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Ultimate Guide to Save Money on Your Wedding

September 11, 2016

 

Weddings these days can be so expensive! When I first got engaged and started looking at the prices for everything, my first thought was to elope or have a very small, intimate destination wedding. The average wedding cost in 2016 is $32,641! So with a $15,000 budget, we had a lot of work to do. Here are some tips and tricks I used to keep the wedding budget low:

 

Know Where to Save

The areas you should save your money on is stationary, venue, and photography, in my opinion; obviously everyone's priorities are different. I went to a meeting with a company to look at invitations and see what they offer, etc. etc. I picked from their templates, we put something together, and then she told me the price. I walked out feeling sick to my stomach. They wanted to charge $1400 for invitations... come on, it's paper... I just couldn't believe she said it with a straight face. So I continued looking around the interwebs for my perfect invitations and finally found some that really suited the style of the wedding; and they offered free samples. After it was all set and done, I spent about $180 on stationary and was able to use the rest of the money budgeted for stationary on my dress.  

 

Rent & Reuse Your Decorations

Try to find an event company that not only lets you rent, but is all inclusive as well, meaning they do event decor and floral arrangements; this will save a lot you money in the end. I looked for months for a good event decorator and it seemed nearly impossible to find. I actually met with one who wanted to charge me $4,000 just for my bouquets and wanted me to do all the leg work for the rest of the decorations. When we told her that was out of our budget she nearly scoffed and told us "Well good luck finding anyone else who will do this for less that $4,000". So we continued to look and found a wonderful company who provided the ceremony decor, bouquets, and reception decor for around $4,000. To save money, we also reused some of the ceremony decor for the reception at no charge.

 

 

Consider A Fake Cake 

This was one of our biggest pain points. We looked and looked and looked and I think the cheapest we could find was a blank three tier cake for about $500, not including delivery or setup. I was blown away...It's a cake. Throw some Betty Crocker mix in the oven, ice it, and call it a day. Why does that cost $500? This actually caused a few arguments between my husband and me. In the end we went with a company who was affiliated with our chosen venue and provided a discount. Our bottom tier was fake and ran about $75. We obviously didn't need the fourth tier because we only had 90 people at the wedding, but I didn't want the cake to get lost with all the decorations around. So if you get a cake with a 4 tier cake with all fake tiers, it shouldn't cost you more than $300, and find a sheet cake at your local grocery store to serve for around $150, you'll spend only $450 on your wedding cake and no one will ever know. 

Book All Inclusive Companies

I saved a butt load of money doing this in a few different areas of my wedding. My venue included a coordinator, food, open bar, and cocktail hour hors d'oeuvres and we only paid about $6,000. It didn't necessarily have the look we wanted, but we knew we could mask it with decorations and our coordinator made it a day we would never forget. She was incredible. Like I mentioned above, we also used this trick with our decorator. We found an event company that would let us rent, reuse the decorations from the ceremony, and did the floral bouquets. Lastly, we saved on the photographer, videographer, and DJ by using one company to do all three. I couldn't wrap my head around spending $5,000 just for a photographer, so we spent $2000 for all three.

Keep the Guest List Under 100 People

Obviously the more guests you have, the more expensive your wedding will be. So try to keep it intimate and only invite the people you can't imagine not sharing your big day with you. The average cost per guest is about $100 depending on what you're serving. So less people you invite the more you can spend on decorations, flowers, your dress, etc. Keep in mind, no matter what, someone's feelings will get hurt. It's tough but remember, you have a budget.  

 

Do Your Research

Weddingwire.com is a great resource to help you find inspiration, price out venues, and organize your wedding. They also have a great forum where tons of women have asked and answered questions you probably have too. Don't settle for the first thing you find, thinking you won't find anything better. If it's not exactly what you want, keep looking.

Be Flexible

Staying flexible and remaining open to change will help you save a ton of money on your wedding. Our original wedding day was supposed to be in January of 2017 but the venue prices seemed to be double what they were for the end of 2016. Shaving a few months off of the wedding timeline was worth saving a few grand. 

Be Aware of You Budget

It's easy to forget what costs go where, so I have broken down the estimated cost by category you should stay in to stay within the $15,000 budget. Again, this is just a suggestion, you can splurge on whichever categories you'd like.

 

Venue, Food, Bar...........................................................................................................................................................................$6,500

Photography & Video:....................................................................................................................................................................$1,500

DJ:.................................................................................................................................................................................................... $500

Dress:.............................................................................................................................................................................................$1,200

Flowers:.............................................................................................................................................................................................$500

Ceremony & Reception Decor:.......................................................................................................................................................$3000

Stationary:.........................................................................................................................................................................................$250

Rings:................................................................................................................................................................................................$400

Cake:................................................................................................................................................................................................$450

Misc.:...............................................................................................................................................................................................$700
 

Utilize Your Friends

If you have friends or family who are creative and talented, hire them for your wedding. I know people who have hired friends to do their wedding photography and the pictures turned out beautiful, and they only paid him $100. I have another friend whose mother-in-law made and decorated their six tier cake, for free. This is the best and easiest way to save money for your wedding.

I hope this helps you ladies out! If there are any other money saving tips you have used, please leave them in the comments below! 

 

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Invitations: B Wedding InvitationsVenue: Countryside Country Club; Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero

Bridesmaid Dresses: Custom Made; Flowers & Decor: Blossom Events; Cake: Chantilly Cake;    Photography, Videography, & DJ: Celebrations at Tampa Bay; Hair & Makeup: Destiny & Light Hair and Makeup Group     

 

 

 

 

 

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