Frugal ideas pertaining to any and all aspects of the wedding, from the ceremony to the reception and everything in between. These are tips from the ThriftyFun community. Post your own frugal wedding tips below.
A friend's daughter had a frugal wedding last year. She first had to decide what was important and what was traditional or expected, but that she could do without. She had the following items donated as gifts. I made her wedding invitations and thank you notes, which she designed. Another friend did the photography, another did the video, a friend's band played at the reception and another made the cake. Her only big cost was the catering (which she kept simple) and her dress, which she bought new. But even the dress can be borrowed from a special friend or relative and the food prepared by family and friends. It made the entire thing special because we had all pitched in to make it more personal for the couple.
Decorate with greenery, not flowers. Sometimes you can even rent greenery or people might have plenty in their yards. White lights in ficus trees are elegant. Don't buy expensive bubbles or stuff like that to throw. You could use flower petals that have been saved and dried.
People are willing to help. My family made all the food for my wedding. Pick a few good finger foods that you can make ahead of time and freeze (rolls, meatballs, cheese straws, savory puff pastry twists). You can buy ingredients while they are on sale and stock up. Instead of spending a lot on pictures, have a professional do a few, and then a friend with a good camera take a lot of posed and candid ones.
I had a friend who made her invitations on the computer using cards from an office supply store. They were very classy and you couldn't tell that they weren't professionally done. Have fun!
By Leigh Ann
To save on music for the ceremony, we had a good friend play violin. She made that her wedding gift to us. I've even seen acoustic guitar played.
For the reception, we made CD's with the music we wanted all planned out in order. One for dinner music, one for the bridal party dances and two for dance music for everyone. We borrowed some good sound equipment and put a friend in charge. People can't make music requests this way but, if you think things through, you can play a variety that your guests will appreciate while insuring that you and your new husband actually like all the music.
Make sure to include music that was popular during each generation of your guests. We included more classics and slow songs, along with a few line dances, early on to get things moving and mixed in more and more current music as the evening went on.
The simplest weddings I have attended are those held in the afternoon. The bridal party can then wear less formal clothing; knee length dresses and nice suits. Flowers can be the simpler nosegays of whatever is in season. The reception can be as simple as cake and punch, or you could have a buffet with salads and tea sandwiches. It isn't necessary to have a full dinner, alcohol, or music and dancing.
My daughter was married last August. The whole wedding roughly cost $800.00. She was married in a beautiful park, overlooking the lake. The location was free. The dress was a left over prom dress at the store on clearance for $20.00! We spent $50.00 on flowers (which a relative made all the arrangements with), $150.00 on chairs and table rentals, $175.00 on the cake.
A relative took all the pictures for free, as a wedding gift. The food was all prepared by myself and we had family members help with the food tables and two grills going with brats and burgers. My daughter made the music CD for the wedding and reception. Everyone remarked on how beautiful it was.
I purchased ALL my decorations, centerpieces, some flowers, etc. for $50.00, my wedding was good sized too.
Look at consignment shops. A lot of people get rid of old bridesmaids dresses there and they are only worn once. Also, look there for wedding dresses. I've seen them there with brand new tags for 1/2 the price.
Don't forget looking on e-bay, they have people on there where you can get the wedding party's essential flowers for $90.00 (buy-it-now). You can even request the colors you like. Favors are also an item that is offered a lot.
If you opt for an outdoor wedding at maybe a free park, try a picnic type reception with rolls, meat, cheeses and things to make sandwiches with maybe salad, fruit salad, potato salad and chips and dip. A great way to save money because you can basically buy this in platters at your local grocery store and make the other things in advance and easily.
We got married exactly 1 month ago and my biggest tip of all is "Keep Visiting Thrifty Fun!"
We made our own invitations, and fantastic cootie catchers for every table. A friend made our cake, and we decorated our own car with ribbons to save on hiring a Rolls Royce! We had a karaoke machine at the reception so we even made our own entertainment! (Me and Hubby sang to our guests instead of having a first dance!) Sparkling wine can be bought in advance from whichever supermarket has the best offer, and simple favours can be made by dressing candy with ribbon and bows.
Enjoy the preparations, you will love it!
By Julie UK
Editor's Note: Here's a picture of the Cootie Catcher Wedding Favor: http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf977886.tip.html
I wanted to share some nice frugal party favor ideas that I have seen at friends' weddings. One friend recieved a magnet momento that was part of a wedding package. It was a little generic drawing of a bride and a groom that was done in the wedding colors and matching hair color for the couple. At the bottom, the wedding couple's name and wedding date were inscribed. The little picture was then laminated and given a magnetic backing. She decided to make them herself for a fraction of the cost.
Another friend took some small painted metal pieces and a romantic magnetic poetry kit and assembled random poems for all the guests. It was fun and memorable. I still have both of these favors on my refrigerator 8 years later.
