I was sitting passing time, having a good read through the site and thought of a great idea for a post and if there is already one circulating I apologise....
As far as I have read almost every bee at some point has had to rethink or be very aware of the budget they are to stick to.
So..... I thought we could have a post for all those money saving tips...... and hopefully it will be useful for others.
I will start off with a money saving tip my friend told me about... Rather than pay out an absolute fortune on a photographer she found one that was looking to branch out into the wedding industry and as it was as beneficial to him there was no charge for the service.... in the end she paid for an album for her pictures... which turned out stunning!
Another tip (I read this 1 somewhere) If you cant afford to pay for the luxurious cars you dreamed about ask the local funeral parlour, they are usually happy for the bookings and cost a lot less than the Wedding hire places plus, once you tie a bow to the front of the car you cant tell the difference! Just dont book the hearse!
If you have a good tip then please share it with the rest of us :)
Oh wow, would have never thought about a funeral parlor car!
Just an easy one - consider a vintage wedding dress, or even a custom made dress through Etsy or a local seamstress, which will cost much less than a designer/brand-name gown. Also check the dresses in department stores and you may be surprised if you are looking for something more casual!
I have no idea what Etsy is but I will be googling it :)
Another tip is to look a little outside of your home zone if you live in a larger city. We live in a highly populated, wealthy area. The venue we originally wanted was $5000 for the space (only the space) for the whole day. We looked a little farther out, and found a venue (a historic home and "party" barn) that includes chairs, tables, linens, serveware, flatware, etc...for $600 for the whole day. It actually cuts down the drive time for the majority of our guests, since ALL of them are out of town.
good tip on the car, we're trying to save money and this might work out great!
Only a few replies in and we are already helping!! Fab!!
I've looked into renting vs buying linens, and where I live it will actually be cheaper for me to buy them from online versus renting. Plus then I can sell them after and get some money back.
@IreGal: "I have no idea what Etsy is but I will be googling it :)"
This is going to be a good day for you, ha ha.
My tip is to find vendors who work out of their home, as they can often deliver a comparable or superior product for a lower cost because they're not paying rent for office space. Our baker and florist both worked out of their home, they gave us amazing prices and more product/service than other businesses who quoted a lot higher, and their work was just beyond.
A number of the photographers we're looking at offer 'Digital Only' packages, which can knock nearly a grand off the price for a package from Bridal Prep to First Dance! Instead of an album you get a disk with all your High Resolution images on - and this can then keep saving money in the long run because you can do any reprints you want yourself!
This one was huge for us:
Find a venue that allows you to bring in your own food and alcohol.
This will save you corking fees, cake-cutting fees, bartender wages for the evening (if you live in an area where you can serve without a permit--check the laws first) and bartender gratuity.
You'll be able to negotiate the number of servers, the type of food (most all inclusive places I went to thought "buffet" meant four or five options including main course, side dishes and bread. Um, NO.) the type of flatware, etc (whether you use the catering company's, rent from a third party, use paper/plastic, or source vintage silverware and dishes).
It saves you the HUGE markup on alcohol that a lot of in-house caterers charge for alcohol. (I was quoted $350 for ONE keg. Of BUDWEISER! That's like a 230% markup from what you'd pay at most liquor stores.)
Most importantly, though, you aren't a captive audience. Most all-inclusive venues are chosen because they are a beautiful venue in a good location that will hold the appropriate number of people. Food is often secondary. And since you're forced to buy it if you want that venue, you really have no choice but to accept the mediocre food offered. This is why weddings have a bit of a reputation for having crappy food--if some of the stuff I've eaten at weddings was served at restaurants, those places would fold in a week. But if you bring in a caterer of your own, you know that person's business lives and breathes on its reputation for having good food. So it will taste better, and will often be cheaper since there won't be minimums and since they don't have the monopoly on serving food at a particular venue.
@xlsm: Hi! Can you tell me where this venue is? Thanks!
@cmoreau: It's in Arkansas, so probably a bit far for a Boston bride, unfortunately! We live in NWA, Bentonville/Rogers/Springdale/Fayetteville area. The towns all sort of run together, it's where Walmart has their headquarters, also Unilever, Mars, Pepsico, JB Hunt, etc...not to mention University of Arkansas. While a lot of our area maintains the small Ozarks town atmosphere, there are a LOT of fortune 500 companies who have moved their executive offices (or branches) here because they do business with Walmart. Unfortunately for us, it makes the cost of wedding related things pretty high compared to the surrounding area, and more than what most people from outlying areas here are used to( super rural).
