How to Save Money on Your Wedding

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budget wedding

I still remember the first time I realized the true power of my wife’s money saving skills. On our wedding, my wife probably saved us an amount in the five digits. As a result, we had an spectacular wedding that cost pennies on the dollar.

This is how you can save money on your wedding as well:

save money on weddingPicking the Venue for Your Wedding

One of the most important decisions you will make for the big day is the location of your banquet. Are you looking for a venue that has great views, or are you more of an indoor person?

Before you look at go to each location to ask for pricing, figure out your preference so you can rate it against the prices you are quoted.

One of the tricks that people seem to use is to give you an ultra low price to grab your attention. As you inquire further, everything will seem to cost extra. Forks? Add X to the total. Want fish instead of beef? $$$.

That’s why it makes sense to go to the venues several different times. On the first visit, let them give you the sales talk so you get a feel for what’s available and to get a quote. Then gather all the information and figure out what you’d like in your wedding.

Once you have a general idea, make a list with everything you’d like for the wedding and go back and ask for a price. Otherwise, you will never be able to compare apples to apples.

Wedding Planners vs Wedding Coordinators

There are wedding planners and there are wedding coordinators. The planners help you plan the wedding before the wedding, while the coordinator will help you organize what happens on the day of the wedding.

Most wedding planners will do both, so make sure you know what exactly you are paying for. For those who have budget concerns, do not use a wedding planner because everything can be done yourself. However, coordinators are money well spent because he/she will help make sure all details are executed on the day of the wedding.

Do you really want to be worrying about whether the flowers arrived or the tables are setup? Furthermore, paying for a wedding coordinator means you can bounce ideas off of the person, which means more help on the planning side.

Saving on Wedding Dresses

Vera Wang dresses are amazing but not everyone can afford owning one. For those that don’t mind, renting wedding dresses may be for you. Before you commit, make sure to ask around to find a reputable company to rent from to avoid hassle.

Also, rentals should be available to be picked up a few days before and they should also be adjusted (to a limited degree) to fit you. Also, make sure you understand the terms (if it gets damaged for example) and see what your liabilities are.

If at any point you aren’t comfortable with the company you are dealing with, go somewhere else.

Photographers and Videographers

There are people who will take photographs for free and there are ones who you can spend the rest of your life working for because they charge an arm and a leg.

Look, good photography is worth every penny as you will be looking at your wedding pictures for years so find a person who can take those types of pictures. Anything more than that is probably too much for you if budget is a concern.

Video is another story and it all depends on how many times you are going to actually watch the show. Once? Twice? Maybe even ten times in your life. Balance your budget accordingly.

How to be Cheap on Flowers without Getting Caught

Flowers make everything look better and vendors know this. That’s why they will charge you extra if you tell them it’s for a wedding. Instead, talk to your wedding coordinator and your married friends to see if they know of wholesale flower markets where the vendors themselves go.

If there are ones around your area, you can just go there and buy them yourself. They usually look like the Costco for flowers, and everything is so much cheaper.

Makeup Specialist

Some brides like to change clothes during the wedding, which means different makeups. On our wedding, we actually flew someone from Taiwan over here to help us and it still turned out cheaper than hiring one in the states. Why? The artist in Taiwan charged for the entire trip while everyone here wanted to be paid every time he/she picks up the brush.

On the big day, we didn’t have to worry about being nickle and dimed, not to mention that she followed my wife the entire day was fixing my wife’s “look”.

Obviously, not everyone have access to people in a different country but do you have a friend who is in the industry? Try asking around (like your hair stylist for example) to see if there are anyone who can help.

Chairs, Ribbons and Others

Where do you get deals? Forget wedding places. Look for party shops for ribbons, furniture rental places for chairs and everything that has nothing to do with getting married.

Be creative. Any vendor that tailors their business to that big day will overcharge, guaranteed.

