Come our wedding date I will have been engaged for 21 months! In that time I've been planning and vigorously budget shopping for the wedding. Here are some tips I've learned so as not to break our budget.
Nothing saves you more money than doing it yourself. We saved the most with our invitations. Instead of buying them we bought the paper in bulk from an online company and cut, glued and assembled ourselves. We saved over $300. (Keep in mind we sent out 170 invitations).
Other projects we did on our own: Cake Stand, veil, stamped cocktail napkins, canned jam favors, Programs... and misc decor.
Aren't DIY savvy enough? Don't hesitate to find other resources who are! My mom's friend designed my Haute inspired brooch bracelet... cost me $15 in supplies and she made it for free!
Keep in mind that most projects will be labor intensive...but most are worth your time!
2) Coupons (and coupon codes) are your new best friend
I've never been so excited to get e-mails from Michaels before! Every little bit saved adds up! Take advantage of seasonal sales (especially if your wedding color is involved). Online coupon code sites such as RetailMeNot have a database of current codes and offers.
3) Avoid "Bridal/Wedding" Retail
Any store that focuses primarily on wedding attire and accessories is guaranteed to have jacked up their prices. Shop elsewhere for veils, hair flowers, jewelry and other "wedding" accessories. You'll save hundreds! Check out Etsy for some fabulous "one-of-a-kind items"
These can add up quick. If you're struggling to stay in budget. Consider doing a non-flower arrangement. Simple items like floating candles and river rocks can be elegant without breaking the budget. Check out this article for more budget-friendly ideas.
5) Bargain you butt off
I never realized that bargaining was even an option until I started working with our vendors. We managed to talk our caterers down $30 off a plate because of our guest list size. We also managed to bring in our own recipes. Our limo added on a extra hour for free because of a referral and we shopped around until we found a DJ who would play for unlimited amount of time for a better price than time-fixed ones.
It helps to start booking early...and make sure you go in knowing how much you're willing to spend. Start lower and see what you can get. You'll be surprised!
6) Yum yum Cake
Wedding cake is the largest pay out in my eyes. I understand the labor involved but wow... the bill is craziness! I loved the faux cake idea whereby all the tiers are decorated syrofoam with one real slice for the bride and groom to cut. Then the real cake is in back in sheets. :)
We didn't do this, but we did opt for a smaller tiered cake and we have 3 sheets in the back (same icing and everything)...that cost a lot less and know one will ever know!
Or... offer something other than cake. Pies, cupcakes, etc.
7) The Dress
This is a sticky subject for most. I understand that many brides will not budge when it comes to price and their dress. That's totally understandable. I'm one of those brides who sees this as a dress I'll only wear for 11 hours. So if I spent $5000 that would be like spending $454.55/hour. That didn't go over so well with my wallet. :) Instead I found a replica dress of the one I wanted at David's bridal for that hourly rate and took it to a tailor (not at DB because they over-charged) to add-on the features I wanted. Ended up spending $650 and no one was the wiser (except you lovely ladies)
But the same can go with the shoes...veil....garter. Items you'll never wear again.
Feel free to add anything else on how you saved money!