How did YOU save money on your wedding? Feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

posted 2 years ago in Money
Post # 2
1249 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I realize this probably isn’t the advice you wanted, but I eloped. 

I received my DREAM ring from my husband and realized we would have to incur some debt by having a reception. So my way of saving money was to not spend any.

That being said, I planned weddings for 5 years at a country club and learned a few tricks. If possible, have your wedding on a Friday or a Sunday. Those days are cheaper because they are less busy. Try to find a place that allows you to bring in your own liquor (they do exist, depending on where you live). Don’t go overboard with flowers. One of my best friends didn’t have a single flower (besides girls’ bouquets) at her wedding or reception. No one even noticed. DIY invitations. Have a “fake” cake with only the top tier as real cake for cutting. Use a sheet cake cut up in the back for the guests. They will be none the wiser. 

Post # 3
266 posts
Helper bee

I bought my dress second hand at a charity shop, it was very beautiful and cost $400! Our reception was “High Tea” instead of sit down dinner which really cut down on costs as well. We also had a very small wedding (19) guests. 

Good luck

Post # 4
1350 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter's Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle

We made a massive saving by having a winter wedding – our venue has cost us $85 per person (appetisers, two course meal, open beer and wine bar, cake cutting and plating, tea and coffee, basic decorations, getaway car) which in summer would have been $120 per person.  With a guest list of 80, that’s nearly $3000 saved.  

I would suggest you don’t need a complete open bar – beer/wine maybe with a signature cocktail is absolutely fine, and will save you a heap. 

Having ceremony and reception at the same place will also help save (we aren’t doing this – church ceremony) as you of course only have to pay for one venue.  Cuts down on transport costs too, particularly if you have it somewhere you can get ready as well.

Can you DIY things like centrepieces? I’m doing ours and I think it cost me about $50 for the materials (vases, floating candles, mirrors) and I’m really happy with how they looked when I did a trial run.  You don’t need to spend thousands on elaborate floral centrepieces which no-one will remember!

We’re also pretty much skipping favors – as part of the venue package we get chocolate hearts and I reckon that will do nicely.  And on the subject of skipping things, I honestly don’t think bridesmaids need robes, custom hangers, elaborate gifts to ask if they’ll be a bridesmaid etc etc – I Skyped one of my girls to ask her (in a different city) and asked my sister when she was visiting me.  If you have the money for that kind of thing, fine, but it’s an easy saving if you’re on a budget.  Also, fewer in the bridal party will save you money even if they’re buying their own dresses (which is not the case here in Australia!).

I also got my dress on sale – it’s a discontinued sample and only cost me $500 when I’d budgeted $1500 so that helped a lot.  It still needs alterations but that’s capped at $350.  

Good luck! You’ll figure it out 🙂

Post # 5
655 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - SPRING VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB

Well I was stressed to the max! But here is what we did. We sat down and made a budget and stuck to it. Out of every paycheck we each placed the alloted amount into our joint account. We did this for a one year. In one year we were able to save 30,000 and our wedding was completely paid off a month before.

It was stressful, I feel like we penny pinched to the year. No debt and nothing on credit cards. It was tough!  BUT! On the day it was worth it.

Post # 6
6525 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

paigey22:  well you could extend your engagement, instead of having a short engagement, have a longer one so you have time to save for that dream reception you want. OR research, research, research. I live in Brooklyn, NY and we were able to have our dream wedding without the heft pricetag. For example, we know that the minimum spent on photography in our area was over $5K and that was the bare minimum. We spent under $4K for 2 photographers, 1 videographer, 9 hour coverage, engagement shoot, basically the works. We also spent less that $3K on flowers and we know that people have spent over $4K on flowers. 

Trust me, you can have a nice wedding without paying the price, you just have to be willing to make a ton of phone calls, read reviews, go on visits. 

I had a long engagement (22 months) but for us it worked. We needed to save money for both the wedding and for an apartment bc we didn’t live together until 7 months before the wedding, so we needed money for rent, furniture, etc. 

Post # 7
5032 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2012

Join Pinterest.  Stalk the DIY wedding boards and pin everything.  We did our own bouquets and saved tons of money. We did our own table numbers.  Hello Dollar Tree!

I bought my dress at David’s Bridal – $349.00.  Saved tons of money.

we had very simple centerpieces – 5X7 crystal pillar candle holders from Hobby Lobby – purchased when they were 50% off.  We then sold them on Craigslist after the wedding.

Look into getting married off-season or on a Friday/Sunday.

Do what you can afford.  Don’t compare it to what other people did.  Try not to watch Four Weddings    

Post # 8
1500 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: Disneyland - January 2016

Agreed that a winter wedding really helps, as is choosing a weekday instead of the weekend (we’re having ours a Monday which is literally saving us 3k). I’m also giving myself an absolute cap for my dress and won’t be allowed to go over (unless someone like my mom wants to help out). Also, searched for Etsy for a veil and there are some really beautiful ones in the $20 range instead of the $100+ some bridal stores. Additonally, shopping “offbrand” for things like jewelry and shoes rather than specific wedding geared things.

