While planning a wedding can be a blast, it can also get pretty expensive. Whether you’re engaged or just dreaming of the future, here are 9 things that can save you money when planning your wedding.
1. Use your resources!
It’s very likely that you have at least one good resource out there. Maybe you have an aunt who bakes good cakes, or a neighbor who DJ’s. My husband & I got lucky as his uncle does photography and my best friend is good at doing hair. Whatever your resources, USE THEM! Even if your friends or family members won’t offer their products or services for free, they might at least give you a discount. No matter how distant your relationship with a particular “resource” may seem, it doesn’t hurt to ask!
2. Get a free venue, if possible.
There are so many ways to land a free venue! My husband and I chose a public beach, but the possibilities are endless. Public parks can be equally as gorgeous (just make sure you talk to your city’s Parks & Recreation Department before you plan to have your ceremony in a public place) and if you have a friend or family member who has a big backyard or lives on a ranch or farm, you could always ask to use their property and rent chairs and/or tables. You could even use your own church or chapel if you attend one and prefer the more traditional route (churches usually allow their members to use the building for free). Whatever it takes, snag a free venue!
3. DIY as much as you can.
As I mentioned earlier, I made the save the dates, invitations, bouquets, hairpieces, centerpieces, and other decorations for our wedding. It saved us so much money and, BONUS: I had a ton of fun while doing it. Even if you aren’t extremely crafty, Pinterest and YouTube will be your best friends. There are a ton of ideas and tutorials available online. You just have to get out there and start searching! While it may seem like a ton of work, the money you can save is worth it. Plus you could always get some girlfriends together and make a craft day out of your wedding DIYs!
4. Pick a few items to splurge on, but don’t overdo it!
Maybe you’ve been wanting a certain wedding dress since you were a kid, or you’re dying to have a certain expensive bakery make your cake. If you really can’t live with a cheaper alternative, then go for it—as long as it doesn’t break the bank! But seriously guys, don’t overdo it.
5. Do your research & always shop for bargains.
This is so important! Please take the time to do your research. Before you buy that dress or book that caterer, make sure you look into plenty of other options and compare. When you need to buy items (such as silk flowers for a DIY bouquet or gifts for your bridal party), always buy them on sale or with a coupon. Even if you’re only saving a few dollars, it all adds up!
6. SPEND LESS ON THE DRESS.
The Knot conducted a survey with 75,000 brides in 2013 and found that the average amount spent on a wedding dress is $1,211. While this isn’t too bad compared to the prices on all of those wedding dress shows on TLC, this is still quite a bit for a dress you wear once, in my opinion. Heck, I think the $350 I spent on my dress was too much for a dress, to be honest. But the wedding industry is currently a $40 billion industry and I guess the overpriced clothing is just one way for these companies to make those big bucks. Okay, so how you save. If you don’t have several hundred dollars to throw down on a dress, it would be a great idea to go with a resale dress or even borrow a dress from someone (wearing your mom’s dress would be meaningful and free!). Don’t forget that you can always get a used one altered, and it would probably still be a lot cheaper than buying a new one. With sites like Rent the Runway, you can even rent your wedding dress! Talk about saving!
7. Borrow items when you can.
Something old, something new, several things borrowed. . . That’s the way to go. Borrow jewelry, shoes, hair accessories, decorations. . . Whatever you can! You’ll save money and you won’t end up with a bunch of junk after the wedding is over.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
If you’ve been as frugal as possible but find that you still aren’t able to stay under your budget, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help! Whether it’s from your parents, grandparents, or a close friend, there’s gotta be someone in your life who’s willing to help you out if you really do need it.
9. Keep the ceremony & reception as simple as possible.
Simplicity is bliss, especially when you’ve got a tight wedding budget. If you have a long guest list and find that you can’t afford a DJ or a bunch of booze for the reception—just take it off your list! While it may feel a bit painful to get rid of some aspects of your wedding (especially if it was something you were looking forward to), I promise everything will still turn out beautifully. There’s no need to add more things to your long list of wedding planning endeavors, particularly if it’s not working with your budget.
Don’t forget—it’s not about the wedding, it’s about the marriage!