(Closed) Budget Brides: What are you doing to save $ on your wedding?

posted 10 years ago in Money
Post # 17
457 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

My wedding dress only cost $300 after alterations. I picked a bridesmaid’s dress in ivory, completely on accident!

We are eloping, but here are some suggestions I have heard:

Get married or have reception at your home church if you are religious.

See if your venue has candlabras, tableclothes, etc. that you can use or rent.

Have a potluck reception.

I love the suggestions so far, ladies!

Post # 19
2142 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

– Officiant, Graphic Designer, Instructors, Site, Videographer, and DJ are either free or discounted (yay friends!)

– Using sources like VistaPrint and Kinkos for paper objects

– Using a band whose home base is our site so they knock off the 500 travel fee

– Doing everything but the dinner and cake ourselves (may end up doing the krumkake ourselves)

– Reusing decorations and accessories from my cousin’s wedding this past July (no way I’m spending 200+ on hair combs)

– Having an “actual” budget for the dress and then a “mental” budget for what I really want to spend being half of the actual (My mom didn’t like this so much)

– Win a contest for 1/2 off photographer package (which includes free engagments)

– Free website

– Buying dance shoes instead of dress shoes, not only was it cheaper overall but I know I will reuse them

– Limited drink options (water, sweet tea, unsweetened tea, leamonade)

Post # 20
269 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

-silk flowers

-diy invites

-small dress budget

-ipod for music

-well-priced caterer

-self-catered drinks

-michaels/hobby lobby diy centerpieces. I also plan on hitting them up after seasons end for clearance flowers.

Post # 21
15 posts
  • Wedding: October 2010

as far as my cake goes this Bee has it right above: 

Biggest tip: when asking for prices don’t say it’s a wedding

Post # 22
9028 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

DIY favors- supplies from staples

DIY programs 

no  chair covers or fancy chairs

no expensive photographer

using a school gym rather than a banquet hall




Post # 23
9028 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

@missguenst: you are soo right its like you ask for a 10 inch plain birthday cake and then tell you one price and if you ask for a 10 inch plain wedding cake the price triples!!!!

Post # 24
246 posts
Helper bee

  • Skipped favors
  • Postcard Save The Dates from vistaprint
  • iPod reception, close friend was the MC
  • Limited bridal party to one attendant each (this limited number of flowers and gifts needed)
  • Had aunt do alterations
  • Maid/Matron of Honor did my makeup
  • Took our own transporation instead of renting a limo
  • Did hor doerves (sp?) and cake reception – hor doerves were from Wegmans catering and cake from local bakery.  Hired three recent college grads to serve – much cheaper than paying caterers
  • Did fold and seal invites – They are cheaper because there are less pieces & the response device is a postcard so cheaper return postage
  • Family member video taped it for us
  • Used seasonal flowers as it’s cheapest to go with what is in season and available locally

Post # 25
258 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Corners cut:

1. StDs and invites were emailed. No paper or postage costs

2. Reception is at a hotel – means per head dinner price includes linens, tables, and chairs

3. We are having an iPod playlist for the cocktail hour/dinner, so we’re saving costs on our DJ because we’re having him for fewer hours

4. Not renting transportation – we have a small wedding party and everyone has cars, so we’re making it work

5. No floral centrepieces – just the bouquets

6. Going with the centrepieces that the venue offers and just adding a splash of colour (fabric bought by us and sewn by a friend with a bit of talent and a machine)


1. Musician at ceremony is a family member

2. A family friend who makes wedding cakes is making ours for free as our wedding gift

3. A friend who wants to build his photography portfolio is doing our photos for the cost of a new lens


Post # 26
216 posts
Helper bee

We started out on a budget–but unfortunately, are spending WAY more than initially planned. Oh well…  I think we did do a lot of things to save money though.

1. My e-ring and band cost under $1,000 combined. Having an expensive e-ring was not very important to me and I LOVE it!

2. We only invited 45 people. The price per head is high–but we are getting an incredible, private, historic B&B venue on a SATURDAY night in August! That would never happen anywhere else…

3. Our honeymoon suite is free for the wedding night since our guests are renting out all the rooms in the B&B

4. I made a wedding website to save on additional paper inserts

5. My dress was $200 from David’s Bridal (alterations and steaming was pricey though!)

6. My shoes were $40 and I am wearing very simple jewelry

7. I did not do a hair or make-up trial

8. I bought all my Bridesmaid or Best Man gifts overseas or after holiday sales and got some great prices!

9. We are not having a rehearsal dinner

10. We are doing a mini-honeymoon locally (since we did spend quite a bit of money on a 3-month backpacking trip through Asia a few months ago!)

