(Closed) Share your #1 wedding money saving tip!

posted 11 years ago in Money
Post # 32
209 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Lots of things are saving us money, but the biggest thing is Google! Lots of research and finding out a cheaper way to do things without losing your vision or having the wedding look like the .99 store. And:

@CaliValley82 I second friendors! Our photographer, officiant, violinist for ceremony music, band for cocktail hour are all friends and are giving us these things as wedding gifts.

DIY invitations, programs

Nixing fresh flowers–we’re doing lavender instead

Going with a venue that allows you to bring in your own catering, cake, and alcohol


Recycling (part of our centerpieces are glass bottles we would normally recycle).

Post # 33
173 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

It’s kind of a combo, but choosing to have a late lunch reception and choosing a venue that does not regularly do weddings.  We’re having our reception at my father’s club (a country club type place without the golf course).  It doesn’t have the wedding markup that typical reception sites do.  Also, by having lunch instead of dinner, we’re saving about 50%.  By the time that the guests get done with the appetizers, salad and filet mignon, swordfish or portabella steak, I’m sure that they won’t care that the portions are a bit smaller.

Post # 34
385 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Cake – I’m not having a wedding cake.  It’s not really important to me, so instead I’m asking my aunts to bake cakes and getting regular cakes from a really good local bakery.  It’s meaningful to me to have my aunts bake, not to mention cheaper. 

Flowers – My cousin is arranging my flowers – we’re ordering them wholesale and she will put together bouquets for us. 

Decor – We’re using my dad’s bonsai trees as centerpieces instead of paying for them.  Also, I’m going to order paper flowers from paperplatypus on etsy to use as additional decoration – MUCH cheaper than real flowers, and they can serve as favors too. 

Dress – I found my dress at a store in the mall, NOT a bridal salon.  It’s perfect for ME, and I knew it when I found it, because I had spent time at a wide variety of salons, from really fancy to more affordable.  So I knew what was out there, and had the discernment to know that this one was better for me than the more expensive dresses.  I highly reccommend going to a really really nice place, just to check it out.  I LOVED my experience with this, and while I did fall in love with a dress that was 50% of my budget, it was never a possibility, so it didn’t break my heart not to buy it. 

Man, I’m wordy today.  Smile

Post # 35
121 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Don’t be afraid to talk to your vendors, and negotiate with them.  You’d be surprised what kinds of deals you can make.

Think outside the box about everything.  Your location, venue, decorations, everything.

Be flexible.  You love the flowers that have to be imported from Holland and cost $5 per stem but can’t afford it?  Ask the florist what looks similar for a better price.

Have the wedding on an “off” day or time.  I’m getting marrie d on a Wedneaday evening.  I realize that doesn’t work for everyone but I got fantastic prices because they wanted my business on what would have been an otherwise slow night.

Always keep your eyes open for a bargain.  you never know what you’re gonna find.  I bought a 300 ft. roll of black and white damask wire edged ribbon right after Christmas last year at Sam’s club for 90% off.  I found a helium tank and balloons at the grocery store.

Re think the idea of giving favors.  That is one area that you can save a lot of money if you have a lot of guests.

Do postcards for save the dates and RSVPs.  You save on postage and envelopes.

Post # 36
24 posts
  • Wedding: October 2009

If you’re anything like me, jealousy immediately hits me every time I look at other brides’ diy invites.  I always wanted to make my own, but nearly fell over when I added up everything I would need to make 100 invites.  It just wasn’t going to work with our budget.  I was pleasantly surprised on a weekly trip to Target to see they now have stationary!  There wasn’t a huge selection, but the palm tree invitations fit perfectly with our beach wedding.  The best part?  I was able to purchase 100 invitations for $40.  We went from expecting over $4.00 per invitation to just $0.40 each!  I was also amazed by the number of compliments we received too!

I also agree with missomally.  The destination wedding has really saved us A LOT of money!

Post # 37
349 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Three things that saved us a ton:

– My dress was a Bridesmaid or Best Man dress in white. I paid $250 for it, with tax and shipping, and it was a designer dress by Priscilla of Boston.

– Skip the flowers, and only have them for bouquets and bouts. We have no flowers in our centerpieces or in any decor, and it saved us probably close to $500, if not more. We used lots of candles instead.

