It’s wedding planning season so this is a super wonderful guest post by Melanie is right on time! – Anna
10 Unconventional Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding…
1. Sign Off Pinterest and Unsubscribe to Wedding Blogs
So much wedding stuff online portrays an unrealistic view of weddings. These people that can afford $50,000+ weddings, I don’t know who they are, but they aren’t you and they aren’t me. That’s ok. It’s not ok to compare your wedding worth to them. Step away from the Internet, put down that wedding magazine and talk to someone whose marriage you admire. You’ll have a much healthier view of your wedding and you’ll be so much happier.
2. Make a Budget Reflective of Your Priorities
Put on your suspenders and fasten your pocket protectors, you two need to make a wedding budget. (Bonus: it’s great practice for married life!) The easiest way to make a wedding budget and not send yourself to the poor house is to put your money into your priorities. Then, minimize or cut out the stuff you don’t need. Are you a foodie couple? Put your money towards great food. Are you audiophiles? Put your money towards a kick-ass, live band. My husband is an artist, and I like to think of myself as creative, so we put most of our money towards wedding photography. No regrets, people.
3. Write a Narrative of Your Wedding Day
Get all 5th grade English class and write a descriptive narrative of your wedding day and the events leading up to it, so you can avoid leaving something out of your budget. We didn’t think of things like gas for our cars, parking fees and breakfast that morning. If we had written a narrative, we might have avoided some of those little, unexpected things that can bust a budget as fast as a jack-rabbit on moonshine. Your 5th grade English teacher would’ve loved that analogy, by the way.
4. Don’t be Afraid to Think Outside of the Box
Newsflash: weddings don’t have to be held on Saturdays in June. You don’t have to invite everyone and their brother. You don’t have to have a reception at a big box hotel. (We had our wedding reception in a restaurant/bar for free!) The wedding police won’t arrest you if you don’t have table decorations. By thinking outside of the box, you can save big dough.
5. Get Creative
Like I said before, if you aren’t very traditional, you can ditch a lot of the wedding “traditions” and save some major cash. If you are a little more on the traditional side and you are creative (or you know someone who is), you can DIY a lot of the things associated with weddings for way less than buying something new — decorations, invitations, you could even forge your own wedding bands if you are awesome like that! So many possibilities.
6. BUY and Avoid the DIY Trap
What? You just said DIY can save you money?! I know, sometimes it can, but other times it isn’t cost efficient. In my case, I was slightly delusional and I thought I would bake 50 individual banana bread favors. Once I figured up the cost, it was much cheaper to simply purchase something small for our guests. Do your math, folks!
7. Don’t Call it a Wedding
Once you attach the word “wedding” to anything it magically doubles the price. Do a search for “white dresses,” then search for “wedding dresses.” I’m waiting. Ok, done? Your mind is blown, right?! Take out the word “wedding” from your searches and open up your mind to possibilities, man!
8. Be Honest
Explain your budget, who you are and why you are way more amazing/beautiful/talented/different than other couples to vendors. In my experience, they’ll be accommodating. People can’t work for free, obviously, but prices are generally negotiable, especially if you are super cool. And you are, duh.
9. Enlist the Help of… EVERYONE
People you know are genuinely excited for you. It’s kind of weird, I know. Friends, co-workers, distant relatives, they’d all love to help you get this wedding thing together. Let them help you DIY, borrow their punchbowl, exploit their talents. They love you (or at least like you) and want to help. It’s kind of beautiful.
10. Remember, it’s Only One Day
Yeah, this is super important, but years of debt isn’t worth one day of extravagance. Keep it simple and you’ll be just fine.
Do you have tips for saving money on weddings or events?
Melanie is a recently married librarian living in an Airstream with her husband. Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds. Find out more about their life at Love Library.
P.S. Here’s a FREE DOWNLOAD for you! 110 Cheap Date Ideas! Enjoy!
Number 10 is so crucial! Lots of people loose sight of that.
We got married in my parents yard, very low key. I don’t even know how much we spent probably $2000 in totally.
Great post! We are trying to save as much money as we possibly can on our wedding. It’s still expensive, but not as expensive as I have seen others spend. We are hoping to keep it around $10K for 200 people.
