You don't have to spend a bundle to have a dream wedding! Here's how some of the world's most budget-savvy brides achieved their dream wedding without spending a bundle!
One way that I am cutting costs is to DIY the flowers (fiftyflowers or theflowerexchange) and buying a bunch of cute white vases off of Ebay and from local thrift stores (i do know of plenty of bulk glass vase sites but i like the mix-n-match look).
Our photog was my husband's boss, my aunt, mom & uncle made BBQ instead of catering, lots of DIY, friends mom is a florist and did my flowers for $150, friend is a cosmotologist and did hair for $20, earrings $9 at walmart..lots of stuff, just be creative!
Slash Wedding Budget by 40%
My original budget was $10,000 but it will end up being more like $6,500 in the end. First, I should note that I live in Iowa, so everything's cheaper. Other than that, my main ways of cutting costs have included:
- getting a very talented friend (graphic designer) to do my photos
- having my mom's friend, who has a deli catering business, do the food
- doing all the decoration myself (no flowers)
- having the reception at a location with almost nothing included - it was sooo much cheaper to get my own vendors and bring in outside food and drink
- relying on my mom's connections working for a grocery store to bring in food and drink at cost
- finding an off-the-rack dress at the bridal store ($99)
- opting for undecorated cakes, pies, cheesecake, etc., for a dessert buffet over a decorated cake
200 Guests for $5K? It's possible! Here's how:
Our budget was originally 5k, but due to my MOM's pickiness (not mine!) we're probably more on target for 6k now. We're expecting 170-200 guests. The major ways we cut costs:
~We're DIYing almost everything.. flowers, centerpieces, invites, etc.
~My aunt is doing the flowers AND the photography (she has experience with both)
~Had a girl from work do the cakes - she does them as a hobby so we got a great deal
~Having a casual bbq buffet catered. Much cheaper than a plated dinner.
~The officiant is the same one who married FI's mom and stepdad. He's not charging us.
~The DJ is a friend of FI's dad and is doing it for half price.
~We were also able to rent our linens during a 50% off promotion.
~a good friend of mine is a hair dresser and is doing my hair for free.
Do It Yourself
We found a ton of ways to cut costs! DIY invites, buying paper lanterns to re-sell, DIY STD's, DIY programs. We splurged on the venue (FI and I loved it and had to have it), plus we are having 275-300 guests. I also splurged on the photog since I LOVE PICS!
I'm getting married in a big (and expensive) city so my budget is $20K for 80 people. We're trying to cut back costs w/DIY invitations featuring some green friendly practices (STD's will be online, RSVP for guests 40 and younger will be online only), DIY decorations..and trying to cut back anywhere and everywhere I can. So far everything we've booked has come in under budget. *YAY*
We are doing a bbq instead of a sit down dinner... we have rustic theme so it will work out perfect! Thinking outside of the box is key to saving money!
200 Guests for only $8,000
With a budget of $8000 and 200 guests, I am cutting costs EVERYWHERE!! :) some particulars are:
- DIY Invites
- DIY Flowers
- Inexpensive Venue (city-owned Garden)
- Bargain Centerpiece Shopping
- Utilizing Friends & fmaily's help & talent to the max!
- Family videographer
- Keg Beer & Wine (somewhere bought in bulk, on sale!!)
- DJ Friend (only $400!!)
- Unique Coffee bar doubles as favors for guests
- "hiring" a close family friend as WC/DOC
- DIY STD's, Programs, etc.
Negotiate With Your Vendors
Our budget went from 5K to 3.5K and now we're settling at 4K. =] Part of our savings haVe been great connections, but dont be afraid to negotiate with Venders. In this economy, they dont want to lose your business, so you can often get more included for less $. It Saved us nearly $800. GL!
Prioritize and Share
Our budget was originally 12k for 160 ppl. My dad splurged on a few things in the end and the final total was about 17k. The biggest expense was the reception site & catering at $10k for a 10-course family-style meal. This included beer, wine, linens, cake cutting, set-up, clean-up & tip.
Where we cut costs:
My gown, $285 from jCrew
Tuxedos, <$70 per guy, DH opted to have his guys wear a black suit instead of renting tuxes. He bought them custom fitted dress-shirts & cufflinks as a gift. DH wore a black suit he already owned.
Officiant, free, a friend performed the ceremony.
DJ, free, a friend did it as a wedding gift.
Cake, free, my brother baked it as our wedding gift.
Videogrography, free, my other brother filmed it.
DOC, free, a friend of my mom's was DOC as a wedding gift to us. She was awesome.