Fortunately, we had some options as we are an hour from Eureka Springs (aka the wedding capital of the south), and two hours from the itty bitty town where we are getting married.
These are probably obvious budget-saves but get married in the off-season - January-March (maybe depending on your area) can often times be much cheaper and more readily available as well.
I 2nd the Digital-only photography package - I did this for my wedding and got 6 hrs coverage for $1200. Also look into college students who are majoring in photography. A friend of mine booked a girl in school growing her portfolio for all-day coverage at only $600!! And her photos were amazing!
DIY your flowers by ordering wholesale. You may still want to order your bouquets professionally done but you can order bulk flowers from places like fiftyflowers.com or even sams club and do your own centerpieces. I did all my own flowers and as long as you have help it's not as hard/duanting as it may seem!
I think I am going to have a go at the DIY centre pieces and flowers! As I said before... I do not have the artistic gene but I'l happily give it a go, of course I would have to be engaged 1st :p
DIY anything you can. I'm doing my own flowers and DIYd a lot of decorative details (card box, signs, altar decorations, etc) Also basic invitations can be fanci-fied for way less than it costs for some invitations. We ordered STDs and place cards from Vistaprint and are handwriting our guests names and table numbers. For our invitations, I ordered plain card stock and envelopes from paper source and printed them. (Kinkos also does this if you don't have a printer, FIs grandmother was kind enough to run ours through for us.) Then I dressed them up with lace, tied everything together with a moo card (love them!) and sent them off. Only cost me the price of a regular stamp and we get tons of compliments on them.
Also having a wedding website means you don't have to print a bunch of extra paper goods. Our moo cards were a picture of the dog on one side, and on the back said "for accomodations and additional information, please see (website address)". So easy, less paper, way cuter.
Moo cards, for anyone who is not in the know, are adorable little half-sized business cards. You can print text on one side, and on the other side you can choose up to 8 different images that you upload. they cost us $20 for 100 cards and were cute and unique and fun and personal AND meant we didn't have to print a bunch of extra info about directions, accomodations, etc etc. moo.com
Great idea with the moo cards! A cute way to show off your photos, too. Most of our guests will be coming from out of town and will need maps, etc., and I was trying to figure out how to have it all included and not look tacky or have tons of little slips of mismatched papers falling out. I'm a web designer so I know my website will be awesome:) ...whenever I get around to working on it! haha
Great ideas! We're going with digital only package for photographer. I am going to day my bouquets. I am also going to just have a cocktail reception, so that is saving a ton!
if you're having a smaller wedding, dont't only look for wedding venues. keep an eye out for ANY place that does private functions or parties. most restaurants and bars either have function rooms or are willing to let you book the whole place for a party. its much cheaper than traditional wedding venues and how nice would it be to have your wedding at your favourite restaurant?
the place we are having ours at is so pretty that we dont even need to organise any decorations. we know the food is good cause we've been there over and over, and they are doing it for $60/head! its only the second wedding they've ever hosted so theyre all really excited and helpful.
theres so much stuff you can do yourself to save money. and when it comes to hair and make up, ask around before you book a pro (if you dont want to do it yourself). chances are someone's little sister or cousin wants to be a make up artist and would be grateful for the opportunity! if you have someone who is interested in doing it but feels nervous about it, it could even be cheaper to pay for a short course for them to improve their skills than to pay for a pro!
same goes for photography, my brother is doing ours and we bought him a new flash & lens for his camera because he felt he would need them to do good portraits. much cheaper than a wedding photographer!
Talk to friends. Chances are, someone is helping plan a wedding or has a bunch of party decor. I have 2 co workers who have children getting married. Bonus, both are using my colors, and have offered me first dibs at leftovers.
we emailed our vendors diredtly for custom quotes on photos (5-6 hours) food, officiant (already wrote everything down and have what we want put together, just needed a speaker), cupcakes (found an online shop=$ savings), and even our venue, told them what we wanted, exactly and they set us up-saved by doing a friday and in April, off season for them. Also, asked the grocery store what flowers they will have in April and we'll either order thru them or diy our bouquets w/flowers from them. Used vistaprint groupons and coupons for almost all of our literature, score :)
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