– If your wedding is small-ish, skip the DJ and use a laptop. Some people worry about all the music being wrong, but with careful planning, it’s really easy. Our DOC is ensuring our music cues for the first dance are correct, and after that, we’re just letting it play all night. AND we don’t have to worry about a DJ playing stupid songs.

Post # 38
512 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

  • Keeping the guest list down
  • Draping the courtyard myself ($400 savings) Sheer chiffon nylon (50 yard less than $100 – when vendors charge $500 at least)
  • Working with one vendor on many things instead of multiple vendors because they throw in free delivery or free items or a packaged deal – that has saved us alot (and less work on confirming vendors day before)
  • Dying my shoes blue – got them for $5
  • Running of the Brides – $250 fabulous dress!!!!!!!!
  • Eating at home three nights a week & one date night rule till the wedding, staying in on Sat. to watch movie rather than spend mad money in Miami
  • Taking gift offers from close relatives to pay for certain wedding items rather than gift us something off our registry ( i.e. my parents are gifting us the photographer and cigar roller)
  • Doing your research and negotiating with vendors
  • Getting married during a recession – vendors are dying for work and ready to negotiate – so take advantage!

…and that’s how you have a 75 guest wedding in Miami for under $12K while making it look like a million bucks!


Post # 39
2 posts
  • Wedding: October 2009

While DYI -ing everything is fun and all, all the supplies can add up.  The hardest thing for me has been to just say “no” to something all together.  My vision is a classy, intimate wedding that feels indulgent but simple.  Thus I’ve splurged on the venue (heritage home for ceremony and reception) and arranged catering from a cooking school that trains chefs for five star restaurants but costs way less.  I’ve said no to:

– save the dates (instead I sent personalized emails)

– professional make-up (doing it myself)

-programs, menus (do people really need to know who everyone is in the ceremony and who wrote what standard reading about love?)

– live music (we’ll just play oldies on the ipod)

– a big wedding (we are having 70 guets altogether)

– no guest book, photo booth, special entertainment etc. (instead we’ll have croquet and bocce on the garden lawn during the “cocktail hour”)

– no special handmade frames for photos of us or handmade vases for the flowers (we are just borrowing some from our mothers)

– no special transportation (everything is at the same venue and we aren’t planning a special exit – we will just call a cab)

We did dyi the invitations but solicited phone or email rsvps intead of a reply card. As others have said we are bringing in our own booze, using potted plants at certerpieces (we will give these away as gifts to friends/family members who’ve helped with the wedding), borrowing table cloths to cut down on rental costs, making fruit punch ourselves as a non-alcoholic option, having wine and beer (the latter from a keg) only, having a friendor as a florist (bouquests and boutonnieres only), having a friendor photographer for only 3 hours (just the ceremony and some set family portraits), having a friendor hairdresser (and no trial) going with the caterer’s dessert instead of a wedding cake, having a shorter wedding and reception (shorter hours means less cost with an open bar). I’m also wearing my mother’s wedding dress and we are only having four other people in our bridal party.


Post # 40
22 posts

I agree that negotiation is key…. everyone is hurting out there with the market, and so many companies are willing to give you deals to capture business.  We have paid up front for discounts, and just told one vender that we prefer their services, but budget is a major consideration and we have better options.  I got one caterer to drop 1500 off her quote… and another to throw in 3 free appetizers for 300 people. 

Another way to save – skip the fancy cake, and just serve sheet cake.  It still tastes great so guests probably won’t even know.  I can’t tell you how many weddings I have been to that I never even saw the cake, let alone remembered it.

Post # 41
87 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

Print your own invitations…ours were very nice and easy to assemble and we bought them off Ebay for about $30! You would’ve never known and we loved them!

Post # 42
4485 posts
Honey bee

Sit down with your fiance and make 3 lists. First list is your non-negotiable must-haves. Second list is things that are nice to have but you can live without if you need to due to space/budget/time. Third list is stuff that has no meaning to you that you don’t want to include at all. Go from there.

Also sit down and decide whom you absolutely must have in attendance. Skip anyone you aren’t close to.

DIY is great but not everyone has the skills, patience, or time. Time is money after all. Also, DIY can end up being more expensive in the end.

As for cutting back in your everyday life, get a library card and use that for books, magazines, cds, dvds, rather than buying everything new which adds up really quickly. Learn to make coffee at home with flavored creamers and other add-ins that you can take with you just about anywhere. Take your lunch with leftovers from dinner the night before rather than going out to eat. Carpool with coworkers or other folks who are heading the same direction.