Hair & makeup, less than $70 per person. We hire my sister's friend who used to do it for a living. Unfortunately, she doesn't do it for hire anymore. :-(
STDs, free, sent via email. :-)
Invitations, centerpieces, signage, programs, favors, all DIY... saved a bunch of money by buying my paper & cardstock in bulk.
Invitations, Flowers, and Friendors
I dont really have a budget either... this can be a blessing and a HUGE sore subject all at the same time... I think for the food and location the cost was like $18,000 but that doesnt include anything else. My FI and I are paying for things here and there as well... but there is no real budget...its kind of a weird situation... lol
We cut costs by doing the invites ourselves (I am not creative in any sense of the word so I can only HOPE they will turn out like some of ones I have seen from the girls on here... AMAZING... We got them off e-bay for real cheap but they are also avaliable in places like Michaels and Target... I just dont know what to do to make them better...
We are using a family friend who is a florist to do our flowers... she is only charging us the cost of the flowers so that really helped.
Same for the DJ... we are using a family friend who runs a business... DISCOUNT!!!
A Dream Wedding for $10K
-keeping the invites simple
-looking at alternative bouquets/arrangements with minimal flowers (for BM and centerpieces)
-aunt making dress
-another aunt making cake
-no menus/programs/placecards, etc. (paper products)
the FOOD will be our only splurge. It's the only thing we both really care about. Food (and beverage) make the party.
Coupons and Deals
Our original budge was loosely 20k (w/o HM) plus a little wiggle room....Then...We bought a house!!!! Our budge tumbled to 15k. And it looks like we'll actually be coming in at about 16k + HM.
Here's how we were able to cut costs:
* DIY flowers! I'm buying our simple flowers in bulk from Sam's club and our more specialty flowers from fiftyflowers.com
* I got a great deal on our invites. Gartner studios was running a 50% off sale around Christmas time. We purchased the invites, RSVP cards, and Thank you cards for under $300! I love love love them!!! - We also got our favor holders during this promo too!
* We're having a friend who owns a bakery make our wedding cake at a huge discount!
* We negotiated with our venue to take off several miscellaneous charges.
* We negotiated for our Chavairi chairs.
* Hobby lobby and Michael's - 50% off sales and coupons!!!!
Cut $5,000 in Costs
Initial budget was $20,000 for 80-100 guests, but now we are looking at $35,000 for about 120 guests. It costs almost $800/10ppl table (food + sales tax + service charge) for a Chinese 10 course meals. We still have to pay for decorations, backdrop, and entertainment setup. My FI and I are stressing about the costs since we have to pay for everything, but our elders are expecting so much.
We don’t have anyone that can help us DIY anything. We are trying to bring the cost down to around $25,000 to $30,000 by
1. removing 4 persons from our wedding party
2. cutting the limo service
3. still deciding if we want videography for the ceremony (Our wedding is at Wayfarers Chapel, and their exclusive videographer, 24KT is charging $1500 for the video during that 2 hours)
Use lots of candles for decor at your reception, that will save lots of floral cost. It will still provide that romance.
Save Money Where Possible, Splurge on What's Important to You
a. Bought a store sample designer dress. Found pearl jewelry on clearance. Made my own hairpiece, and my own crinoline (green!). After dry cleaning, my entire day-of attire will have cost less than $350, bought full price it would have been around $2000.
b. Mom's a seamstress :)
c. 40-50% off coupons at Michaels. . .like our vases. We're buying them one at a time with the coupons.
d. DIY flowers - most of our flowers are from Michaels so we spent less than $250 altogether.
e. DIY invites
f. Price shopped EVERYTHING! Didn't use the usual vendors, which we found have higher rates because they are the ones that always do weddings at our venue. Instead, I found another hair lady who does weddings, but for much cheaper because to her it's just extra cash - not only did I love her attitude SO much more but she does amazing hair. Same story goes for make-up, cake, and so on.
g. Chose a venue that offered reasonable prices and still a beautiful setting. Switching cities made the difference between spending $15K on a venue before food, and spending $5K on on a venue, (gourmet, even organic) food included. We still have a gorgeous venue and mountain views, but no yuppy upcharges.
h. Ipod DJ ;)
i. No limos or other extravagences that in 20 years we won't care about and were a huge expense for such a small amount of time.
j. With the above savings, we were able to put aside about $4000 for amazing photography, spend a little extra on centerpieces, decor, and gifts, and help out our friends and family financially by buying the attire for our FG and RB, buying the fabric we're using to make the BM gowns, and so on.
Images courtesy of Union Photography