(Closed) BRIDES ON A BUDGET, I need your help!

posted 6 years ago in 20 Something
Post # 3
1480 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

Maybe a replica shop for the dress? Jasmine’s Bridal is good I hear, but they’re on a break because they have so many orders. But since you’re wedding is farther away maybe you’d be willing to wait?

It sounds like you’re on the right track with keeping on a budget, good luck girl!

Post # 4
357 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2005

I would look at a replica dress, or look for a similar style that you can get preowned.  On a tight budget, $1500 is a lot to put towards a dress.

If you have time and at least a little bit of crafty ability, you can DIY invitations pretty easily.  My friend and I did hers for about 70 people in a couple of evenings, and that was with lots of little fussy pieces.  Depending on the look and style you want, it can be really easy.  There are tons of graphic designers on etsy who sell customized printable templates.  If you’re doing online RSVP, then all you need is someone with a good printer and some nice paper and envelopes.  Don’t know your style, but here are some cute ones right off the top:







Post # 5
2143 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I’d cut down on decorations first- do you have a specific style in mind already? If not, there are many types of decorations you can make that are nearly free- I find a lot of ideas for stuff like that on pinterest- they’re not always wedding DIYs, sometimes I find them for home decor but that can often translate easily to centerpieces

I’d also try finding a dress secondhand, if possible. I did that and saved a ton while getting a much nicer-quality dress than I could afford new. If you’re patient enough, you can find great dresses on eBay for less than a few hundred dollars.

Post # 6
32 posts
  • Wedding: January 2014

Sales!! I brought all my accessories on a 50% off sale day, my wedding dress is an off the rack discontinued line sale, also 50% off, only catch is it needs altering for minor issues, which is still cheaper than full price and alterations which I need anyway since I’m short. Also brought my bridesmaids dresses from a regular womenswear shop on sale, instead of a bridal shop and got a much better deal. & I would definitely cut costs on reception decorations. & don’t stress about bm gifts, honestly I’ve been bm and got some great gifts, & some not so great gifts, but didn’t even expect anything, it was just good to be a bm & have the best view of the ceremony. 

Post # 8
7560 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

Since you’re planning on buying silk, have you thought about buying used flowers? I bought mine from another bride – $60 for all my bouquets and ceremony decorations! 

Post # 10
145 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Agree w PP RE DIY invites, we are DIYing ours (have already done STDs), and even with all the nicer papers I got, plus stamps, we are still coming in less than $200 total for 125 people invited… Also comb the classified sites on WB, and other bridal sites as many ppl sell their extra envelopes, cardstock, etc.

Classifieds– again– for decor; you mentioned silk flowers, and I believe another bee mentioned pre owned silk flowers– comb the classifieds, I have found several of what I need this way. Just this week bought a bunch of beautiful hydrangeas that would have cost me twice as much new, from a fellow bee. However this takes dilligence! Check the ads every day, otherwise something you really want could be gone… see if the seller is willing to negotiate. Be persistent in your email ( I am amazed how many times you have to email a seller to get  response, or many times I have gotten none at all?! Almost started a “rant ” post RE this recently!)

Pre-owned wedding dress sites. Good for you, helps another !

Craigslist. At times scary, but also where I have seen many brides off-load their stuff post wedding. Sometimes even “free to first to show up”!Everything from candles, signs, jars, etc

Ebay– same as the classifieds; but can be tricky, some stuff ends up selling for way more there. However, look for specifics and you may get lucky. For instance, I found my Priscilla of Boston dress there, the seller had it starting at XXX price, I emailed her (bc I didnt want to do the whole wait, bid, wait thing) an offer of buy it now, and she accepted-! I got my dress at a steal =o)

Some used sites to check: bravobride, tradesy, 100layercake, ruffledblog, projectwedding, theknot has classifieds too, and of course the BEE =o)

Post # 11
3564 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Download GIMP (it’s just like photoshop, but free) and design your own invites.

Always, Always, ALWAYS look for online coupons when shopping online and in store! 

Check out Hobby Lobby for your vases.  They usually run a 40% off coupon, so if you buy a few at a time, that would cut costs.

Check out the classifieds on the Bee, Craigslist, or even other wedding websites for brides offloading their wedding decor.

Search your area for any home decor wholesale stores.  Ours are usually in the same area as the outlet malls.  You can get wedding supplies like vases, candles, floral supplies, ribbons, etc. for pretty cheap from these kinds of stores.  


