Saving Money on a Wedding
Your wedding doesn't have to be a huge investment. There are many ways to have a beautiful wedding and still save money. This is a guide about saving money on a wedding
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I'm a real estate broker and I work with many young couples buying their first home. I have a friend who just recently married and learned (the hard way), that the advice I gave her a year ago proved to be true. She spent almost a year and about $68,000 on "the perfect wedding".
I had told her long ago that the best advice I could give to her as a friend was to have a small conservatively priced wedding and to spend her real cash on a down payment for their first home. She and hubby-to-be paid for this wedding themselves from their savings and a small inheritance. It was beautiful BUT after their honeymoon, she called me to begin looking for houses only to find they would have to compromise their "wants" and future "needs" in this new home because they didn't have enough down payment to buy the size of home they really wanted. They seemed to take this information in stride although I know she's reconsidering the "value" of her big perfect wedding.
The bad thing is that after all that planning and expense, she and the groom were both so tense and stressed on the big day that she says most of the day (including the ceremony), was a blur. I can't imagine choosing one day over several years of contentment. Not to mention that her almost $70,000 wedding is money spent while using that money toward their home would have given her a considerable return on her investment in the long run.
I think in our society, girls are raised on what I call the "Cinderella principle" and taught that the wedding day is the most important day of our lives when, in reality, having a big wedding does nothing for our future let alone ensure that the marriage will last.
If we could begin teaching our young girls to prepare for the future and to invest while they're young, maybe they would be better off in the long run! Just makes sense to me!
By Angela from Central Florida
July 13, 20070 found this helpful
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.
By Jo Bodey
Tap Your Own Resources
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!
Do It Yourself
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!
Blueprint For A Perfectly Simple Wedding
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.
- I purchased very simple invitations (these days I'd make my own). I myself have an art background, but with as many rubber stamps and beautiful decorative papers as there are on the market now (even with the help of your home computer), anyone can turn out nice invitations for a fraction of the cost of purchasing them. If you're not comfortable with making them yourself, ask around at craft and paper art stores. There is usually someone who makes invitations/cards as a side business. You may even have a friend who makes cards and can help out.
- The church was the one I attended, and was rented for the price of a small donation. It wasn't decorated much, just some bows on the pews, and a few flowers at the alter. The pianist was the grandmother of one of my bridesmaids, and very reasonable.
- The party afterwards was held at my inlaws house in their back yard. No sit down dinner, just finger foods and sandwich makings. My mother-in-law, her mother, and sister-in-law put the food together.
- The bridesmaids made their own dresses (no puffy sleeves or odd colors), and dresses that were pretty for a wedding, but could also be worn afterwards for other events. That was a huge goal of mine...not to have bridesmaid dresses that the wedding party would never want to look at again. The girls were in on the pattern decision, and they all wore their dresses for some time afterwards.
- The groomsmen all wore rented tuxes, including my husband.
- My wedding dress was purchased on sale at a department store (horrifying to some) for very inexpensively. It was a gorgeous dress, lacey, floor length (no train), and just what I was looking for. I couldn't see the point in spending tons of money I didn't have on something that I'd never wear again. Not everyone would want a simple dress like I had, but the point is that there are sales out there, just keep an eye out for them.
- I used silk flowers (bridal bouquet as well as bridesmaid), which were much, much less expensive than real ones (not sure if that would be the case anymore), and I made my own head piece (a hat with tulle netting attached).
- My dad surprised me by buying the wedding cake, which although pretty and of my choosing, wasn't dripping with overly done decoration. It didn't cost as much as some of the cakes I've heard of. And if you have a friend who's a caterer or baker, talk to them about helping out. These days I'd probably do my own cake. lol
- The photographer was a friend of my husband's, and though that may work out well in some cases, for us it was a huge mistake. I highly suggest if you spend money anywhere, spend it on a good photographer with an excellent reputation. Talk to his other clients and get references. That is the only part of my wedding that I regret. Our guy was a good photographer, most days, but for our wedding he decided to be a jerk. And that could have happened regardless, but we had no recourse in our circumstance. The only good photos I have are those that my brother-in-law took.
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.
Think Outside The Box For Locations
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
Look For Ways To Save And Still Have A Beautiful Wedding
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:
- We had the ceremony and reception at a county park that was special to us. It had a beautiful pavillion overlooking a garden and wooded area that could seat 150, which was attached to a hall with a catering kitchen that came with chairs and tables. The park employees set up our ceremony area and reception for us. My husband, my mother, my sister, our best men and I decorated both areas the morning of the wedding. This was really hectic for our 3pm wedding, and I don't recommend it unless you have a fair amount of people helping, but it would be fine if you're having an evening wedding.
- Do your own flowers if it is feasible. Many websites that import flowers from South America for florists sell to brides. My wonderful aunts and uncles offered to help me and my mother arrange the centerpieces, and we made the bouquets and boutonnieres ourselves as well. This works only if you are going for simple designs (which I was).
