Where to pinch a few pennies when planning and paying for your wedding yourself.
Surprisingly enough, this is becoming more and more common. Sure, there are still plenty of parents/grandparents out there more than willing to fork out the big bucks to pay for their daughter’s wedding. In my case, it was my Mom who had to convince my Dad to open the coin purse (he’s a bit of a penny pincher… that’s where I get it from). My Dad offered to pay our way to Vegas so Elvis could marry us instead of paying thousands on a dress and food and a venue… we didn’t take the offer. Instead, we found ways to cut corners and dollars.
Below are a few tips on saving money while planing your wedding.
There are plenty of amazing venues with 20-foot chandlers, spiral staircases, included food, set-up and take-down… but unless you find a diamond in the rough, you’ll probably be shelling out $3,000-$15,000 for the evening to rent the space.
If you’re on a budget, try the following:
- Think outside the box — Find a beach, park or friend’s baseball-field-size back yard to hold the event in. Both my brother and I got married in my parent’s backyard. Sure we had to do set-up and take-down ourselves, but we (my parents) saved so much money by holding the event at home.
- Book your wedding on an off-season day. This includes non-weekends. Venues can be significantly cheaper if you book your wedding on a Wednesday instead of a Saturday. There’s less demand for Weekdays, so some venues will do whatever they can to book the venue on days they know they are less likely to book.
- Visit wedding shows. There are several wedding shows all over the country year-round. Vendors from all over your area come to these things hoping to find and book brides. To make it worth their while, plenty of venues (and vendors alike) will offer discounts if you book with them at the wedding show. Do your research. Know who’s going to be there, take a tour of the facilities before you attend the wedding show so if you do book, you’ve already seen what they have to offer.
Sometimes, this is an unavoidable expense. Just know, the dresses you see in those wedding magazines, they’re the pricier end of the spectrum. No designer/dress store is going to show you the $300 dress. Keep that in mind when you’re flipping through the glossy pages. Use it as more of a reference, than a set decision.
If you’re on a budget try the following:
- Give the stylist your set budget. Some places will ask what your dress budget is. Don’t let them show you something outside your price range… and don’t let your mother wonder into the sea of chiffon unless you fully trust her to bring back something that’s within your budget.
- Look into rental. Yep that’s right, you can rent a dress. In fact, you can rent a couture dress. Maybe you have your heart set on the dress you saw in Wedding Style.
- Buy used. There are plenty of women out there who are willing to sell their slightly used dress. You can get a gorgeous dress on a dime if you just know where to look. If you’re brave, I’m sure you can even find some on Craigslist.
The Wedding Photographer
This is where I tell you to splurge… In my opinion (and I might be a little bias) the Photographer is one of the most important vendors at your wedding. At the end of the day, all you will have left are your memories and your photographs.
If you’re on a budget try the following:
- Like I said above, visit wedding shows. Wedding photography is a very competitive market. There are plenty of small fish at wedding shows clawing to get a leg up on their million-dollar competition. Check out the smaller booths, ask for discounts or if the photographer if offering any special incentive.
- Google Search that B!t%h. Search for local venders, but don’t start on pages 1-3. Hop over to pages 5-10. Those are the smaller fish. They’ll probably have a price range more suited for you, and their photos might be just as good as the venders on page 1. The reason for that is generally, the smaller fish companies consist of a Photographer and an assistant. They don’t spend money hiring 4 and 5 photographers so they can hit up several weddings in one weekend. They don’t spend their money on a secretary, a fancy studio, someone to do their marketing or SEO… They are a 1-2 man show.
- Ask for discounts. Are you a military bride or getting married to someone in the military? Ask if they offer discounts. It never hurts to ask. The worst that can happen is the photographer says no.
The one piece of advice I REALLY want to get across, is not to just buy a bunch of disposal cameras for your guests to use. Make sure you hire someone who’s sole purpose is to follow you around snapping professional photos. You won’t regret it. I promises.
You can use many of the above tips on most of the other vendors you might need for your wedding –florist, entertainment, cake designer. Remember to do your research, ask for discounts and attend wedding shows.
Ask for payment plans.
Implore friends who have specific talents. If you have a friend who’s a makeup artist, stylist, photographer, ask them for assistance.
Don’t go overboard on planning the event. Take a step back and consider if you really need those 50 glass vase centerpieces, or the flowers that are out of season during your wedding. Remember, this is for you and your fiance. The most important part is that you love each other.