(Closed) Savvy Brides, how did you cut wedding costs?

posted 4 years ago in Money
Post # 2
168 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

SouthernBride1151:  we started out by agreeing elements that matter to us, and things that don’t. E.g. neither of us care about cars, so we could easily say no cars, and save that money. Our other big savers are bringing own alcohol, diy decorations (using jars and bottles as vases and everyone in the family is growing flowers). Second hand dress for me, and loads of shopping around. Friends and family are getting invoved in diy flowers, cake, setup, etc. Making a donation to charity is much cheaper than favours that no one cares about.

The biggest thing is knowing what matters, and what doesn’t.  That’s how my fiancé manages me when I say “but I saw this idea on pinterest and really like it” because we rarely need that random thing.. I don’t know what just happened with text size..

Post # 3
857 posts
Busy bee

Venue that allowed for different vendors not just house! This let us shop around and find deals

$2 bar. THis is a standard in canada and now saves us a $3000 versus having an open bar!

Silk Flowers. Real flowers are ridiculously expensive here. Was quoted $2000 and spent $214 on beautful silk flowers.

Less is more! Yes its your wedding and you want to go big, but if you can get your look with a few less items, do that. 

Shop around is my biggest advice. Buy used and watch for sales!

Post # 4
1515 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

We are just at the beginning stages of planning, and we are aiming for about $15000 as well. I think as foxtrot:  mentioned, it comes down to deciding what is and isn’t important. What can you do without? 

Our first choice of venue would have cost us close to $10000 just for the room rental and food, which we just couldn’t justify. So, we did a lot of research and found an equally beautiful venue in a nearby city for about half that much. 

I think so far, we are just trying to save a little bit here and there. For instance, we are planning on just doing simple invitations with an online RSVP on a free wedding website. Instead of spending close to $300 on invitations, I’m planning on it only costing about $140 including postage. I designed email save the dates and will be sending those out. There are so many beautiful things that I would love to have or to incorporate, but we picked our priorities and will put money towards those first.

And above all compromise…

Post # 5
554 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

SouthernBride1151:  DIY invites specifically designed to mail with a single 1st class stamp and RSVP postcards-the backs had a blank space for our guests to fill however they wanted…we got everything from well wishes to wonderful artwork that we loved, but less postage & no envelopes made them less expensive.  

DIY flowers, roses and calla lilies-we love real flowers and they were really easy. We used milkglass vases-all thrifted or free (we had people volunteer to help us collect them-people loved knowing they were helping!) 

Skipped the “traditional” caterer, had food catered by a local grocery store,  (Wegmans, I’m still getting compliments on how good the food was), and hired our own servers (all professionals, they made more since we paid them directly, we saved hundreds by not paying service fees to a caterer for labor). They also bartended. We gave them a generous tip too so our friends and family wouldn’t have to. We did beer & wine only…figured if anybody was appalled that there was no liquor just needed to drink more (free) wine. 

Provided our own glassware and place settings instead of renting (again mostly thrifted/donated for free by friends & family). We also figured if anybody was appalled that the wine glasses didn’t match obviously just needed to drink more (free) wine. 

Hair/makeup done by professional cosmetologist who was a friend of my SIL. Paid her an extremely fair wage for 1/2 days work without the inflated “wedding” prices most places charge…win/win. 


Post # 6
370 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

We are having a budget friendly wedding in Jersey so I feel your pain! Actually I too am shooting for 15k. High five! 

The first thing we did to cut corners was decide on a more casual menu. We’re doing a laid back southern style BBQ in September. Ribs, corn bread, grilled veggies, etc. Things everyone loves, but not typical “wedding fare”.

<br />Another way we cut costs was doing simpler flowers. Our centerpieces are going to be filled with tons of babies breath, and for these we’re purchasing babies breath inexpensively through Sam’s club. We are also doing this for the bridesmaids bouquets. The only florals we’re having a florist do is my bouquet, which will actually be pretty over the top to offset the simplicity of everything else. <br /><br />We’re also doing a very simple cake. Clean simplicity goes a long way syle-wise, and is always the less expensive way to go! 

We’ve made ebay our best buddy. I got all of my bridesmaids freshwater pearls fairly inexpensively because they aren’t high grade perfectly-round ones (I actually prefer pearls that are shaped a bit more interestingly). I also was able to give in to my designer shoe lust by buying a killer pair through ebay for a fraction of what they would normally cost. They were just from last season, but were still brand new, in the box. 

Last thing we did worth mentioning was using vista print for the invites. They are SO INEXPENSIVE. I waited for a fifty percent off sale, and then jumped on it, getting 100 invites with a reception card, invite, and response card for under $125.00. We waited for a sale at Michaels and got brown craft paper envelopes and pockets inexpesively, and wrapped them with bakers twine for a rustic look. Before postage they ran us about a buck fifty an invite. We also used vista print to do post card save the dates, and I got 100 of those for something like fourteen dollars. The postage was less too! 

One thing people often suggest that I actually WOULDN’T recommend is using friends as vendors. I actually work in the wedding industry, and while that helped with giving me a leg up on knowing who the good vendors were, and what was affordable, I made a point of not using anyone close to me as a vendor. I know first hand how crumby it is to just want to sit and eat and socialize at a friends wedding, but instead being expected to WORK as a favor. I also know how crumby it feels to have a friend approach me and basically explain that while I didn’t make the cut for their guest list, they’d like to see if I can offer them a “deal”. Not to sound harsh, but if we aren’t close enough for me to be invited, we aren’t close enough to be asking me for favors. It’s something a lot of people don’t think of because they don’t have first hand experience with it, so I thought it might be worth mentioning.


Good luck with everything!! 