I’m also in favor of skipping things like party favors, rehearsal dinners and over the top. super expensive gifts to your parents’/bridesmaids/groomsmen. Also, skipping flowers. Flowers are EXPENSIVE, and if you can bear with it, perhaps limit flowers to only your bouquet and your bridesmaids. You can definitely make centerpieces and other decor without flowers that will look just as beautiful. Your bridesmaids can also carry something else as well, fans, clutches (both of which can also be added to their gifts) are some options I see. Personally, I getting my girls beautiful glass ornaments/sun catchers to carry.

Post # 9
230 posts
Helper bee

We feel your pain!

Choosing an all-inclusive venue helps save money and is less stressful.

You can also go without favors, cut +1s, cut your guest list, make your own programs (or do away with them) and go the tech route for emailed Save the Dates and/or email RSVPs even if you go with a traditional paper invitation.

Set a budget and stick to it- don’t see venues/dresses/vendors out of your budget- you’ll save time, money and heartache that way. 🙂

That’s what we did. 🙂 Best of luck and happy planning!

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  pinkandgold88.
Post # 11
9526 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

First, as for the frustrations with your husband, I would give him a specific thing to look into. Like you take venue and he takes caterers and look into things and see what numbers you’re looking at. It will help him to realize what it is really like and get him more invested and get some of the load off your plate. 

Second, have you guys talked about what you want from a wedding, in general, and what your priorities are? I recommend sitting down with a glass of wine and talking all this through and taking notes. You won’t keep to everything you write down and other things will pop up, but it gives you a place to start. For instance, when my husband and I talked we discovered that our priorities were being able to invite who we wanted and getting to spend time with our guests. So we invested money in multiple events and a DOC but didn’t go for expensive food or drinks.

Third, figure out how much your can realistically save by your wedding day (if you’re set on when you’ll do it). Decrease this amount by 10%. That’s your budget (with a little wiggle room for unexpected expenses). Then you can get some estimates about the percent of cost of different things at places like the knot. Food and drinks is usually the biggest expense for a traditional wedding. 

Fourth, make it work within your budget. That probably means that you won’t get everything exactly as you may have hoped, but it’s better than going into debt. All you really need for a wedding is a marriage license and an officiant. The rest is optional. Again, remember your priorities.

Personally, our biggest savings came from using a venue where we could bring our own drinks, getting a caterer who doesn’t focus on weddings (they usually do corporate events and were branching out into weddings), and findings a photog that is relatively new and does it part-time so she was way cheap. Some things we cut altogether (favors, photobooth, videography) and others we did DIY or had friends/family help with (ceremony music, desserts, hair/makeup, flowers, decor).

Post # 12
1242 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015


paigey22:  I’m using fake flowers for my centerpieces, I found a florist who does wedding flowers out of her home which is MUCH less than most places. My photographers are a couple of my sisters friends, who do photography ALOT, but its their “side” thing so its a fraction of the cost. We also have a venue that has a catering company that is extremely affordable. We’re not doing a limo, or an open bar. I’m finding alot of my stuff for decor at antique/ second hand stores and I’m LOVING Etsy right now too!

My parents are paying for majority of the wedding, so we’re very lucky with that but I’m still being very budget concious. The entire wedding should be around $16,500. Thats more than what I wanted to spend, but my parents are being very generous!

Good Luck!

Post # 13
3376 posts
Sugar bee

For my venue,  i went with an all inclusive package. I also will be bringing my own liquor. Check to see what the venues peek months are and go with one that is off peek. Normally you get a discount on off peek months. Friday and Sundays will be cheaper then Saturday.

Sinse the venue I booked at does all the decorating I will not be using flower centerpieces. The venue already has lights which makes it have a romantic feel so ill be using candles to just give it an extra touch.

Also ask around if anyone has military discounts. I went to a venue that took 500 off and my dress alterations will be discounted since my FI is also active military. 

Post # 14
2871 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I have a few suggestions for a budget wedding (based off real weddings I’ve attended):

  1. Get married at 10am then provide a cinnamon roll and orange juice reception. My friends who did this had the reception at the same place as the ceremony. It was a very smooth transition. People had time to grab a cinnamon roll, greet the bride and groom, and mingle.
  2. Get married at 7pm and provide a dessert reception afterwards. Again, same location for both. Smooth transition. They also had a dance.

As a guest, I had fun celebrating with my friends and I enjoyed myself at both weddings.

Post # 15
12873 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Dress: I don’t know if they still exists, but I got mine at Running of the Brides for $250.  I’m sure Davids Bridal also has a ton of nice ones under $300 too.  There’s no need to spend 1k+ on a dress.

Invitations: $50 Target kit on clearance.  Jazzed it up with my own little design.

Bouquets: Whole Foods market.  Real flowers at cost, no florist mark up so it was about half what florists were quoting me and that was with a rush fee since I didn’t order my flowers until about 2 weeks before the wedding.

Centerpieces: Whole foods does them too, but I ended up getting them at another market.  Real flowers again for a fraction of a “real” florist.  $30 a piece, and when I showed my friends they though it was $75 each.

Reception will probably be the bulk of it, so look for reasonably priced caterer/venue.

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