Disclaimer: Pictures I used for this post are downloaded from www.pexels.com which is a royalty-free stock image site used for commercial and personal use. You can also donate to the photographers which is pretty awesome!
I’ve been married for almost 2 years and I’ll tell you before my big day I would have loved to have some good personal experience advice on saving money. Weddings are so expensive. I think that’s why it takes some a year or so of planning. It also helps to have a good wedding planner and some really good friends who are more than willing to help!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a year to plan everything. I had to pull my wedding together in 6 months! That’s engagement photos, planning and everything in between. It was exhausting. I also had to do all this while working long hours and taking care of my (at the time) 10-month-old. Talk about stressed to the max!
So, I wanted to share some of my advice on how I would have saved more money and still had a good time and not go completely broke. This is of course if you don’t want to go to the courthouse.
Here are my list and advice on how to save money on your wedding!
Day of the week matters. Some places you will look into will come out cheaper on a Sunday even though it’s traditional. I assume that since in modern day times, most people have to go back to work on Monday and Sundays are still considered the “chill-be-lazy-day” and most people are not going to feel like going to a dressy occasion when they worked so hard all week. They just want to relax! With that being said, Friday and Saturdays have become the most desirable days to have weddings! Especially if there is drinking and partying after. Friday and Saturdays are the most expensive! But if you don’t want to do Sunday, I would recommend Saturday. Yes, it’s still expensive but when you are keeping your guest in mind, most work on Fridays and might not be able to get off or if they usually get off at 5, your wedding will have to be an evening wedding and for some reason, that’s less desirable as well. (in my experience.) Sundays are your best bet in most cases for cheap, but Saturday will be the most convenient day for guest.
Buy your dress from a warehouse or online and get it altered. Noone has to know you didn’t spend $3000 on your dress. A $150 dress can look just as good as a $3000 and NO ONE will know the difference. Trust me. Plus there are simple things you can do to make it look like a million dollars! If you’re creative, this is a fun project to work on! Those expensive sashes from the bridal stores are at least $50….for just a cloth belt with custom jews on them. Rip off! Go to the fabric store, buy some nice fabric, get some cute jews from the hobby store and make your own sash! See! You’ve already saved $40! Michael’s art store always have great coupons on regular priced items so, you’ll save regardless! And Amazon has great dresses at great prices, too!
Same for shoes. Some brides are doing the “hip” thing and wearing quirky shoes like Chucks or cowboy boots that go along with their themes or just cute for picture opportunities. If you are planning on going more traditional with heels, you can find good deals on heels online! eBay, Amazon (my fave!), just fab and even Zulily has had some great prices on some cute shoes! I’ve found people selling their barely used shoes on Facebook Market (you have to join some of these groups, though.) Or going to second-hand stores (Plato’s closet). I’ve found one of my bridesmaids’ shoes from Rack Room Shoes on sale and they were cute! (Rack Room usually has their buy one get one 1/2 off sale going on always.)
Let your bridesmaids wear dresses that flatter them. No one is going to steal your shine because you’re the one who’s wearing the white dress. Plus it’s also in style to do non-matching dresses. They can be all the same color or a gradient of colors or same fabric. Unless you only have a small number of bridesmaids or they are all the same body type and you just really want everyone to match, go for it. It’s your day but honestly having everyone pick their own dress, gives them more freedom and lets the other girls who aren’t waiting on you hand and foot have a chance to be involved. Don’t forget to ask them to let you approve of their choices, though. It’s still your day, however.
Side note: Choose your bridal party wisely. This isn’t necessarily saving money but the more people you have in your party, the more expensive it will be.
Grooms…guys have it so easy. If not suits, just dress shirts, slacks and ties are nice. And looks nice, too. Most guys already have something like this in their closets.
Flowers, go fake. You can keep them forever and they will always look nice and give your bridal party a piece to take with them from that day. Dress it up with trinkets from Hobby Lobby or Michaels.
Go to Costco or Sam’s for “fantasy” cutlery. They have hard plastics that look just like real silverware and plates too! While you’re at it, buy some booze too! You always save money when you buy in bulk! Of course, you’ll need a membership but if you don’t, there’s always a friend who has one or they have those 30-day free trails sometimes to get new members to sign in. You really only need a basic membership to do this anyway.
