(Closed) HELP on reducing budget

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 3
505 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

This all depends on how much money you are trying to work with.  Do you have all the money you are going to have or do you have another way to contribute to the costs?  Here are the main ways to cut the budget,

Skip the rehearsal dinner

Serve appetizers at the reception instead of full meals

Have a cake and punch reception

Do your hair and makeup yourself

Do not include your wedding party’s SO’s in any activities that will cost you money

This is all I can think of right now (it’s past my bedtime) but if I think of more that no one mentions I’ll let you know.  Good Luck!

Post # 5
8353 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2011

I am sorry you and your Fiance have both been laid off. I hope you can both find jobs soon.

aubray gave you some pretty good ideas, but if I was in your position, I would contact all of your vendors and explain the situation to them and see if you can move your date. It doesn’t mean you have to break the contracts. It would just give you both more time to find jobs and save. If you end up not being able to pay your bills, you won’t have a place to live.

Post # 6
1778 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Sorry to hear that this happened.  It has to be stressful.


@aubrav:That’s a very good start!


Other additions:

-make centerpieces yourself

-borrow china and do a mismatch instead of renting stuff

-do an online rsvp instead of a traditional (saves postage and printing)

-print invites yourself (about $100 total or buy from a site like vistaprint.com)

-see if you can get a music student to dj for you instead of a pro dj

-if you cannot do your hair yourself, get it done at a beauty school instead of at a salon

-serve no alcohol, or only wine and beer

-chance to a brunch instead of a dinner


In addition, you could make some money by tutoring.  You are a teacher, so that gives you a leg up!  Plus you get paid in cash, which is awesome.  You can charge $20 to $35 an hour depending on subject and where in the country you are.  Send me a pm if you want to get some help with this.

Post # 7
576 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

First off, I’m so sorry to hear about you both loosing your jobs.  That must be really hard.

As for your budget, what kind of venue did you book?  What do they provide, and what can you bring in?  If you can bring in your own food and/or alcohol, that could save you $.  Instead of cake, you could have cupcakes or even cookies or other kind of pastry.  If you have a flower mart nearby, you can make your own bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces, or look at non-floral alternatives.  Keep your decor simple.  DIY projects can save lots.  Have an ipod instead of a band or DJ. It would help to know what vendors you’ve already booked.  These are some of my favorite budget/diy wedding sites:




Here are some articles that may help:






Post # 8
3041 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

That’s tough, I’m sorry!

Check out Project Wedding & read all the “budget savvy bride” stories under the “budget” section on this page:


It will give you lots of new ideas to reduce costs & DIY things & such. Good luck!

Post # 9
271 posts
Helper bee

You can do this! I feel your pain, I’m a huge budgeter, but no matter what you’re worrying about, you can find a way to make it work and still have it be meaningful and beautiful. Here’s a few suggestions:

Centerpieces: making your own centerpieces, we’re in luck in that the vintage look of flowers in pots are all the rage, just buy a packet of your fav flower seeds, sprinkle over a dozen (or however many tables you have) pots with soil and wait! Once ready (3 months or so later) just tie some pretty wrapping around the pots, or transfer into old wooden boxes found at junk sales. You can end up with gorgeous centerpieces that require little maintenance on the days leading up (meaning you can ask a friend to be in charge of them) for less than $3 per piece! (It’s what we’re doing – first two photos for inspiration)

Grooms clothes – this one’s easy, just go to a knock off store, guys clothes are sooo easy to find under budget and usually the guy’s just stoked not to have to shop too long. 

Makeup – Go to a MAC’s counter and have them do it on the morning, from memory it’s less than $50 and when I did it, they let me spend the $50 on makeup to take away with me, so bonus, I had makeup for the day! It does depend on the mall though as to how much it is, so shop around.

Hair, ring around salons asking about their trainees and whether they offer trainee discounts, we have one nearby that starts at $90 for a haircut, but offers $30 if you use their trainee, and bonus, they have the supervisor there the whole time telling them what to do, so it’s almost just as good!

Photography, we’ve all heard the stories about bad starter photogs, so do be careful, try pro photographer forums on flickr or other websites and say your budget up front, then go through their photos with a fine tooth comb, look for above all, consistency. There are pros out there who will do this under budget starting out, you just have to separate them out from the ‘uncle bobs’. 

Switch your wedding to a Friday if the venue will let you, most people will be glad for a reason for a long weekend, and believe me, it makes all the difference when it comes to bargaining with vendors.

+1 Schatizie, such a good idea about teaching to make some extra money on the side – also, if it’s a sought after subject, you could offer teaching to some people’s kids in return for services…like hair etc. 

+1 borrowing china. Blogs like snippet n ink, and style me pretty are always showcasing mismatched wedding reception settings. 

