One thing I’m really passionate about is saving money! Finding good deals is something I get really excited and strangely proud about. Although our parents chipped in more than expected, we had a really low budget when it came to planning our wedding. And guess what!? I wouldn’t have had it any other way! I’m an incredibly practical person. Spending money on frivolous things is okay with me every once in awhile for special occasions, but within reason. Weddings should definitely be celebrated, but I don’t believe that starting out your marriage by going into debt over your wedding is a great idea. We just spent what we had, which meant getting really creative. Did you know the average wedding costs $26,444? With many people spending a lotttt more than that. (Source) That blows my mind. I literally can’t imagine spending that much for one day of your life. I know I’m an abnormal girl in that sense, haha, but like I said, I’m extremely practical! I actually wanted to elope with just our immediate families there, but I got vetoed. We still kept it simple and small, and I loved every bit of it and will treasure these memories for the rest of my life. Check out 5 ways we saved big money on our wedding!
1. Opt for Dried Flowers
These only work with certain themes, but if it works with your theme, its an awesome money saver! By ordering dried flowers, you can order them ahead of time and have one less thing to worry about picking up before the wedding! You can also keep them forever, which is one of my favorite things. I keep my bouquet in a cute decorative vase on the kitchen table. Its so adorable. I got many compliments on my bouquet because its so unique! Not a lot of people use dried flowers. Its perfect for country weddings, or shabby chic and rustic styles of weddings too. I got a dried bouquet, a dried boutonniere, and assorted dried flowers for my centerpieces. It went so well with my decor and saved lots of money! Here is the etsy shop I ordered my flowers from if you’re curious!
2. Go Dress Shopping in Unique Places & Find a Great Seamstress!
I bought my dream wedding dress for only $75! My criteria for wedding dresses was it had to have an open back, had to be lace, and I wanted a slight mermaid style at the bottom. I found this never-worn dress on ebay and loved it and couldn’t believe how cheap it was. I know what you’re thinking… buying your wedding dress on ebay sounds really sketchy. You’re right.. There are a lot of questionable shops on ebay claiming to make designer gowns for a fraction of the price over in China…just don’t fall for those! I’ve heard some horror stories. This particular dress was being sold by a lady in the states who had it specially made for her by a family member, but it ended up being too small for her, so there was nothing they could do. Luckily it was 1-2 sizes bigger than I normally wear so I figured I could easily have it sized down to fit me. I took a chance and it definitely paid off! I figured the risk of wasting my $75 was worth possibly finding my dress for so cheap. The dress had a couple minor issues that were easily fixed by my seamstress, and she fitted it perfectly to my body and added the mermaid part at the bottom. I’m not advising anyone to specifically dress shop on ebay, but shop at places you wouldn’t normally think of! Thrift shops and consignment shops, ebay, and even smartphone apps like Poshmark can carry really beautiful barely, or never used items that are really cheap! If you look for dresses that are a few sizes big you can purchase it without worrying about the fit, and just find a great seamstress to make it perfect! David’s Bridal, any department store, and even Target and Modcloth also carry wedding dresses that are very affordable and cute if you must try it on first!
3. Think Outside the Box for your Venue
Ryan and I got married on a local family owned farm that rents time to photographers for use of their grounds and extensive prop collection. I used this spot a lot for photo sessions, but didn’t know if they’d allow a wedding, so I sent them an email. They agreed, and it was incredibly affordable! I even got to be driven up the dirt road in this adorable bright red vintage truck that they had. It was truly like a little country fairytale. Barn weddings and backyard weddings are all the rage nowadays so take advantage of that. Instead of calling up that barn wedding venue that charges thousands of dollars just to use the space, call someone you know with a cute field, lake, pretty view, or barn and just ask! You could end up scoring the most adorable and authentic spot for cheap or even free. It requires more work to set up and decorate everything yourself, but saves a ton! All we needed to do was rent some chairs! The farm we used had this lovely ladder arch that we used. So so simple and quaint, but it sure was beautiful! And so me. Here’s a photo of the truck! This was definitely a nice touch to our ceremony! For our reception, we had it at my in-laws campground in the pavilion. We decorated it super fancy and it looked awesome and was free!
