This weekend will mark Phillip and mine’s seven year wedding anniversary. My mind is blown just typing that because it feels like yesterday that we started down this journey together. I remember being a bride to be and feeling so overwhelmed by trying to figure out how I could marry my dream wedding with my very real life budget (see what I did there?!), and let me tell you it wasn’t easy. But in the end, we not only made it work but we had a wedding that exceeded all of my expectations and didn’t totally bankrupt us either. So because it’s our anniversary and I’m feeling nostalgic I wanted to share 10 ways we saved serious money and still had our dream wedding. You’ll just have to indulge me while I post a ton of sentimental wedding pictures along the way.
- #1 Prioritize what is important to you and your fiance and choose to invest in those areas: if you’re trying to save money on your wedding you’re going to have to make tough choices. So figuring what’s most important to you on your wedding day will help make those hard calls a lot easier. Photos and food we’re the biggest for us, so we opted to put more money into those areas rather than in areas like music and decor.
- #2 Think long and hard about how many guests you’re inviting: not to be harsh, but when it comes to events people equal money. So the more people you invite the more money you will have to spend. We were in a bit of a bind in this area because we both came from large families and had grown up in a really large church where everyone had pretty much had a hand in raising us, so we knew were facing a larger guest list. But if you find you’re inviting people just for the sake of inviting people, ask yourself if that’s really what you want. If you have a smaller guest list that’s fewer mouths to feed and smaller, less expensive venues you can consider. Sometimes intimate is more cost effective.
- #3 Consider what day of the week you’re looking to get married: For some reason when we were engaged I had just assumed we would get married on a Saturday. It never occurred to me to get married another day. But I was floored when I was informed of how much money we would save if we opted for a Friday or Sunday. We were looking at saving hundreds of dollars for just having it on a different day. Needless to say, we went with a Friday evening and didn’t miss out on a single thing.
- #4 DIY whatever you can: mind you we got married before Pinterest was a thing (tragic, I know), but thankfully I was surrounded by super creative people and we figured how to DIY anything and everything we could to save money. From invitations to wedding favors to candy buffets, if we could DIY it we did. Sure it took a little extra effort, but the money we saved was well worth it. And it was a great excuse to get my bridesmaids together and have a girl’s craft night. So win-win all around!
- #5 Call in every favor you have: seriously, when you’re trying to save money on a wedding asking friends and families for favors is one the smartest things you can do. And people love to help! We were borrowing wedding decor from family friends who had recently been married. We had a family member who owns a car dealership lend us a limo for the day. We were asking every friend of a friend we could think of to save as much money as we could. And you know what? When it came to the day of people loved knowing they had had a hand in helping bring the event together. It hadn’t dawned on me when we were asking, but it actually made it more personal to those who had been able to help in some way, and that helped make the day even more special.
- #6 Choose decor that can be repurposed during your event: this one tricked saved us a boat load when it came to floral expenses. Think of ways you can reuse decor throughout your event. Like using the same floral arrangements for both your ceremony and your reception. Or using bridesmaids’ bouquets for centerpieces. Think a little out of the box with this one, but anything that can get more than one use during your wedding is an easy way to save!
- #7 Shop for things during offseason: this really works best if you have a longer engagement period. But essentially when you choose your wedding colors, start to think if they show up a lot during a certain time of the year. Then if you can, wait till the period is coming to a close and go hit up as many sales as possible. For us, I knew red was definitely happening and I was planning out our candy buffet, so I knew hitting up every Valentine’s Day sale would be a must. And when V-day sales rolled around we hit up every Target and Walmart we could reach to stock up red candies for a fraction of the price. Same rules apply if you’re going with bright colors, think summer sales, more of a pastel palette wait for Easter sales. You get the idea.
- #8 Choose a venue that speaks for itself: we opted to split our wedding into two different locations for sentimental reasons (remember I mentioned we grew up in church together? Yea, we couldn’t not get married there?? Come on!). But when it came time to choose our reception site I knew I wanted a place that wouldn’t need a lot of decorating. Think about it, if you get married somewhere that already takes your breath away, you won’t want to invest your money in trying to cover it up.
- #9 Embrace the sentimental: sentimental embellishments are what make each wedding personal and unique. It’s a chance to tell your fairytale story. And the really great part is, those touches add a lot of decor without a lot of expense. We had a whole table dedicated to that with ticket stubs from various dates, bride and groom bears we had gotten each other while dating, pictures of the adventures we had already gone on. Not only was it really special to us, but it was a great focal point at our reception that guests loved and didn’t cost us much at all.
And I’m throwing in #10 as a bonus for you…
At the end of the day, I think one of the smartest ways to save yourself money when planning a wedding is to keep things in perspective. I really struggled with this one when I was getting married (as my father so lovingly reminds me), but now being on the other side I can’t express how true it really is. As brides, we get so caught up in every single wedding detail that we sometimes lose sight of what’s really important. While our wedding is a really special day, in the end, it is just a day. And when it’s all over it won’t really matter if you served the most decadent meal or had the grandest venue. What will matter is enjoying the celebration that is this sacred day, and how it marks the beginning of this new journey you both are now starting.
I still can’t believe it’s been seven years!! Happy anniversary babe! Let’s make sure to make the next seven are just as awesome. 😉
How about you?! Are you on the other side of planning a wedding? What were some of your favorite ways to save on your big day?!