Weddings can be one of the trickiest things to plan and budget for. Vendors, venues, and decor all add up and before you know it you have blown through your budget. However, there are lots of creative ways to save money on your big day. I recently had a beautiful wedding for 100 people, and I had planned on a budget of $12,000. By the time all was said and done and we implemented our money saving strategies we actually came in under budget. However tight you want your budget to be, here are some tips to consider to throw a glamorous wedding on a budget.
1. Incorporate the Talents of Friends and Family
Do you have a friend that bakes cakes or a family member that is a photographer? Is there anyone in your network of contacts that can help out at a discounted rate? This helped save me literally thousands of dollars at my wedding, and it also made the wedding more special having loved ones so involved. One of my friends has a beautiful voice so she sang at the wedding. One of my relatives is a radio announcer so he did a reading for us at the wedding. A friend of the family was aspiring to become a professional wedding photographer so she did our pictures at a large discount. These are just a few examples that resulted in tons of savings.
2. Consider Hiring Some Vendors that are Up and Coming
When new vendors are looking to get established in the industry they are more open to accepting lower rates and negotiating with you, so that they can enhance their resume. For example, if you are wanting your wedding to be catered but you aren't able to afford a fancy caterer consider reaching out to a local cooking school and see if their students might be interested in the opportunity for a discounted rate.
3. Make Your Own Floral Arrangements
Fresh flowers are one of the priciest parts of a wedding, but they have such an elegant look and really help elevate the glam factor of your wedding. That is why I decided to make my own arrangements. The day before my wedding I went to Costco and purchased several bouquets of flowers from their fresh flower stand. They average around $13 to $16 per bouquet. We had also purchased beautiful $4 mercury vases that were on clearance at Z Gallerie. We simply cut the flower bouquets and put them in those vases with water. They made absolutely beautiful centerpieces for a fraction of the price that local flower shops wanted to charge. For the arch at the ceremony we wanted to have flowers around it, but buying them from a florist was astronomically expensive. We went to Hobby Lobby and purchased fake floral garlands with their 40% off coupons and put those around the arch. They looked so beautiful and from the guests' vantage point you couldn't even tell that they were fake.
4. Go to Wedding Expos
Bridal expos are a great way to meet lots of vendors that are all trying to compete for your business. The competition equals discounts, deals, and promotions for you. I was offered some pretty fantastic deals at the expo I attended and met amazing vendors. When picking vendors always try to check out their reviews on sites like Yelp, Wedding Wire, or The Knot.
5. Incorporate D.I.Y. Projects Wherever Possible
When planning a wedding on a budget making your own decor is key. All the decor at my wedding was made with extremely cheap items from dollar stores, Walmart, and craft stores. I had a craft party where I invited all my friends and family over and we worked on projects together.
6. Buy Plain Sheet Cakes
Another place where I racked up big savings was on the cake. Ordering a glamorous cake was very pricey and out of my budget, but we wanted to have a cake cutting ceremony at the wedding. We asked our bakery to make a pretty and glamorous small top tier cake and that was our "show cake" that was out on display. We used that one for the cake cutting ceremony. All the rest of the cake that was severed to guests was from plain sheet cakes. That small sacrifice saved hundreds of dollars.
7. Work With Your Venue to Come Up With Out of the Box Ideas
My venue was amazing at working with me to come up with creative ideas to stay within my budget. For example, we wanted to serve alcohol at the wedding but having an open bar was very expensive. The venue suggested that we instead purchase a package that gave each guest 2 free drink tickets. Those that wanted more than 2 drinks could get extra drinks from those that didn't want to use their tickets. Making small adjustments to our plan like this really added up and helped saved thousands of dollars.
Let us know what strategies you used to have an amazing wedding on a budget. My biggest tip is try to avoid using credit cards whenever possible. Come up with an amount that is doable for you without needing to go into debt. No matter how small the budget, there are always ways to make it work. Having a year to prepare for the wedding really helped me pay for things as I went along, and it gave me time to put money aside so that by the time the big day came we had paid for the entire wedding without using any credit.