- We got our wedding cake from the local grocery store. This chain's delicious cakes are very popular in Florida for birthdays, and they have many beautiful designs available for wedding and groom's cakes. My cake cost $2 a slice, and I had several people ask which bakery had made it, as it was very pretty and tasted so good.
- Our wedding was semi-formal and in the afternoon, so we hired a caterer that specialized in company picnics and barbecues. It was $20 a person to serve food continuously for 90 minutes, and they didn't charge us to cut and plate the cake. No, we didn't have tenderloin or salmon, but it was available to us, and everyone serves that at their wedding, anyway. Everyone liked the food so much, the desserts were gone before we were done taking pictures and the caterers had to save us a plate!
- Above all, do your homework! I recommend reading "Bridal Bargains" and "How to Have an Elegant Wedding for $5000 or Less". Don't listen to the mainstream wedding magazines and websites -- you don't have to do what they tell you to do, but feel free to steal ideas and do it cheaper!
I saw the following tips on Oprah and Dr. Phil long before I needed them, and filed them away in my head for the appropriate time.
November 5, 20070 found this helpful
Use skills that you and your family's have to save money and to make your day and your memories extra special.
I enjoy working on weddings. Letting my imagination go results in delightful lovely decorations:Read More...
Kelly Ann Butterbaugh1 found this helpful
July 20, 2009
Major life changes require some major planning. Instead of digging out of the financial hole that a wedding leaves in your bank account, prepare to hurdle across it.
July 20, 20050 found this helpful
My biggest tip for wedding decorations is borrow, borrow, borrow! We borrowed as much greenery, lights, tulle, gossamer, etc. as we could. We also borrowed dishes, punch bowls, serving bowls, etc. for the reception.Read More...
January 4, 20090 found this helpful
I found tree topper bows at Michael's that were 70% off! These will serve as our pew bows for a "winter" wedding in 3 weeks.Read More...
Last week, I was lucky enough to marry the most loving, caring, mature, unselfish, and honest man in the entire world.
When planning a wedding, watch the paper for auctions of floral shops, bridal shops, etc. My daughter and I did this and found a florist who's business was being auctioned off.Read More...
If you are planning to have a Christmas church wedding then this tip may help save you some money and time on decorations. Most churches decorate for the holidays and it is quite beautiful. So plan your wedding during the time that they have their decorations up for the holidays.
January 2, 20140 found this helpful
Keeping the costs down on your decorations can help you have more money for other things. This guide is about inexpensive wedding decorations.
A great, charming, and usually wildly inexpensive venue for a wedding (especially a small/medium size one) is to check for small, hole in the wall Bed and Breakfasts or inns in very small towns in the mountains or other rural areas.
June 22, 20050 found this helpful
Get married on the beach. Have a very casual wedding outside and then have a reception at your home. Just make sure the weather is going to to good. Less expensive and very enjoyable. Read More...
January 23, 20030 found this helpful
We have compiled numerous links to resources to help you save money on your upcoming wedding. Feel free to add your own ideas and resources.Read More...
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
My daughter is getting married in August and we are in need of an inexpensive wedding hall. I'm trying to help her. But funds are really tight. We need a place that is clean, with a kitchen, tables and chairs, that will allows us to bring food, and that we can decorate the night before. Due to the fact that it's my job, and I have to decorate the church as well.
Juanamie from Washington, DC
March 22, 20080 found this helpful
A friend of mine got married at a state park near Frederick, MD several years ago. There was a nice recreation hall with a deck that looked out over the countryside. We ate outside of the building, and it was very nice.My suggestion is to try one of the DC-area parks for an enclosed recreation center. You may need to act fast since these places book up quickly for summer.
By Paula Jo Carr Mebane, NC (Guest Post)
March 24, 20080 found this helpful
I would suggest a senior community center that also serves them their noon meal from Meals On Wheels - they also plays games with them occupying their time from 9a to Noon or watch movies, exercising etc.
We have one here in our town that rents out at $75 for 4 or less hours. "It" also has a kitchen area attached to the room with a double sink, a refrigerator with freezer, a stove with oven, and a large microwave. The room has long tables that seat 8 with folded padded chairs.
Let us know how your affair turns out. Paula Jo Carr
By debbie, columbia, sc (Guest Post)
March 24, 20080 found this helpful
I would call a church and ask how much to rent out their dining hall? Some churches need money and would have what you requested. I know baptist churches have dining halls, for Wednesday night dinners. A medium sized church might be more reasonable.. and less in use : )
March 24, 20080 found this helpful
If you belong to a church, see about using/renting the Fellowship Hall. Or if you don't belong to a church, see if one of your friends does and find out if you can rent hers.
Answer this Question...
By Carol in PA (Guest Post)
March 25, 20080 found this helpful
I also think the fellowship hall of the church is the best place for the reception. I think just about everywhere in DC is expensive. But you might like to research somewhere closeby in the state of Maryland. I wouldnt go to Frederick, MD as someone else suggested, because that is too far away, however. Can you do an online search under Waldorf, MD to see what is available in that area?