Save Money on Wedding Favors

The most creative and cheapest wedding favors are actually ones that you make yourself. Rev up your creativity and don’t be lazy.

Are there any other wedding-saving ideas you love? Comment below and I will add them to the article.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Myfinancekits says:

    Two important areas that can help save a lot of money are wedding dress and venue. One can rent a wedding dress since the dress is just for one day. Some people try to make a wedding dress for themselves with the hope they can wear it later (though not with all the accessories). Unfortunately, women quickly change in stature thereby making most of their dresses not fit for their new size.

  • Desiree Hamilton says:

    These are awesome tips! We all want to have a nice big bash, but unless you are smart about it, the money can disappear very quickly, right?

  • Andrea says:

    25 years ago, we spent under $5000 for the wedding, reception for 100, and honeymoon (Mexico). We hired a fellow grad student to ride herd on the reception — make sure it was set up, food refilled, cleaned up. We did not have a bar — plenty of non alcoholic drinks, three bottles of champagne per table of ten, six bottles of white wine. (Lots left over.) Did the food ourselves: friends did parts of the buffet as wedding gifts: fancy cookies, cold soup, fancy salads. We got italian deli and boxes of fancy rolls and mini croissants wholesale. Italian bakery for a wedding cake (the single most expensive item). Reception at the student union at our university. Hired a dj. Found a terrific photographer who was trying to break into the biz, so he was cheap. Got my wedding dress (raw silk, spectacular) at a 75% discount. Inexpensive but pretty sandals. Bought inexpensive bolts of fabric, solid color, cut (did not hem) to fit the tables, inexpensive bolts of lace cut the same. Bought flowery plants at farmers market, tied inexpensive ribbon around the lots, for the tables — let the guests take them home. Florist: wreath for me, boutteniers, corsages (my grandma got an expensive orchid, everyone else got small tasteful roses), bouquet for me and bridesmaids. We ended up taking a lot of food home, and donated the rest to a women’s shelter. Wedding at the chapel on campus. Beautiful wedding, fantastic fun party of a reception. Friends still talk about how much fun they had.

  • Mary Camacho says:

    You can also save a ton of money on your wedding DJ. Mixteka is a new virtual DJ solution that lets you easily select, organize and play your wedding music for the big day…. and it even has those Emcee announcements included if you want. With great DJ mix transitions, over 25 Million songs to choose from and best of all – you can invite your friends to recommend music they want to dance to and then pick the songs you really want. I’m the founder of the company – but I did exactly this for my wedding – but it was a long, painful process and I ended up buying a lot of music I didn’t need to keep. So I built Mixteka to make it easy and inexpensive. The service launches publicly on Tuesday, January 20th… but if you sign up on the site prior – you can get a 50% promo code – on a service that is only $149 regular price. With typical wedding DJs averaging over $1000 – that is a great savings.

  • Karen says:

    My daughter got married last weekend….we saved money a lot of ways, and slurged on a couple things.
    We bought her dress on Black Friday for 1/2 price: $350. She and her husband made the save the date cards, table markers, invitations, favors, church decorations, reception decorations etc. themselves.
    We were lucky; the photographer is the cousin of the groom, and is a professional photographer, who, while charging us for the work, did so at a much reduced rate.
    We had the reception at a venue that is trying to be the “go between” of fire halls and backyards and the expensive venues here in the Washington DC area. We rented the space for $950 for the entire day, which included all linens, tables, serveware, servers, set up and clean up, etc. They have their own in house caterer…the food was amazing. That was the most expensive piece of the day: $29,95 per person for the buffet. But we served london broil, salmon, cheese tortellini, salad, roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, salad and rolls, along with a gourmet cheese platter, meatballs, and bruschetta. I think that cost was reasonable. Of course we had over 100 guests, so it added up. Offered beer and wine open bar with a signature drink.
    We splurged on the cake (she wanted a cake from Charm City Cakes, which is the bakery on “Ace of Cakes”) While the cake itself wasn’t as expensive as I thought (wasn’t cheap) the delivery of said cake from Baltimore was pricey. We got her flowers from the grocery store….they were incredibly beautiful. Red roses with white hydrangeas.
    All in all I think we spent about $10k on the whole day. It was totally perfect, the bride and groom beamed all day. One down, two kids to go!!

