My daughter got married in 2016. I am so thankful that she was “on top of her game.” She was so organized, resourceful, and had done her research. She made things so much easier for me!
As any parents, who have a child get married do, we learned a lot along the way. Her wedding was in no-way cheap. But we also ensured that we didn’t go into debt throwing a beautiful day for her.
I had a reader suggest that I write a post on how to cut costs for a wedding. And although I am in NO way a professional, I WILL share a few things, that hopefully, will help other brides out there ,who are seeking to save some pennies (or dollars!)
1. Decide what will be most important to you down the road. Will it be the pictures? Will it be the wedding dress? The venue? Then, once you have figured out what matters the most to you, invest the most into these things and cut costs on the rest. In 20 years, you will still have your wedding pictures or video, but you may not remember what your punch tasted like, or what color your table linens were! Prioritize.
2. Flowers can get expensive quickly. We cut costs here, by ordering ours from Costco. They were beautiful and very fresh upon arrival. You can also get flowers at your local grocery store. We also cut costs on boutonnieres and corsages. You can get some just for the parents and the pastor or ringbearer and groom. Instead of carrying fresh flowers, the bridesmaids can carry a single flower, or something else altogether like lanterns.
As for decorations, you can limit your use of flowers to what matters the most to you. For the rest, use fake, or substitute candles.
3. Sales. Take advantage of sales! Hobby Lobby often has 50% off sales where you can get your wedding items ½ off. You can also get signs, candles, décor, or anything else you may need at ½ the price if you simply go at the right time. They rotate their sales, so just keep an eye out and you should be able to hit it.
If there are any bridal garage sales in your area – go! We went to two at some nearby venues and they saved us huge costs. We got drink containers, linens, lighting, signs, and more. Some items the brides ended up not even using, so they were brand new! And you get that at fraction of the cost, because brides and grooms don’t really need 50 vases – right? So they want to get rid of their stuff.
4. Linens. Check online. It’s often about the same price (or even cheaper) to BUY your own table linens than to rent them. And then you have them to resell after the wedding or use again, if that’s your preference.
5. Music. DJ’s can be costly. Again, it’s what matters the most to you. But you can make your own playlist and just put someone in charge of managing the music timing to the events going on during and after the wedding.
6. Use family and friends. Do you have a friend who is great with video? Offer to pay him/her a little bit to video your day – instead of hiring a professional. Does someone you know love to cook? Ask them to help you with some food. Someone have a knack for decorating? Love to do hair? Use your friends and family. Most of them will be honored you asked, and love to be a part of your special day.
7. Make your own. Pinterest is phenomenal for “do-it-yourself” wedding ideas. Some are easy, some are not. But if you are creatively talented at all, you may want to make some of your own things to cut costs down. My daughter’s flower girls got inexpensive dresses at Hobby Lobby, to which she made her own faux flowers and glued them onto their dresses. They did not look “handmade” but were darling. My husband also made a huge LOVE sign out metal and wood that was phenomenal.
8. Food. Again, caterers are costly. If you know people who will contribute to make things – go that way. Or, you can do ½ and ½. Purchase some food yourselves, and supplement with some homemade things like deviled eggs, chip dip, or punch. Jimmy Johns, Chick Fil A, and Subway offer sandwiches for more casual food, and some restaurants offer fancier fare. But you need to decide ahead of time to give them time to prepare. And usually, you will have to pick it up yourselves.
9. Makeup and hair. Do it yourself! Or, have a friend help you out who is gifted in that area.
10. Venue. A lot of couples are getting married in venues instead of churches. To cut costs, get married on a weekday. The venues are much cheaper on weekdays, and actually, caterers, photographers, etc often offer discounted prices on weekdays as well. You can also look for venues that include things to help you cut certain costs – cake, silverware, linens, tables, lighting, pastor, etc.
These are just a few helpful ideas. The best way to cut costs is to keep your mind open. Prioritize. Be flexible. And allow room for changes. Plan early, and stay organized!
Lastly, don’t forget that so much planning goes into the wedding day, and not as much into the rest of your life. Premarital counseling is very important. If you need to cut costs on this, some pastors do a few sessions for free, if they are already marrying you. Or, you can go online and take a few compatibility tests and purchase a book/workbook to go through together.
Best of luck to you all. Marriage is a gift. Always treasure it.