8 ways to save money on your wedding day

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Don't let anyone fool you. Planning a wedding is not cheap. Even the cheapest routes aren't that cheap. Some of the ways that we saved money on our wedding day won't be applicable for everyone, but I wanted to share a few things I learned along the way.

1 // Be flexible.
You'll be surprised how much this little tip will save you money. Don't be so stuck to an idea that it costs you a fortune. There is, however, a difference between being flexible in order to save money and sacrificing in order to save money. If it's something that means a lot to you, that you will remember for years to come, then don't sacrifice it. It's your wedding, so let it be everything you wanted. But keep an open mind and be willing to budge if necessary.

2 // Be creative.
Steer clear of decorations that are marketed for weddings and get creative! Adding the word "wedding" in front of a product can often double the price. Don't feel confined to using the typical commercialized wedding decor. Think outside the box. Shop at craft stores. Go to flea markets and yard sales. Dig through some old barns. You'll be surprised what you will find. For our wedding, we went digging through the old barns at my parent's home. We pulled out rocking chairs, vintage tables, and old windows to use as decorations. Not everyone has barns full of vintage finds located behind their house, but trust me there are plenty of sweet finds to be had at yard sales and estate sales.

3 // Re-purpose your ceremony decor at the reception.
We saved quite a chunk of money by using the same chairs at both the ceremony and the reception. Instead of renting double the amount of chairs, we just enlisted a few guys to grab up all the chairs after the ceremony was over and take them to the reception tent. Any flower arrangement that were sitting around the ceremony site were relocated to the reception tent as well.

4 // Be open to what flowers look best and which are in season.
This goes back to #1 on being flexible. I had originally wanted ranunculus everywhere -- in my bridal bouquet, in the mothers' bouquets, in the boutonniere's, in the table arrangements, etc. I quickly found out that ranunculus were not cheap! As a solution, our florist only used a few ranunculus and used random weeds and honeysuckle vines as filler. This cost almost nothing since they were pulled from the side of the road. She used peonies for the rest of the flower arrangements, since peonies were in full bloom at the moment and easy to obtain.

5 // Use vases you already own.
You might not have 50 matching vases sitting around your home, but get creative. There are a lot of things that make cute vases and there's no rule saying they all have to match. Since my grandmother and mother used to can a lot of vegetables, we had plenty of old mason jars sitting around to use as vases on the tables.

6 // Get a small wedding cake.
Sure, you may be having 200 guests, but your wedding cake doesn't need to feed that many people. We chose a small, three-layered strawberry cake to display and then set up a dessert table filled with delicious cream cheese pound cakes that we made ourselves. We also set out a huge bowl of fresh strawberries for our guests to top their slices of cake.

7 // Address your own invitations and RSVPs.
This can be time-consuming, but it's much cheaper than having them professionally calligraphied. If you have a friend with really great hand-writing, commandeer them to do the task. Another tip -- don't worry about custom stamps. I had originally thought that we needed custom wedding stamps for our invitations, but after I saw the pricing for them I opted for the traditional flag stamps. They weren't very wedding-y, but the envelope just gets tossed in the trash anyway.

8 // Cut the guest list.
Rule number one of wedding planning is you can't invite everyone. You just can't. Guests cost money and the more guests you have, the more money you spend. Our guest list just barely reached 100 people and we probably ended up with 80-something attending.

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