Whatever your wedding budget, read these useful tips and save money where it counts without sacrificing on style.
Make a Priority List
Make a list of the ‘must haves’ and ‘would like to have’. Budget more for high priority items and eliminate low priority ones. That way, you won’t stray away from the list.
Trim the Guest List
Keeping the guest list small can help you save tons on your wedding. We know it is tough so if you are having trouble deciding who to trim, set yourself some ground rules and stick to them. Consider crossing out children, co-workers and guests whom you have never spoken to or heard of. For plus-ones, only limit it to couples you socialise with regularly.
Limit your bridal party
Consider having a small bridal party; dresses, hair and makeup are cheaper for two or three than for a party of ten.
Borrowing the Wedding Car
Ask friends or family who own luxury cars if they would be happy to drive you to your wedding. They will probably be delighted to be asked and will gladly oblige.
Choose Seasonal and Local flowers
Flowers are an expensive detail. By choosing local blooms that are in season at the time of your wedding, you could save hundreds of dollars. Talk to your florist on what works best during your season. If you are set on choosing only peonies, for example, then you would have to arrange your wedding date accordingly to when they are in season.
Simplify Your Menu
Reduce the number of courses and keep your menu simple.
Go for a Shorter Cake
The more tiers there are on your cake, the more it’ll cost you. Have a single tier cake or at most two tiers that can be wonderfully decorated that is used for cutting, and have sheet cakes in the kitchen to serve.
Decorate a Store-Bought Cake Yourself
Pick a simple design from your local bakery then add the finishing touches yourself. Wrapped each layer with lace or satin and decorate the cake with a few fresh flowers. Your guests won’t know the difference.
Pick an Off-Peak Date
Schedule the wedding in less popular months, such as January to March. When there are less demand for dates, you can have more discounts off the cost of a wedding.
Skip the Saturday Wedding
Choose any day other than Saturday as that’s the most popular day for weddings and it is also the most expensive day of the week to get married. If you hold your wedding on a Sunday or a weeknight, it’s likely the venue rate will be reduced. Venues and vendors are more likely to be available too.
Choose a Nontraditional Venue
Picking a venue that does not usually cater to weddings can help you save money. Check out facilities like museums, civic gardens, vine yards and restaurants, rather than a dedicated wedding reception hall at a country club. But if the venue is not equipped to cater, calculate extra costs for bringing in tables, toilets, and even a kitchen. Picking a restaurant that has glitzy decor can help you shave off the cost of decorations as well. Make sure the venue is equipped to handle large events.
Shop At Sample Sales for The Wedding Dress
Save money by buying a gown during sample sales where bridal boutiques sell off sample gowns at greatly discounted prices. You can save up to 70 percent on gowns, headpieces, veils, and shoes. Get on the mailing list at bridal gown salons in order to be notified of upcoming sales. Or consider renting a gown or buying a secondhand one on eBay or craigslist.
Pre-owned Wedding Gowns
If you don’t mind a secondhand wedding dress. Look for bridal shops that specialise in pre-owned wedding gowns, most of their gowns have been worn only once. You can also sell your dress via these shops after the wedding.
Make it a Lunch Reception
It’s always cheaper to serve lunch or brunch than dinner.
Avoid Sit-Down Meals
The biggest cost of any wedding is feeding people. Avoid the traditional sit-down dinner. Seated, plated dinners tend to be the most expensive option for catering. So ask your caterer about alternatives, including buffets, barbecues or hog roast.
Serve a Signature Cocktail
Alcohol is one of the biggest expenses of a wedding. An open bar stocked with liquor, mixes, beer and wine can be pricey as bars charge for every bottle opened, even if it was for just one drink. Consider offering a limited bar, where the bar stops serving alcohol after a pre-determined number of bottles were opened. Or choosing to serve a signature cocktail during cocktail hour instead of letting guests choose. Another option is to serve just beer, wine, and champagne for toasts.
Don’t serve spirits at your reception as beer and wine pair much better with dinner and are half the price of a full bar.
Save on beverages
If your wedding guests aren’t big drinkers, opt to order beverages à la carte instead of at a flat rate. You will be surprised by how much you will save.
Make your Own Centerpiece
A lot of people are using wholesale flowers to make their own centerpieces. If you are using a florist, use one kind of flowers in your bouquets and arrangements because your florist will need to place only one bulk order resulting in great savings with hardly any wastage.
Avoid cascade bouquets because they cost a lot more than round bouquets of the same size. Order small, round hand bouquets for the bridesmaid. Cascades require a lot more labor, which means higher cost.
Doubling up your Ceremony Flowers
Get a friend to take your ceremony flowers to the reception so that they double up. That way, you get two decorations for the price of one.
Limit your Photographer’s Hours
Photographers and musicians charge you on the hours they work. Save money by shaving the time they are present. Cut the cake early so you can release the photographers, and let your guests supplement your album with candids.
Consider hiring a photography-school student; it can cut the bill in half. Do make sure you check out his or her portraits portfolio first.
Make some items do double duty
To save the cost of printed place cards, print guests’ names at the top of your menu cards.
Make your own favors
If you have time, whip up your famous macaroons. Edibles make the most appreciated favors.
Going paperless with Invites
Use a wedding website to send electronic invitations for free, it also lets you manage your guest list and track RSVPs. Emailing your ‘save-the-date’ too will help you save on stationery and postage.
Printed RSVP cards could be replaced with an email address; have your guests RSVP on your wedding site instead of via reply cards. You could also make your own table plan or a large order of service to be placed outside your ceremony.
Wedding invitations are easy to do-it-yourself. Buy a downloadable template on a site such as Etsy. Then print them at home or at your local print shop. You’ll save a couple of hundred dollars over going with a professionally printed invitation suite.
If you are having a destination wedding, put your invite, itinerary and map onto one trifold instead on all separate cards.
Use the Venue’s Resources
Ask each venue what’s included in the rental fee. Some will include items such as tables, chairs or linens, which can translate into hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in savings. Do be aware of upcharges for higher-quality items.
Buy from other Newly-Weds
Ask recently married friends if you can borrow or buy centerpieces from their events. Couples often sell off pieces from their wedding after the event. Craigslist and Facebook groups are a great resource to find (and later sell) low-cost wedding decor. Look for wedding decorations, especially fairy lights in places such as craft stores.
Candles and Lanterns
Don’t spend tons on centerpieces. The secret to pretty lighting are candles and lanterns. Line tea-lights, candelabras or candles in lanterns down long tables for that soft romantic glow.
Polaroid Photo booth
Forget the photo-booth and buy a digital Polaroid instead. Set up a photo station and ask your guests to leave you a snap with a note for the perfect guest book, which you will enjoy for years to come.
Do Your Own Make-Up
The trick to pulling it off is taking your time and practicing in advance. If you need a hand, book a makeup counter tutorial.
Instead of buying brand new wedding rings, look to antique stores or even ask your parents or grandparents for a sentimental ring.
Go on honeymoon in an off-peak season
Travel during school terms to avoid airline price hikes (and children everywhere).