliness but instead improvised with some old lip gloss. If I had purchased new sparklies though, I could have gotten comparable ones for a quarter of that price at the dollar store. For glittery nails, which aren’t my regular kind of thing, I grabbed some glittering nail stickers for $2, as opposed to spending more for stinky nail polish that would just sit neglected for years.

As a library lover, for our indoor shoot, I felt fortunate to get to use one of VPL’s free studios at the downtown library. (Check out their Inspiration Lab for all sorts of free courses and introductions to their facilities.) And of course the outside shoot was free as we tried to be inconspicuous in our traipsing of trails and climbing of rocks. In a wedding dress. I actually got a few congratulations that day, with no questions as to why the groom was nowhere in sight.

Some significant costs for this project have been for top quality filming and lighting equipment, but it feels worth it to try to step up the level of professionalism in what I put “out there”. And my awesome video producer has offered great rates as opposed to what I could easily have paid someone else. Or not so easily. It’s great in a case like this to find someone youthful and energetic who is working on building up a portfolio, and it feels like a win-win, mutually beneficial project. The full expenses will be coming in at about $1000 or less, about twice the price of my first video “Together We’ll Go Far”, but still a lot less than it could have cost.

On top of all that, having a couple of wonderful friends be our free helpers was a great bonus.

While video making may not be top of your list, just about every brave, and sometimes shaky, adventure you take can involve options of how to do so on a smarter budget. And I hope whatever aisle or path you travel upon will greet you with open arms…

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