Honeymoon – enter every competition for a holiday you can imagine, it sounds silly, but you’d be seriously surprised how few people enter some comps. Meanwhile, sign up to all your local travel agents newsletters and airlines, they often have specials just for those who are on their mailing lists, and they can be massive savings, again often for offpeak times, and if you’re getting married in March, you have a good shot at this.

I’ll stop because I could go on forever, but look up blogs on budget weddings for inspiration, there’s so much out there. At the end of your wedding day what will have mattered is that you guys were loving, in love and welcomed your guests, if people see that, it won’t matter what color the tablecloths are, they’ll have a ball.


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Post # 11
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

We kept our budget down by nearly cutting out flowers all together – other than four bouquets, we won’t have any flowers! (welll…… my mom is insisting we borrow some fake plants from their church to decorate the front of the chapel, but those will be free to borrow). A friend of the family is doing our flowers and I think it’ll only fun about a hundred dollars. You could definitely keep it lower than that even though – I love the look of maids carrying just one of two blossoms, like gerbera daisies.

Also, I second (third? fourth?) the punch and cake idea. About a third of our budget is food. It’s just expensive to feed a hundred people! There is NO shame in having a simple reception with punch and cake though, instead of a full meal. You could have a 1pm ceremony, 2pm reception, cut cake, first dance, etc. and then have dinner with your immedate families around 6pm. You could even have an after party if you wanted a more raucus celebration, where friends could meet up at a bar and everyone can buy their own drinks.

Post # 12
3866 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

This site is for $2000 weddings, it might be helpful in giving you ideas on where to cut costs. 


I can so sympathize with you on the job loss; my fiance’ was out of work for the past few years and he JUST got a job.  I hope you and your betrothed (I LOVE that word) get jobs soon!!! 

We’re making the centerpieces, bouquets (everything that has to do with flowers, really) and, well, just about everything.  For the music, we have several friends who are going to play as well as having an ipod hooked up.  A friend is going to do the photography (he does it on the side and though he calls it a ‘hobby’, he could make one heck of a living out of it!), and we’re having a family member help with the catering.  Our budget is set at no more than $3500.  (I’m not including the stuff we’ve been wanting to get for the past few years as the wedding budget, since we’ll be using it AFTER the wedding.) 

If you need any help designing your invites/announcements/etc, feel free to drop me a message.  I actually designed our non-traditional invites/programs/etc and have done a variety of other graphic design stuff. 

good luck!  and hope you two can land jobs really soon!!!

Post # 13
2538 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I understand. McGroom lost his job with 2 weeks until the wedding and before that, I was laid off. here’s what I’ve done and I’ve found pretty much all the DIYs on WeddingBee:

1. made the garters. Super easy

2. Made my flowers from clay (Look up Mrs. Poodle)

3. Centerpices are tree branches from our backyard

4. we’re doing the music ourselves

5. DIY make-up and hair

6. Blowout dress

7. decorations (followed Mrs. Green Tea’s kusmada balls)

8. made BMs clutches

9. made my veil

10. we are handpainting our “thank you” parasol

11. bringing our own wine and beer from a store where they give us a good discount

If you have any questions on anything, PM me. I’ve taught myself a bundle to save money and we’re coming in drastically underbudget due to this.

Post # 14
510 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

We’re using a Wholesale florist, which has definitely saved us money! My FI’s mom does cakes on the side as a business, so she’s contributing the cake. My mom paid for half of my dress, I paid the rest, and my aunt is making my veil as a gift. My mom and I went to a pottery outlet and put together centerpieces for $10 a piece. We’re both government employees, so we’re using a military venue for the reception, which is saving us thousands of dollars. Our budget is low as well, with my parents paying half, and me covering the rest, while Fiance is paying for the entire honeymoon and my rings. His dad is paying for the rehearsal dinner – which won’t be anything fancy, just at a local restaurant that does rehearsal dinners (no more than $25 a person). I also limited the rehearsal dinner to intermediate family, bridal party and dates, and ceremony participants. We both have large families, and while I would love them to be at the dinner, I can’t justify throwing essentially a “pre-wedding” reception. Everyone understands we’re on a budget! Good luck!

Post # 15
695 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

You’ve gotten some great advice already, which I won’t repeat. But I have one thought to add: since his parents have offered to pay for a rehearsal dinner, could you approach them and discuss your financial situation with them, and then ask them to cancel the rehearsal dinner and put that money towards the wedding itself?

