February 18, 2019
Are you and your fiance recently engaged? Are you looking for a few tried and true ways to save some money on your big day? Well you’ve made it to the right place! Here’s my ultimate guide–complete with ideas for saving money throughout all phases of the pre- and post-wedding process! Enjoy!
Make a budget.
If you’re planning a wedding, you need a budget, like, yesterday. The more aware you are before you start spending, the more realistic you’ll be when deciding whether a purchase is necessary or not. There are tons of budget templates online to help you get started, so set aside some time to sit down and get this done ASAP.
Opt for a longer engagement.
Doing this can allow you to save up some extra money so that you can avoid going into debt for your big day. Buckle down on extra spending, pick up some extra hours or a part-time job, and put away money like crazy. You do not want to start out married life with even more debt than you may already have (hello student loans).
Prioritize your purchases and decide where you want to splurge and where you want to save.
Things like photography, music, and the dress may carry more weight for you than the flowers, food, and venue. Just figure out where you can and can’t skimp and then stick with that. You and your fiance may not agree on everything here, so this is where it will be important to get together and talk it out.
Use your registry to help pay for your honeymoon.
Registry sites like Blueprint Registry, Honeyfund, or MyRegistry.com allow you to tactfully ask your guests to contribute to a cash fund. They can purchase gifts like “romantic dinner on the beach” or “ziplining for two” and the money they gift you will go into your account so that you can pull it out and make those purchases for yourself! This can be especially helpful for those who already own a lot of the household items that couples traditionally receive as wedding gifts.
Get married during the off-season.
If weather’s a factor, go for a date just before or just after the peak season. You still have a chance at decent weather, without the outrageous prices to go with it.
Schedule your wedding for a day other than Saturday.
You may come across a deal if you’re willing to wed on a different day. This doesn’t always work for everyone, and you may want to be courteous of your guests, but it may be a great alternative if a lot of your guests/wedding party live nearby or if you’re having a particularly intimate wedding.
Look for nontraditional venues and ask about special pricing for relatives/connections.
If you have a relative who works at a location that could double as a venue, find out if there’s any special pricing that you could take advantage of. If your parents have a huge backyard with lots of pretty landscaping, have that conversation about what it would take to host the ceremony and/or reception there.
Try bartering goods or services.
Maybe you do something for a living that can benefit one of your vendors. If there’s monetary value, it may be worth asking for a trade or a discount. I’ve personally been on both ends of this a few times, and it’s something that usually works great for both parties!
Follow vendors on social media and watch for deals, specials, and giveaways.
You may get lucky and get an amazing deal because you happened to like and share a post at just the right time!
Go to wedding fairs and sign up for EVERY giveaway.
Grab some pals and head to a wedding fair if you’re still early in the planning process. Not only will you get some ideas for local vendors, but you also have a chance at winning some really fab prizes. Be sure to spend some time chatting with your favorite booths. You may walk away with some fun freebies even if your name isn’t pulled in their drawing!
DIY as much as you can.
Just be realistic about whether it’s worth it to save the money in exchange for the time, headaches, and/or stress. And if you have friends or family who have offered to help, cash in on those offers and host a DIY night where you get some hangout time while also getting projects done!
Check wedding consignment stores, garage sales, and online ads for used wedding decor. Ask friends or relatives if they’re willing to rent or sell items that they used for their own wedding.
Consider renting both decor and attire. Let’s start with attire… when you think about how many party dresses the bride ends up wearing before the actual wedding day, it may be worthwhile to check into renting. Rent the Runway has so many beautiful options for renting dresses, it’ll make your head spin. Their Unlimited Rentals option gives you unlimited rentals at an introductory price of $99/month. Go ahead and get 20% off your first order with RTR by using this link! As for renting decor, do some research in your area and you should be able to find a rental company that matches your taste and price range.
Be patient and shop sales.
Hobby Lobby is notorious for running 50% off sales ALL. THE. TIME. Practice some patience when it comes to shopping for decor and other wedding must-haves because you will definitely find that item on sale at some point or another. If you’ve got some time to pick out a wedding dress, start researching trunk sales and other promotional events in your area. If you give yourself enough time, you don’t have to feel rushed into buying something at an outrageous price.
Buy decor that can be repurposed for your home or someone else’s.
That “Mr. & Mrs.” sign might be the perfect addition to your new master bedroom, or the punch bowl may get use again someday when your kids are graduating from high school. Either way, try to look for ways to double up on items that you’ll need both now and later.
Keep your save-the-dates in the cyber world.
If you want to save on both postage and printing, announce your wedding date on social media or via email. Most people these days are online, so take advantage!
Allow RSVPs to be made electronically or over the phone.
This could end up saving you hundreds depending on how many guests you have on your list. Allow people to call, text, or email their RSVPs instead of requesting them to send something back on a pre-stamped envelope. If you really want a paper option, go with postcards and buy postcard stamps for less than first-class stamps.
Choose a venue that doesn’t require you to use their vendors.
Some venues require you to serve meals out of their kitchen, which can skyrocket your food costs. Opt instead to find a venue where you can choose the caterer that best fits within your price range.
Use signs instead of individual copies for things like programs and menus.
You could end up saving hundreds if you forego printing menus, programs, and name cards for every guest.
Skip the fancy plated meals and opt for a buffet featuring dishes everyone loves.
If the food is good, no one’s going to complain that it wasn’t fancy enough. There are a lot of delish options out there that don’t have to break the bank, and you can still keep things classy with buffet options if that’s what you’re going for.
Don’t pay for guests’ alcohol.
Open bars are an absolute no-no if you want to save money. If you feel like you have to provide something, go for a limited amount like a keg of beer or a set number of bottles of wine.
Do your research and select flowers that are inexpensive.
You don’t have to sacrifice on style to save on money. Work with your florist to get a realistic idea about what you’ll get for the amount you want to spend, then ask for cheaper alternatives to the more expensive favorites.
Or supplement your floral arrangements with flowers you’ve grown in a garden.
Do you have access to a garden with flowers that match the style of your day? Peonies, for example, make great additions to arrangements, and they’re super easy to store well in advance of the big day. You just snip the stem while the peony is still a tight ball of petals, then wrap it in newspaper or plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator until they need to be used. My mom got this tip from florist Val Voigt for my sister’s wedding and it was a huge money-saver! (Read more of the important details from Michigan State University’s Extension Service here.)
Skip boutonnieres for the groomsmen.
The matching ties or pocket squares should give it away that they’re in the wedding party. If you don’t want to get rid of boutonnieres entirely, then just provide them to ushers, important family members, and others who have jobs throughout the day. It’s sometimes more difficult to distinguish these VIPs from other guests being they don’t have matching outfits nor are they on stage all night.
Sell everything you don’t want.
You may come across a bride or groom who wants to save a buck on decorating, and your centerpieces or props may be just the thing they need. If it’s just going to sit in your basement and collect dust, why not try to get a few dollars out of it and give someone else the chance to enjoy it like you did?
Opt for postcard thank you’s.
Remember when I said that postcard stamps cost less than the first class stamps do? Apply this logic when you’re deciding on thank you’s. The pennies that you save on each stamp may not seem like much, but they’ll add up when you think about how many thank you’s you have to write.
Pay off all your wedding debt ASAP.
If you opted to put some or all of your wedding expenses on a credit card, be sure to pay it off as soon as you possibly can! You don’t want to start off married life with a bunch of debt, and you don’t want to pay even more for your wedding because of all that interest!
There it is! If you’re looking to trim costs, go with these tried and true tips that real brides and grooms have shared with me! Happy planning!
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with love, Emily