While the average cost of a wedding is $25,000, and rising, it certainly does not have to! Sure, we’ve all been to weddings where we can tell they cut costs, but these tricks will help you cut costs without making your guests feel cheated. In fact, they’ll be happy! First of all, now that you’re engaged, everyone wants to give you an opinion and offer their help. Definitely hold people to their word on this! Giving people “jobs” or things to do to help with your wedding will not only help you out and save you money, but it will make those helping feel special because they get to be a part of your big day! Getting married is sort of like being a celebrity for a day, and everyone wants to be a part of the celebrity’s big day. Just be sure to thank them with a nice gift card or something to let them know how much you appreciate all their hard work! Next, be sure you rank what is important to you and what will be worth your money. You don’t have to cut corners on everything to still have it cheap. Cutting corners on some stuff will enable you to afford the stuff that’s really important to you! So let’s get started.
Photographer/Videographer: Photographers never go on sale. They’re only on sale when they’re new. So find a fairly new—yet awesome—photographer whose only been doing wedding photos for about a year. At this point in their career they’re experienced enough that they know what they’re doing, yet they’re still new enough that the average person can still afford them! Or of course, you could always get just a friend or family member to do your photos. With high-tech cameras being so affordable these days, nearly everyone can be a photographer/videographer.
Flowers: You have two options here. First, if it doesn’t matter much to you, check with local funeral homes. They often times have lots of flowers left over from funerals and would love to put them to good use. If you want a little more say in what types of flowers you get but still want to save costs, get a good friend who knows what they’re doing to order some flowers from a wholesaler like Costco etc. You can even mix real flowers with some fake ones from Hobby Lobby to make beautiful arrangements. Also for fresh flower petals for the flower girl, get those at your local grocery store the morning of for super cheap! And bridesmaids carrying solitary roses look just as splendid as bouquets.
Wedding Dress: While you want this to be a nice dress, let’s face it, you’re only wearing this dress once. Put a Facebook post out to your married friends with your size and see if any of them would let you possibly borrow their dress. Or consider your mom’s or grandma’s wedding dress. It’s at least worth a shot. After I got married I realized a friend of mine got married a couple years earlier in the exact same dress! If only I’d asked! Also look for sales. David’s Bridal has their $99 dress sale. And with this comes alterations… go easy on those! Just because someone says you need alterations, doesn’t mean you do! Remember, this is your day, not the seamstresses!
Disc Jockey/Band: Again, if you really want a live band, or DJ, go with someone fairly new with a little bit of experience so they meet your price range. With iTunes though, I’ve been to many weddings where a good friend was just elected to monitor the iTunes music and emcee and it worked out great! Just be sure you get a good mix of dance songs when you want people to dance! You can thank your friend with an iTunes gift card!
Food: Everyone loves to be fed, but do they really care if it’s a nice plastic plate or porcelain? Does it really bother someone if they have to stand up to go get their food or if they’re served sitting down? Let’s face it, buffet style can save you a lot of money, and it saves on waste as well! Also, people get to go back for seconds! Plastic plates can save you money too. Just go with regular silverware because cutting steak with plastic can get awkward! We had so many compliments on our food and it was super cheap. Choose some fancy food from an affordable caterer rather than cheap food from a high end caterer. Your guests will be more impressed with the fancy or delicious food than they will be with the expensive caterer. They most likely won’t even notice who is doing the catering.
Venue: Just because it’s gorgeous doesn’t mean its worth it. Beware of hidden costs! Do your research and look outside of the normal. Renting a tent in a family member’s yard has worked great on many occasions as well. The barn theme is pretty trendy these days too. Renting a barn might be cheaper than a fancy downtown hotel, and it also adds character and uniqueness to your wedding!
Groomsmen/Bridesmaids: While Men’s Warehouse and David’s Bridal have some awesome deals and work well together, if you’re looking to save your Bridal Party some cash, try one of these options. Consider just telling all your bridesmaids the length and color of the dress you wish them to wear and they can find it on their own. This will work especially well if you have bridesmaids who are all different sizes. Then consider purchasing them each a scarf or some sash that unifies them all together. My sister in law had us each wear a long black dress and then she purchased us each a nice Indian scarf and Indian bangles to unify us for her Indian-themed wedding. For men, you could just have them all wear black suits and you could purchase their shirt and tie.
Decoration: If you or someone you know is a little crafty, then you’ll be able to do most of the center pieces and church décor on your own! Toole can be bought at Hobby Lobby cheap, as well as many vases for possible center pieces. Talk to a catering company (or a pal that works for one) to see if instead of throwing out their votives at the end of an event if you could have them, or purchase them in bulk online! Or check out glass factories that sell their vase-ware cheap. Tablecloths are usually cheaper to purchase than to rent. Talk with some people you know though. You’d be amazed how many crafty ladies store this stuff in bulk and would love to put it to good use on your special day!
Cake: Most of the time, I’m afraid to say, that I am highly disappointed when I eat wedding cake. It usually looks pretty neat, but rarely tastes good! You’d be amazed how many people make delicious and awesome looking cakes who don’t own a bakery or charge an arm and a leg. Ask around. If you can find a friend or family member to do this as their wedding present to you, you’ll save a ton! I’ve heard of bakeries charging $5/slice, and there wasn’t enough for the bride and groom to have a piece! Really, there are cheaper, and more delicious options!
Invitations: Find an artsy friend and pay them half of what it would cost to hire a professional. Most professionals charge per layer. If you have an x acto knife, some card stock, a printer, and some rubber cement, you can make some stellar invites! Check out Pinterest for cute ideas too.
Jobs: Now with all this work being done by friends, you need to be sure to plan ahead and make sure everyone knows their role. If you’ve decorated the church, make sure you’ve assigned some people to tear down the décor between then and the reception. The same goes for the reception. You can get a lot done without a wedding planner, but you still need someone at the end of the night to be in charge and close up shop while you go off to start your honeymoon! And you don’t want to be the one lighting all the candles when you arrive to the reception etc, so be sure to assign someone that role, and give them a lighter! This is where those family and friends who you couldn’t include in your wedding party come into play.
The bottom line is that the more work you’re willing to do yourself, the more money you’ll save.