You don't have to spend a fortune to have a wonderful wedding. Here are tips from the ThriftyFun community for saving money on wedding costs. What advice can you add?
Be totally individual and have what you want, not what is fashionable, not what your friends had/expect, not what your parents had/expect and definitely not what you read in wedding magazines which are profitable from the advertising of people who want you to buy their overpriced things for your wedding - these rules also apply to funerals. Plan your own! If you want to get married in a floaty cotton frock, barefoot in the water on a beautiful beach at sunset with your husband in board shorts and a T shirt, or standing under the trees in a local forest and having a picnic afterwards, just do it! It's your wedding.
The biggest way I think to save money on a wedding is to tap into whatever resources you can think of. When I got married, I was working for Chick-fil-a that does a lot of catering for many things. So, I went to my boss and asked if I could get a discount on whatever I might need. He gave me 50% off! I also saved a bundle by asking one of my friends/co-workers to do our pictures since I had seen her work and knew she was an excellent amateur photographer. She was thrilled and did it for free, I just had to provide the film. So, if you want to save money just ask people you know, the worst they can say is no. Good luck!
Our oldest daughter is getting married in June and we looked into having a wedding coordinator do the decorating. It turned out that the coordinator wanted almost $1,400 just to decorate. She was not going to do anything else! It didn't take us long to decide that we would do the decorating ourselves! We have had lots of friends come forward and offer to help and after pricing many items, I predict we will spend 1/3-1/2 as much as we would have if we had opted to have the wedding coordinator do the work. Sometimes doing a job yourself saves a lot of money!
I agree about tapping into the resources you have, and those you may not even be aware you have. Talk to coworkers and other people. You'd be amazed at the info and help that's available simply by asking around. We had a relatively small wedding and I didn't have anyone else to help foot the bill so had to be thrifty. That said, I still had a very nice wedding.
That's a suggestion I'd make too, even if you have a good photographer that you like and trust, have a couple of other people walking around with cameras. It's always nice to have some relaxed unposed photos to get the real essence of the party.
By Carole OR
Just had to add my story. It goes back twenty years, but we were broke, and paying for everything ourselves. We went into the financial district of NYC and spoke to restaurants that were normally closed on Saturday afternoons. They all loved the idea of hosting a wedding; and we didn't have to "compete" in price with other business that they would normally have. The place we chose was big enough to cordon off an area for a dance floor. The per person cost was significantly less than what any one of us would have paid to sit down and eat (and drink) at the same place for an evening. Bottom line (which I guess is what we are talking about) is to seek out a place that doesn't usually "do" weddings, and would normally be closed on a Saturday or Sunday early afternoon. Worked out well for us.
By Nancy Jean
My husband and I made up our minds that we didn't want to burden our parents with the cost of a wedding. We managed to put together a beautiful ceremony and reception for $6000 (which is no small feat in South Florida). Here are some of the ways we saved:
I agree totally with being yourself. A friend did have a barefoot wedding in the park, with the only musician a harpist. It was gorgeous. The marriage wasn't. My first wedding was simple but elegant, with six bridesmaids and six groomsmen. It was held at our church. The marriage failed. When I married my husband of (now) almost 26 years, I made the cake and he made the wine, and we paid the minister $20. We had it in my restaurant on a day I would have been closed anyway. Two good friends witnessed for us. I wouldn't trade it for the world. My folks were married 44 years before Mom passed away. They were married in front of two witnesses; Dad's sister and brother in law. Mom wore her best dress, and Dad buttoned up his shirt all the way, and I don't think they spent $20 on the whole thing. It was 1942 and there was a war on. I just heard about a couple who have been living together for 12 years and are just now planning a fullblown wedding with white dress, veil,flowers, etc. They are in their late 50's. These days, anything goes. Do your thing. Just don't start out your marriage in debt.
I met a couple women at the library who were looking for CDs of wedding music. It turned out they were from a big family reunion and one couple attending the reunion decided that as long as everybody was there from all over the country, they would get married immediately. The result? A scavenger hunt wedding! People were assigned to find the item needed and everyone went out in search! A family reunion (and wedding) to remember!
We held our wedding on SUNDAY of Memorial day weekend - saved big $$$ on the hall and catering. My husband also chose a place that had just catered to another function and he knew the price that group got - we got an even better one because he negotiated!
We had a gorgeous outdoor wedding for $3,200. So how'd we do it? First off, our guest list was small -- 65 people. Because we had a color theme (autumn) instead of just 2-3 set-in-stone color choices, we were able to use a variety of options and this flexibility helped our budget a lot. My best advice is to identify no more than 3 major areas where you want to spend the majority of your $ -- for me, it was food, flowers and pictures. Your choices may be different based on your vision of the type of wedding you want.
I was very openminded about my dress and my only caveats were that I wanted an ivory strapless one. My dress ended up costing $56 on eBay (that's WITH shipping) and came to me brand new with tags bearing an original price of $700. My husband's tux rental was free with the groomsmen's rentals. I borrowed my tiara, and my veil was made by my mom in 15 minutes with a yard of tulle and a plastic comb for under $4. My bridesmaids wore cocktail length styles ordered from a budget website recommended to me by a friend.
Our flowers came from Dollar Tree (for maybe $60), and I arranged our bouquets, corsages, bouts, and centerpieces myself. Invitations, programs, favors, the ringbearer's pillow, and our unity candle set were all DIY projects, too. Our burgundy table runners were cut from bolts of fabric that I purchased for 0.50 each when a fabric store went out of business (for a grand total of $1.50). Rehearsal dinner and reception food were bought at Sam's Club, and our cakes were gifts to us. Perhaps the greatest compliment to me is that people don't believe me when I tell them it was a budget wedding!
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