I never really understood how expensive a wedding was until I was in the midst of planning it. Which I am, right now. Every little thing tacks on an extra expense and before long you can easily be well over what you planned.
Well, I’m here to say you can stay on budget with a few simple steps that require an open mind. I’ve gathered together my wise learnings from wedding planning over the past months and am sharing with you all the ways I am strategically staying on budget for my wedding. Hopefully, this can help save you a little here and there!
Tip #1 – Flowers are not forever.
Flowers are beautiful and definitely a must-have at my wedding. However, the quantity was up for debate. You see breathtaking photos of cascading flowers, only to find out that these showpieces can easily cost over $1000 a pop! My advice, simplify. You can do gorgeous centerpieces, but do them on a few signature tables scattered about the room. Then the extra tables can have smaller and more modest centerpieces. This can give the illusion of grandeur without the price tag.
You can do the same for your bridesmaids. My bridal bouquet is a centerpiece in itself. However, for my bridesmaids, I opted for a large white hydrangea wrapped in pink ribbon. Hydrangeas are great because they are a fuller flower, which will photograph beautifully and give the illusion of lots of flowers, when in fact you are cutting down quite a bit. As for the boutonnieres, only my hubby-to-be will be rocking one. No one notices if the groomsmen have flowers on or not, and truthfully it is a little prom-esque if you ask me.
Lastly, for my ceremony, I am getting married on a beach. The wedding package I have includes a beautiful arch with floral arrangements, so there wasn’t a need for any extras. However, if you are getting married in a church or other site that needs some floral love, try cutting things down by halves. If you want flowers on the pews, do every other or every third pew.
Tip #2 – DIY decorations are NOT overrated.
At first, I thought it was tacky to make decorations for my wedding. However, one trip down a Pinterest feed and you will soon channel your inner Martha Stewart. Once you have your theme, there are absolutely stunning ways to make classy and elegant centerpieces.
One pretty DIY I found involved painting glass vases with sparkles and another one had glass vases filled with water and artificial orchards among other things. If you aren’t feeling up to the challenge, consider making half or just parts of the displays, with the other pieces being brought in from an event planner or florist.
Another area where you can save a lot is in the seating cards, table cards, and anywhere else there is stationery. You can print them off yourself or after you order them, you can add the finishing touches with a hole punch and some ribbon. These may seem like small savings, but every little bit helps. You’ll be surprised at how much all of these things save you in the end.
Tip #3 – Open bar by the bottle.
This one really depends on your venue and what they will allow. I was fortunate enough to have a venue that let us pay by the bottle for our open bar rather than a flat fee per guest. If you can do this, this can save you almost $50/guest. Definitely look into this and see what you can find out!
Tip #4 – Cake is too pretty to eat.
Call me new age, but I knew very early on that I did not want a wedding cake and my fiance 100% agreed. Wedding cakes can be over $500 and truthfully, no one cares when you cut it or if your husband smushes it in your face. However, you could totally be into tradition and this may go against everything you love, so if that is the case, then you have your cake and eat it too! For me, I opted for a dessert table with different gourmet treats. This allows everyone to get a taste of what they want and brought down the price tag.
Tip #5 – Let’s get digital.
This one I am still on the fence about, so maybe you can weigh in. With the evolving digital nature of pretty much everything, is there really a need for expensive paper wedding invitations? The more I look into this, the more I am leaning towards an online wedding invitation that is emailed to all the recipients. It definitely is against tradition, but I am warming up to the idea. Plus online invitations have upped their game. What once looked like a cheap webpage, can now look like a sophisticated and animated wedding invitation. Just look at the way Paperless Post is doing it. They charge a fee for their premium designs, but it is still far less expensive than mailing out elaborate wedding invitations.
Tip #6 – Snap away the night.
This one will require you to think through. For me, I am having a destination wedding with a photographer and videographer to capture our special moments. However, for my home celebration, I opted out of another photographer. Instead, I plan on putting cameras everywhere for people to document the night with. Besides, how many pictures of me in a dress do I really need?
If you are having a wedding close to home, consider condensing your photography package down to fewer hours. You may not need 2 hours worth of “getting ready” images. It is important to capture the defining moments, but when they are done and everyone is having fun, does the photographer need to be hanging around? For me, the answer was no and I was comfortable with that. It also saved me a good chunk of change. This is definitely something you will have to weigh the pros and cons for because it is your one and only wedding day and you want to capture it just right.
That sums up my list of money-saving tricks that I have acquired thus far in my wedding planning. Some of the above are out-of-the-box and not traditional, but if you are open to different approaches, then they could be the answer to saving you a few thousand dollars.
If you are thinking about a destination wedding but haven’t decided if it is the right move, check out my post on why I chose a destination wedding to give you some food for thought.