I found that just thinking about my wedding as a big party was the key to keeping things cheap and sane. I planned a DIY destination wedding all on my own and it went off amazingly well for less that 10k, including plane tickets and a 5k/week rental house. We had the reception at the house (plus were able to put up a lot of guests), got picnic food catered, and bought 5 different cakes instead of a wedding cake. We found our photographers at an art school. We had the rehearsal dinner at the house with pizza and everyone over for brunch the morning after. I think people had a better time BECAUSE it was less formal and expensive. Go for it!
Loura, you are too funny.
All of these are great advice. I especially love #1.
We eloped :) then celebrated once we got back home. No regrets,no pressure, no debt.
While I wouldnt recommend it for everyone, it is an option.
Just make sure it wont make your mom cry or anything first.
+ I’ve decided if I can find some way to use the analogy “as fast as a jack-rabbit on moonshine” today I am going to consider it a personal achievement.
We did the same as Loura: technically eloped, with a small ceremony at a local park with just two witnesses, then had a big picnic party a few weeks later. We knew neither of us was comfortable with the spotlight and saying big personal ‘I love you’s’ in public, but we were happy to host a party, so we made that compromise. I think my Dad is still sad that he never got to walk me down the aisle, and occasionally I get a bit wistful about big frou-frou dresses and weddings songs, etc, but we did our way and only ended up spending around $500 (Australian).
That’s so awesome Lilybett! I love all these creative ideas and that couples are having marriage ceremonies that reflect where they are at in life and what they can truly afford.
I love your posts about saving on a wedding as I am recently engaged and feeling super overwhelmed! So far my fiancé and I have avoided choosing a venue because the whole planning process seems so big and so expensive.
A revelation came to me when I purchased a $7 bunch of flowers from my favorite grocery store though: Why would I pay a florist $200 for a bouquet when ordering 2 of these and wrapping the stems with lace would cost roughly $20? Hair and makeup? Hey I know how to do that! I have a feeling we’re on to something here… Thanks for the great advice! Keep it coming!
Go to the library and check out the wedding planning books. I found one called “Bargain Weddings” that helped me put a lot of things in perspective. Such as the fact that no matter how many times you get married you always spend the most on the first wedding –and the wedding business people know this!!! #7 is so true! If you rent a hall say it’s a “family reunion” so they don’t upcharge you – then you can say after the deal is made that “oh, since we were having a family reunion we decided to make it a wedding!” Also, get a small tiered cake and get the rest as sheet cake. This book had plenty of great ideas…I found myself referring back to it when I kept being tempted to by monogrammed stuff….
That book sounds great!
That is SO true of DIY! I considered DIYing a lot of things and then realized it would cost MORE than buying it. And then realized that I really didn’t need to buy it ;)
A friend of ours made our wedding cake and, when I realized it would save us money, I did DIY our centerpieces and invitations. :) But the biggest money-saver was having the wedding at a community space and hiring our own caterer — no $50/plate dinners at our wedding!
It’s so important to evaluate every detail and see what is worth DIY-ing and what really isn’t. Have you heard of the book, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter? Similar idea.
I bought a bridesmaid’s dress in white for my wedding gown. It cost less than $300. It was so long that I could have hemmed just the front and had a train, but I just went with a floor length all around.
Such a smart idea!
I got engaged last year, so I spent the last year making the mistake of following every wedding blog I could find and adding every wedding pinboard. And you are right– what a mistake. My fiance and I finally decided that if we’re going to save up to spend that kind of money on anything, it’s going to be a vacation and now we’re eloping.
I kind of wish my husband and I had eloped!
I had a super-small wedding, but it was perfect and I loved it. No stress!
yes yes yes! we had a giant wedding, hired zero people, AND got featured on the etsy blog all for $3,500. you can do this! YOU CAN DO IT for soooo much less than people tell you. when you have community, bartering systems, and a thrifty spirit : you can make the magic happen!
Whoa! Soo awesome Marlee! Thanks for sharing the link too!
FYI – I’m sure you already know this, but none of the links on your site are working properly.
yep. sorry about that! hoping to have everything working properly very soon!
I just found your site today, so I’m super late to the game. I think #2 is so important! When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we both listed our top three priorities (photography, food, drinks) and talked about what we thought was important/not important. Having that conversation made us both realize where we wanted to spend and where we could save. My florist (and family friend) also pointed out that if you have a traditional ceremony with reception following, 80% of you time is spent at the reception so put your money there. We had one large floral arrangement at our church and that was it, the couple was the focus.