For my own wedding, we wrote our own vows. I printed these up and tied them with a ribbon along with candy kisses. If you want to see more about my wedding, I have a post about it here.
Use as many artificial flowers as you can. We bought 6-foot white rose garland for 99 cents each. We had a cupcake tree instead of a cake. These can be made ahead of time and frozen. We used recorded music. Make tablecloths/runners out of your own fabric then use them to make curtains for your house. Use TONS of tulle and buy it discount online. Wear black suits instead of tuxes.
Have a minimal bridal party. We had our wedding at 11:00 and served a light brunch menu. Almost everything we served came from SAM'S; quiche, deli spirals, frozen fruit, vegetable trays, cheese and crackers, pastry puffs, punch, nuts, plates, napkins, forks, cups. We spent about $250 on everything and served 100+ people.
We used bell placecard holders (off eBay) as favors and took a picture of us to Wal-Mart to copy into wallet size pictures. We then put those in the placecard holders as favors. Everyone loved them!
We also found that sticking with all red roses really cut down our budget. Fresh "in-season" flowers are more expensive than roses! They looked wonderful in pictures and very elegant. Also, don't be afraid to deal with anyone. Tell the florist what you want and what you can spend. Shop around until you find someone who will do it for your price, same thing for the photographer. Everyone we looked at was way out of our budget. But, by having the wedding in the morning, the photographer we chose could still do another wedding that afternoon so he cut us a deal.
Most importantly, make the wedding personal and don't stress. The wedding won't determine your happiness, you as a couple will.
I had a fall wedding. The theme was "fall into love". I bought decorations when they went on sale in October the year before. We used everything from pumpkins, scarecrows, caramel apples, and candy corn. It did not cost much and looked beautiful. You can get really creative. We used carved pumpkins to line the walkway for our guest. We also had centerpieces of acorns, pine cones, squash. We had fake leaves that we bought at Everything Is a $1.00 store, and had them thrown down the aisle I walked down instead of using roses.
My husband and I are having a 10 year celebration/renewal ceremony. We eloped because we could not afford a wedding. We are expecting approximately 200 hundred guests, and I wanted to share some ideas with you. I hope that they help.
Cake: You can have a beautiful cake for almost nothing. Bake 6-7 cakes and cut them into circles of different sizes, cover with white frosting. Use fresh rose petals matching your color) to decorate the sides of each cake. Use small buds as decoration on a few of the cakes. Place small boxes of different heights on a round table and cover with a satin table cloth (again to match). Place the cakes on the boxes. Place the smallest cake at the tallest level with a cake topper on it. This creates a beautiful cake table.
Favors/Gifts: You can purchase small frames/card holder for about .89 cents each (even less if you order a large quantity). Select a picture of you and your spouse/fiance and convert the picture to black and white. This makes a very sleek gift and table decoration. You can make the pictures on your home computer (get a couple of friends or relatives to cut and put in the frames). You can also get custom glasses printed with your name and date on them. These are great gifts and do not cost that much. Just type personalized glasses and search.
Decorations: You can buy foil and paper table coverings, and placemats, on the internet and at US Lace, that look amazing on the tables.
Just remember that you can just about type discount anything on the internet and find it. I ordered everything, including bulk candy to fill my personalized glasses, online and I did it all for a fraction of what it would have cost me. Also the more work you do, the less $ you have to pay someone.
Try being the sister of the bride from 700 miles away! My sis lives in TN and the wedding was here in NE. :)
We started looking for my sister's wedding dress at all the fancy dress shops here in town. Not only did she hate every single one of them, they were all out of her price range. We found a bridal outlet store just out of town. It was great! The people helping us were the owners and were very helpful and interested in helping us, unlike the fancy shops. She paid $300 for her dress. She spent $8 on her veil at Walmart (wedding/craft section) and splurged a little on underthings at Victoria's Secret.
For the bridesmaids we ended up at Dillard's clearance section at the last minute. Her colors were royal blue and silver. Royal blue is amazingly hard to find in the summer. Help your sis pick a color that will be in season when it's time to pick up the ladies' dresses, including the MOMS!
Everything we ordered online ended up being TOO purple (YUCK!). We payed $120 each for 2 dresses, but darn it, they didn't match her royal blue. For dresses off-the-rack, look for darker colors around Christmas and for lighter colors look at Easter!
My daughter was the flower girl and we paid $35 at a little shop in the more Hispanic part of town. Beautiful, simple, elegant, handmade! (White shoes are easiest to find at Easter!)
We downloaded all of the music and burned a CD for both before and during the service. Enya before and classical during. My DH2B (dear husband-to-be) was our "music director". She found a lovely chapel (http://www.amerryoccasion.com) whose owner was also the officiant and caterer and decorator of church and hall, with the hall in the basement of the chapel.
