A dear friend of mine is currently in the process of planning her wedding and asked me to write a post about money-saving tips while planning a wedding. I have to admit that our wedding came in under budget, but I still wish that it came in even lower. I guess that’s just me trying to top myself though. Anyway, here are some tips and tricks to keep your budget in line.
Photo credit: john47kent / Foter / CC BY
1. Watch your guest list.
One of the easiest ways to shrink your spending is by shrinking your guest list. Ok, I guess that is easy in theory and probably difficult in practice. LD and I lucked out that we happened to choose a popular graduation weekend. We actually chose Memorial Day weekend because then our friends who were just starting new jobs could travel into town and not have to take vacation days. But, the simple fact that we invited nearly 300 people and we had just shy of 150 show up really helped our budget. If you think about it, at an average wedding each guest costs upwards of $50 due to alcohol and food costs. Shrink your list by 10 people and you’ve saved $500.
2. Keep your decorations simple.
Most likely, you’ve chosen your venue based on the beauty of it. Why would you need lots of decorations? By keeping your decorations simple, you can save a lot of money. Also, try using your decorations in clever ways. If you have your wedding and reception in two different locations, try to reuse those wedding decorations at your reception.
3. Save on Flowers
LD and I decided not to use real flowers at our wedding, primarily due to allergies. Although using fabric flowers is a great money saving tip, I know it isn’t for everyone. For those of you who really want real flowers, you can still save money. Consider having the bridesmaids each carry a single flower. Daisys, sunflowers, and roses all work well for this purpose and can be very romantic. Also, keep your bouquet simple and to flowers that are in season. For centerpieces and decorations, keep flowers to a minimum, a few to add romance and pop of color can look just as elegant as an overflowing bouquet. For the head table, use the bouquets from the wedding. You can get some beautiful vases from the dollar store to put them in. Another idea to consider is using potted flowers for centerpieces with the plan to use them to decorate your first home together. Your guests love ideas like that!
4. Get Creative
Some DIY projects are worth the time and create significant cost savings while others might not be. Before starting a project, price out the costs and make sure they are worth it. Local dollar stores are great places to find items that can be used for a variety of purposes. If you are using Michaels, Joann Fabrics, or Hobby Lobby for your crafting supplies, consider using coupons and discount gift cards. I typically use Cardpool.com because I like that they have a 100 day guarantee. For our wedding, LD and I got most of our supplies over time using 40% off coupons at Michaels every couple of days, stopping on our way home from work. Another way to save money, although perhaps not on the wedding itself, is to choose items that you can use again after the wedding. Our backdrop for our ceremony was two room dividers that we then used in our apartment.
5. Keep Your Wedding Day Strategic
Friday and Sunday weddings are a lot cheaper because vendors do not have as much demand on those two days. We got married on the Sunday of a three day weekend and that saved us $300 on the DJ alone. You can also get married outside of the typical wedding season for reduced prices from vendors. Also, start planning well enough in advance so that you have several different options and can shop around. As the good, less expensive vendors get booked, you will really have to consider whether quality or price is more important to you and that could really cost you.
Do you have any advice for engaged couples for how to save money on weddings? How did you navigate the issues of cost savings versus other people’s opinions?