(Closed) What has been the best wedding find so far? Tricks of the Trade

posted 9 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
2015 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

For brides who don’t care about having a big ball gown, try on Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses that come in white. Many Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses now come in styles that are still long, but look very bridal when you see them in white. A LOT of Watters Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses looked like less poofy versions of their gowns sometimes.

I wanted a tea-length wedidng dress anyway, so I bought a Bridesmaid or Best Man dress that came in white by Priscilla of Boston. So, in the end, I got a beautiful designer dress for $260 including tax. But many of the longer gowns were under $300.

Post # 4
451 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Wow, great ideas ladies!!!

Centerpeices-I bought single glass vase/milk bottles tinted pink with daisies blown into the glass at Ikea for under $2.00 each, and since they have small openings they can only fit 3 flowers in each bottle. I chose 2 roses and a daisy.

So while they still look dramatic on a table I save on the flowers for each centerpeice. I tied pink and brown ribbon that said “we tied the knot” around the bottle and used gemstones for JUST the bottom inch of bottle. I paird the bottle of  a square 12x 12 cloth that i found on sale and cut myself and 3 votives for only a total of under $9.00for  a whole centerpiece.

My favorite money concious wedding find!!!



Post # 5
132 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010


I plan on buying my dress at a sample sale and then selling it after the wedding.


I am borrowing my sister’s wedding shoes as “something borrowed”.


I made my best friend’s veil 5 years ago for her wedding and I plan on making my drop veil myself too. It is so easy and only about $20.


My fiance already owns his own tux, as do his attendants, so we are saving on that. We just asked all the guys to buy the same shirt and be sure to have a hand tied bow tie.

Attendants’ Attire:

My attendants are purchasing their dresses from Nordstrom for $98. After the wedding, we are going to sell them as a lot and they will get the extra money.


I’m getting married in an “off” month here so we are getting 20% off our bar bill and 10% off our food bill. I’m also getting married at a venue that does not have a rental fee. We are also having a cocktail reception instead of a sit down meal.


I’m using a single flower that is in-season during our wedding. I think it will have more impact that it is the same flower and also the quotes were really fantastic since it is in season.


I’m ordering my invitations through a volunteer organization I’m a member of and getting 15% off.


A lot of my friends are in television production so they are filming our wedding as a gift to us.


Since I live in a city, I’m trying to take advantage of public transportation and cabs and have a shuttle for out of town guests. Our church is only one metro stop from our reception site and our reception site is near three hotels.


I received a referral from one of my bridesmaids who is friends of our photographer and getting a $250 discount off our package and some free large prints.


My brother is our cantor and is singing as his gift to us. My cousin plays the violin. Another friend is our Irish piper.


We are going with the 5 piece band instead of the 7 piece and saving $500.


We are having cupcakes at $2.75 each instead of cake which was about $6 a slice in our area.

Post # 6
132 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Another thing: for our flowers, we are using them at the rehearsal dinner, then the reception and the next day at the day after brunch. They will get a lot of use and then we will give them to guests!

Post # 7
355 posts
Helper bee

dress: i found the exact dress i found at my bridal shop on craigslist for $500 when it was originally $1200. it was used and i had to have it cleaned but it is perfect and needed NO alterations. the people i bought it from were absolutely great as well 🙂

musicians: actually found them on craigslist too (when i had never used it before in my life)! they discounted their cost for me to $175 to play our ceremony since they were newlyweds just like us! they are great!!

photographer: got a great deal on photojournalistic type photography that i just love. price couldn’t be beat either. $75 per half hour! i can’t wait to see how they turn out!

flowers: we’re re-using all our bouquets to use as table decor. they were so pricey they just have to do double-duty.

dj & day of coordinator: my favorite and and uncle agreed to be our master and mistress of ceremony. my uncle has a band so is going to bring his equipment to do an ipod reception and my aunt will be the perfect go-to person for me 🙂 we plan to pay for their hotel room as a thank you, but these duties would have cost MUCH more to hire out.

invitations/programs/website: doing my own!

std’s: used vista print and they were soooo cheap! i think we paid $8 for shipping and the postcards were FREE.

hmmmm…i’ll have to think of some more, but i sure feel like the cost cutting queen:)

Post # 8
2271 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

One word – eBay! I got my invitations, photo albums, card box, guest book, wedding boots and wedding dress from eBay! Saved a bundle!