Decor and Centerpieces. Awesome but cheap table decor can be pictures of you and hubby when you were dating, engagement photos, baby pics, family pics etc. Put them in nice frames (dollar store or TJ Maxx). Add some flare with battery operated lights or candles or rose petals. Depending on your theme if you choose to have a theme.
Make your own wedding invitations and announcement or use social media in a private page to save on paper! If you have a printer at home and rather do it yourself, you can also get fancy paper from art supply stores or office supply stores, and print yourself. Remember, simple is better and it doesn’t have to be a 5-page booklet on the history of both families and why you guys chose to get married in March. Short simple, sweet and to the point shall do it.
Can’t really skip on quality photography unless you don’t care about how your pics look. But I would also suggest if you want to be kinda cheap, you can find a photography major at a college and use them. Paid, of course. Be sure to look at their work. Since they aren’t professional, they shouldn’t charge a lot but they shouldn’t charge $1000 starting out. Or use Fiverr. You will be surprised at what you’ll find on Fiverr.
Going a little distance to save. If you don’t mind going the distance, go a little out for venues. Most of the time, you’ll find cheaper venues out in the middle of nowhere or just anywhere not in the city or a popular place. Or you can do it in a friend’s yard who has a nice yard or a park?
Food in bulk. Catering companies usually up the price in caters 30% when weddings are mentioned. Yes, it’s true. Go buy a cake and say it’s a wedding cake and see how much that’s going to cost. I would suggest something you could buy in bulk from another warehouse store. Costco or Sam’s Club. or somewhere with really good food that offers catering. If you’re having an outdoor theme, BBQ can be messy but it’s a crowd pleaser. Simple finger sandwiches, veggies, wraps, skewers, fruit…will do the trick. If it’s an evening wedding, soup/salad, baked chicken (cheapest meat) veggies, cheese, crackers, grapes, sliders! Or build your own taco bar! The possibilities are endless. Get a close family member to help out or order catering from Publix or a local restaurant. I would suggest food trucks, but unless you are willing to pay for everyone’s food, I don’t think everyone paying for their own is a good idea if they are your guest.
Decor shortcuts. I would search facebook market groups or Amazon or even the Wish app. Yes, Wish. I would suggest ordering like 3 months in advance if you want it in time. The shipment sometimes doesn’t come as soon as it says it will. SO give them time. You can get things really cheap! If you want to make something and give yourself a reason to get all the bridesmaids together to help you get things together, art supply and craft stores are amazing for things like that.
Dj for entertainment. Now, if you really want a band, you’re going to need a backup plan. I’m all for bands. I had a band at my wedding. Bands aren’t cheap. You have to think about what you’re paying for. You’re paying for talent, hours of practice, instruments, etc. And even a 3 piece band would run you maybe $900 at the cheapest and that’s not for the whole ceremony. And you have to think about they are humans and humans need breaks. It’s hard playing nonstop so you’re going to want to have a DJ in-between. Or you can always just go Dj fully. (I recommend) Some venues have DJ services included in their packages. And sometimes you can find some pretty good deals on Djs especially the ones that are just starting out trying to build a name for themselves.
Side note: My stepson just so happened to know how to play guitar very well so to include him in on our special day, I asked him to play our first dance song on acoustic while a high school friend of mine sung. It was my favorite thing about my big day. 🙂
Honeymoon travels. Now, depending on your budget and where you really want to go, this can be also affordable. For me, I have never been to a beach before in my life. Yes, sad but true. So, I told my husband that’s where I wanted to go. Of course, I want to go to Italy and Paris but at the moment, what was in our budget was driving to a beach. Luckily, we live driving distance to quite a few beaches and since it was fall when we got married, there were a few good deals and gas wasn’t too high. We took a 5-hour drive to a resort and stayed for 3 days and drove on to another beautiful city I really wanted to go to. We searched Groupon for good deals on restaurants and hotels and we also get points staying at certain hotel through memberships and frequent visitor clubs. Road trips are awesome honeymoons because you’re spending alone time together getting to your trip and have time to talk and sightsee! And an added bonus was using wedding gift money for a souvenir or buying us a drink to celebrate!
There you have it! Those are just a few things I would suggest or recommend. Getting married and celebrating the love you have with your mate doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. It’s a dressy party where everyone is coming to celebrate you and your mate being coming one and having cake. So, try to relax, think rational and enjoy the journey!
Until next time, make it last forever!