    • GennyR says:

      I like the beer and wine concept at an open bar with a signature cocktail. It’s a good compromise and is more elegant than a regular bar concept. Open bars are soooooo much more tacky than people want to believe.

  • Marie M says:

    Guests who had attended my wedding would be shocked to know how little I spent because I found out some creative ways to save money.

    First, instead of buying an actual wedding dress, I found a formal bridesmaid dress that I really liked & had it made in White. I got married 3 years ago & I still get compliments on my dress when people see pictures!

    I ordered both my flowers and my cake from a local grocery store instead of an expensive speciality florist & bake shop. The floral budget came in at 30% below what speciality florists quoted me, and the cake was half the price of the speciality bake shop cakes.

    I had my Wedding Reception at a hotel (a higher end hotel actually) and saved on that because of a little known wedding secret: most hotels won’t charge you a room rental fee as long as you get a certain number of guest who attend your wedding to book a room there the weekend of your wedding. The number of rooms we needed booked to get the room rental fee waived: 10. The number of rooms we had booked: 32–we hit triple the number of rooms needed. And it was a great deal for my guests because this hotel’s rooms average $225 a night, and they gave me a room block rate of $100 a night.

    Happy Wedding planning to all & hope these are some helpful tips!

  • Karen Kay says:

    I was just re-reading the money saving e-book and remembered something re weddings. I didn’t have very much money years ago (still don’t!) but was invited to a good friend’s Sisters wedding. I didn’t know the bride very well. It would have cost me a fortune to go to the wedding as I also didn’t have very nice clothes, would have required a gift, transportation etc. I live in a rural setting and it would have required a whole days worth of accommodation, food etc. I came up with an idea. I bought a very nice card and called my girlfriend. I told her that as my gift to her sister, that I could make the chair decorations if they liked for the church. She got back to me, told me that her sister was thrilled, gave me the colors and themes. I went to the dollar store and also found sales on ribbons, beads etc. in the colors she wanted. I made up the decorations and bows, packed them up and sent them to her sister with the card wishing her and her new husband well and graciously having to decline attending her wedding. I took it a step further and went with my friend to get the clothes etc. that she needed , since she was to be a maid of honor. I also did her makeup and gave Her a new tube of lipstick that she had liked while we were shopping. All of these “gifts” cost me pennies and I heard from her sister for a very long time as to how much she loved and appreciated the decorations. I ‘ve perfected the art of frugality as time goes on and even if I did have plenty of money, I still choose to live the frugal lifestyle. I love the looks on people’s faces when they find out that I made this or that.

  • newyorkmary says:

    Also, no bridesmaids or groomsmen (and still $20K, did I mention that?)

  • newyorkmary says:

    I was shocked at how expensive it is to have a wedding. Our only flowers were daisies, my dress was an old bridesmaid’s dress from the Salvation Army, we had no videographer. But a venue, catered food, cake from the Chinese bakery, wine (that we purchased ourselves), priest and dj plus 70 people totaled up to $20K. Even if you’re frugal as hell, it’s still going to cost to have a wedding. Then again, it was the best day of my life. But maybe that would have been true regardless, since I was marrying the love of my life.

