A lot of people can be overwhelmed by the wedding planning process, not feeling sure where to spend extra money and where to cut money in their budget. Society has put weddings in a box, saying you must do this, this, and this for it to be considered a wedding. All of these "things" can make your wedding costs add up rather quickly, and you might not have stopped to think, "do I actually want this, or is it really us?"
Luckily, the wedding industry has made a drastic turn for the better these last few years, showing us that weddings that really show off who the couple is, are the best kind. Forget traditions, forget stereotypical weddings, find ways to make your day about YOU. There are a lot of things you can do in that regard that will help you save money. If hiring a good photographer or a talented florist, for example, are high on your list, then these helpful tips will help you be able to afford that vendor of your dreams.
Check out my last wedding post about Four Things To Splurge On At Your Wedding!
All photos by me, Danielle Poff Photography //
1. Opt for a non wedding dress, dress
There are endless options for what a bride can wear to a wedding. Skip a $4,000 wedding dress and buy something more unique and cheaper. Just by searching white maxi dress online, you can find a lot of options. Free People, Revolve, Asos, and Poshmark offer a lot of amazing options for only a few hundred dollars. Most likely it also won't need extensive alterations and will be more comfortable to move around in. // Dresses below: Top left: vintage beaded dress that she got for $80 // top right: dress from Revolve // bottom left: Free People dress for $150 // bottom right: Show Me Your Mumu two piece set for $250 //
2. You don't need wedding favors
Most wedding favors are cheesy and will be tossed by your guests sometime in the future. Favors can add up to a few hundred dollars quite quickly, so opt out of these and apply this money towards something at your wedding that will actually make a difference, like photography, florals, an ice cream truck, or a fun ceremony backdrop (or whatever your heart desires).
3. Have a friend or family member be your officiant
Anytime you can add more meaning to your wedding, I say go for it! Instead of hiring a random person (who might mispronounce your name; I've seen it!), ask one of your good friends to marry you. Pick someone who is good at public speaking, outgoing, and witty. Being able to think quick on their feet if they mess up is important, or crack a joke if something goes wrong. It's cheap and quick to get them ordained online. This also means someone special to you will be in all of your ceremony photos, instead of some random officiant who you might never have met before. (left: a friend of the couples // right: one of the bridesmaids was the officiant)
4. Skip the cocktail hour
I always suggest doing a first look, and even getting family photos out of the way at that time too. This then frees you up to move straight from your ceremony to your reception. You then save money on appetizers, cocktail area furniture, and drinks. This gives you more time to enjoy the reception space, dance on the dance floor, and gets everyone to dinner much quicker.
5. Pick bridal shoes that you'll wear again, so something that doesn't scream "bride"
This is the perfect excuse to get those cute clogs, Free People sandals, or Steve Madden booties you've been dying for but felt guilty splurging on. Instead of getting typical wedding heels that you more then likely won't wear again (or often), use that money to buy a super cute pair of shoes that you know will get worn over and over again with future outfits. // Shoes below: Jeffrey Campbell // Jeffrey Campbell // Bryr Clogs // Anthropologie //
6. Find a venue that include some items, like chairs, tables, heaters, or a dance floor
Most full weekend venues will have some, if not all of that. All of this stuff might seem small in the grand scheme of things, but it adds up fast. So when a venue includes any or all of it, that's a plus! Renting a dance floor alone could be a few hundred dollars. Even if you plan to rent your own tables because you don't like the venues tables, just being able to use their heaters and dance floor is a plus!
7. You don't have to offer any kind of drinks or alcohol you don't want
If you don't drink a certain type of alcohol, don't offer it. We opted for hard alcohol and beer only, since at the time we weren't big wine or champagne drinkers. Another option is speciality cocktail drinks that the bride and groom each pick out. This will keep costs down by only having to buy a few mixers and two types of alcohol. Specialty coffee is also another great option for cooler nights, if you're a big coffee fan. (bottom left: this couple even did a champagne toast at the end of their ceremony, so it's all up to you when guests start drinking)
8. Wear jewelry that's a family heirloom
Instead of going out and buying new jewelry, ask your families if they have any pieces that would work with your outfit. It's more meaningful and you might actually uncover something really cool. Even a close friend might have jewelry you can borrow!
9. Opt for something other then an expensive suit or tux
Weddings are becoming much more casual these days, so a nice pair of pants and a fun shirt and tie are a great option. A printed or textured jacket is also a great option, and it can be worn again. Use your money to buy pieces that your man can keep wearing, and all of this will most likely be cheaper and fit better.
10. Buy wedding decor that you can then use as home decor
A lot of home decor items now can double as wedding decor. From vases, to pillows, to trays, to rugs, to cake stands. Target, Ikea, West Elm, and thrift stores are all great spots to find decor items that show off your style! Then when your wedding is over, you can utilize them in your home, which always makes it a fun memory whenever you use or see the item. // Decor items below: top left: plates & chargers from CB2 // top right: macrame hanging from Etsy // middle left: similar poufs at Lulu & Georgia // middle right: pillows from Anthropologie // bottom left: macrame runner & decor from Anthropologie // bottom right: vase from World Market //
11. Find a cheaper way to feed your guests
At our wedding in SLO, we spent about $3500 to feed our 120 guests tacos, salsa and chips, and late night mac & cheese. We opted for a food truck, which is usually a cheaper way to go then regular catering. There is less staff to pay and the food isn't as fancy. It's also a unique way to serve the food to your guests and acts a fun piece of reception decor too! Another fun option is pizza from a pizza oven. If you're looking to save money, finding cheaper food is the BIGGEST way to cut your wedding costs.