Post # 16
3041 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Some ideas:

1.  Look into prom or bridesmaids dresses as your wedding dress!

a. Prom stores – I found my wedding dress at Deb. I wasn’t looking for my dress there, but I was shopping with my friend at the mall & I knew that was the dress I wanted. It was technically a prom dress, but it looked wedding-ish to me. It was $120 & fit me perfectly!

b. Make sure it already fits – Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay for alterations in addition to your dress price (unless it fits you perfectly as-is). Something I wasn’t even anticipating when I went into the bridal dress shops. I found a dress on clearance for $200 but I would need to spend an additional $250 for alterations. That’s more than the dress itself! I’m glad I went with the Prom dress :).

c. Make sure you really do want your dress before you buy it. So many brides purchase multiple dresses because they buy a dress based on what their friends/family/salesperson says, try it on again & don’t like it. My advice? Don’t rush! Don’t be afraid to go back to the store alone, or with another person.  If you feel pressure, go back later. You may save yourself a few hundred bucks!

2. Use shoes you already own… they fit, they’re comfy & no extra money spent!

Unless you have a short dress, no one will notice your shoes. I personally love it when brides wear non-wedding shoes under their dress! My advice? Use shoes you already own! I found my shoes at a consignment store & bought them just because I liked them about a year before my wedding. They were wedges & had little sunflowers on them, which matched my theme. You don’t have to have plain white or ivory shoes; you can have fun & add a little color. Also, using your own shoes means you won’t have to worry about blisters or sore feet from new shoes!

3. Make your own invites/save the dates, or get DIY ones!

a. Make your own invites. We created our own Save The Dates using our engagement pictures & Adobe Photoshop, however there are free programs you can find online for editing, such as Picasa. We got to create our Save the Dates exactly how we wanted them.

b. Utilize Facebook. We created a Facebook Event for the wedding, put in the details & sent it to who we wanted to come. It was our wedding e-invitation. You can also send out “real” invitations too, but the e-invitations would be fine.

c. Make them in postcard style! We also made “real” wedding invites on postcards. Postcards save you $ because you don’t have to buy envelopes & you save around 16 cents/ea just in postage.

4. Try flowers that never die (fake or paper ones)! I have always loved getting flowers, but they never lasted. Even with the greatest of quality and care, after a few weeks they went from vase to the trash. I love sunflowers, and was ecstatic to find very realistic looking sunflower bundles for $1 at the Dollar Tree.  I bought flowers for my 3 bridesmaids bouquets & my bouquet plus extra flowers for decoration & best of all, they’d never die. Cost? $30!

I also bought vases at the Dollar Store to put the extra flowers in for decor. Vases similar to those, at Target were around $4/ea.

5. Consider this, to help your bridal party:

To help my bridesmaids, I let them chose their own dresses, with the condition that they be black with white. Two of my three bridesmaids already owned black & white dresses. The third one wanted a new dress anyway, so she picked one she liked & would wear again. Same with the groomsmen, they wore what they already had (for the most part).

Since all my bridesmaids had mix & match dresses, I bought them each a matching necklace (as their gift) so it would tie them all together. Kohl’s has amazing sales, often you can find 15% to 60% off their items, or buy 1 get 1 sales. Price? $25 for 3 necklaces.

6. Do your own makeup & hair

We all did our own makeup & hair on the wedding day too. We’ve all done our own hair & makeup for the majority of our lives & we were all confident we could do that on the wedding day. One of my bridesmaid’s mom helped her, so there was no cost involved for us. My mom is great with makeup & did some finishing touches for me, but other than that, we got ready ourselves, but together.

7. Find your vendors on craigslist: photographers that are up & coming are awesome. DJs are there, Bakers, etc…

Where did I turn to to find my 2nd photographer? Craigslist! I posted an ad on craigslist & got TONS of responses. One response was from a photography student at the local University whose work was phenomenal. He only charged us $150!!!

I will say the little splurge on your wedding you will want & remember is your photographer. You can find a great discount on a craigslist photographer, but it can be a gamble. I’ve seen great work come from craigslist photographers & I’ve also heard complaints. They’re going to be newer to the wedding field, so keep that in mind & meet with them first (ask to see an entire wedding they’ve photographed).

In addition to the wedding, see if your photography package includes an engagement set. This is good to do because it gives you a chance to work with the photographer before your wedding. Some photographers include this for free, others charge $100 or $200 or more just for this. We did a DIY route & took our own engagement photos. We set my camera up on a tripod & used the remote (you can use your camera’s timer instead). We had a date day at the park & had fun & took pictures. If your engagement photo shoot isn’t included with your photographer, you could always ask a friend to photograph the two of you.

8 . Friends are your friends :). Ask them to help. Most friends have an amazing talent that could help with your wedding. Also, family members too!

One of my best friends is a very good photographer & she offered to photograph my wedding as her gift to us. That’s like a $1000 free gift! Some of my friends are VERY crafty, they helped me with DIY. One of my friends offered to make me a veil, another friend made my garder belt & she did an AMAZING job! It doesn’t hurt to ask… if your friend has a talent, just ask if they could help you. Now, don’t make them do everything, but its a lifesaver with their help. Plus, it made things much more special :).