  • christine says:

    The most important ingredient of any event, especially a wedding reception, is that people have a good time. The wedding industry has lots of wonderful ideas of how to spend more money, and if you have the money, go for it, but no one who matters will remember later. Details are a personal preference and take your time into consideration. The wedding coordinator does keep things moving along, but everyone has at least one bossy friend or relative to be thrilled to volunteer for that. Wedding favors are also unnecessary. Buffet is not only cheaper, it gives people more opportunity to talk to others. We did not have table assignments at our wedding, so people could move around and sit where they wanted to. Costco has low cost bunches of flowers if you have someone who can put them together on the day. Wine and beer are plenty and can be purchased in bulk. If you are really strapped for cash, consider a morning wedding. A lovely service and then a wedding brunch can be really nice. We had pastries, bagels and fruit, orange juice, coffee and champagne for the toast. We had a beautiful cake, and a string quartet. That eliminated the cost of a DJ and not many people drink too much that early in the day. It was lovely, and everyone who loved us was there and had a good time. Decide what’s most important to you. The place I chose to spend money was on photography and the video. Those are irreplaceable and historic as well. Your grandchildren will want to look at them someday.

  • Jennifer says:

    I work at a wedding venue where most people do both the wedding and the reception in the gardens and fields. Lately we have had a lot of weddings on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The venue costs half as much and if the guests are local, it seems to work pretty well. Ceremonies start around 6:00 or 6:30 and receptions close by 11:00. Great option for 2nd weddings.

  • jo anthony says:

    As a wedding professional of 30 plus years (florist and caterer) I can tell you that some of these suggestions work and SOME DO NOT. Be careful of your choices. Beware of internet suggestions. Many lead to harrowing mistakes, especially about do it yourself flowers and food. To hold flowers, you must have refrigeration. To hold food you must have refrigeration. To make it all work, you MUST have someone who knows what he or she is doing. The big word here is Professional. Find professionals with good reputations. Listen to their suggestions. If you are on a budget, tell the professional. Don’t pick out the most expensive items and walk out because they don’t fit your budget. They want your business and will go to great lengths to get it. Listen!! If their rep is good they must know something right!

  • Rick S says:

    My cousin got married in her church and had the reception at the college her and her husband gradualted from. The school had a great culinary school and large nice reception area. They had more than enough help (students) and everything was perfect. The bride showed them what they wanted the tables to look like and they did all the set up.
    Another cousin is getting married 2 weeks after one of her friends. They are both on a budget so they will buy and use the same table decorations, then sell them afterwords. They won’t have the same guests so who will know?

    You may ask hotels in your area if there is a time when they’re less busy and could give you a better price for the “ballroom” and most likely the block of rooms your guests will need.

  • Erin says:

    My fiancee and I are doing a full sit-down dinner with butlered appetizers, appetizer stations, great food options (prime rib, crab-stuffed tilapia, etc.), and 5 hours of open bar. For 100 people we will be at less than $10,500 including taxes, gratuity and fees for the entire ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. We managed to pull this one off by picking a local brewery as our venue. It’s in a big old building in a downtown area walking distance from hotels, and has 5 floors including 2 banquet rooms, a cocktail lounge, a VIP lounge, a biergarten and a main hall (we pick 2 of the rooms). They’re charging us $250 to rent the facility and are providing centerpieces, linens, all table settings, bartenders, and everything in between. We’re also having our ceremony there and they’re handling all of the setup for it. They also provide a sound system with Ipod docking so we can put together our own playlist.

    People (my mother included) heard brewery and thought it would be cheap or tacky but when we toured she fell in love with the high ceilings, hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s because of these preconceived notions that the pricing was so afforable. The point is, if you choose a nontraditional setting that has catering (as this place does) you can save a bundle because they’re not priced at wedding price points.

  • Barbara says:

    One way of saving money on a dress is ebay. My daughter had her heart set on a really expensive designer dress that she had tried on in a store, as I was buying the dress for her I asked her to allow me to try and find the dress somewhere else. I set up a search for the dress on ebay and found EXACTLY the same dress, size and color that someone was selling that hadn’t been worn. I paid less than half the retail price for the dress. It took me less than a week to find it.

