You have been dating for years, or weeks, or hours if you are a celebrity these days, and the big question has finally been popped. “Will you marry me?” Of course you say yes, the endorphins start flowing and you begin imagining your perfect wedding.
Everything is unicorns and rainbows until you begin to visit venues, have meetings with caterers, florists, DJs, cake makers, etc. All of a sudden, the reality of your big day begins to have dollar signs attached to it. Many, many dollar signs.
Fortunately, in today’s DIY life-hacking world, there are many ways in which you can have your dream wedding at a fraction of the price. It will involve some extra work and some creativity, but the reward is well worth it.
WEDDING HACKS THAT CAN SAVE YOU MONEY
HOW TO SAVE ON WEDDING INVITATIONS
Save With a Site
You could save up to $800 by using a website to convey all of the important information about your wedding rather than stationary. Companies like Wix and Blue Host make it simple to design and publish a wedding website yourself.
All of the information, including details about the ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner, registry, etc. can be included on this website instead of sending out many separate pieces of expensive stationary.
Save a Ply
If you do insist on using paper invitations, etc., use one-ply paper for the insert cards. This can save you up to $275 per 100 invitations. The invitations themselves should be two-ply to look nice and have some substance, but the insert cards can be a bit more simple.
Grab a Pen and Some Friends
Invite your friends over for some wine and great conversation while you address your wedding invitations. It may not seem like a lot, but some companies can charge you up to $7/set to address, assemble, and mail your envelopes.
Give Me a Sign
Create a seating chart poster/sign instead of using individual seating cards. Depending on your taste and style, this can save you $50 to $100. There will also be less to clean up after the reception.
Make It a Couple’s Program
I don’t know about you, but whenever I have gone to a wedding, my wife and I have always shared a program. Why not only print one program per couple instead of one per guest to save costs on paper and printing? You can then instruct the ushers to hand out only one program per couple.
HOW TO SAVE ON WEDDING DECORATIONS
Give It a Second Life
Reuse any flowers or decorations that you used for your ceremony at your reception where possible. If you have some flowers or candles that you could reuse on your gift/card table or cake table instead of paying for more flowers or decorations, it only makes sense.
You would be amazed at how much candles seem to fill up a room, especially once the sun goes down and the lights are dimmed. Candles are also a very cost-effective alternative to flowers as table decorations and centerpieces.
HOW TO SAVE ON WEDDING FASHION
Ban the Boutonnieres
I know that it is traditional for the groomsmen to wear boutonnieres for the wedding ceremony. The good thing about these modern times is that styles and traditions change and nobody seems to judge you for it.
Forget the boutonnieres and have the men wear stylish pocket squares instead. Not only will it save you about $300 depending on the size of your wedding party, but they will look better in my opinion.
Order Your Dress Early
Don’t be that last-minute shopper, especially when it comes to your wedding dress. Ordering your wedding dress eight to nine months before your big day could save you up to $800 in rush fees and last-minute alterations. It also guarantees that you will find a dress that you absolutely love.
Care For a Sample?
Looking for an extreme discount on your wedding dress? Look for sample sales at bridal salons. These usually happen in late Spring or Early Fall and can provide discounts of 20%-90% off retail value. It doesn’t hurt to ask the salon if they have any sample dresses at any point in the year though.
HOW TO SAVE ON WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
Don’t Take the Prints
Select a photo package that doesn’t contain any hard-copy prints or albums. They tend to be less expensive and you can always purchase these items at a later date if you want them.
Cut the Hours
Normally, you would hire the wedding photographer for the entire day, which would be 12-14 hours. They would capture you getting ready, getting your hair done, putting on makeup, etc.
Think about only hiring the photographer for 8-10 hours instead. They will still capture the important moments and you will end up saving up to $4,000. Whoa, did he just say $4,000? Yep, I did.
HOW TO SAVE ON WEDDING VENUES
Saturday is the most popular day for a wedding and venues know this. That is why they can charge the highest rates on Saturday. Try booking your wedding on a Friday or, better yet, Sunday. You could literally save up to $4,000 plus save on food and drink minimums in some instances.
Use Less Linens
Depending on your venue, skip the expensive linens for each table and use a simple table runner instead. This can save you about $25 per table and that can definitely add up.
Use Your Own Vendors
Some venues require you to use their vendors such as caterers, bartenders, DJs, etc. You can save thousands of dollars just by researching and selecting your own vendors. For example, find a bartender that allows you to buy your own alcohol and save money rather than buying it from the venue.
HOW TO SAVE ON CATERING
Hit The Buffet
Choose a buffet-style meal instead of a sit-down meal where you are served by catering staff. Depending on your caterer, you could save up to $3,000 per 100 guests and you and your guests could actually get more food for your money.
Look Outside The City
You will normally find that caterers in major cities tend to be more expensive than caterers located in the suburbs. Compare prices and see if you can find a caterer in the suburbs that would be willing to drive to your venue if it is located in the city.
Limit Your Signature Cocktail
You could save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, by limiting your signature cocktail to cocktail hour and then serving only beer and wine during the reception.
Use The Children’s Menu
If you plan on having kids at your wedding, check with your caterer to see if they have discounted kid’s meals or if they offer a children’s menu. Many will offer a cheaper alternative for children under a certain age.
HOW TO SAVE ON THE WEDDING CAKE
Fake It Till You Make It
Wedding cakes can be expensive. Have the cake maker create a fake cake, yes you read that correctly. The cake will be cardboard except for the top tier. It will be decorated just like a real cake and nobody will know the difference.
You will then cut the top tier of the cake during the cake cutting and have sheet cakes or cupcakes to serve to the guests. You will save hundreds of dollars.
HOW TO SAVE ON WEDDING ENTERTAINMENT
Buck The Booth
Instead of hiring an expensive photo booth, create a DIY photo station with an instant camera and some props. Instant cameras like the Fuji Instax are coming back into popularity and can be so much fun at wedding receptions.
Have You Served?
Ask for military discounts if you have served your country. Many vendors will give you a military discount, if they are worth their salt. Don’t expect a huge discount, but anything is worth the time to ask.
There are so many ways that you can save money and still make your dream wedding a reality. Cutting the budget doesn’t necessarily mean cutting corners. If you do your research, take your time, and plan effectively, you can have your fairytale wedding at a price you can be more comfortable with.