9. Have a Cake & punch (or tea/soda/coffee, etc) reception! ~OR~ a potluck!

My groom & I love Dr. Pepper. It is our soda of choice & all our friends & family know it. We wanted to incorporate Dr. Pepper into our wedding & rented a soda fountain. It was fun, unique & cost us around $25 to rent (including the soda)!

Mmm, cake! I love chocolate cake, he doesn’t. He loves white cake, me… not so much. We wanted to provide options for our guests (maybe, as well as for ourselves) & we opted for Costco cakes. We got 4 sheet cakes that were beautifully decorated, 2 chocolate & 2 white cake. It cost around $50 for all 4.

We also bought 300 paper plates & 300 forks & 300 napkins & 300 cups (yup, the Dollar Store again!)… it cost us around $30.

You could ask your family members to each bring a specific food item & have a potluck style wedding.

10. You can use your engagement ring as your wedding band, or if you have promise rings, you can use those.

For our ceremony, we exchanged our promise rings. They fit us perfectly & it meant a lot to exchange them with each other. We had planned to get our wedding bands during our honeymoon. We thought it would be more romantic & fun since we went out of the country for our honeymoon. However, nothing there fit us. I currently wear my engagement ring as my wedding band, it fits me so well & I love it & my fingers are really small so wearing 2 rings would bother them. We’ll upgrade my husband’s ring later, when we have the money.

11. Host a jewelry show, or buy your wedding jewelry from a friend who sells jewelry, or use jewelry you already own!

I helped host a jewerly show… all I did was open my home up to my friends. I got to choose who could come, so no random strangers were at my house. Because I opened up my house & the jeweler sold to those ladies, I got anything I wanted 30% off PLUS I got credit for jewerly. Chances are, you know someone who sells something, like Avon or Tupperware. Well, there are people who sell jewelry. Its an awesome company & they have great, high quality products with affordable prices. Allergic or sensitive to metals? 2 of my bridesmaids are extremly sensitive to metal & this didn’t affect them at all. You can find a local seller through Premier Designs.

12. Don’t buy tons of books/magazines, just ask for them!

Chances are, you have a friend who got married who got lots of wedding magazines & no longer needs them, or who could loan you some of hers. Or try craigslist! Post an ad asking for old wedding magazines or books & you’d be suprised at how many people are willing to help out. It is fun to get a few, but not necessary. Also check out your local library. My library offers a wide variety of magazines to the public. Get a wedding planning book, some places offer them for free. I got mine free when I signed up for StateFarm insurance at one of those bridal fairs I’ve been asking you to go to :). I got another one from my friend who was recently married.

13. Have fun, think ouside the box, what’s important/special to you & your groom but not a ‘typical wedding’ can make your wedding stand out & fun!!!!

Incorporate things you love into your wedding. We danced into our wedding. Why? Because we thought it was awesome & we also love how Jim & Pam (from the Office) get married. This was completely free & it was fun & everyone loved it! Do you love dancing? You could do that! Or you could do a choreographed dance at your reception. Fun things that are free that give your wedding a different feel & you get to express yourself too :). 

14. If you don’t need it, don’t get it!

We went without favors because, most people don’t even notice, & the rest don’t always take them. I’ve been to quite a few weddings & most of them had TONS of favors leftover. Money that could have been spent elsewhere, or saved.

15. Book things early to get low prices, & get that pricing in the contract!

If you know the vendor you want, book them & get the pricing in the contract. I had one photographer I was very interested in for my wedding, she had photographed a friend of mine’s wedding & it was awesome. I checked her pricing later, & it went up about $700. I ended up going with a friend & loved her work. I just know pricing usually goes up, so book early (be sure you want them thou)!

16. Bridal Fairs! Go to Bridal fairs & enter in the contests they have. I won engagement pics, a value of $75 (I already had mine done, so I had them chose someone else).  I also won a few hundred dollars off a certain DJ, but we had an ipod as our DJ. They had giveaways & prizes & if you went with certain vendors there, they gave you a really big discount!

17. Compare with others! If you get a price quote from someone, don’t stop there. Look around/ call around/ visit other vendors to see how much they’re charging. See if other places will match that pricing.

18. Negotiate! Feel free to negotiate pricing with your vendors! Worst thing that could happen is they say “no”.

19. Thrift stores! Goodwill, Ebay, Garage Sales, Salvation Army. We found our toasting glasses at a yard sale for 50 cents… new they’re around 20-40. I’ve seen tons of wedding things at thrift stores. Check em out!

20. Coupons! Retailmenot is a great website that gives coupon codes to stores. I use this site all the time, & its saved me hundreds.

21. Got sweet skills? Share ’em! Barter! Seriously, if you have a skill that you could share with others, ask your vendor if they would consider doing a partial trade. I offer that to clients (I’m also a photographer) & its awesome because its a win-win!

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