  • Kathleen Ball says:

    What a fascinating thread. Marriage and weddings have been my profession for decades. I was a marriage counselor and wedding officiant for many years and then a few years ago my husband and I began a printable wedding invitation business. (which is a great way to save money) My role with couples is to help them come back to the most important part of the wedding which is the ceremony itself. There are so many details to attend to now that often times the importance of the “wedding ritual” gets lost. But if you focus on what you really want your family, friends and community to witness about your love, the rest will begin to fall into place.
    I am also a great advocate of shopping online and using ebay. You can get great deals and have a much better choice by spending some time browsing and price comparing.
    As a marriage counselor I will tell you that one of the keys to a long successful marriage is to learn and use good communication skills. When you have the confidence that there is nothing you cannot talk about and work through, you will have a much better chance of weathering what life throws you and staying together.

  • Luis Toledo says:

    As a wedding photographer, I’ve been to quite a few weddings. The most successful cost cutting option I’ve seen with regards to the bar is to buy your own booze, beer and wine And then just pay the caterer a fee to serve it. Most caterers will allow this if you ask and its allowed by your local government. it allows you to predict the final cost of the bar ahead of time without having to pay per head which assumes that every attendee will drink like a fish.

  • Richard Larry says:

    This will never work women are too spoiled and superficial to accept a cheap wedding.

  • Jean-Loup says:

    I believe that a fantastic wedding is every girls dream, but few have the budget to realize that dream. None in the comments mentioned destination weddings. In a destination wedding only the most committed friends and family go, as the price for traveling can be costly. I would like to recommend a destination wedding area, Ensenada, Baja California, as it is a drivable location for many brides in the southern California area. The costs can be half or less for a similar wedding. You can even take a cruise out of Los Angeles and have the reception in Ensenada. The guests that can’t take the cruise can easily drive and meet you at the reception. If you are concerned about safety, please don’t be, it’s very safe.

    • newyorkmary says:

      While weddings cost a lot to throw, they often also cost a lot to attend. This bothers me. I hate the entitlement of people who expect their families and closest friends to use up their vacation and pay out the nose to attend someone else’s wedding.

  • Luis Toledo says:

    I photograph weddings and love intimate celebrations. My one tip sounds a little self-serving, but get a photographer that knows what they’re doing to chronicle your day, or at least the ceremony and get together. They don’t have to be expensive, but you will get what you pay for. I can’t think of anything worse than not having any wedding photos at all. Hiring a competent professional will ensure that your photos are of a quality that’s usable for display, not just on the web, and shot in a way that has meaning and evokes emotion, as opposed to the random snapshots most enthusiasts will make.

    A good photographer can tell a good story from even the lowest budget wedding. In my (biased) opinion, it’s a worthy splurge.

  • Mother of the Bride says:

    All good ideas EXCEPT the cash bar. I won’t invite guests to a party and expect them to chip in on the bill. As a guest, I would be unimpressed. You don’t need to offer a full bar, we are offering beer and wine at my daughter’s upcoming wedding reception, but I think a cash bar is a bit on the tacky side.

    • JR says:

      I hope no one I invite to my future wedding is snobby enough to critique my wedding just because I did not give them free alcohol. As you seem to have forgotten, weddings are held so friends and family can witness two people they are about make a commitment to each other. If you’re there for the alcohol, you’re there for the wrong reason!

      • Just Married says:

        I agree with Mother of the Bride… I think that it would be better to have no alcohol than to ask people to pay. I believe that it is tacky. It isn’t “snobby” to critique a wedding, it is human nature (especially when you have stood up in 14 weddings as I have). If you can’t afford open bar, you may want to put inexpensive bottles of wine on each table and put your own lables on the bottles, and offer a keg of good beer (not just Miller Light). It won’t cost you the typical $30 per person for open bar, and people who drink will be happy.

