Your wedding day may very well be one of the best days of your life, but it does not have to be a day that breaks your bank. Instead of going over-budget and overdoing every nook and cranny of that celebration, take some advice and curb some corners instead.
There are savvy and stylish ways to save dollar signs on that fantastical walk down the aisle. From smart shopping to even smarter planning, it is time for you to do a bit of the homework. Think about ways to save in the floral department, with your dress, and even with the food. Research and preparation truly are key.
Wait, actually, we already did all of the homework for you. Just take notes!
Save Money on Each Step Towards Your Wedding
Have the Talk
First things first, you can’t save money without figuring out a budget. That means, before you make any moves, have the talk. Grab whoever may be involved in the payment of the celebration and get candid.
Make a list: First, make a list of all your must-have pieces of the puzzle. List out what part of the celebration you don’t want to compromise so you know where to put your money.
Set a Maximum & DO NOT Exceed: Know where your absolutely top dollar line is and just do not allow yourself to go above it. This will give you a good road map when making decisions.
Account for Gratuities: When applying your estimates to each portion of the big day, think about leaving wiggle room in for gratuities. Do this now so they don’t sneak up on you later
Use an App: Hold yourself accountable and make plans easier by using some budgeting-friendly apps such as Wedding Happy.
Check the Date (& the Venue)
Go with a date outside of the usual Saturday choice. Opting to celebrate on a Friday or Sunday could very well end up saving you thousands on your wedding package and with your vendors. Also, think about setting your rehearsal dinner on a weekday to save some cash there as well.
And when it comes to the venue, don’t go for the most popular choice around. Instead, think outside the box and utilize your resources in ways others haven’t. Not only will this bring a layer of uniqueness to your celebration but it could save you some cash too!
Settings in the suburbs: The country club, rec centers, town squares, and golf courses may be more likely to be around you and they usually host a really chic event as well.
Celebrating in the cities: Aside from the large hotels or landmarks, think of checking out your boutique hotels, swanky restaurants, or art museums.
Outside in the country: Farms, fields, and the like are great spots to host your own event. Even campgrounds could be a great fit!
Everywhere else: Utilize your friends and families who have pieces of land or a business that you could transform! Of course, there’s always your home if you want something completely personalized and quaint.
Rent jewelry. And buy a preowned dress. Be a savvy shopper for shoes and make some of your own accessories. The possibilities are endless here in terms of cutting costs. Here are the best tips:
Buy a preowned gown. Sites such as PreOwned Wedding Dresses and Nearly Newlywed can have you sifting through thousands of gorgeous, designer pieces that have been lightly loved or samples right off the sale floor. And they come at a fraction of the price! Sniff out local sample sales at boutiques in your area – those same deals will apply here!
Think about DIY-ing your own accessories. Tutorials like this will help you put the finishing touch on your day-of ensemble without breaking the bank. Give your pumps a dip in gold or embellish your belt! And there’s always Rent-The-Runway if you want to peek at those designer bits – including jewelry.
Savvy shoe shopping is key. Your shoes can be snagged from discount stores like TJ MAXX or Marshalls. Give yourself some time to shop around for the best deals.
Check social media. This is the best spot to get up-to-date information on sample sales, coupon codes, and more.
Food & Drink
There are multiple ways to cut costs here as well, even aside from whipping up all the food yourself. Here are the best tips for budget-friendly food and drink at the wedding:
Grab a cousin to bartend. Okay, it doesn’t have to actually be your cousin. But round up your buds to do this! There’s someone you know that could do this job right and make it their “gift” to you and your new beau. You could also offer an hourly fee and still save money over a professional service (while still getting the hospitality you want).
Nix the alcohol or “stock the bar.” Either go dry or have an event with friends and family that makes it so much easier to prep for the after-party. Your loved ones can help stock the bar and once it’s gone – it’s gone. Open bars can really inflate the bill – so find alternative options for your drinks that night.
Think locally, in terms of food. Smaller, local businesses may cater to your event for far less than a known wedding vendor. And you’ll still get great flavors while paying homage to your home.
Invitations + Programs
Go minimal in style. Print an invitation per couple instead of per person. And, don’t buy any unnecessary stationery including programs and menus.
There may be some spots in the day that you’ll want to splurge, but don’t splurge on the one item that may be thrown out far more than kept for keepsakes. Golden foil and hand-written lettering may be an extra cost that catapults you out of your budget zone. Instead, go with the most simplistic designs that get the right information to all your loved ones. Put your money where the actual celebration is instead.
To cut some other corners (if you’re into letterpress options) flatten other designs in your stationery scheme and allow your main invite to shine. Make one-ply cardstock be the source of any inserts.
Handwrite your return addresses yourself. Go with simple envelopes – sans fancy liners – or DIY that liner yourself (there are tutorials). And minimize printing fees by ordering any stationery you want to order – at the same time.
Or, if you want to be really modern, go with e-vites! Greenvelope will have you covered.
Full bands can fill your budget. And DJ’s may be quite expensive as well. We urge you to do your homework here as well and cross-compare packages.
If you really want to lessen the bill, grab a phone, create a killer playlist, and plug it into your besties’ amazing speakers to ignite the dance floor. This is a practically free way to start the party. To really amp up this option, snag your personality-filled brother to serve as MC!
This is usually the place where couples decide to not cut corners. But, if you so choose, do a little digging. There’s a good chance one of your friends are professional photographers or at least has experience in the area. And if all else fails, we bet there’s a friend of a friend who is. Even going to a friend of a friend route could help you get special rates or at least a discounted package price.
Most importantly, do your homework before selecting your photographer (or videographer). Give yourself time to compare prices and packages so you’re able to make the best, informed decision. Sometimes up-and-coming photographers offer some of the best deals but they’re still educated and talented enough to serve the best product.
You may also want to consider creating a photography/videography fund, similar to what some couples do with a honeymoon. In lieu of gifts, couples may ask guests and loved ones to donate to help pay for this part of the celebration.
Florals, Decorations, & Setup/Breakdown
Ask florists to use plastic instead of glass, nix boutonnieres, and go with in-season flowers. Those are some of the easiest and simplest ways to cut costs in terms of floral arrangements. We don’t ask you to go the faux route either, but adding in some creative fillers that don’t cost as much is a good idea.
Cotton, wheat, and even berries may be your key to unique bouquets. The actual flowers could also be natives that won’t cost as much and still spruce up the centerpieces with color – or use ones from your own garden!
Thankfully, greenery is super trendy right now and doesn’t cost near as much as fresh petals do. Take this to the bank (literally). Plump up your centerpieces and bouquets with bouts of greenery and even eucalyptus. Frame your wedding arches. Add wreaths to the doors.
When it comes to decorations, start early and do as much as you can on your own. Use wholesale fabrics to make tablecloths or runners. DIY your own balloon walls or floral chandeliers. Think about even creating some of your own cake toppers too. Reuse your rentals as well. Those same chairs you need for the ceremony – turn around and make them useful at the reception as well.
Grab your friends and family and make setting up a party within a party in and of itself. This can be in lieu of gifts or you can offer them a free meal on your wallet – which would still be a less than professional set up and break down for all the vendors.
If you’re budgeting your big day, don’t spend extra money in this area. This really is not the space to splurge. Instead of chartering buses or renting party vans, go with local transportation instead.
Select designated drivers to take care of the transportation of you and other VIP guests that need a ride from the ceremony to the reception site.