Post # 7
1032 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2015

SouthernBride1151:  You guys could save a lot if they allow you to bring your own food. Some of our money saving diy projects were: I made the silk bouquet for myself n Maid/Matron of Honor. We needed at least twelve 3-tier servers for the appetizers, so instead of paying $50.00 each for the ones we saw on Amazon, Fiance and I bought the plates from thrift stores and the candles holders from Dollar Tree to  make them ourselves. We will have a drawing and give them to our guest as favors.  Instead of spending $4k for flowers,  we bought 150 wine glasses &  cylinders that we will use as our center pieces for all of the tables.  We will also be giving these to our guest as favors. As it stands, we’re having a house wedding and Fiance n I are buying all the food, but family will help in the preparation.  Also, our cocktail hour will be wine, champagne n soft drinks. Plus, we’re not expecting any more than fifty guest.

Post # 8
2880 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

SouthernBride1151:  have you looked into restaurant buyouts? In SF, the minimums are lower than my venue fee. They would have decor, place settings and chairs. We couldn’t do that because our guest list is too big. 

Post # 9
1896 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Be smart about shopping.  It may seem like renting is a no-brainer cheaper alternative to buying, but that’s not always the case, compare beforehand and look into the fine details.  Look for sales and coupons.  Often when you order a free sample you’ll get a coupon if you decide to order (this is especially true with stationary and paper goods).  Figure out what you’ll really want to remember and use afterward.  I seriously know of no one who has used the cake cutting set later on, use ones provided by your venue or go for nice, but generic ones, don’t sink your money into fancy ones that will sit in a box forever.  Plan ahead!  If you can avoid paying rush fees that’s more money back to you, if you plan than you’re less likely to be suck at the last minute.  

If you really want to save look at alternative days and times.  By switching our day and time we were able to go from a $15,000 package (Saturday afternoon), to a $5000 package (Thursday afternoon).  This one’s a bit harder, but even just switching the time of day can make a big difference.

Look at the extras.  Do you really need favors, and welcome bags, and etc…  We’re limiting costs by giving favors (DYI that I really really wanted to do) and limiting welcome bags to the immediate family traveling from out of town and the Bridesmaid or Best Man and Best Man only.  Remember you don’t have to do everything.

Post # 10
398 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014 - Norton Country Club

We are on a 15k budget too in an area where $80,000 is a pretty typical wedding budget. Our best score was finding a nearly all-inclusive venue, slightly outside of our originally desired area.  We decided that for us, it was important to get great pictures and have a family dinner. The food is included in our package with the venue. We found a photographer who offered a 20% off season discount who we really like! 

We cut flowers from the centerpieces, that was a huge savings. Since we were engaged in October 2013 and knew we’d be shooting for a December 2014 date, I scoured the 70% off Christmas sales. Our favors are actually Martha Stewart Christmas ornaments that cost us $130 in total (for 175) and because they’re so pretty, they’ll act as temporary table decor too. 

Post # 11
309 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

Agree with all PP- look at what’s important and what you won’t miss. For us, it was car rental and fancy invites. I found them 50% at hobby lobby and they’re just as nice as if I’d ordered them! My color printer is my best friend! (40 dollars total for 100 invites!)

All the big craft stores (hobby lobby, Michaels, joanns, etc) consistently have a 40% or 50% coupon. I go several times a week to stretch out the coupons.

Also check out the dollar stores for little things for DIY- it’s so worth it for things like trays and picture frames.

I agree what PP said about hiring friends as vendors, but if you do have friends that can help you out for some of the smaller costs, consider it. One of my friends is doing our hair as our wedding gift, and that was an easy way to save a few dollars! Maybe you have a crafty friend that would gladly help you out as a wedding gift! I know for me, that sort of gift is way more meaningful and appreciated than what they would bring to the wedding!

I believe it was on the knot, but somewhere I found a site where you type in your total budget and it breaks it down into percentages for what you should be spending for each thing. This was extrememly helpful because as I came in under budget on some things, I felt comfortable spending a little more on other things because I could see it in front of me!

Post # 12
8446 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

If you’re planning on DIY I suggest that you do everything in-house; meaning, you design, print, cut, assemble, etc. at home without the use of any pre-made kits.  Also, look to upcycle and cross utilize materials.  Another huge money saver is DIYing flowers, in fact, doing my own fresh flowers was less expensive ($320) than buying silk flowers.  Plus, it was one of my easiest DIYs.

Post # 13
1141 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

By eloping! ;0)

Post # 14
2848 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Let me start by saying that this is a remarriage for both of us, and we both agreed we wanted something super simple and super tiny!  So, I am saving money in a way most cannot by having a tiny guest list.  I got my silk flowers from an ETSY vendor.  They are much cheaper than real flowers.  My close friend is a phenomenal amatuer photographer (she is thinking of doing it as a business when she retires).  She is doing our pictures.  I went to David’s Bridal for my dress.  You can find decent, budget friendly dresses in their “designer” lines.   I picked a tea length one from the Oleg Cassini line.  You could blow 1/3 of your budget or more going to a fancy bridal salon.  We are also doing a cupcake tower, with a small cake topper.  That was cheaper than a traditional cake, plus you can get flavors to please everyone.  I am not having attendants (just my 2 kids and his daughter), so that saves a lot on gifts/clothes (if you help with that), etc.  You could really limit your bridal party.

Post # 15
910 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013
  • using in season flowers for centerpieces or bouquets (you can google this information)
  • going to a trunk show to purchase your dress
  • using candles instead of flowers for centerpieces
  • having a small bridal party (less to spend on gifts for the party, hair/makeup, etc
  • use cupcakes instead of cake
  • forgo the overused photobooth (enough already)
  • forgo wedding favors

I would splurge on photography, music. food and alcohol……. A good wedding generally has great food, alcohol and music……

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