Wedding Belles: How to Save Money when Planning Your Wedding

Everyone knows that weddings are expensive. In today’s world, it is hard to have a wedding that doesn’t cost somewhere between $10,000 and $30,000. That is an incredible amount of money to spend on a single day. Here are 5 ways that we saved on our wedding. It didn’t make a huge dent in our budget, but it did help some and allowed us to make our wedding unique to us. Remember, the ceremony and reception make up a single day of the many days that will make up the entirety of your marriage. Don’t spend all of your time and energy focusing on the wedding day. Instead, focus on your marriage, because your wedding day will be perfect regardless.

1. Don’t send Save the Dates and consider printing your own invitation suite, place cards, etc.

Save the Dates are all the rage now, but we didn’t send them. In my opinion, they are a waste of time, money and energy. The people on your invitation list should already know that you are getting married and know to be on the lookout for an invitation. Yes, the ideas are all cute, but none of them will be saved by your guests except for you and some members of your immediate family. Everyone else will throw it away and your money just went in the trash, even though you chose a really cute magnet or bookmark. The same idea applies to the invitation suite and other paper goods. Most of your guests will throw them away, so consider this when purchasing your invitations, place cards and even the calligraphy on your envelopes. The invitation suite and other paper goods can run you in the several hundred dollar range if you have them custom made or printed by a company. If you have a printer and the time, consider printing your own. Michael’s and Hobby Lobby have a great selection of blank invitations with matching envelopes and place cards. We chose these invitations, because they were simple and classic. It was so easy to edit the template and print them. You would never know that they weren’t professionaly done!

2. Don’t hire a makeup artist or hair stylist, if you don’t have to.

Do you have a friend or bridesmaid who styles hair professionally or is just really good at it? Ask them if they would want to do your hair for the wedding. For me, I wanted to have my hair done and set so it would be perfect all day long. My hair doesn’t hold curls well and I wanted to do an updo with curls, so I knew that I needed a professional. We chose to hire two hair stylists to come in, but we all did our own makeup. I didn’t trust anyone else to do my makeup to look as good as I wanted it to, so I chose to do my own. I also did my mom’s makeup and helped a few of my bridesmaids perfect their looks. It worked out really well for us! We all knew how to apply makeup to make it look great and last all day, so I wasn’t worried about it.

3. It is cheaper to serve the meal buffet-style instead of as a formal seated dinner.

For a seated dinner, you have to pay for the food and the wait staff. With a buffet, there is still some wait staff, but not nearly as many staff are needed.

4. Serve cupcakes or mini cakes (bundt, cheesecake, etc.) to your guests in lieu of a 3 or 4 tier cake.

We went with Nothin’ Bundt Cake for our wedding cake. We purchased an 8 inch bundt cake for us to cut and then served “bundtinis” (bite-sized bundt cakes) for our guests. We didn’t have a “first anniversary tier” as a year old cake stored in the freezer is typically disgusting when it is time to eat it. For our first anniversary, we are going to buy another Red Velvet bundt cake to enjoy! As far as serving size for the bundtinis, multiply the number of guests (including the wedding party) by 1.5 and that is the number that you need to order. We saved several hundred dollars by going this route and we didn’t have to have someone cut the cake for guests. We did have someone stand at the table to monitor the portions though. It went very smoothly and everyone loved the finger food portion size!

5. Use the bouquets as floral arrangements for the tables.

I wanted lanterns and flowers as our center pieces, but those two things alone are expensive. Pair them together and you are spending some serious money. After looking over our budget and knowing that we didn’t have a lot to work with for centerpieces, we purchased these lanterns in bulk, borrowed wood slabs from our wedding coordinator and bought a few bundles of eucalyptus from our florist. We used the lanterns on all of the tables, except for the six that ran down the center of the room and our sweetheart table. There were vases with water on the center of these. As the bridesmaids came into the reception, they placed their bouquets in the vases and I placed my bouquet in the vase on our table. It allowed for the flowers to be on display and we only had to pay for flowers once. To tie all of the arrangements together, we placed the eucalyptus around the gift and guest book tables along with the lanterns in the ceremony space. If you are wanting to DIY your bouquets and arrangements, this website is a great place to start!

An extra tip that I will give you is to rent as much as you can and save the receipts for the things that you do buy. After the wedding is over, return the things that you used, but still look new. You may also have things to return that weren’t used, but you thought you would need. For us, we returned extra candles, the vases that were used for the bridesmaid’s bouquets and some of the lanterns that lined our aisle. If you aren’t comfortable with returning things that you used, you can also try to sell the extras in the Facebook yard sale groups or on your personal social media pages. Weddings don’t have to be ridiculously expensive. There are so many other ways to save money while still having the perfect day, but these are the 5 (+ the bonus tip) that saved us the most money.

If you have gotten married, what did you do to save money? If you are engaged or plan to be one, be sure to pin this post so that you can refer back to it later!

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