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With 2.5 million weddings annually and the average wedding costing an overwhelming $32,641, I don’t have to tell you that the business of weddings outrageous (but you’re here so I will.)
Marriage is a great thing and you don’t need a wedding to have a marriage. I love parties though so a wedding was a no brainer for me. An excuse to have all my friends and family together to drink wine and dance all night? Count me in!
Fortunately, there are ways to save on your wedding that won’t compromise your sense of style. I wanted something elegant and timeless but I didn’t want to go into more debt to do it. So here are some of the ways we kept our 200 person wedding under $5000.
From I Will to I Do: 10 Ways to Save on Your Wedding
We skipped the church/ country club combo and opted for a quirky all-in-one wedding at a shuffleboard club. It’s a beautiful 1920’s building with a big lawn, and since it’s not a traditional wedding venue it was super cheap. Adding the word “wedding” to anything doubles the price so quirky venues usually save you money and everyone talks about playing shuffleboard at our wedding!
Skip the multiple inserts and bows and opt for a single cardstock invite. RSVPing online has become common practice and wedding websites like Wedding.com make it very easy to do so on free customized websites. And now that Facebook and texting are a thing you don’t need Save the Dates. And don’t pay stupid amounts of money on pretty invites that are just destined for the recycling bin. These free invite designs from Bridal Guide and Popsugar are beautiful or you can design your own for free on Canva.com.
3. Wedding Dress
I wore a $100 dress from David’s Bridal on my big day. Was the pearl embroidered mermaid dress prettier? Yes, but it was also $1600 and you know how many times I’ve worn my dress? Once. My mom added a rhinestone headband from Claire’s to the bodice to give it some bling and I got alterations done at a local place which also saved me money.
And now with secondhand options like Once Wed, rentals through Rent the Runway, or off the rack stores like ModCloth, you can get gorgeous dresses for so cheap in every style.
Less is more on every bit of décor. You don’t need a centerpiece on every table or runners down the aisle. DIY a few things to save money but don’t DIY so much that you waste your budget on craft supplies. I ordered hundreds of glass votive holders and painted them gold then did a mercury glass finish. It took me a few weeks to finish but it’s the only project I did and I used them in place of centerpieces.
This is one of the places brides do not want to skimp, but you can still save. We had photographer friends do our photos for a steep discount. Shorten the time the photographer has to be there by doing photo-worthy events early in the reception and skip pricey extras like a photo booth by opting for fun personalized snapchat geofilters from Filtered Vows.
6. Hair & Makeup
Calling all friends!! Hair and makeup are not my specialty even on a regular day, much less for the day I’ll have a camera all up in my face. I went to a small newly opened salon that had a grand opening special for my hair and had a friend do my makeup. Search for new salons, coupons and check Groupon for deals.
There’s no avoiding the price on food either. Again, unique means savings. Buffets are commonplace at weddings now which saves so much. I’ve been to great weddings that cater from local quick-service restaurants. Rent a few chafers to serve it in and no one will care where it’s from.
Cupcakes are an affordable alternative to an ornately decorated cake and just as yummy. We had a small cake and a bunch of cupcakes Travis’ family made. Simple cakes are the trend right now so you could even try making your own “naked” cake and add some free foliage as decoration, but rinse it first maybe.
Florists are artists and art is not my gift so I was nervous about doing my own flowers. I also hated the idea of using fake flowers. Luckily there are sites like Fifty Flowers and Blooms by the Box that make doing your own flowers so simple! They package and ship sets with all the instructions to make it pretty, for linear thinkers like me. If that’s still out of your budget go with a single flower type. I picked white hydrangea and loved the look.
We had a family member do the announcing and a friend do the day-of coordinating so all we had to do was hook up our playlist on Spotify premium. We opted for a few kegs and my in-laws’ wine, but if your in-laws don’t own a winery, the $5 bottles of Burlwood from Aldi are delicious. We had 2 servers helping with clean up and asked friends to help tear down to save extra.
I loved my wedding day. The things I remember most about the day were things I didn’t spend a dime on. The love I felt having 20 girlfriends with me to get ready, waiting to walk down the aisle, and hugging Travis after it was all over is what I’ll always remember.
So when you’re deciding on whether it’s worth it to spend on for the wedding, ask yourself if it’s going to make those kinds of memories.
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