For a dress- could you google any bridal stores that are consignment. There are several in my area, so I bought a dress that had been worn once and I got it for 70% off what it goes for from a salon.
Also, check out oncewed.com, preownedweddingdresses and even the classifieds here on the Bee, and craigslist. But I would suggest, before buying a dress online, finding it at a bridal store to try it on first.
Since I don’t live in Michigan I don’t know of any actual salons sorry 🙁
For flowers, maybe look into wholesale or farmers markets, they can be pretty easy to assemble yourself – just takes a little practice and lots of inspiration pictures. And they can be store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before the wedding!
Craigslist will become your friend! For photographers, make up artists and hair stylists, look on there to find students in art and cosmetology schools who will be willing to offer their services at super low prices! Just make sure you see their portfolios or have trials to make sure you like their work.
I bought my shoes from JCPenneys for $30, but also looked a lot at payless and target. even my own closet 😉
I’m doing a lot of DIY as well, like flower hairpieces for my bridesmaids. I had my bridesmaids buy their dresses from http://www.modcloth.com, and they are so beautiful! they bought their shoes from amazon and jewelry at Charlotte Russe is really cheap and pretty!
We’re using paper mache boxes to make our card box for the gifts. I made my garter from some leftover lace and fabric, took a couple hours but was super cheap.
Also, you don’t HAVE to do a sit-down dinner. We’re doing a 1pm ceremony, and just a dessert/punch and dance reception and I think it’ll be so much fun! We heard of our venue word-of-mouth, just a man and his wife who rent out their 10-acre lakefront property for weddings. So we’re paying only $450 for the whole day and to set up the day before.
If you want to do more food than just desserts, a lot of catering companies will do appetizers as well, or you can buy food in bulk from costco or sams club and make your own appetizers as well.
Have a friend officiant maybe? I know you can get ordained really quickly for super cheap.
Have an Ipod dance, it’s getting a lot more popular now! For ceremony music, use either Ipod/CD or maybe you have some friends who might be willing to play guitar, piano or sing?
My grandma is making my cake, she’s incredibly talented…but unless you know someone or could try making the cake yourself, that’s a hard area to cut costs.
Get 12 hours of premarital counseling and it will cut your marriage license fee in half, if not more! Ours would have been $140 but with pre marital counseling it was only $40.
For our centerpieces we bought mini-birdcages in the garden section at michaels, they were 50% off too – so we only spent about $5 per centerpiece. And my mom found some adorable ivory ceramic birds at the dollar tree, perfect for our bird themed wedding!
cardsandpockets.com had the cheapest paper that I could find online, but order SEVERAL weeks ahead, because although their products are great, they shipping/customer service isn’t too hot. Local printers are too badly priced either. but if you have a printer, at home printing is best, or even officemax/staples does cheap printing.
But note, from experience. at home printing on textured paper does not work! So try to pick paper that isn’t textured.
I bought most of my paper and invite supplies from Archivers, I signed up for their email newsletters, and I get coupons nearly every week from them for 30% off one item, or buy 6 cardstock, get 3 free. So spread it out and buy a little at a time with all the coupons and you’ll save a lot.
DIY is really the way to go as well, it’s fun and a great way to connect and bond with your family, fiance and friends if you plan it as a group-effort.
Have fun and good luck!