Post # 1
My finace and I are just at the beginning stages of wedding planning. We’ve secured our venue (this cool little nature preserve about 30 minutes from our house), but are just starting to dig through the- what feels like- hundreds of other vendors we need to select. We know we definitely want to invest in a really excellent caterer, as we’re both foodies, and we want a great photographer, but the rest of the vendors we’re not as worried about.
So, I wanted to know (given our ambivalance about the other vendors) where are the places where we can cut corners but still have the fabulously stylish wedding that we envisioned? (just as an FYI we’re expecting about 100-115 ppl)
Post # 3
What type of vendors are you talking about? linen rentals? bar service? limo? etc?
What is provided by the site? anything? Are you getting married there or a church?
Dont be afraid to bargain with your caterer. Even their stated prices are negotiable. We went from $85 a head to $63 with a combination of some menu changes and discounts and we don’t feel we are getting less at all!
Post # 4
DIY your invites. We’re saving hundreds by buying the Michael’s kits (with coupons). Same for programs, escort cards, and thank you cards.
Also, DIY your centerpieces/bouquets. Buy your flowers in bulk from Costco or Sam’s Club. That will save thousands.
If your venue allows, purchase your own alcohol instead of paying your caterer to provide it. That’s another big cost saver.
Realize that some things are just unnecessary. E.g., chiavari chairs or chair covers–yes, you may love them and want them, but ultimately no one will notice or care whether or not you have them. Cutting out some of those non-essentials will help because they really add up fast.
Your approach is a good one: choose your top 3 or so priorities to splurge on, and look for budget options for everything else. Yes, you can have an amazing wedding on a controlled budget. You just have to shop early and do your research.
Post # 5
I think you can cut corners buy focusing on the things that are important to you and not focusing on what the majority of brides say you need. We may cut corners by having my brothers (who all have musical abilities) showcase them at the reception instead of hiring a DJ. They have played as a band for years and will easily entertain the way I like while playing all the latest and greatest.
I have a good friend who is an amazing photographer. She will be my photographer. I am just paying for her costs, and I will pick her up a nice gift as a thank you.
Look on ebay for cheap/ untraditional favors and purchase “LOTS” because you can get group deals opposed to buying things individually. I stay off of “wedding favor” sites as many of them are extremely expensive. Or you can select favors that are sentimental to you. Most people are not going to remember a bag of Jordan Almonds you gave them in 2 years, but they might remember something extremely unique (and inexpensive) like a photo of you and your new husband making a crazy face.
BE CREATIVE! Go to Costco/ BJ’s and see what you can turn into a favor. Organza bags that you can use to wrap favors are very very cheap on ebay.
And don’t think you have to have an 9 course meal with lobster tails. Most guests never remember what they ate years later while they are at your anniversary party. But I am sure they will remember if the food is not good.
Post # 6
Whats important to you when you envision your day?
For example : Can you do without stuff like limo transportation or ceremony musicians? Don’t care about the cake really? (one option is to get something like a 2 tier cake for cutting & have a sheet cake for the rest of the guests = cheaper than a big enough tiered cake to feed 115 guests)
Nonfloral centerpieces can possibly help out budget-wise, but I agree with PP and buy bulk from Costco/BJ’s if indeed you want to go that route.
Can you do your own hair & makeup (or at least one of them?). What about invites? There are tons of vendors on etsy that will design your invites as a .pdf and then you print them yourself.
Also; your dress doesn’t have to be Vera Wang to be an amazing, beautiful gown. There are a myriad of options for gorgeous dresses under 1000$. The internet is your friend (and lets not kid ourselves, DB’s too! :))
And I agree with PP: while chair covers/sashes, overlays & chargers are certainly nice, they definitely are not necessary to pull off a lovely, stylish wedding.
Good luck with your planning! 🙂
Post # 7
I disagree about the chair covers, linens etc. I promise if you splurge on them and cut somewhere else you will notice the difference. My wedding would have looked like poo without the linens. I definitely would go used with the dress or at least discounted. Most of the dresses look the same after you have seen a few (believe me, I have seen too many to count and have tried on more than that lol!!!) Write down the 5 things most important to you. Everything else is fluff. If you want a gorgeous cake, get a smaller cake and have a sheet cake in the back for guests. If you don’t mind, have a brunch wedding and then bargain with the caterers because they will be able to have another event that night. Having a brunch wedding saved me 1000 on the venue alone. Also DIY invites, programs, all paper products and possibly favors depending on what you chose.
Post # 8
- Wedding: August 2010 - Ocean View Villas/Jasmine Seafood Restaurant
One thing we did was have a great photographer, but negotiated getting a CD of hi res images but no album. I made our album using adorama instead. I also bought A LOT of stuff second hand on the classifies here and my my own veil. Also try to use coupons for as many decor things as possible.
Post # 9
There’s a book called Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing A Fantastic Wedding On A Realistic Budget that really helped me a lot. It kinda lets you cut through the crap and realize what you’re really paying for, what things should cost, and how you can pay less.
