Recently, I have had several friends asking me about the things I did to ensure a fabulous wedding… all while keeping the cost affordable.
So, today I wanted to dedicate my blogging to the idea of tightwadding the biggest party you and your family will ever throw! And for those of you who have been blessed with boys…or are in full-time ministry and graduate soon-to-be-married students every year, I threw in a few tightwad tips on how to save money when you are invited to a gillion weddings each year.
Money saving tips for hosts-
- Dream it up– Get a 3-ring binder and start a portfolio of all your thoughts, ideas and contracts. Don’t purchase the expensive planning binders, simply camp out at Barnes and Noble one afternoon, peruse the wedding planning section and gather what information you will need to have your own make-shift notebook. You can contact that same B&N and request their expired wedding magazines to start building your idea bank. I had several friends give me ALLL their wedding magazines and I wripped stuff out, therefore creating a “storyboard” for our big day.
- Say yes to the affordable dress– Go to any of your local bridal salons and choose a few dreamy dresses. Write down the designer, product number, size. Take that info and browse online see what you can nail down as the cheapest price and IMMEDIATELY call Pearl’s Place! (504-885-9213) Numerous brides I know, including myself, have gotten deep discounts on their dresses thanks to this quick phone call. Pearl’s Place is a fabulous and mystifyingly affordable dress shop. They beat your lowest prices over the phone and ship your dress to your front door…in the designer box and all!
- Borrow– All your accessories- My veil was ridiculously expensive. Borrowing would have saved serious money. Enough said.
- Correspond wisely– By using postcards as our Save-the-Dates and by printing them in black and white we saved a pretty penny. If it’s all the same to you, order them inexpensively from www.vistaprint.com and slap them in an envelope to avoid a red postal streak through your bride-to-be’s face. Or, think about enlisting your local print shop to do the job. You can save a bundle by ordering locally! We sure did. MinuteMan Press save us $$.
- Wholesale– If you have any way to do your rings, invites, flowers, food via wholesale– do it!!
- Negotiate rental fees– It’s crazy to me how people just pay what is asked without trying to save. It can’t hurt at all to ask for a discount. Pad your ask with some perks…your family will clean up or you will wed on Friday or Sunday rather than the desired Saturday.
- Sweet deal– Order a pretty, yet small cake and order all the actual slices of cake needed to feed your guests in the form of sheet cakes. Ours were only $30 per cake which fed a million (for weeks following the wedding.) Which leads me to…
- Don’t over order-You will need WAY less programs than you think and WAY less cake.
- Music Man– DJs are always cheaper than bands…but do interview and give specific song choices or it could sound like a middle school dance…
- Obvious– Choose flowers that are in season. Get hitched near holidays so that venues are already decorated. Forgo personalized napkins.
- Enlist your friends– From photography to decorating we saved an arm and a leg and we owe a million thanks for all their help.
- Host well– Reserve a block of rooms to help your guests save money. You can usually bargain with this. You can put together really affordable welcome bags by going to the Chamber of Commerce and getting brochures about the town you are being married in. People will love touring the town!
- Favors– Give away nicer favors for the rehearsal dinner and either skip favors altogether or go with something small like matchbooks or a fun candy wall with baggies and scoops for guests to take home.
- Make a memory– Hire a local college student who is majoring in videography or broadcast journalism to do your video.
- Transport your guests– See if you can borrow a church van to transport bridal party instead of rental cars or trolleys.
- Insure it all– Make sure you get insurance on that rock, weather insurance on your honeymoon and rental insurance on your crib! Like us, you will be safe and will save $$ when a hurricane rolls through and sends you packing!
- DIY– Make your own programs, seating arrangements, name cards, etc.
- Feed them right– You can save a lot of money by focusing your creativity on the food at your reception. We had a mashed potatoe bar that we served up in martini glasses (bought off ebay!) And, I recently went to two weddings which focused on the drinks-one this winter had a hot chocolate bar and one this summer had various fruity punches and mint julips. Another friend did various soups and a baked potato bar. These elements are extremely affordable, but fun and unique to focus on.
- Freebies– See if different venues will throw things in for free. Linen rentals…pay for table cloths and see if they will throw in napkins. Rent all the tuxedoes from one place and see if they will throw in the grooms suit for free. Bouquets, dresses, stationary, etc. Can’t hurt to ask!
- Don’t go into debt– You have a lifetime to throw great parties. You don’t want to be paying off the first one for years to come! (Here are the highlights from ours! All the road footage is from my parent’s house to the church and then from the hotel Joel stayed at to the church…it shows where our roads intersected. Enjoy!)
Money saving tips for guests-
- Try www.etsy.com for amazing hand-made, personalized and very affordable wedding gifts. I just got this adorable apron for Christmas!
- Plan your family vacation around must-go-to weddings.
- Say “regretfully unable” if you simply can’t afford going the distance.
- Put together a picnic basket for the couple. Buy fun foreign foodie supplies from Aldi! Baskets of inexpensive gifts can make a big impression. You can give anything from a sewing kit to laundry supplies.
- Buy a big bowl, a pack of UNO cards and throw in some bags of popcorn for a “Game Night” shower gift.
- Buy one great dress/suit to go the distance for a few non-overlapping weddings. Just switch it up with various colored Pashmina wraps (Walmart-$5) and various ties.
- Donate your services to the bride and groom as a gift. If you can do photography, mow their lawn while they are away on their honeymoon or serve punch at the reception, offer to serve them as a gift.
- Make weddings a fun date night for you and your sweetie or a fun friend. You’re going to be there anyway, make it fun!
- Put together a recipe collection for the bride and groom…affordable and meaningful!
- Holiday decorations can be a welcome gift to a newly married couple, especially those starting out on a budget. By following the after-holiday sales throughout the year, and picking up decorations at 50% to 75% off, you can put together a collection of year-round holiday decorations for very little money, or you can focus on one holiday.