Something Borrowed: A Bride’s guide planning a wedding on a budget

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Love is in the air and my husband is on the phone, booking his next gig. I married a DJ, the perfect match for a music nerd like me. When it came time to plan our wedding, he proved to be my greatest asset. As a wedding professional, he will tell you that the biggest part of your budget should go to music and photographer. “The mood and memories should last a lifetime.” I will say that the photo of him “spinning” a few at our wedding is priceless. Planning your own wedding can be stressful but fun. Share your ideas with each other and don’t be afraid to say “no” to something that you don’t like.
Here are some suggestions that saved us a lot of money and time when it came to planning the big day:

  • For the bridal party, keep it casual. The groom /groomsmen can rent a tuxedo or wear a simple suit. Suggest cocktail dresses for the bridesmaids. A wedding dress may be a little pricey, check out some second-hand stores for a unique look.
  • Skip the engagement photos and announcements. All you need is a social media site to share the news. The average invitation can cost up to $1.50 per invite, which will add up quickly. So, cut out the middleman, get creative and make your own invitations. You can find free templates online and by taking blank cardstock to a local print shop, you will find that you can save a bundle.
  • Most wedding expenses are built around the number of people in attendance. It goes without saying that smaller wedding with intimate settings will save you the most money. If you are anticipating a larger event, be sure to avoid guest list bloat. I did not like cutting from the guest lists but you have to be realistic and know that your venue will have a maximum capacity. Before booking your venues, do your research.
  • Skip the champagne for your wedding toast. Guests can toast you with the drinks they have in hand.
  • Most venues have contracts with local catering companies, which may save time but could cost more. Pay close attention to the up charges for certain types of food. If your reception is kid-friendly, ask if your caterer offers free or half-priced meals for children up to age 16. Remember, to ask questions about the costs i.e. late night eats or outside food.
  • A wedding cake is typically priced by slice. According to The Knot ‘the range is anywhere from $1.50 to $12.00 per slice’. Of course, the more elaborate the cake, the higher the costs. Check with a local grocer. Our wedding cake was from a grocery store. We met with a baker, showed a picture of what we wanted (Pinterest) and they delivered the cake that day for free. It was pretty, affordable and delicious.
  • Double check with your venue about ‘cake cutting fees’. If you don’t see it, that does not mean they do not have one. I was surprised to find out that cake cutting was extra; some as high as $2.50 per slice!

A venue is just a room. Make it your own and dress it up the way that you like. This is where your Pinterest boards will come in really handy. Try to hold off on the number of centerpieces, flowers and guest gifts until you have your final head count. This will save you time, money and space.

  • Check out some secondhand stores for centerpieces (i.e. vases, bottles). All you will need from there is some paint and you’ve got it!
  • Substitute the large floral arrangement with baby’s breath or silk flowers.
  • Definitely wait until your final headcount if you are going to buy your keepsakes in bulk. We ended up giving some of the leftovers as a White Elephant Christmas gifts.

Don’t stress yourself out. Remember, this is your day to celebrate! So, share your love with friends and family and it will be beautiful no matter what the costs.

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