Post # 12
3229 posts
Sugar bee

Invitations – I got the Vistaprint groupon deal for $70 for $17. I ended up spending right under $60 for 30 invitations, 30 RSVPs, 50 thank you notes, 48 seals, and all the envelopes. I don’t love them, but they’ll do. Luckily, I don’t care if everything isn’t perfect! Good luck!

Post # 13
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@gpsp2B:  My suggestion would be for you to really scrutinize the dress you are interested in (for me it would go something like, mermaid, rufflees, organza, sweetheart neckline, button back, etc). Dress styles don’t change much from year to year, so you might find a very similar dress by the same designer from last year’s collection (or earlier) It could save you some serious money. If you are interested in buying a used dress (or renting a new dress) that would save you even more. Just a thought.


As for your Invitations, i’d suggest the DIY option. You can purchase cardstock and envelopes and print the invitations at home. If you are doing rsvps online, that will save you in postage (both ways) and on paper costs. Even if you did some fancy cardstock from an expensive seller (like paper Source) you could keep costs down. You don’t need a bunch of inserts if you have information on your wedding website somewhere with your invites (you can put that info on the back of the invitations, if you’d like to save money on paper) A7 paper and envelopes in their most expensive paper type for all of your guests (assuming each guest gets one invite and not one invite per household) would come to about $132 before taxes or shipping. You can lower that even more by getting the cardstock from them (about $50 for their most expensive type) and getting inexpensive envelopes form a craft store, officer supply store, or Amazon (that’s what I did)  I could easily see your invites only costing you about $70, and probably less than that if you shop around. DIY is the way to go!


Gift your bridesmaids something they will use on your wedding day. A clutch with mints, bandaids, and lip gloss or something. Or you can figure out something more personal. But it doesn’t have to be expensive. How many bridesmaidsdo you have?


Your reception decoration price isn’t bad. Though as you said, it could be lowered.


Honestly, the dress is what I’d focus on. Shop around, be smart about it, and get the deal!

Post # 14
8444 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@gpsp2B:  Like other brides said, definitely DIY.  If you’re not looking for fancy invites, you could always consider printing on your home printer (this is what I did).  I actually had to design two sets of invites.  These cost less than $1 each to make, including the inner and outer envelopes (purchased from paperandmore.com)

I sewed coin purses for my BMs to hold earrings that I made them, both items together were under $10 for each girl.  Purse frames were purchased on etsy from ginapurseframe

Polymer clay!  It goes on sale at Michaels for 50% off from time to time.  I DIY’d my cake topper.  It cost me about $15 in polymer clay, paper and wire.  Plus now I don’t need to pay my cake baker a ton of extra money for decorations, fondant work, or flowers.  This is the one I’m using.

This is one I made for a tutorial for another bee

Boutonniere alternatives since we’re all gamers (I’m DIYing my flowers too and I don’t want to wake up early to make flower bouts), these cost about $5-$6 to make.

Flowerless centerpieces, these cost me less than $2 each to make using an old pickcle jar, disposable salad dressing cup, cardstock scraps, some moss and an LED tea light.

Not sure if you’re doing a candy/snack buffet, but I found my containers at home goods/marshalls, plus they come with lids so I can use them after the wedding for flour, sugar, etc.  The tags were designed in photoshop/indesign, printed on paper left over from the invites.  The backing is made with cardstock and a edge/corner punch; containers cost between $2-$6 each.

If you’re going to Michaels check and see if your local store takes competitors coupons.  The one near me accepts hobby lobby and joann’s, so it’s definitely worht checking out.

I’m DIYing my flowers (with fresh, wholesale flowers from Costco), however I do have some experience with floral arrangements, so I feel pretty comfortable doing this.  It’s going to cost me about $200 for my bouquet, 1 Maid/Matron of Honor bouquet, 1 Bridesmaid or Best Man bouquet, 2 small bouquets for moms, and 10 mini bouquets for the aisle, plus rose petals for all of my tables (7 rounds, 5 cocktail, cake, gift, card, etc) at the reception.

I did online RSVPs and it worked out great, plus I didn’t need to buy an extra set of stamps.  Hope this helps 🙂


Post # 15
1144 posts
Bumble bee

@housebee:  I am so considering making my own cake toppers from polymer clay! great job on yours & your bouts! & I love your candy labels!

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