She had an early afternoon wedding so, instead of a dinner reception, we did a late lunch setting and had meat/cheese and fruit/veggie trays along with potato and pasta salads. There was no break between ceremony and reception. (I always hated that break anyway. What a waste of time!)
Our Aunt made the cake and we helped to decorate it. She also helped make the bouquets (fake flowers are cheaper and last longer)! Oh, and she was the hair/makeup person. She is AMAZINGLY talented. Even the photographer was a good deal. He charged $700 for 100 pics (but gave us more than that) and all the negatives! Wedding favors we just used blue tulle and silver ribbon with Hershey's Hugs and Kisses. We spent about $5000.
I think you have to decide what's really IMPORTANT to you - For me it was having my family around me. I chose to get married in the backyard of our family house - and used family things - glass ware, etc. Then chose a color scheme of light green and a salmon pink to match a set of plates I got at Target, of all places, that looked like a reproduction of an antique porcelain pattern. Then I found light green paper napkins and matching table cloth at the supermarket! And used clear champagne glasses and clear plastic glasses. I bought crepe paper streamers and an old fashioned tissue paper accordian wedding bell with streamers, which I decorated with angel figures I had and pink ribbon. (Nothing plastic - paper/tissue paper is much nicer.) Only clear plastic glasses and clear plastic forks/spoons....I tried to get an old-fashioned look - with a combination of the color scheme and using family glassware, etc. (03/14/2007)
I am getting married this October 7, 2007. My fiance proposed to me last September 30, 2006. I'm 38 and have never been married before so I didn't know where to begin. Even though a wedding is a very special event in a person's life, I am a frugal person and did not want to spend an exorbiant amount of money on things I will only be wearing or using for one day. I started looking for dresses at local bridal shops and was not happy with any of the dresses I saw or the prices. A co-worker referred me to Ebay and I found my brand new wedding dress with tags on it for a grand total (includes shipping) $185! I was glad that I did go to a bridal shop before shopping on Ebay because then I knew exactly what size I needed to look for since bridal gown sizing is very different from street clothes sizing so I do suggest you check out a bridal shop for your size prior to bidding for a dress on Ebay. I did look at the thrift stores and noted that they had many beautiful wedding dresses that were or looked brand new, but I couldn't find my size but I did find my headpiece for a total of $9. I also highly recommend buying other wedding-related items at hobby shops. There is one specific hobby shop in my area that consistently offers 50% off coupons and one week they had the entire bridal dept. on sale at 50% off so I stocked up on everything from wedding invitations ($17); silk flowers - pre-made bridal bouquet ($6.50), boutionneires ($1), corsages ($1.50); pre-made veil to attach to my headpiece ($6.50); ring bearer pillow ($7.50); cake topper ($6.50); wedding favor tins (pack of 30 came to $10) and bags and more. I did not like any of the flowergirl baskets I saw so since it is currently Easter time and my color is lavender, I decided to look at Easter baskets. I found them at a local grocery store for only 99 cents! Whenever I tell my family/friends how much I'm paying for my wedding items, they are just amazed. I am constantly receiving catalogs from local wedding supply companies and am shocked to see how much they are charging for the same items I've purchased at the hobby store. For example, a ring bearer pillow runs at least $35 and I paid $7.50. Good luck and hope my tips have helped someone. (04/05/2007)
Don't forget to recite a wedding poem to build up the lovely mood. http://www.weddingreads.com/The_Sun_Has_Burst_The_Sky-Jenny_Joseph (05/19/2008)
Wedding Favors: for my daughter's wedding reception, we ran business card stock thru the printer with a favorite photo of the wedding couple and the phrase " 'Mint' to be together!" printed underneath. We separated the business cards two together, folded each one over like an envelope, hole punched the ends, filled with a small individually wrapped peppermint patty, and tied closed with ribbons in the wedding colors. (09/13/2008)
We burned our reception music on to a cd to be played during the reception. I could not for the life of me think of a unique favor that was in my budget, so I decided to buy blank cd's and make copies of our reception music put mine and my husbands name and our wedding date then put our wedding quote at the bottom, and wrapped in tulle and a ribbon that I got from the dollar tree. I also got my invitations there for a 1.00 for a pack of 10. They have a lot of cute wedding stuff now, but I made the cd's for about 75 cents a piece and everyone loved them. (10/17/2008)
We are planning our daughter's wedding now and so have been on the hunt for ways to cut costs but still have a wonderful celebration. The most important thing is having all our family and close friends there so we are skimping on some things. We used a wholesale florist and even got our invitations at Costco of all places. So far we are right on budget and hoping we can stay there. We are making our own menus, place cards and church programs at home. Printing on the computer on card stock and adding some tulle. They will look pretty and will be very cheap to make. Keep the ideas coming from the community here. Thanks. (05/18/2010)
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