        • A Davis says:

          Another way of avoiding the cash bar situation while not spending a million bucks on an open bar is by having a “signature cocktail” or two. Drinks can be premixed and served in large beverage dispensers. The dispensers can be used for parties in the couple’s future, too, so the cost of buying them is not just for one day.
          These work for non-alcoholic drinks, too, and make a pretty display.

      • GennyR says:

        That’s all well and good if you are OK with turning friends and family into your customers. If you can’t afford the bar tab it’s not cool to charge your customers to make up the difference. Cash bars are a big NO.

  • Witty Artist says:

    Thanks for the tips :). Indeed, renting the dress is much cheaper, but I’d prefer to have a new one. 🙂 Afterward I can sell it at let’s say, half price, and so I get back some of the money. As for the wedding planner and coordinator, they are both useful, but if the couple is a balanced one and knows how to manage the whole wedding, that expense is no longer a must. I think the most important about a wedding is that the couple enjoys every moment, because it’s their time. Of course everybody wants to please the guests, but this doesn’t mean the bride and the groom have to be stressed. I hope me and my future husband will enjoy as much as possible that beautiful day 🙂

  • Elizabeth says:

    I completly agree with Cherish (except for the whole rich people making me sick thing).
    Our wedding is Saturday night at 6:30 (ceremony), so the reception won’t start until 7:15-ish. We’re doing a cocktail buffet, lots of little appetizers and trays. Our catering bill for 200+ people including staff, china, and linen rentals? About 5k. That same place, same caterer, but buffet dinner would have cost upwards of 9k.

    But the reception venue is really where I think we’ve saved the most money. We’re holding the ceremony at the community park and the reception at the community hall. I know some brides out there just shuddered but hear me out and I hope this doesn’t offend anyone; go to the upscale side of town. Every city has one and I guaruntee the parks in the upscale side are 20 times more beautiful and the comunity halls rival most hotel ballrooms and “event sites”. You might pay a little bit more if you’re not a resident but that savings will be tremendous. Added bonus: most community halls let you choose your own caterer which gives you much more bargaining room when you’re shopping around for a caterer.
    Also, a word on alcohol. Find someplace that does not require you to buy your alcohol through them, only that you use a licensed bar-tender. You can go to a state liquor store, buy the alcohol you want and you know you’re getting the best price and also, at the end of the night, you keep any alcohol that isn’t consumed.

    I bought my dress off the rack saving nearly half. Also, don’t waste your money on a veil from the bridal shop. They are often way over priced. If you’re so inclined or know someone who is crafty, have them make your veil. Seriously, they’re super easy. If a veil isn’t your thing and you’re more a tiara kinda girl, check out costume shops. I’m not talking about Halloween Express, but the theatre costume shops (ours is downtown). They sell beautiful tiaras that are much less.

    For bridesmaid’s gifts, if you’re feeling jewelry (I’m giving my girls pearl necklaces with matching pearl earrings), check places out around the time of traditional jewelry giving holdiays (Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc.) and look for sale fliers. You can get great (real) jewelry at a much reduced prices.

    Make-up: If you don’t know an Avon or Mary-Kay lady, try going to Sephora or MAC several months out. Tell them you’re shopping around for wedding day make-up and either tell them what your after or bring in pictures to show them. People don’t work there unless they like make-up and if they like it, chances are they know a thing or two about applying it and will gladly teach you. They may even give you free samples of a few make-up colors which you can then practice with at home. If you’re doing your own make-up keep in mind that you will want stuff that is a little different than everyday wear. Make Up Forever is a brand that recently came out with a foundation specifically formulated for being photographed. And it does make a difference.

    And lastly, even if you find what you think is the perfect place at the perfect price, be prepared to walk away until you have *thoroughly* read the contract, and the pricing is the same as what you discussed and bring a calculator with you when you’re reviewing the contract before signing. It doesn’t happen often and most wedding professionals are just that, professional, but some aren’t. One place we looked at was fabulous and the price was what were looking for, we had the contract drafted and were ready to put down a deposit. But when we read through the contract, there were many hidden charges (truly, hidden. As in, buried in legalese with numbers written out so as not to drawn attention). When we calculated what was actually in the contract, it came out to almost 30% more than what we had discussed. Needless to say, I was upset and we left.

