Wedding season is upon us! Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone is getting married this summer? A good friend of mine, Cait, was just engaged and is deep into planning. I don’t know about you,but now that I have done one, I just want to help my friends out in saving money where I made mistakes. (and I made many)
I was a very laid back bride. I didn’t keep a binder, I didn’t consult a ton of different photographers, and I definitely didn’t get stressed out about everything being perfect. It just so happened that working in the service industry in my teens and twenties popped any bubble I may have had that any party could be perfect!
This isn’t to say that I didn’t care. I DID! I just stayed myself through the process. Now, I love a deal just as much as the next DIY bride, so here are my tips for saving money on your big day
1: Go to a bridal boutique to try on dresses, BUT DO NOT BUY! This seems crazy. And I know that my service industry friends would scoff at this… but if I could do it again, I would have tried on dresses to find the ONE and then… left. AND LOOKED ONLINE. I went to a swanky boutique in the trendiest neighborhood in Milwaukee when I went dress shopping. I went in thinking I would get a lace one and walked out with a beautiful satin gown. I got it on clearance (even though I wasn’t looking, BUT BONUS!) and I thought I was getting a great deal. When it arrived, it was a standard size 8. It then needed to be altered for my body. So then I went online, and found the EXACT SAME DRESS being sold for $600 cheaper than I had bought retail. I could have taken a picture of the inside tag, and looked up the order number at an online retailer.
Here is the dress, WTOO “Eclipse” sold online.
2: Get real about the cake. I love sweets. It’s not a party without cake. It just isn’t. I’m the gal who gets nervous if I’ve been at a toddler birthday party for hours and haven’t seen a proper cake knife. I’m not about skimping. I am not about doing the DIY dessert table with a couple of plates of cookies. I AM ALL ABOUT THE CAKE! But, I am not into buying WAY TOO MUCH CAKE. If you want to save some serious money, don’t take the advice of the cake shop owners, well-meaning as they are… I have yet to go to a wedding since my big day where they have run out of cake. It has been quite the opposite, where I have been to the gift opening and the groom’s grandma is sending me off with a Tupperware of cake because “they have too much!” Don’t go for the idea that everyone is going to get a slice. A good rule of thumb, for every 50 people who RSVP, get 40 slices. Don’t get the extra sheet cake. Don’t worry. I could have saved over $200 bucks, and probably a few inches on at least 25 family members’ waistlines.
3: Think about your flower choices. I know that it sounds obvious, but I think it can be easy to look on Pinterest and think “That’s pretty” and then next thing you know, you are over spending on flowers. I was really lucky on this because one of my best friends (and bridesmaid) works in interior design and had an “in” at the local flower wholesaler. We used their knowledge to build up our own bouquets, boutonnières, and table and alter bouquets. We even left our cake plain white and opted to throw a few succulents on it as decoration to save some serious money. What we learned is that Stock flowers went a long way in filling our reception hall with a pop of color and beautiful scent without spending a lot of money. And we learned that a mix of real and fake flowers (as recommended by the florists) made the most sense for building up the wedding party’s floral arrangements. Here is what we came up with. We figure that because we did them ourselves, and through a wholesaler, we saved over $350. But because we were getting a deal, we splurged and spent our entire budget, allowing flowers to overflow in our church and reception hall.
4: Etsy is your best friend. If you have time and energy to really shop around, Etsy is a great place to buy decorations, wedding party gifts, and bridal accessories. (it definitely doesn’t have to stop there…) My belt for my gown was from Etsy, as were customized gifts for the party. This one sort of goes without saying…but is important nonetheless.
5:Don’t get caught up in the “celebrity thing.” Weddings are really important. And really lovely. And absolutely beautiful. But they lose their sweetness when things get too big, too loud, and too bossy. And by things, I mean, people. Brides, mothers of the bride, bridesmaids, whoever it may be for your wedding day… don’t let heads get inflated. Champagne is nice, a limo might be too. It might seem like you must have an entourage of make-up and hair and nail artists. BUT YOU DON’T. We were able to find deals on Groupon that saved us on a DJ and photographer. (something some people would scoff at) Do what you can afford. Heck, even less than you can afford. Save your money for important things like getting your wills done, or getting a passport changed… or whatever costs build up once you have said your “i do’s.”
I know that it can all feel like so much to worry about. Take it from me… you can have a beautiful day that is meaningful without having to throw away your hard-earned money.
I’d love to meet you on twitter here.
If you liked the post, share it on Facebook or Pin it below!