Post # 43
55 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Hmmm….well, I think my BIGGEST money saver was talking to people who’ve been married for over 20 years.  I asked them what they still remembered about their wedding and what they were glad they spent money on and what they wish they would have invested more in.

Ceremony Location– We opted for a smaller wedding at my aunt’s lake house. 

Reception Venue– We’re paying less than 200 bucks for our venue, it comes with all the tables, chairs, dishes and full use of their kitchen!!  PLUS we can purchase kegs and have them hooked up at the bar.  They provide us with a bartender too!!  We figure in 20 or 30 years, hell, even the week AFTER we’re married all we’re going to care about is that we’re married, our pictures and how much fun we had.  All we need to have fun is a GREAT D.J. and our friends and family!!….I guess the bar will help too.  LOL

Food– I have a HUGE family and we all grew up with a family owned restaraunt so rather than spending a ton of money on catering the family is cooking all the food and we’re doing it buffet style.  Are we REALLY going to care or even REMEMBER what we ate the day we got married??  Probably not.  The food is not THAT important!!

Save The Dates– I had someone do our STD design for us and I uploaded it to Vistaprint.com so we could print them out ourselves.  She charged us $20.00 for the design and it saved us AT LEAST $100.00 

*If anyone is interested in using her PM me and I’ll give you her email address.


These are my biggest money savers and best tips.  Peace & Love!!

Post # 44
55 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

DIY decorations will be HUGE as well!!!

Post # 45
453 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Biggest wedding savers:

Making a budget of $5000 and then making a sort of a game to see how much less than that we can spend and save as much as possible. (this includes honeymoon and wedding bands for both of us!)

Wedding dress-found perfect dress at a local bridal shop-$198.

Using disposables for our brunch reception-much less than renting when purchased from a local distributing company-rental of our dishes, etc. would have been almost triple what we are paying for disposables.

Compromising on my flowers-I like a mixed floral look anyway-but we went with mostly astrolomeria-tons of colors and very inexpensive. For my morning wedding-they are perfect. I don’t really need an expensive bouquet-our dry run with our florist has everything looking wonderful.

Chosing a shabby chic reception decorating thing has enabled us to freely mix glass, silver, etc.

Using our florist as our main vendor-the things we are getting from her-nothing short of amazing! Not only for our flowers, but also for our linens (for reception and rehearsal dinner), birdcage 4 cards, brides table w tablecloth, unity candle & stand-she gave us a terrific price.

NO FAVORS! We are having bubbles at the exit and then also two big bowls of the after dinner mints that are individually wrapped-people will grab them by the handful and put them in their pockets.

Programs-DIY-simple on computer paper that is goldish filigree around the border-just the order of the service, music, etc.

Rehearsal dinner-being catered at one of the local hotels where most of our wedding party and family are staying-the manager comp’d the confernce room and patio area for us-NO CHARGE-buffet set up, tables, and the party will spill over onto the patio with tables, lights in the palm trees around the pool, etc. This also includes the presentation large flat screen TV w DVD for playing our picgture CD, a cute bar area-best thing? No one has to drive back to their hotel afterwards in an unfamiliar town in the dark! People can just walk upstairs to go to their rooms.

Brunch reception-saving TONS of money on this-with lots of food (ham, hashbrown casserole, pineapple casserole, assorted breads & spreads, fruit salad, coffee, juice, wedding cake & chocolate cupcakes)


Post # 46
172 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

We’re cutting down on flower costs by using the Bridesmaid or Best Man bouquets (we have 7 BMs) as centerpieces as well (we’re most likely going to put the bouquets on the table during the cocktail hour).  Our reception is outdoors so we’re going with a simple tablescape.

We also don’t really care too much about having a fancy cake, so we’ll probably be able to save some money there.

And, I know this can be slightly controversial, but we are probably not having an open/hosted bar — and if we do, it will only be during the cocktail hour.  I have only been to one wedding that was open bar, and it just seemed like an extra bonus — not something that my circle of friends or I would ever expect; nor were we offended/disgusted when we had to pay for our own drinks.  If we had the money, we’d love to host the bar all night but we just don’t have the extra room in our budget.  And, we’re a little concerned about certain family members and friends getting a little tooooo tossed!!

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