Wedding planning is always super stressful. Along with figuring out the guest list and attempting to minimize family drama, you have to think of a way to have your perfect wedding — without breaking the bank.
While we can’t help you if your Uncle Bob gets drunk and pretends to be Santa Claus at your wedding reception, we do have some tips on how to have a memorable wedding that’s super fun and won’t bury you in a lifetime of debt.
1. DIY as much as possible.
Pinterest is full of ideas for DIY wedding projects. Invite your friends and family to a craft party to make decorations and table settings. Making things out of materials you find or buy from a craft store is a lot cheaper than buying pre-made stuff — and it looks just as good, if not better! A few dedicated people can do lights, vases, nametags, centerpieces and all sorts of other things.
For example, if you’re planning a rustic wedding, these decorations are perfect to set the scene. However, no matter what you would like your wedding theme to be, there are tutorials for centerpieces as well as wedding favors for your guests.
Almost all of your wedding can be DIY, so do what you can to save yourself some money.
2. Mix up your dessert and your menu.
Sure, the wedding cake is still the most popular, but why not try something out of the ordinary? Your relationship is unique and your wedding should be, too! Cakes can be super expensive, and there are a variety of dessert choices you could use instead that can make your wedding unique. Serve up platters of homemade cookies or pies! If it’s autumn, stack cider doughnuts on wooden dowels for a seasonal decoration and delicious dessert.
Look for different, fun alternatives to the usual steak and chicken options for the meal as well. Do you and your fiancé love burgers? Why not have your meal be a make-your-own-burger bar? There’s no reason it has to be super fancy if that’s not what you want. Plus, it’s better to make it something meaningful to you.
Look for local caterers or a local, hometown business. They tend to be cheaper than the big companies, and they’re more attuned to your personal wants.
3. Limit your alcohol.
Open bars are great and cash bars are tacky. To save a TON of money, why not just serve beer and wine instead? There will still be something for all of your guests, but you won’t be footing the bill for all of the jagerbombs your hubby’s college buddies decide to throw down. If you’d like to be a little fancier or have a favorite drink try having a unique signature cocktail, too!
4. Skip the bridal shop.
Bridal shops are often quite pricey when it comes to their dresses. They know brides will spend whatever it takes to get their perfect dress. But you don’t have to go that route. Who says your gown has to be a “wedding” gown?
Scour the Internet for white dresses. If you want designer, search on Neiman Marcus and other websites. If you’re more into vintage, try Etsy.
Be patient. You’ll find your perfect dress and for the right price — it just probably won’t be at a bridal parlor.
5. Avoid the wedding reception hall.
Skip the normal venues when it comes to having your reception. Instead, try something like a beautiful local park or cute local restaurant. If your reception is small, some restaurants have the space for a private party and won’t charge you a rental fee if you’re paying for food!
You may even be able to have it in your own backyard — literally. A nice yard can look amazing when it’s all decorated, so splurge on some awesome decorations instead of spending it on a rental fee.
6. Enlist your friends.
Look into your friends’ talents and connections. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend who is a photographer or who knows one, you can probably get a decent discount on your wedding pictures. A friend who just got married may be able to help you out with leftover wedding decorations if your themes are similar. Put your feelers out there and see what you come up with. You could be pleasantly surprised.
7. Consider getting grocery store flowers.
Seriously. Why pay a ton for a fancy florist, when you can get bouquets from a grocery store or your local Costco or Sam’s Club for much cheaper? If their standard bouquets aren’t your style, pick and choose your stems to create the bouquet you really want.
8. Spend some time on Craigslist.
Craigslist could do wonders for your wedding costs. You can find local musicians, DJs and all sorts of other vendors that can help you save money. Plus, it’s always nice to give small, local companies the business instead of huge corporations that only care about money.
9. Stick to your budget.
To help you stick with your budget, make a spreadsheet and note every purchase. That way, you won’t lose track of any money.
An added bonus, as you’re tallying up your costs and noting what they’re for, is you’ll know what parts of the planning process you’ve completed and what you still need to do. It’s a win-win.
It’s possible to have a dream wedding, even without the crazy costs. Now, go and plan your perfect day!