Is financially responsible Friday a thing? Can we make it a thing? Did “fetch” ever become a thing?
This guest blog was written by wedding expert Theresa Gibson. In it, Theresa shares her 8 money-saving ideas for a beautiful wedding on a shoestring budget:
As important as this ceremony may be in the lives of many love birds, weddings can also be too expensive. How many times have you seen brides freaking out and calling the wedding off on TV?
You might have never thought about it, but it’s likely that a few of the wedding ceremonies that you have attended almost met with their own demise once or twice during the planning period.
Yes, planning a wedding can be that stressful even if you have unlimited funds. Now can you imagine trying to do it on a shoestring budget?
It’s true that there are people who just happen to be able to host the most outrageous parties on almost no money. These are people who are crafty and have great DIY skills. To host a gorgeous wedding ceremony on almost no money to work with, you will need to get a little creative.
Weddings, just like Valentine’s Day, happen to be industry-controlled. Wedding planners and vendors all have overheads and need to make a profit somehow. As such, they tend to come up with expensive quotes for such wonderful activities and features that almost every bride would be excited to have on her big day. Just take a look at this breakdown of average costs that American couples spend on wedding services.
But this luxury is not for everyone. If you’re not from a rich family or did not strike it rich, then you may be looking for great secrets to a beautiful wedding on a shoestring budget. Here are a few ideas that will go a long way in shaving off some of that fat from your overall wedding budget.
1. Saving Money on the Wedding Gown
Although it might be almost every bride’s dream to walk down the aisle in a designer wedding gown, sometimes, the cost of getting one could blow your entire budget out of the water. It’s okay to compromise on the designer, but not the style and class of dress.
One of the best ways to do this is to visit sample sales. Once each season comes to an end, trendy bridal designers and salons tend to sell their gowns at a deeply discounted price off the rack.
You will need to take a thorough look at each dress to make sure that it doesn’t have any irreparable damages or stains. Mostly, you might have to do a little maintenance work on the dress but at the end of it all, you will be getting a designer wedding gown at almost 40% of the original price. Imagine the savings? Here is a pretty detailed article on how to choose a wedding dress on a sample sale.
2. Saving on the Wedding Programs
As much as you may go out of your way to sell your left arm off so you can pay a graphic designer for the perfect wedding programs, guests tend to leave these pieces of art on their seats anyway.
Why not forego this entire process completely? If you are not having a complicated wedding, maybe it’s just a few family and friends, you do not need to hire Picasso to do your wedding programs.
Your ushers can give guests the needed information or you could just have it on a whiteboard at the venue entrance. This will save you a few hundred dollars.
3. Virtualizing Your Wedding Invitation
Almost everyone has a smartphone nowadays. Instead of sending out a thousand handcrafted invitations that will end up in the trash anyway, why not send out a virtual one? If you have the contact information for everyone you intend to invite, simply have someone design a gorgeous wedding e-vite and send it out to them.
You can have a few hard copies printed out for special guests, but everyone else won’t mind e-vites. They serve the purpose and they are convenient for both parties. Additionally, sending a WhatsApp message is much cheaper and faster than sending out wedding invitations through the post.
4. Cutting Down on Transportation Costs
To significantly reduce transportation costs, you need to take care of this from the start. When choosing a venue for the celebration, consider its vicinity and check if there are hotels nearby. Booking accommodations for your guests in the walking distance from the event eliminates the need for hiring transportation service.
However, this option won’t work if you have a specific venue in mind or planning an outdoor ceremony. My friend Maurice, who is the booking coordinator at Advantage Limousine Services in Houston, advises: “It’s always better to get one vehicle to fit in all guests rather than booking several cars. A party bus that fits up to 28 passengers will cost you way less than a dozen cars for the same number of people.”
5. Hiring a Friend to Do the Photography
Although you will have to shell money out for the wedding video, you do not have to do so for the photographs. Everyone has a camera phone nowadays; you can be sure there will be plenty of pictures doing rounds within your social circles.
But just to make sure that you do not miss that ‘kiss the bride’ moment because all your friends were busy taking selfies at the time, why not find a friend who enjoys photography and hire them?
It will be a great exposure for them and they will not cost nearly as much as a professional. In fact, they might just do it for free as a wedding gift for you.
6. Reducing the Catering Cost
Food and catering are surprisingly easier to save on than you might think. People eat with their eyes, so presentation is what actually matters. Go with creative options rather than sophisticated ones.
However, you don’t have to compromise on classy options completely. Brooks Bassler, the founder of a Cajun kitchen restaurant BB’s Tex-Orleans in Houston, Texas, shares: “Seafood appetizers don’t necessarily mean a shrimp cocktail. Mussels, calamari and crawfish are tasty but much cheaper alternatives.”
The common mistake is ordering more than guests can eat. One or two appetizers before the main course are usually more than enough. Lastly, if it’s possible with your caterer, opt for BYOB format, since beverages tend to be one of the priciest items on the bill.
7. Having Your Friends and Family Pitch In
Although this is not an entirely popular route to take, you can actually have your friends and family pitch in for the days expenses. Within your wedding registry, instead of just listing things from Bloomingdales, why not add a few pertinent issues to the list?
Maybe the wedding flowers, a few plates for the reception and so on. This registry, however, needs to be planned and availed well in advance. This way, if any of your friends are inclined to buy the wedding flowers, you have enough time to collect the money before the due date.
8. Asking Your Bridesmaids to Pay for Their Own Dresses
Another unpopular route but it works. You can ask your bridesmaids and groomsmen to pay for their own dresses and suits. This way it doesn’t add on to the overall cost. Although you might have to make some concessions when it comes to the designs and colors since no one likes buying something they will never wear again, with a little deliberation and convincing, you can come to an agreement with your party.
Other options would be to compare vendors extensively to find the best priced offer. You could also choose to hold the wedding on an ‘off season’ date or you could simply go to the local registry office and forget about this whole thing. It will cost you close to nothing and you will still be legally married. You can then just hold a celebratory dinner for close friends and family and spend the rest of your money for a honeymoon trip.
Thank you so much for sharing your expert advice with us Theresa!
About the author: Theresa Gibson has been blogging about weddings since her college years. Wedding has always been her favorite topic to write about because she believes it is one of the most precious moments in our lives. Theresa’s articles have been published in hundreds of reputable wedding-related blogs and publications across the world. Currently she is a chief content manager at Top10WeddingVendors.com, a leading go-to vendor guide for brides across North America.