Post # 9
2634 posts
Sugar bee

Craigslist and Goodwill (or other thrift type stores!) – I’ve gotten SO many bargains on decor this way!

Post # 10
1408 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010


Our officiant is free, as he is a friend of ours. Our church is free (we’re giving a donation as a Thank You however) and our pre-marital counseling is free. The only thing we’ve been asked for is to attend church once in a while (which we now do about once a month). Our officiant used to be the head of the church, and now his good friend is.


While the rental price is high for a public park pavilion ($1,100) we get 1/3 of that back if we don’t destroy anything and its a historic building with tons of charm, french doors all over, and a 180 degree view of the lake front and beach. It comes with tables and chairs as well as a sound system, fans (to help keep people cool), and a full kitchen. Also, a full playground and beach are merely steps from the doors.


I bought our lily bowls off ebay for $80 for 27 vases AND 100 floating candles! The vases normally run from $8-$15 depending when you buy them and what size. We’re getting the sand free from the beach (where it will be returned to at the end of the night) and the rocks are $1 a bag at the local dollar store (1 bag for 1 bowls). My sister works at at local food co-op where she is getting me 3″ round 5′ tall real bamboo 3 for $10. Those will be cut in half in 1ft pieces, filled with sand and candles. We’re also buying all our lighting when it goes on sale after Christmas. My friend did this 3 years ago and bought 30 sets of Christmas lights for 10 cents each!


My sister’s ex-boyfriend is a professional photographer. He’s only done a few weddings but his work is stunning, so we hired him. He cut his normal fee in half and agreed to take pictures all day (basically from when we get up until we leave the reception!). All I did was ask politely if we could work out a deal and he said yes (and what a deal I’m getting!). My sister is hinting that the reason he doesn’t want a deposit is because he’s thinking of just gifting us the all day photography as a wedding present. I’d love this as it’d save us some $, but his discount is already so great that I don’t mind paying him either.


Now, this is not 100% yet, but it looks like we’re getting catering for 100-120 people (apps, buffet dinner, dessert) for around $1000 because my Future Mother-In-Law is negotiating a deal where she creates a professional website for the caterer (who currently use Myspace of all places!) and we pay a little $. Since my Future Mother-In-Law usually charges $$$$ to do from the ground up website design and implementation, the caterers save a ton of money and we too save a ton. Its a win-win (as long as negotiations don’t fall through! *crosses her fingers*). Plus, the food is local, organic, and vegetarian!


I am getting it custom made for me on Etsy. $465 gets me a stunning dress cut and sewn to my exact measurements and done to my specifications by an amazing designer. That is way less then I would pay for a similar dress elsewhere (although more then I’d budgeted. This is one of the few splurge places in my budget though!)! this has not been ordered yet, as I am still in talks with the designer.

Invites and Other Paper Goods-

I am making my own pocketfold invites. I got the pocketfolds and envelopes off cardsandpockets waaaaay early because they were running a three day 25% off everything in the store sale. I bought envelopes which were already on clearance, which combined with the 25% off saved me a ton. I bought a packet of 250 100lb cardstock from Office Depot for only $7. I used coupons at Michael’s to get the glue dots and strips to adhere everything to the pocketfolds. I am estimating the final cost to be about $150 total for the whole suite- invite, RSVP, Directions & Map, Reception card, and Rehearsal card (though we only need a few of these for the wedding party!). That’s about $1.76 per invite!

I ordered my STD magnets from VistaPrint with a 25% off coupon. I am sending them in Christmas cards for double duty- Season’s Greetings AND STD! Since I’d use the stamp and send Christmas cards anyhow, I am not spending a dime more for the Save-The-Date Cards that I would have spent any other Christmas. I am making fan programs to keep people cool and impart information (and use up extra cardstock) for the ceremony. We’re buying our Thank you cards at Wal Mart (50 for $7! in cute prints) and all signs, menus, etc. I’m making. I am also making out guest book- whenever I decide what form that’s going to take. By DIYing all the paper goods myself, I am saying a poop ton! (even if I am giving up beautiful letterpress or thermography for it!)


