With so many details involved in planning a wedding – not to mention so many expectations from family and friends – the average couple could easily drop $50,000. Sure, it’s important for the day to be something the bride and groom will remember forever, but no one wants to be paying those bills forever. With these money-saving tips compiled from Smart Money, Power to Change and She Knows Weddings, it is possible for a couple to have the wedding of their dreams without breaking the bank.
Fake your cake. A gorgeous three-tiered cake makes for amazing photos for the cake-cutting, but thrifty brides can save here by using faux tiers on the bottom and real cake on the top tier only. Then, order a sheet cake in the same flavor to be cut for guests behind the scenes. No one will even know the difference.
Use flowers that are in season. There’s no reason to ship exotic flowers in from hundreds of miles away. Florists are skilled at creating colorful, beautiful bouquets and boutonnières using flowers that are in season. Mixing in lots of greenery also cuts the cost. Just give the florist a budget and color scheme to work with.
Go ‘Martha Stewart’ on centerpieces and favors. Even brides with no experience can create gorgeous DIY centerpieces and favors with online tutorials like this one from Martha herself. Cut costs further by buying materials in bulk from craft stores. (In the Akron/Canton area, try Flower Factory.)
Skip ‘Save the Dates.’ Unless a wedding will require travel for a large portion of the guest list, there’s really no reason to give guests the details months in advance. This saves couples money on materials, printing and postage. For a few close family members or friends who will need advance notice, there’s nothing like a personal phone call to share the good news.
Choose modern invitations. There was a time when seven-piece invitations, compete with velum liners, were all the rage. Try keeping the invitation to a single sheet with an enclosed response card. There are many websites that let the bride and groom customize existing designs that will reflect nearly any color palette. Try The American Wedding or Wedding Paper Divas for lots of choices at different price points.
Plan an off-season soiree. The wedding high season is May-October, so couples who choose to wed outside those busy months can find lots of deals on venues, DJs and more. Even honeymoons can be cheaper in the off-months.
Piggyback on event catering. If there’s an event, wedding or otherwise, taking place at the couple’s venue prior to their reception, it may be possible to use the same menu. Since ordering more food in bulk is likely to cut costs, this can be a great way to offer guests a fantastic spread for less.
Call the local funeral home. Seriously. Some are willing to rent out limos, and they are rarely using them on a Saturday evening.
Negotiate. Vendors have a business to run and can’t give away their services, but they may very well be open to negotiating a bit. Can’t get the reception hall until 8:00 p.m. but you wanted it at 7:00 p.m.? Ask the manager to consider giving you 10% off.
Be choosy about guests. Many brides and grooms get caught up in the excitement of wedding planning and are eager to invite hundreds of people to share their happiness on the big day. In reality, many of the people who end up on the first draft of the guest list could be cut out without much heartburn. Remember that the wedding is an intimate moment and consider removing former coworkers or anyone else who isn’t a family member or close friend.
Consider a second-hand dress. This can be a tough one for brides to swallow, especially if they’ve been dreaming about their gown since age 10. But remember, guests won’t know if a gown is second-hand or purchased from a consignment shop. As long as it was properly preserved and cleaned, chances are it will look as good as new. This makes it possible for brides wanting designer labels to purchase for less without sacrificing high style. In the Akron/Canton area, check out Encore New & Resale Fashions.
For more helpful tips, check out Saving for your wedding day.