So you or your loved one has just gotten engaged. Congratulations! This is a wonderfully happy time in your life. Nothing can put a damper on your happiness- except perhaps the cost of your wedding, unless you happen to be independently wealthy.
In many parts of the U.S., the cost of a typical wedding can run in the five figure range. This type of price tag is just not an option for everyone! When the hubs and I got married we were broke as a joke, both in school, and both living off student loans. There was no possible way we could afford an expensive wedding, so we had to get creative. Here are some easy ways that we saved money on our wedding. I hope that you may find these suggestions helpful so that you too can save money on your wedding!
8 Creative Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
1) Use your connections. Do you know anyone who works in the wedding industry? Know anyone who is a photographer, florist, musician, DJ, etc? Definitely tap into any connections you have, as you may be able to get a discounted price that way. The hubs and I had a friend who was a former minister, and she was happy to officiate for free (although we did give her a gift card and some money for gas, since she’d driven long distance to get to our wedding).
2) Consider using students for your wedding services. When we got married I called up the photography department at a local university, and I found a great photography student who came with high praise from her instructors. She borrowed camera equipment from the photography department and took pictures for us all day long. She was thrilled to get to shoot another wedding (she had done a few before) to add to her portfolio. We paid MUCH less for her services than local photography studios quoted us, and she gave us all the negatives and digital files afterwards. She even threw in some enlargements for us that she printed with the university’s printing equipment- all we had to do was get frames. I did have to put together our own wedding album, but that of course saved us money too.
3) Consider beauty students for your hair and makeup. Again, students are happy to practice their skills on a wedding and they charge MUCH less. For our wedding I called up a local beauty school to find two enthusiastic students who were thrilled to get to do my hair and earn some money as well.
4) Consider fake flowers instead of real. This is one that I think most brides would not like to consider, but for me I just could not imagine spending hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars on something that would be dead in a week, especially with our incredibly limited budget. So I bought about $100 worth of silk red roses off eBay and we made our own bouquets and boutonnieres. Of course everyone in the wedding party knew they were not real, but I doubt anyone else knew or cared.
5) Limit the guest list. At a wedding reception less people to feed generally equals less cost.
6) Consider buying a cake from a grocery store rather than a professional wedding cake maker. You’re just going to eat it anyway, right? So does it really have to be super fancy?
7) Purchase your invitations online. Online retailers typically have less overheard than brick-and-mortar stores and can therefore often give you a better deal.
8) Consider a casual rehearsal dinner or reception (if you have one). When the hubs and I got married it was July and we had our rehearsal dinner picnic-style at a local park the evening before the wedding. Our family and friends did not seem to mind dining on burgers and potato salad, and it was great for children and pets (since our dog was the ring bearer and needed to be there).
Splurge On the Things That Are Important to You
We didn’t go cheap on everything. It was really important to us that our family and friends enjoyed themselves and that we had a fun and memorable wedding. So we found the local DJ who had the reputation for being the most fun wedding DJ and we booked him even though he charged a little more than other DJs. However, we acknowledge that it would have been much cheaper to create a specific wedding playlist on an iPod and just let it play.
It was also important to us that we have a great video/DVD of the day that we could look back on in later years. So we also spent a little bit more money to find a quality videographer.
Do we have any regrets? Eight years later, I do kind of wish that I‘d had a hair trial/practice session the week before to go over what we were going to do with my hair, as I wasn’t super-thrilled with how it turned out. However, I honestly don’t think this was the students’ fault; it was my own fault for being too lazy to schedule a hair trial session with them. Otherwise we have zero regrets. And we still get comments from family and friends about how our wedding was the most fun one they’d ever been to!
Suggested Reading: For more great ideas on how to save big money on your wedding, check out How to Plan Your Own Wedding and Save Thousands – Without Going Crazy.
These are just a few ways to save money on a wedding; I’m sure there are a million more out there! What are some ways you saved money on your wedding?
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