Planning your wedding is one of the best times of your life, and can also be the most expensive, so learning how to plan a wedding on a budget can take a little stress of you and your wallet! When it was time to plan my wedding, I got all the bridal magazines, and went to all the bridal shows, and what I learned from them was this: I can’t afford anything. Yep, nothing. The magazines talked about crystal encrusted gowns, and custom aisle runners, and it just wasn’t in the budget. I thought I was doomed to have a wedding in my backyard while wearing a potato sack. Well, that didn’t happen, and with a little bit of creativity and some great friends and family, I had my perfect wedding!
Here are my tips and tricks for how to plan a wedding on a budget!
DIY everything you are comfortable with! My wedding was Alice in Wonderland themed, so there was not a lot of premade things to buy for it, which actually turned out to be money saving. And with the era of Pinterest, I guarantee there are some awesome ideas for any theme! Not only with DIY save you money, it will also be more fun. Get your friends and family involved, it will mean so much more than just ordering everything. But do your research and know your limits. Sometimes buying something outright might be worth the time save.
These are my centerpieces. I went to goodwill and got all different sizes of teapots and painted them!
Go Local! Getting wedding items from local business not only saves you money, but it also supports your community. Local craft stores, florists, and caterers most likely have better prices and more unique items. I found a local greenhouse and ended up getting my wedding bouquet (which was made up of red roses and black calla lillies) for under $50. I bought the flowers, and made it myself!
Check out the wedding section of craft stores! Stores like Michaels, Jo Anns, and Hobby Lobby are great places to find affordable wedding items. They have everything from DIY invites, wedding favors, and more! Before you go, make sure to hop online and print out a coupon!
I made my own invites using a kit from Michael’s that I scored for 40% off with a coupon!
Craigslist, Craigslist, Craigslist! I use Craigslist a lot to begin with, but even more so when I was planning my wedding. Most people want to sell things after their wedding, and you can get items that were only used for for 1 day for a serious deal.
I scored this Flower Girls Dress and Ring Bearer suit for $10 each from Craigslist!
Find a discounted dress, and then have it customized! Most dress shops will alter your dress any way you want! If you find a dress on sale that is the direction you want, buy it, and then customize it to make it your own! You will have to pay for the customizations, but if the dress is discounted, it will make up for the difference.
For example: I found this dress pretty deeply discounted, but I did not like that the back of the dress was a plain zipper, I asked the seamstress if she could add a corset, and she could! All I had to do was pay for the fabric and labor (about $100)
Have your ceremony and reception at the same venue. Most wedding venues will offer a discount if you have both your ceremony and reception at the same venue. Another great benefit of doing this, is that you get a wedding planner out of the deal! Most venues that offer wedding services have a wedding coordinator that will help you with everything from picking out food, to decorating the night before free of charge!
Go ala-carte with your menu. I had my wedding at a Hilton Hotel and there dinner menu was pricy (about $20 a person) and that just wasn’t going to work for me. But, they did offer appetizers, which when paired together, made a pretty awesome buffet. (For example, instead of a sit down dinner, I had a buffet of chicken fingers, meatballs, a turkey carving station, a mashed potato bar, and a chocolate fountain, for about $7 a person!)
Do some research on your wedding date! June is the most popular month to get married in, and the wedding companies know that and upcharge. So unless you are set on a specific date I would recommend fall/winter time because it will be cheaper. Also consider what day of the week you will be getting married on. You will be charged premium prices on Saturdays. Friday nights or Sundays are great because most people are still off of work!
Shop online! The great thing about shopping online, is that there are endless wedding websites for practically anything you need! Oriental Trading Company is my personal favorite! They have a huge selection of wedding decor, favors, bridal party gifts, and more! I did a Candy Bar for my wedding favors and saved a ton online shopping for candy!
Think outside the cake! Wedding cakes can be re-dic-u-las when it comes to prices. Some great alternatives to a traditional wedding cakes are cupcakes, mini cakes, or “fake cakes”. (Fake cakes are styrofoam covered in frosting except for the layer that the couple will cut. It makes it look like a full cake when it isn’t, and then you can serve slices of sheet cake for much cheaper!) We opted for cupcakes which we got from Gigis cupcakes (which are the best ever) and I even got with the manager and she customized my cupcakes for no extra charge! I spent about $75 on all the cupcakes!
Remember what is important! Ok, this isn’t really a money saving tip, but it is a sanity saving tip. Planning a wedding can be stressful, but you have to remember what is most important on your wedding day, and that is marrying the personal of your dreams, and having everyone who cares about you there to witness. Don’t sweat the small stuff!
Those are my tips and tricks for how to plan a Wedding on a Budget!
Do you have any tips of your own? I would love to hear them!