…without burdening your loved ones.
As a wedding coordinator, I see so many articles out there offering budget wedding advice. After clicking on the article, I find that a large number of the budgeting tips involve asking for help from friends and family members on the wedding day. Since it is one of my biggest passions to make sure I do my job well so that no guests or family have to lift a finger on the big day, it makes me sad that many of the budget savvy brides feel like they need to rely so heavily on friends and family to keep the tab low.
I wanted to provide you with a few other suggestions to save some money on the wedding while not burdening those you love most. Start with these suggestions and then see where your budget is before calling in the cavalry.
1. Email invites or Save the dates
Yes, Aunt Barbara might think it is tacky. But I think everyone else will appreciate the fact that you are saving money and therefore have more of your budget to spend on the actual party… which your guests will enjoy far more than an invitation on their fridge. If you have older relatives who may not have an email address, design your own invitation on Canva.com for free and print off a few at your local office store.
2. SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY
Have you considered a Sunday wedding? What about a midweek wedding? Almost every venue offers close to a thousand dollar discount for simply having your wedding on a non-Saturday. Think of where else that money could go! Worried about out-of-town guests not being able to travel? Consider a holiday weekend where most people have Monday off. This will give them an extra day to travel, and as long as you send your save-the-dates soon enough, they will hopefully not make other plans. Another huge benefit of this is that all those vendors that you are dying to book are much more likely to be free. They may even offer you a discount as well! Something else to consider is that on a Sunday (or weekday) you are less likely to be in competition with graduations and other weddings. You may even see a higher than usual rsvp count!
3. Buy your dress online
I know we all want the majical “say yes to the dress” moment in the store just like we see on TV, but this almost always increases the price tag. Here are some tips to make your online dress shopping experience a memorable one. Ask your bridesmaids to come over for wine and charcuterie and scour the internet for the perfect dress. Add all your favorites to your cart and try to find websites that offer free returns and/or free shipping (lulus.com is my personal fave). Ship all the dresses to your house and DO NOT OPEN until they all arrive. Schedule a time to try them all on and make sure to set up good lighting and lots of mirrors. Have one of your bridesmaids unpackage them all and hang them up for you. Try on your dresses one by one while your bridesmaids “ooo” and “aww”. If you have found the perfect dress, send the others back. If not, back to the drawing board! I promise, when you put on “the dress” you will know it and feel it no matter if you are in the store or in your own home.
4. Write your bridesmaids notes instead of big gifts
Did you know not everyone’s love language is gifts? While I know we all appreciate a good gift, a hand written and heartfelt note may leave just as big of an impact on your favorite people. A great thing to add to this might be a trip out with just the two of you to do some wedding errands or have her over to organize the seating chart. One on one quality time can go a long way when most bridesmaid activities are in groups. I’m not suggesting that you don’t give them a gift at all if that is something you want to do. But find ways to supplement or make a small gift seem extra special.
5. Skip the wedding favors
Think of the last wedding you went to. Were the favors super cute? Probably! Did you keep them and/or use them? This answer is usually a little more 50/50. Favors START at around a dollar a piece and go way up from there. Find different ways to show your guests you appreciate them. I recently went to a friend’s wedding where at each of our tables there was a handwritten thank you note from the couple that addressed us specifically. You can bet I will keep that a lot longer than a wedding favor. Find other ways to treat your guests and show them how grateful you are that they showed up for you.
6. Online RSVPs
This one ties into the email invitations, but you can use online RSVPs whether you send physical invites or not. Free wedding websites like The Knot and Zola have user friendly online RSVP tools with easy links that you can put right on your invitations. You can still include a phone number to call for your guests who may not have access to a computer.
7. Off-season dates
Just like with the non-Saturday weddings, off-season weddings can save you about a thousand dollars on average. You can still have that gorgeous venue without eating up your entire budget. In Michigan, peak season is May-October. A simple email to some of your favorite venues should help you figure out what months are off-season near you.
8. Be strategic with florals
Flowers are one of my favorite elements of a wedding. But that does not mean you have to spend thousands on elaborate arrangements and bouquets. Keep the table arrangements simple if you even opt to use them at all. Use flowers that are in season and consult your florist to find the most affordable fillers. If you opt to do sola wood or silk flowers instead, search Etsy for a maker at a price that meets your needs, or check with your local florists to see if they offer these options. Just one more opinion that may save you some money on flowers: boutineers and corsages are absolutely not mandatory.
9. Buy used or borrow your wedding decorations
Pretty much the only thing I use Facebook for any more is the Facebook Groups. Search “bride” or “wedding” and the name of your area. In Michigan, there are well over 30 bride to bride groups full of future and past brides hoping to help a sister out! Consider searching and waiting patiently in these groups to find some of your staple pieces for wedding decor. And don’t forget to sell them back when you are done! If you are looking for them, chances are another bride is too. If you want to borrow, you probably have a friend or family member who has dozens of vases, votives, linens or other helpful items that have been collecting dust in their basement. Ask around!
Still not on par with where you thought your budget would be? Go ahead, ask an old friend to fill in some of your wedding day needs. But I am confident that with a little creativity and compromise, you will be able to afford the vendor team you need to take care of your big day. My hope is that you can stay on budget while allowing everyone you love to fully participate in and enjoy your beautiful wedding with you.
The Best Day Details was founded by Emily DeRitter as the wedding coordination service for the DIY bride. Wondering what a wedding coordinator actually does? They are your go-to for getting things done. Set-up and tear-down guru. Expert people manager. Your eyes and ears monitoring the party to ensure each and every guest has a wonderful time. Task rabbit. Runner. Reminds you of everything you will forget and helps you forget everything you don’t need to worry about. The show-runner so you can be the showstopper. Reach out to see if we have your date available!
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