Post # 10
I live in DC – most things here are RIDICULOUS!
We are getting married at a hotel because it includes tables/food/alcohol/etc.
However, we also got discounts on some things – mostly because my fiance is in the military – but our DJ was $1000 for the day instead of $3k….our photographer was 20% off, our chair rental was 25% off. Also, our location allows us to BYOB at $15 per bottle, which is cheaper than paying $15 PER PERSON for wine service at lunch – esp considering we can serve way better wine (to come out even, each person would have to drink a bottle, and that’s not our crowd).
We found an excellent florist, too. I ordered my linens online. I wanted navy tables, but rethought it and am using the hotel’s white table clothes with navy runners instead.
I recommend talking to your venue – they might have preferred vendors that will be less expensive.
Also consider securing vendors at different times to ease the pain of all those deposits – I spaced them out about a credit card statement at a time to make it easier to pay!
Don’t use fondant on your cake (if you go professional) because it adds to the overall cost (and tastes bad!)
Post # 11
I will say this: two things that will “up” your wedding are Linens & Chair covers.
Linens -ideally – should be automatically included in your venue rental – even if they’re white! You can always add splashes of colour in other places like your centerpieces, napkins, or runners, (I”m doing napkin ring pom poms in orange instead of any of those options. Cute, colourful, unique & best of all, majorly cheap!)
And I will advocate for chair covers, unless you have the option of having chairs that aren’t your regular banquet-hall style (aka bistro style). I’ve seen pictures with no chair covers with banquet hall chairs and it just looks icky. I think I would have made the sacrifice and splurged on renting them (but NOT chair sashes, THOSE are NOT necessary! It’s perfectly fine just to have a plain white or black cover) if we hadn’t lucked out with them being included with our venue at no added cost. (thank GOODNESS!)
I totally agree with @jindc in that, if you can, spacing out your vendor deposits and other purchases (ie, dress) REALLY helps with the budgeting and the pain of seeing a large amount of money go towards the wedding all at once. What’s easier to handle: spending 200$ per month over 4 months, or 800$ in one go? 🙂
Post # 12
My finace and I are getting married next year, and we cut corners by going to Michaels craft store, finding a color of scrapbook paper, printing what we wanted to say on the invite on the paper, and then using something called distress ink and make the invites look old, and vintage (thats what we were going for). It really saved us money!!! The venue we are going with, has benches instead of chairs, so we dont need to worry about any chair covers at all. We arent really worred about table cloths or runners, because our wedding is more country, primitative vs. formal! We are using mason jars, with wood chips that we stained ourselves, with an L.E.D tea light sitting insde the jar. The wood chip bag was five dollars and filled all the jars we have, and we got the jars for free, because my grandfather bought a whole lot at an action years ago! Im sure you will be able to cut corners and have an amazing wedding!!!
Post # 13
Thank you all so much for your thoughts and insight! I am horrible at responding to blogs and boards, but really appreciate what you all have shared!
Post # 14
I would suggest sample sales for the dress and doing your own invites.
Post # 15
We cut a TON of costs on our wedding and it was spectacular. We had a $12,000 for about 6,000. We rented a venue thatincluded food and linens, I borrowed centerpieces from my husband’s cousin, I made my own invites by typing them up and having them printed at Kinko’s (but the ones at Micheals are really nice too), we supplied our own alcohol, I found a girl in hair school that did my hair for free as practice (and it was gorgeous), I borrowed pretty vases and glasses and bought some candy for a beautiful candy buffet, I bought some glowsticks and coloring books and crayons for a kids corner, I got some mnm’s and cheap plastic champagne glasses for the favors and tied ribbon on them, a friend of my sister’s did the videography for free, and I had an amazing DJ at a discount. I did my own makeup (since I used to be a makeup artist) and my friend’s and family filled in the odds and ends. If you just stop and consider all the people and connections that you know, you can get a lot of help from the ones you love. Also, Safeway did an AMAZING job on my flowers and were not all that expensive at all! We got 1 bridal bouquet, 4 bouquets, 2 corsages and 9 bouteniers for about $300. Here is the link for our amazing DJ http://jjdjentertainment.com/home/ (my review is under Nov 30th, Novosel) and if you need a makeup artist for cheap, I can hook you up. Good luck and congrats!
Post # 16
I agree about all paper products—invites, etc. If DIY isnt’ your thing then try Zazzle. I found something close to what I wanted and contacted the Artist and she made some changes that made it perfect.
Buy a used dress or go to David’s. My dress was $250. Use Estee for alterations. She’s the best and has a cap on what she charges you (It used to be $250, but that may have changed)
Try using Bridesign for your flowers. (Bride magazine just had a review about different flower services)
Don’t skimp on Photographer or Make-up and Hair. It’s expensive in DC (plan on $400-$500), but totally worth it. Barbara at Bridal Artistry knew how to make me look natural in real life, but really pop in my photographs.