Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Five Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

Derek and I were certain about two things when we got engaged: we wanted to be married before the end of the year, and we wanted it to be inexpensive. In 2014, the average cost of a wedding was $30,000! Yes, you read that correctly: average. Derek and I spent under $7,000 on our wedding and (in my humble opinion) it was just as gorgeous as any other wedding I've been to. So how did we get away with it? Here are five ways we saved money on our wedding.

Choose a flexible venue
Some venues are fairly priced, however they come with what they like to call a "preferred vendor" list. This is a list of all of the vendors they work closely with (and probably get a % of their profits) and usually they are not the budget-friendly caterers, photogs, etc that you'll need for a wedding on a budget.

Our venue was fairly priced and allowed us to use any vendor we saw fit. This allowed us a lot of flexibility. Another reason our venue was inexpensive is because it didn't include or provide rentals (tables, chairs, linens) so we knew that would be an additional cost, but it ended up still being less expensive than other venues that provided rentals.

My biggest DIY project was our wedding stationary. I designed our invitations, information cards, and wedding programs myself, bought good quality stock paper, and printed them at home. Luckily, my father-in-law had a paper cutter I used to cut the invites to size. It was a little tedious but, including printer ink (about $30) I spent around $75 on ALL paper goods. When I was still planning, I was talking with a friend who was excited about spending "only" $300 on her stationary.

Ask your friends for help
We did a lot of asking/shopping around for our vendors. A good friend of mine worked for a catering company, and while we didn't get a discount on our food, that same friend's mother made our cake and took our photos - they both turned out excellent! We also had a good friend (and aspiring photog) take our engagement pictures. Our "band" was actually just two guitarists from a larger band (one of whom we knew well) who played for less than half of what the entire band would have charged.

Other things we had some help with: our rehearsal dinner was almost completely put on by my mom and mother-in-law, instead of renting another venue or using a caterer; my mom found and cleaned about 20 old glass coke bottles; my dad cut up a cedar tree for my cake stands and centerpieces. Ask, and you shall receive.

Order wholesale
As I've mentioned before, we decided to use inexpensive flowers - in the form of baby's breath and a few select bouquets from Publix. The baby's breath was ordered online from Costco. It was a little bit of a gamble - I didn't know exactly how much I would need nor did I know if they would look good when they got here. It was a risk that ended up paying off because I think our flowers looked awesome!

Go small or go home!
Ultimately the biggest money-saver for us was having a teeny tiny guest list. We had less than eighty people at our wedding. Cutting our guest list was tough, but do-able. It's all about setting firm boundaries (with yourself and your families) about who will be invited and who will not be. As far as I know, no feelings were tremendously hurt - usually when you're up front and honest with people, they are pretty understanding. Also - it really is true what they say - you can expect only about half of your invited guest list to show up to the wedding!

What are some ways you were able to save money on your wedding? Or what were some unexpected costs you ran into while planning?


Ralph Marion said...

You did better than my wife and I, but we still did fairly well on our wedding. We had a budget of $10,000 and we only spent $12,000. I think we did a good job in my mind.

Megan Fussell said...

Amazing! I recently attended a wedding of 250+ guests and was flabbergasted by the amount of $$ spent. It made me want a very minimalistic wedding and yours was beautiful, so I will definitely be taking this advice when it's my turn! :)

Girl Brooks said...

It's absurd how much weddings cost - but yours turned out beautifully! I think these are great tips for anyone who is planning, especially being firm on the guest list.

Megan said...

$30,000?! Geez Louise is right!! Haha. I thought it was closer to $20,000 for average, but I can't say I'm surprised. I've generally heard you can expect to spend around $100 for each guest; I like that "average" a lot better as a measuring stick for planning because it's kind of impossible to compare an 80-person wedding to a 300-person wedding, pricewise. It looks like we both spent well under the $100/person guide, though, so yay us! :)

The Jessa Olson Blog said...

That's crazy on the avg wedding. We did a lot of the same things. We invited less than 100 people. We also got a lot of our stuff at dollar tree. I mean the pubbles looked exactly the same as hobby lobby that wanted $8. Weddings don't need to cost that much.

The Girl who Loved to Write said...

It's crazy how expensive weddings can get! DIY is a lifesaver!

The Girl who Loved to Write said...

It's crazy how expensive weddings can get! DIY is a lifesaver!

Crystal said...

Those are great tips! We had a similar game plan and we ended up spending around $4000. It can be done! #budgetbridesunite

Macy said...

You did an amazing job with everything. I am one of those people that is excited about "only" spending $300 on our stationary. I am justifying this by knowing that each invitation includes 8 pieces.

Do you remember how much babies breath you purchased? I am ordering for my best friends bridal shower and I can't figure out how much I need for 12 centerpieces.

Kalyn P said...

I ordered 100 stems from Costco and that ended up being enough for 16 centerpieces but they were not huge arrangements!

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