Weddings are inherently expensive. Tack the word “wedding” in front of a product or service and the price magically goes through the roof. It’s unfair, it sucks, but there are ways you can still save some money on your big day!
Here are a few tips on how to save money on your budget wedding while still throwing the wedding of your dreams!
Photo by Flickr user golden_lily
1) Have it “off-season”: Wedding-related services and products tend to be a lot more expensive when it’s “wedding season”. It varies depending upon where you live, but later in the spring through the early fall tend to be the most popular times for weddings, and thus more expensive! Not everyone jacks up their prices during the busier seasons, but a lot of people do, so watch out for that. Having your wedding in January or March, or any time during the winter, can really save you some money on different vendors and you might even be able to negotiate even lower prices due to the fact that it’s not so busy for them.
2) Have it on any day other than Saturday: Saturdays are definitely more expensive when it comes to weddings, as it’s certainly the most popular day selected for these events. You can save a lot of money by having your wedding on a Friday or Sunday, and even more still if you hold it during the middle of the week. Sure, your guests may have to take an extra day off work, but they will because it’s your day and those that are there with you are the only ones that matter!
3) Negotiate custom packages with your photographer: A lot of photographers post their different package options on their website, and list what is included in each package type. You may be able to negotiate a lower price if you remove some of the items from those lists. For example, some photography packages include such things as an engagement session or a second photographer. If you’re not planning on having an engagement session, or you’re happy with only one photographer, there’s a good chance they would knock some off the price of that package.
4) Choose a photographer a little out of your area: If you live in a more populated area where prices are inherently more expensive due to your physical location, you might want to expand your search and look for photographers that live in a different area (ex. different state or different county). Bear in mind, there will likely be a travel fee involved, however, sometimes the cost of the travel fee is still less than what you’ll save by not hiring a photographer that lives in your city.
5) Choose an “atypical venue”: Places that hold weddings all the time often come with a higher price tag. They know they’ll always be able to book a wedding on any given weekend, so they tend to be able to get away with higher prices and little wiggle room when it comes to negotiating discounts. If you go with a less “traditional” venue, such as a park or a campground, you may be able to get a much cheaper price (in some cases, it could be free!). Of course, a lot of the more traditional wedding venues also come with extra services (such as set up crews, clean up crews, and servers), whereas a park, campground, or other venue that doesn’t typically hold weddings will most certainly be 100% DIY. If DIY isn’t your forte, you might have to spend more for your venue, but if you can work with a bare bones place, you can really save a lot of money in the long run.
6) Be your own DJ: This one isn’t for everybody, but it’s certainly one thing Jacob and I will be doing for our wedding. You can save hundreds of dollars by not hiring a DJ and having your own playlist on a laptop or MP3 player/iPod. You can create different playlists for different parts of the evening, and dedicate someone to making sure guests don’t have their way with your carefully planned selections. You’ll want to play songs that everyone is familiar with, and leave most of your more eclectic stuff at home. You can read more about being your own DJ here.
7) Buy artificial flowers instead of real ones: Real flowers can get expensive quickly, particularly if you choose varieties that are not in season in your area and need to be trucked in from a far away location. You can save a lot of money on flowers by purchasing artificial flowers instead. They will still look stunning, and you can keep them forever as a memento for your big day! You can find more tips on saving money on flowers here.
8) Bring your own alcohol: Not all venues will allow you to bring in your own alcohol, so this won’t work for everybody. If you are able to bring in your own alcohol, certainly take advantage of it because you can easily find some delicious beverages at much lower prices than the cost of the alcohol supplied by the venue. Jacob and I will be stocking up on wine from our local Trader Joe’s, as they have some really great wines for really affordable prices. You can also save money by having wine and beer only, or if you’re going to have liquor, just have one type of liquor for a “signature drink”. You’ll save a lot of money by not having a full bar and only a limited selection.
9) Get help from your crafty friends and family: If you have friends and family members that are good at making things, put them to work! For example, my mother is making our wedding favors, and one of my good friends is making my wedding cake as our wedding gift! That right there will save us several hundred dollars on our wedding! DIY projects can save you a lot of money, so if you are a creative person or have friends or family members that love getting crafty, recruit them to help with your decor or other parts of the wedding.
10) Do your own hair and makeup: Getting your hair and makeup done professionally can get quite expensive. You’ll also need to pay for a hair and makeup trial as well, which is often the same price as the hair and makeup on your wedding day. You can save a lot of money by using your own makeup (or buying some new makeup that is not too expensive) and doing it yourself on your big day. You can find a lot of great makeup resources online, and there are hundreds of how-to videos on YouTube that you can use for reference. The good thing about doing it yourself is that you can practice as many times as you want without having to pay someone else to do it!
How about you all? What sorts of money saving tidbits did you do for your wedding that may or may not be included on this list? Please feel free to comment!