One can describe wedding planning with so many adjectives - exciting, fun, enjoyable, emotional, overwhelming, exhausting, frustrating and expensive (the list can go on and on). Thanks to Pinterest and social media, it’s extremely easy to go overboard with planning and all of the details that you want for your wedding day can add up quickly. But there are some ways to cut costs and still have the wedding of your dreams and we’ve compiled some simple, small and creative ways to help you stay on budget and better yet, save you some money.
MAKING A LIST, CHECKING IT TWICE
The most common piece of advice on how to save money on a wedding is to lower the guest count. Think about it… the more people you have at the wedding, then more tables you need, then the more centerpieces you need to have, and then the more food & alcohol you need, and the list just spirals from there.
One easy way to minimize the guest list is to set guest list boundaries and refrain from inviting children and coworkers (and maybe not inviting your 3rd cousin or your 5th grade teacher). Sure, you can still include your friends' significant others, but maybe consider inviting others and their casual dates.
You may also consider downsizing your bridal party because the larger the bridal party, the more you’ll spend on personal gifts, bouquets, boutineers, etc.
INVITES, STATIONERY & POSTAGE (oh my!)
I couldn’t tell you what the cost of a stamp is, but I guarantee anyone who is planning a wedding knows exactly how much it costs to send out a letter. Between the save the dates, invitations, RSVP cards, bridal shower cards, thank you cards, etc, the postage cost alone can make someone’s eye twitch. A super simple way to cut out that additional cost is to email your save the date card and include your wedding website link on it so people can RSVP right away, without anyone having to buy a stamp or drive to the post office.
If you still have your heart set on a paper product, you can still order all of the stationary, but consider just ordering in a smaller quantity. That way, you can still have those items for your photographer to take those gorgeous detailed pictures and grandma can still have her invite she can show off to all of her bunco friends.
Setting the tone and showcasing your wedding theme is incredibly important to some couples - just make sure you budget appropriately and if need be, find some ways to save you not only time, but money.
FLOWERS & REPURPOSING DECOR
Florals can be one of the most high priced items when it comes to designing and decorating your wedding day and everyone wants them, but not everyone can afford all of them. There are a few ways to save money (or at least not spend extra money!) on flowers.
Bud vases are cute and quaint and by simply filling them with a flower stem and scattering them about, your budget can go further with this look.
Consider using dried flowers or some fake petals to make those centerpieces & bouquets fuller, but not by overfilling your budget.
Choose flowers that are available year round, or in season. If you are able to have a wider variety of flowers for your florist to choose from, they can then focus on your actual vision vs what you can afford. Unfortunately, there’s a flower shortage in the wedding world right now and some flowers are difficult to find and uber expensive out of season.
Repurpose those bridesmaid bouquets and use them as centerpieces at the reception. Repurpose those ceremony flowers and decorate the head table, sweetheart table, cake table, welcome table, etc. The flowers are already there, so let’s find a place to display them after your “I Do’s”.
Candles are your best friend as they tend to be inexpensive and available anywhere and they add that one extra romantic touch to any table, any bar, any aisle, anything!
Asking for help is never a sign of weakness - it’s one of the bravest things you can do, and you never know what people will do until you ask. It can be as simple as asking to borrow accessories instead of buying them (hey, this can be your “something borrowed”).
You may consider asking your friends and family members to help out with the wedding. Maybe you know someone talented who might be able to do your hair and makeup, or someone who can design your stationery, or just as simple as someone who can provide lunch & refreshments for the bridal suite. One or two favors from others could save you some money in the long run.
You could also consider asking a trusted friend or valued family member to officiate your big day. It can in turn, be a big savings for you, and it can also be a sentimental and heart touching memory for both you and your partner, as well as for your officiant.
DRUNK IN LOVE
Another way to save some money is to limit the bar and stick to beer and wine. If you want to include liquor, you can always add on a few signature cocktails that are fan favorites, but by limiting the amount and quantities of the alcohol, you can save a lot of money (and save your guests from a possible hangover).
A lot of couples like the idea of a champagne toast at the reception, but if you don’t have a lot of champagne drinkers, just stick to a drink in hand toast which allows your guests to actually drink what they want, rather than wasting money on champagne that people may or may not drink.
When it comes to purchasing alcohol, check out your local wholesalers and purchase alcohol in bulk (as some will offer a discount if you buy by the case vs per bottle). Also, most of the retailers also have a buyback program, in which you can return unopened cases of beer & bottles of wine and alcohol - you’ll just need to provide an original receipt, possibly pay a restocking fee and return the alcohol in its original/unused packaging.
FIRST COME LOVE, THEN COMES CAKE
As much as wedding cakes are beautiful and traditional, they tend to be pricey and sometimes wasteful (sadly, we’ve seen a lot of cakes get tossed at the end of the reception). If you want that elaborate, fancy, 4 tiered wow-factor cake, go for it - but you can inquire with your baker about making a few of the tiers with styrofoam and still having them decorate it with icing so your guests don’t know the difference!
The traditional cake cutting is still a thing, but you can save a lot of money by just ordering a small cake to cut (and smash in eachothers faces) and then ordering sheet cakes for all of your guests. Cakes are typically cut in the kitchen anyways, so no one will ever know what it looked like before it reaches their mouth!
FORGO THE FAVORS
Many couples are forgoing the favors and it can be a real money saver if you decide against them. Not only are favors another added cost, but more times than not, they are forgotten by guests at the end of the night and in turn, these thoughtful gifts turn into a big waste of money.
If you absolutely want to offer a favor for guests to take home at the end of the night, you could turn your centerpieces or creative escort cards into favors (double the use without double the cost).
SO WHAT’CHA WANT
You can still have the wedding of your dreams without dismissing all of your ideas - you may just want to put a cost saving spin on some of those items. These can be as simple as using Uber or Lyft codes vs renting a shuttle, or selecting a DJ instead of a band, or offering a selfie station rather than splurging on photo booth rental.
Know your budget. Know what you can’t live without. Know your guests and ask yourself “are my guests to notice if I don’t have ____”. It’s easy to go overboard with wedding planning and all of the wedding details that are in trend. But at the end of the day, be true to yourself, be true to your budget, and remember, this is the first day of the rest of your life - let’s get it started off on the right foot (without going into debt).