Five Ways To Save On Your Wedding

My wedding was 7 years ago. It cost around $1,500. It was a nice wedding too. We had the ceremony in a beautiful church and the reception under a grape arbor surrounded by vineyards. Afterwards people told me it was one of the sincerest, loveliest weddings they had been to.
I was never a girl to sit around imagining my wedding. As a consequence, I didn’t look at it as the pinnacle day of my life, just a day to celebrate the love of my husband and our covenant with God. Or put it another way, my wedding was the start of my life with my husband, not my sole achievement of womanhood. When you look at your wedding this way, you tend to be a little saner about it. Because believe me, I can think of a lot better ways to spend $50,000 than on a party.
Here are five tips that saved me money on my wedding:
1. Skip the Favors. Does anyone really want a chocolate kiss in a tulle bag? Or a tiny plastic dove tied to a plastic ring? Most guests will just toss this stuff out. I played around with giving favors and then opted not to. No one missed them.
2. Enlist Friends and Family. My mom made my wedding cake, saving me around $600. My uncle bought my flowers, saving me $500. The reception was in a family friend’s backyard–which also happens to be next to a winery. I wish I hadn’t hired a photographer, since friends and family took as many good photos as the official photographer did. If you have talented folks near you, see if they will lend you a hand.
3. Avoid Wedding Stores. Anything with the word “wedding” attached to it is going to be marked up 300%, so I spent almost no time in wedding stores. I bought my jewelry and hair supplies from other sources. My shoes were $5 at an outlet shop. I bought my slip and veil from eBay at around $25 each, saving $350. The only thing I bought at an actual wedding shop was the dress, which is kind of hard to get from other places.
4. Rethink the Open Bar. Far be it from me to tell people not to have a good time, but for most weddings, serving beer and wine/champagne is usually enough. There’s no need to break out the expensive scotch and tequila too. I mean you can, but keep in mind it’s going to cost a bundle.
5. Keep the Guest List Small. I only wanted people who knew me and loved me (or my husband) at the wedding, so we kept the guest list under 50 people. Not only did it create intimacy and a sense of joy, it had the side benefit of costing less because there are fewer people to accomodate. You know what they say, less is more.
One other point: Weddings fly by. I was shocked how quickly my wedding day passed. If you spend a fortune on the wedding, odds are you’re not going to get to enjoy most of it because you’re going to be too busy shaking hands and cutting cake and having the first dance. So don’t stress too much about the details–you’ll probably be too busy to care.

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6 thoughts on “Five Ways To Save On Your Wedding”

  1. Agreed! I’m not married, but going to people’s weddings proved me enough that foofoo fahfahs are not necessary. The simpler, the more intimate the wedding is, the more beautiful and in the end – meaningful.
    I am shocked at what most wedding’s expectations, stress and vanity levels are. Good for you, girl! I love that you put this out there 🙂 We’re not in a movie, people! I blame Hollywood.

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  2. It probably is Hollywood. Stupid celebrities! Or maybe bridal magazines? I like the term foofoo fahfahs.

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  3. Our wedding was pretty big – 150 ppl – but we did it for what I would consider a ridiculously small sum – nowhere as cheap as yours, though! A few other tips:
    – If you buy flowers, get them from a supermarket floral dept. Much much cheaper.
    – If you are an odd size (I am) and have a seamstress friend, have your dress made. Mine cost $300 and was exactly what I wanted.
    – If you have attendants, give them a swatch of fabric in the color you want them to wear and let them buy whatever they want. Or just…let them buy whatever they want, period. ;0

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  4. Missblue, thanks for the tips. I hadn’t thought of getting the flowers from the supermarket. And man, a $300 wedding gown is a steal!

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  5. Hi!
    I was married just a little over a month ago, and I kept it nice and affordable.
    -Save on photographer- my friends & family took so many lovely pictures, and my brother in law caught the best moment- the vows on video. Not a penny spent!
    -Save on favors. I don’t believe in them, it’s not my family’s tradition but my MIL (mother-in-law) insisted, and offered them as a present. So no cost there.
    -Venue!- What better place to have a reception than the home I grew up in. My mother’s home was a perfect size for the 55 guests we had.
    -Accessories- Like you I avoided bridal shops and got away real cheap! Bought everything on sale, and mentioned it was for my wedding and they gave me an additional discount!!
    -Dress, bought last season, not huge n puffy but rather something that I will have altered into an elegant dress I plan to wear on our first year anniversary. And I haggled, don’t believe the price they tell you the dress is worth, I work in fashion, average mark up in bridal- 400%- 1000%!!!
    No dj- Ipods are a wonderful invention 😉
    Hope that does not sound too braggy, I was just happy that the flyby didn’t cost too much and we have some fab memories.
    😉

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  6. Lynn, Great tips. Thanks. I wish I hadn’t hired a photographer–it is one of the areas that I feel were a waste of money. My friends and family took just as good photos as she did!

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