    Just a few thoughts. : )

  • MIchaelle Alexis says:

    Your advice is real and workable I will truly try

  • Cherish says:

    Wow, these are some of the worst money saving tips I’ve ever come across. Maybe you should retitle it “Money Saving Tips for Millionaires.”

    Here are some real tips, for those of us who just barely make it to lower-middle class…

    1. Do a cocktail receptions instead of sit down meal–savings: nearly half. And serve buffet style-it might not make sense, but most people do eat less…and waste less. Very few people gorge themselves on a buffet. We are doing a night wedding, well past dinner time. No one should be starving when they get there.
    2. Provide bottles of wine on the table and champagne for toasting, but do a cash bar for everything else.
    3. Hold your wedding and reception at the same place. Preferably your own church, or a family/friend’s home. Outdoor weddings are really beautiful, and nature does most of the decorating for you.
    4. You don’t need a wedding planner or coordinator. Save your money. Use the internet to get ideas, timelines, budgets, etc. Talk to other brides to be and recently married ones. Pool your resources. Share your talents. Take classes at Michael’s of Jo Ann or other craft stores. Have your attendants help create things for your wedding–just be sure you thank them for their hard work.
    5. Get your Mary Kay or Avon consultant to do your make-up. No, you don’t need to change make-up halfway through. Pick basics and nudes that are tastefully applied. Even if you change clothes, your foundation and blush should remain the same unless you want to look like 2 different people in your pictures. Don’t go heavy on the eye make-up. (And who wants someone following them around all day fixing their “look.” The only one following you should be your darling. Your maid of honor can do the touch ups if necessary.
    6. Buy your dress. If you don’t want to keep it, resell it later on. Mine was gorgeous and on sale it came in at under $400. Keep in mind what looks good in a catalog or magazine might look totally different on you. Try on lots of looks before you set your heart on a style. No one but you and maybe some snobs will know who designed your dress. If you are even more thrifty, buy it second hand. Just give yourself lots of time to look for one.
    7. Make your wedding a reflection of you and your husband to be. If you have tons of friends, throw a huge bash–if not keep it small and intimate. Remember, each person you invite adds to your total bill. You don’t have to invite EVERYONE.

    BTW: my wedding costs less than $4,000, honeymoon included.

    For more great ideas check out Martha Stewarts wedding website. Millions of ideas, for very cheap. Use the ‘net to find ideas and keep it simple. Unless you are a millionaire, in which case, go ahead and refer to the original article.

    (ugh, rich people make me sick…what a waste of money..)

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks for your great money-saving tips. They were very helpful. I’m impressed by your total cost being less than $4,000. That’s what I hope to do. Where did you take your honeymoon? Is that a whole other money-saving conversation?

    • Diane Smith says:

      Thank goodness for the voice of wisdom. It is one day and I have know the day should be special. However is it money that makes it that way? Is it worth having months, maybe years, to pay for the big expense? I have found many, many days are so memorable after that special day. Rich people can afford to pay for expensive weddings, if that is their choice. We just need to be realize and so do they, your wedding is only a moment. After that there are many, more big days. The surprising thing is those days do not cost anything.

    • mi says:

      You did GREAT! only way to go….mine cost $2k with honeymoon in Nova Socia. Got some big ticket items of freebies. Married a Volunteer Firefighter got the fire house’s huge kitchen, meeting/party room with bar, park like picnic area in back, and ANTIQUE fire trucks for our transportation. 3 firefighters catered the steak and ale picnic. We bought everything wholesale through their account with our $’s. I did the invites on my computer, my sisters and friends did the wholesale flowers and decorations, I did our simple dresses. A weekend of fun then off to N.S. for a week. 25 years later we are doing my daughters this summer. I will have an extra expense however,,,they tell me I have to find someone to get the mechanical siren working again.