A friend’s parents own a farm with fields of wild flowers. A few days before the wedding I will be going out there to pick buckets of flowers and grasses and combining them with a few bouquets bought at Sam’s Club. I will be making all the bouquets, bouts, and flower arrangements for the wedding. They will be put to use at the church, reception, our home, and at brunch the next morning. i will also be sending most home with friends and family as thank you gifts. The ribbon is all purchased from Michael’s with 40% and 50% off coupons. I bought 1′ tall vases for the church and head table for only $1 each at Goodwill.


i bought favor boxes on clearance at walmart ($18 for 100 boxes instead of the usual $42). We’re putting kisses in them (tasty and symbolic). I’m also printing seed packets from a template I found and filling them with wild seeds native to this area as favors. $18 (that’s with shipping) for enough seeds to throw and give as favors and using extra cardstock. So, $36 for 2 different favors for 100 people.


We’re buying all our wine from Trader Joes ($4 a bottle is fantastic!) and having a limited selection of beer and hard liquor. We’re hiring a friend of my sister to bar tend at $15 an hour. Buying nice plastic glasses for this with a few real glasses mixed in for water and wine at the tables themselves.


We’re thinking of buying nice plastic plates (the kind that look like real plates) through a wholesaler and then selling them after the wedding. Same with the silverware (Sam’s has 36 knives/forks/spoons for $5-$8 a pack!) and paper napkins for the bar. I’ve been pricing out tons of rental companies for linens in hopes of finding ever better rental prices (and today I found chair covers for $1 each!).

I still have lots of planning to do myself, but I am sure I’ll work something else out which will be discounted. (I hope so anyhow, my budget is too tiny to afford not to!).

Post # 11
1408 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Oh and…


my Fiance dislikes cake so we’re going to have a local bakery make pies (only $7 for a pie for 8-12 people!) and supply us with cookies (which are pricy, but the best in town!). We may also do a tray or two of cupcakes from Sam’s club ($11.88 for 30 cupcakes!). I am hoping to be able to keep our dessert costs to under $100! 🙂

Post # 13
3098 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

Dress: Buy a sample dress. Save TONS. Or, find someone that bought a dress, then changed their mind and bought another. The original dress is probably not altered yet.

Flowers: Provide your own vases and pick them up from the florist instead of having them delivered. You’ll save a lot of money. (This probably only works if you have shorter centerpieces, like I did)

Alcohol: If you can bring your own, I second the Trader Joe’s wine tip. Our is $3.00 a bottle (in GA – the price varies in places, but it’s still called 2 buck chuck here) and it’s good wine.

Venue: Look outside of the “normal” wedding venue places. Our was in a “different” place for weddings, and everyone said it was the coolest wedding venue they’d ever seen (an old theater).

Coupons, coupons, coupons. Michael’s, Joann, Hobby Lobby…. they all have coupons for 40-50% stuff every week.

Post # 14
58 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

After your reception, donate your flowers to local hospitals or senior citizens centers or an old age home and they become tax deductible and a beautiful gift for people.

Post # 15
1523 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Day of Coordinator: Our DOC has been helpful in calming my nerves, but also in reccomending vendors. She recently helped us find a florist for an amazing price. The woman she reccomended does floral work on the side (1 wedding per weekend) and has worked with our DOC before. I loved the work that she showed us and we came in $400 under budget for flowers!

Centerpieces: Libbey Glass is based out of Toledo Ohio and I am in Cleveland two hours away. Last weekend when returning from a trip to Michigan we stopped at the Libbey Factory Outlet store and bought 18 big glass vases and 4 smaller glass vases for $123! We also bought a case of glass votive holders for 33 cents a piece! It was a great deal. I have also found that restaurant stores are great places to look for reception items.

Vendors: I am not a big fan of the Knot Boards, but the girls on my local knot board are sweethearts. I love reading all the vendor reviews that they post after their weddings. One girl even helped us find our ceremony guitarist. I also received the reccomendation for our photographer through this board.


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