11. We shopped around for vendors. Got 2 photographers for $1900 and a video guy for $600..

Post # 27
1254 posts
Bumble bee

I have zero creative skills and would love to say that I am DIY’ing my wedding. Unfortunately, such is not the case. To save money, we are doing the following:

  • Having lodging, ceremony and reception at the same site. No need for limo.
  • Going the casual route and having a fiesta
  • Hiring taco and paella vendors to cook food on-site for a taco and paella buffet. It is 50% cheaper than going with a real caterer and we keep the leftovers.
  • For drinks we are doing self-serve and limiting the menu to Margarita, Sangria, Beer (2 kegs), wine and non-alcoholic bevvies (water, juice, soda).
  • We are skipping the wedding cake and having a dessert buffet. The desert buffet will cost about the same as a wedding cake, but I won’t have to pay to cut the cake.
  • My venue has picnic tables on site, and we are using those instead of renting tables/chairs.
  • Buying used decor, thanks to WeddingBee and Craigslist.
  • Not using a florist instead using lanterns and Mexican paper flowers to decorate the site.
  • Going to LA’s fashion district to get my crinoline, sash, brooch and hair fascinator
  • I am buying my BM’s dresses and they are Mexican Puebla dresses that will be altered to fit them. $25 dresses + $25 alteration.
  • Groom using a suit and shirt he already owns. Just need to get him a tie to match the color theme
  • I live in an area with a large population of Spanish/Mexicans so this type of food and decor is fairly cheap. It is part of the reason I am going with the fiesta theme. I will buy a lot of the decor I cannot find used at swap meets.
  • Going with a photog I found on Craigslist. She is new to weddings but will have a dozen done by the time my wedding comes around. She is so open to suggestions and input. I love her!
  • Skipping favors, instead we are doing late-night snacks (bacon-wrapped hotdogs)

Post # 29
3316 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

  1. Only engagement pic was one photoshopped from one we had previously gotten while on a free cruise.
  2. No engagement rings.
  3. Plain gold bands for wedding rings.
  4. No Save-The-Date Cards.
  5. DIY paper products (invitations, programs, photo sharing cards, menus, signs, thank-you notes).
  6. Bought both of our dresses and veils at a consignment store.
  7. Bought my bra at the Salvation Army.
  8. Made our own chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy).
  9. Only two attendants (dude of honor and maid of honor).
  10. Hair and make-up people from Craigslist (for both ceremony in MA and at-home reception in DC).
  11. Photographer from Craigslist, for ceremony only, and only digital images ($400 total).
  12. Had pizza delivered for rehearsal dinner.
  13. Only flowers were bouquets and bout (total under $250) plus freeze-dried rose petals ($25).
  14. No aisle runner.
  15. Used friend as videographer.
  16. Used our minivan as the getaway car.
  17. No DOC.
  18. At-home reception venue was a private club owned by a friend. We paid him a highly discounted rate for both rental ($750) and open bar ($250).
  19. Instead of a caterer, we paid a friend to buy food from BJ’s, prepare heavy hors d’oeuvres, serve, and clean up.
  20. Instead of renting a chocolate fountain, we bought one and sold it after the wedding.
  21. Used friend who is an acoustic guitarist as our reception musician, instead of a band or DJ.
  22. DIY fauxtobooth.
  23. My wife made our cake.
  24. We bought linens (tablecloths, chair covers, chair sashes, napkins, and napkin holders), and resold after the wedding, instead of renting.
  25. Instead of hiring a professional to do lighting, we bought spotlights for uplighing, paper lanterns, and paper lantern lighting supplies before the wedding, and resold after the wedding.
  26. DIY candle centerpieces.
  27. We bought plates, flatware, and glasses from a restaurant supply wholesaler before the wedding, and resold them after the wedding.
  28. We bought mismatched coffee cups and tea cups from a thrift store.
  29. No favors.
  30. No honeymoon.
  31. No monogrammed anything. That way, we could resell things like our cake server set after the wedding.

Post # 30
1618 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Photog friendor – free

Videographer friendor – free

Venue & Reception in the same location – $700 for 16 hours

Mexican food restaurant catering – $9/person = $840

80 person max guest list

Wine, Beer & Champagne only – $300

No live florals, the arrangements will be dried florals and raw cotton – $300 for 12 centerpieces, my bouquet, Bridesmaid or Best Man bouqets and bouts

$450 dress, no alterations

No wedding band for me, $50 titanium one for him – we’re upgrading for 1yr anny

Buying tablecloths for 10/piece and reselling for $5 a piece after the wedding

DIY runners – will be about $4 a piece in the end

DIY invite kit from Target – $50

Photo Magnet Save-The-Date Cards from Vistaprint – $50

DIY hair and makeup

Friend is making cupcakes – free

All rentals (dishes, cups, glasses, silverware, chairs, arch) – $300

Hotel room 2 nights – $300


By making these and other easy adjustments, we’re going to have a really great wedding day and it’s going to be under  $5000k.



Post # 31
1221 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I bought my dress from someone off Craigslist. A lot of people are looking to get rid of their dresses for cheap. I paid a whopping $100 for the dress & $10 in alterations 🙂

A lot of our vendors are private businesses, a lot of word of mouth. Our caterer is also my hairdresser (and she’s also a realtor!). We were able to find a cheap linen lady, who recommended the florist & the party rental place for the chairs. A friend’s mom has a neighbor who does wedding cakes, and she was so cheap & her cakes are delish! I posted an ad on Craigslist for hair, and a close friend was able to recommend someone for make-up.

Family members live in a HOA community and therefore have access to a new clubhouse, which we rented out for the reception. Directly across the street is a gorgeous park/lake, where we’re having our ceremony. While we didn’t save much on the reception venue, we got the lake for free since we’re renting the clubhouse.

Add a lot of DIY & we were able to save a decent amount.

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