Planning a wedding can be a stressful, not to mention expensive ordeal. I wish I could tell you that I had no experience in this area and that any mistakes I have made should be blamed on inexperience, but this is my second trip around the wedding planning block. This time, though, I feel like I have a better sense of what’s really important, and being a more mature (read: older) bride with young children, I would like to think that I have a knack for planning a great party on limited funds. My friends joke that I am super thrifty (I don’t like to pay full price for anything), but I am certainly not cheap. I am going to share with you some of my favorite tips for planning a budget savvy wedding.
DIY (Do It Yourself) can be a great way to get the special items you want for your wedding at a lower price. However, DIY doesn’t always save you money, so you should choose your projects carefully and remember the value of your time when taking on projects. If you want a specialized design, or you are very crafty, DIY is a great option. It is always a good idea to determine the time/energy investment you will make prior to taking on the task. Evaluate the materials you will need, how much they will cost, and whether or not the design is something you can do yourself. There are a lot of very helpful sites on the internet for the various DIY project including invitations, programs, aisle runners, unity candles, etc. I created our pocketfold invitations for a fraction of the cost of purchasing them all pre-made:
By creating our invitations, we were able to use recycled paper, craft the inserts to our preference and create an invitation that is truly one of a kind. We are also using RSVP postcards instead of the standard card with an envelope, saving us money in postage. One caveat - be sure to keep an eye on the total weight and size of your invitations - both can add unexpected costs in mailing.
The little details matter, but they don’t have to cost a small fortune. Our Save the Date magnets were created using a special offer from an online business document supply vendor. With a little creative assistance and some leftover scrapbooking supplies, I was able to make stylish, but inexpensive Save the Date cards.
Wedding accessories do not have to cost a small fortune. We knew we were going to have a unity candle as part of our wedding ceremony, and we thought it would be special to have it personalized with our names and wedding date. However, the $50 price tag that went along with such an item put it outside of our budget. I crafted this unity candle using vellum and ribbon for less than $5:
I have highlighted our DIY projects on our wedding website at www.bethandmark09.weebly.com.
One of the easiest ways to save money on your wedding is to choose your wedding date wisely. We live in the Midwest, so a December wedding would mean snow and winter weather, but our early November wedding will afford us the beautiful fall colors, and an off-season discount on nearly all of our vendors. Our DJ comes highly recommended in our area, but also comes with a high price tag. By visiting the DJ at a local wedding show and asking about off-peak rates, we were able to save nearly $1000 on this service. The same goes for our venue. Because we booked over a year in advance, we got a discount, along with the off-season rate.
Off season scheduling is a great way to save money, but it is not an option for everyone. Another great way to save money is limiting your guest list. My fiancé and I decided early on that we wanted to make this a special, intimate event for our family and close friends. As a result, our guest list is much smaller than the “average” wedding. We will be having 70-80 guests, which means we have fewer drinks to buy, fewer meals to purchase and a smaller affair to enjoy.
The bottom line when it comes to being a budget savvy bride is that you need to determine what is most important to you. Perhaps you will invite 100 guests but forego the favors. Or maybe you will have your wedding on a Friday or Sunday and serve heavy appetizers instead of a full meal. Don't stress yourself out by taking on more DIY projects than you can handle. The important thing to remember is that you are going to share the rest of your life with your best friend. Everything else is just details.