    • uptickusa says:

      We had a football Italian wedding of 200 people, and it cost us 300 dollars in 1957. We had a bunch of hero sandwiches, beer and soda.

      People gave a few bucks and hugs. At the end, we broke even and we all had a ball.

    • GennyR says:

      Cash bars are still considered a no no. You have the party you can afford and if you can’t afford a bar tab then you don’t have an open bar but rather serve a limited prechosen selection of drinks. Anyone that would comment on this being the case is incredibly ill bred and rude.

      Cash bars charge for drinks, at this point your guests are no longer guests so much as customers. Cash bars just tell me and everyone else someone is living beyond their means.

  • Slinky says:

    Uhh…the place where florists get flowers are called ‘wholesale houses’. In my experience (as a florist’s daughter) they generally only sell to businesses just like other wholesalers. Or at least none of the 3 or 4 around here do. The greenhouses don’t either for that matter.

    Assuming you find one that does sell to just anyone (if you’re not getting taxed I think that’s illegal, btw), remember you will probably have to buy in bulk. While roses come just a few dozen to the bunch, filler, greens, floral foam and most other staples come in huge bunches and boxes.

    Also remember that you’ll still have to arrange everything yourself. When you buy from a florist, you are paying for skill as much as the flowers.

    I also agree that many places mark up for weddings. I also have to point out that it’s because brides are picky, cranky, and way more work than they should be. In floral work, much of the ‘wedding tax’ is the need to buy more flowers so that the florist can use only the best quality. Heaven forbid those white roses should be anything but pristine.

    THAT said, I offer an alternative for cheap wedding flowers. Get them from your grocery store. A lot of grocery stores do full service (drop off, set up, pick up) weddings. They’re generally cheaper than more of a boutique florist. You’ll want to shop around with this as there’s a larger variety in skill. Ask to see pictures of their past work. Otherwise, it should be fairly similar to any other florist where you sit down and have a consultation.

    Another thing that can save you money is sticking with just a few different flower types. The more variety, the more flowers (in bulk) the florist has to buy. Unusual flowers can sometimes cost more and out of season flowers always do. Going with wide open roses will mean you have to use fewer of them and they’re older roses that won’t last as long which can net you a deal as well. Pin on corsages are sometimes smaller and cheaper than wrist corsages. (Use two vertical pins from inside the clothing. One from the top straight down into the stem and one from the bottom straight up. Counter intuitive, but works best) Any decorations with same day set up will cost more. Aisle runners are stupid unless you’re outside and really need one. I could probably go on, but I’ll stop now. 🙂

    • Suzie says:

      We did the flowers for my sisters wedding, the wholesaler was more than happy to take our money, and we got a TON of flowers for the money. We just told her what we wanted and why and let her pick. We did all the vases on Friday morning, and I made her bouquet and mine Saturday morning. You Tube’d some tutorials, did a practice bouquet from grocery store flowers the week before. Everything was beautiful and a fraction of the cost. (She did have a florist do the boutonnieres and corsages, they seemed like a lot of work)

  • Melanie says:

    I bought a dress on ebay and had it altered. It’s new with tags and less than 250$ including alterations.

  • Dominique says:

    For us I bought the wedding dress rather then renting as it was very much cheaper.(Rental cost $800 while buying only set me back by $200) I managed to get it at factory outlet price. We DIY the flowers for the church, wedding car and bouquet as we managed to get from the wholesellers.

  • Sandy says:

    I always felt that wedding location is more for show than for everyone to enjoy the big day. If you have tons of money, the a Ritz Carton wedding may make sense but is it really worth the $100k for one day?

  • Belinda says:

    Thanks for the tip. Renting your bridal gown certainly make sense today.

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