4. Utilize itunes and/or Spotify for Your Music
Ryan and I had so much fun listening to music on Spotify and making the different playlists for our wedding. We made a playlist of jazzy styled music for the hors d’oeuvres and cocktail hour, a classic love song playlist full of Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, and Lois Armstrong style music for dinner, a playlist of chill music that was just stuff we liked if people were hanging out and not dancing (which we didn’t end up using because we were dancing the whole time!), and of course a wedding dancing music playlist. If you go this route, make sure of 2 things: Make sure you have some great speakers! Rent some if you don’t have any nice big speakers. It’ll sound awesome! Ryan and his brother are into audio, so they had nice speakers already we could just hook up to a laptop. Also, make sure to purchase Spotify Premium for $7 before the wedding! Somehow in our long to-do list, we didn’t ever think of purchasing Spotify Premium. Sooo we heard ads between some of the dance music. Haha…soo tacky! And really embarrassing to admit here. Honestly, our wedding reception was all really close family and friends; No one we were trying to impress, at all, but still. We’re not that cheap…we simply didn’t think of doing it. Oh well, it was still so much fun and I don’t think anyone cared. Near the end when it was just the dancing crowd left, people were having a blast going up to the computer and putting in their requests. It was nice to have a full library of almost any song right there at our disposal.
5. Use Your Skills and your Friends/Family’s Skills
We are so lucky that we had so many connections that made it easy to save money!
-My mom, sister, and I used cute recycled bottles and mason jars my parents found at auctions to make adorable centerpieces with dried flowers and some lace. I also made some cute twine letters in our initials for table decor.
-I (kinda) did my own photography for our reception. I hired a professional, Jacoby Photo and Design for a couple hours for ceremony coverage and formal shots because it was super important to me to have beautiful quality images of our wedding, and I obviously couldn’t do that part myself! (Side note: Photos are something you definitely don’t want to skimp on though! I definitely recommend using a true professional and not a friend with a camera unless you’re extremely confident in their abilities.) For our reception, we used my own camera and rented some lighting equipment. I adjusted my settings to my liking and had a few designated trusted people swap off taking photos and I just edited them myself. If you have a practical skill, find a way to take advantage of it to save yourself some money!
-My brother-in-law Brandon is a fantastic musician, so we had him play our ceremony music just on the acoustic guitar. It was beautiful and fit the simple country theme perfectly.
-My friend Meghan is an excellent seamstress and I hired her to make my table runners. We always trade/barter our skills with each other and give each other great deals!
-My mother-in-law used to be a wedding cake maker, so she already had the know-how and supplies to make beautiful cakes, so we didn’t have to pay for our cake.
-Ryan’s aunt and uncle own their own restaurant with the best food ever, so we hired them to cater it for us!
-We rented a professional quality video camera and microphone and hired a willing friend to run it during our ceremony so we’d have a good video of it!
-We hired a good friend who’s a bartender to serve/make drinks.
*I wanted to put a little disclaimer about hiring friends and family. This can be a tricky subject sometimes, and can cause drama and frustrations if you’re not careful. If you have a friend who’s a wedding cake maker, florist, seamstress, photographer, etc., hire them because you value their skill and want to support their small business! Not because you expect some type of deal or freebie. This is so important! Most people will be thrilled that you chose them and more than willing to offer you a friends/family discount, or even freebies if you’re really close with them, depending on the product, but its so important not to expect it, ever. And if they don’t offer you a deal, don’t back out! Make sure you can afford them before telling them you’d like to hire them. Using friends and family’s skills can be an excellent way to save money sometimes, but always be prepared to pay them, like any other business. The business-owner person inside me had to say that. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed these little tidbits on how we saved major money for our wedding! Do you have any other tips to add? Share them with me in the comments!