While I am marrying a CPA that’s favorite hobby is building up our savings account, I have to be honest and say that I’m also very budget oriented. We’re very lucky to have been raised with the same financial foundation from our parents which comes in handy not only for our relationship, but also for wedding planning of course!
Since we have eleven months of planning behind us (WHAT?!?!? How am I even saying this right now?), I figured I’d pull together some tips we have found helpful to save in certain wedding planning areas. Going through this process, I now understand why so many people go into debt or overspend on weddings… everyone is trying to upsell you, every online article is telling you the newest flashy thing that you apparently NEED and you’re finding inspiration from Pinterest where 90% of the photos aren’t even real weddings.
In order to stay on track and be in a healthy financial situation, S and I have made sticking to our budget the top priority. Here are a few things we have done to stay in budget:
Create Your Top Four ‘Can’t Live Without’ List // I mentioned this previously in this post and it’s still my #1 tip to not only stay in budget, but to stay happy and positive! Anytime something doesn’t go as planned while booking vendors or deciding on decor, S and I always referred back to our top four list. If it’s on on there, it’s okay if we don’t get our first choice vendor or it’s okay if it’s not 100% what I had first envisioned. With wedding planning, you have to go with the flow for a chunk of it or else you’ll be that dreaded bridezilla that no one wants to be around or you’ll seriously overspend.
Think About Your Date // While we opted for Saturday, if we were paying for this wedding solely by ourself, we definitely would have opted for a Friday or Sunday because the food minimums and overall rate is dramatically lower. Here in New England Saturday food minimums can be anywhere between $20k-35k. Like what? While this range may be different where you live because new England is one of the top wedding destinations, I’m sure a Friday or Sunday date would still be a much cheaper option. When we were inquiring, these “off weekend” dates were often half the going Saturday rate. Try to consider a day other than Saturday if you’re really looking to chop off a bit of cost.
Take Your Time // A longer engagement means more time to save! While our engagement just worked itself out to be twelve months long, it was more of a coincidence than anything! I’ve always wanted a September wedding and we got engaged at the end of August so it just fell into place for us, but if you aren’t set on a certain month being flexible here will allow you to have a few more months to pay those wedding expenses off.
Swap the Sweets // One area I’ve found to be a big savings is by swapping our your wedding cake for another type of sweet! Many couples decide to cater their favorite dessert like a s’mores bar, ice cream sundae bar or donuts instead of a traditional cake. What a cute way to add a pop of personality too!
Channel Your Talents // Maybe you can channel your pretty handwriting into learning calligraphy. Maybe you can leverage your dads garage and power tools for some awesome DIY projects. One of the skills I utilized was my Photoshop abilities. Since I work in marketing, I am very well versed in Photoshop and actually created all of our wedding day-of stationary myself! Think ceremony programs, dinner menus, welcome bag stickers, social signage, etc. Rather than spending thousands at Minted or purchasing off Etsy, I saved us a lot of money by designing them myself and it ended up being one of my favorite parts of the wedding planning process too! Our only expense was printing which meant we ending up saving 85% on this budgeted line item. Not only did we save money, but we added truly unique touches to every piece of stationary, made it really feel like us and had a cohesive theme through every single piece which makes my Type A mind happy.
Channel Your Loved Ones Talents // We are all surrounded by such unique people, so see if you can work together on a project for your wedding. My dad is a carpenter so he is building us some pretty awesome items that will remain a surprise for now. Having him custom build items for our wedding not only saves us money, but allows for some great bonding time. We went back and forth on little details on these pieces and he’s so into it! For one of these projects, I ended up getting two made for less than the price of one store bought options and I mean, it’s made by my dad!
Work with Whatcha Got // When upgrades are flashed in front of you, of course you’re tempted because gold silverware is trendy and blush napkins are cute. While personal touches are important, always think through if there is a way you can work within what your vendor already provides or build these expenses into your budget from the get-go. Maybe you can add a pop of color in the tablecloths because they come with your package or maybe you can pull in more gold by opting for a touch of gold foil on your menus that you alreayd budgeted for, rather than splurging on glassware. All in all, guests don’t remember the color of your napkins. They remember the fun and love in the room so working with what you got is smart financially and will help you stay in budget.
Combine the Locations // Often times if you get married at your reception location, there is only a small fee added on that is much less than getting married at an entirely different location. While I always knew this wasn’t an option for us since we are getting married in a Catholic church, I saw this frequently when we were vetting through reception locations so keep this tip in mind!
Consider Off Season // June and September are the most popular here in New England and in turn, pricier months to marry. While you can opt to plan your wedding in the off season months like November, January or March you can also sneak in a date in the weeks leading up to or closing wedding season. By having a wedding the weeks leading up to June or beginning of October, you may still have summer weather, but at a discount.
Scour Online // I have spent hours scouring sites like Etsy to compare prices to make sure we’re getting the best bang for our buck. I hate wasting money, so for items like personalized cocktail napkins for example, I scoured every site and compared all the prices! Oftentimes you can find an awesome deal on long holiday weekends too!
If you’re a newly wed or bride-to-be, I’d love to hear your your tips for saving money while wedding planning. Xo Mindy