10 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
Being a former bride, I had to go through many hours of wedding planning as well as trying to keep within budget, which sometimes proved challenging. However, now that I am a veteran bride, I have come up with 10 ways to help future brides stay within their wedding budget and not break the bank.
- Wedding Dress: Purchase your wedding dress at a bridal show. Each year there are several bridal shows in the Ottawa area. Each bridal show will have several bridal boutiques as vendors. Usually these vendors will bring their discounted or previous season’s inventory to sell for an extremely discounted price as they need to make room for new inventory. You can easily get a $1000 dress for $200-$400 at a wedding show. Check out: The Ottawa wedding show.
- Something borrowed: You know the saying, “Something old, something new, something borrowed…” Why not borrow something in order to save money while staying within wedding tradition. I wouldn’t recommend borrowing a wedding dress, but you could borrow jewellery, shoes or even a wedding veil. These things aren’t as sentimental as the actual wedding dress, so it would be much easier to borrow these kinds of items from a close friend or relative. I borrowed my friend’s necklace and it went beautifully with my dress. My friend also felt honoured that I would choose to borrow something from her for my special day.
- Get married on a Friday or off season: Not only will it be MUCH easier to book various venues (since you’re not competing for Saturday or during high season) you might get a weekday or off season (between November and March) discount. You may not get a discount with all of your vendors, but it doesn’t hurt to try and in doing so, you will still end up saving some money.
- Flowers: Cut down on the amount of flowers you have or choose less costly flowers. Keep it simple. The most important flowers will be the bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets, the groom’s and ushers’ boutonnieres, as well as the parents’ boutonnieres/corsages. If you are on a tight budget, just remember that you don’t have to have flowers for the church and the reception hall too. Look at the next suggestion for decorating ideas. Also use seasonal flowers rather than order flowers that need to be shipped in. Ask your florist which flowers will be in season for your wedding. Also, various flowers are at certain price points, so check into which flowers are less pricey and then go from there.
- Decorations: To keep costs down, but still decorate your venues beautifully, use chiffon, paper lanterns, candles, glass beads, etc. Pinterest has tonnes of DIY wedding projects. You can also rely on the beauty of your venue settings. If you’re getting married outside, you will need very little, if any, decorations. Same with if you’re getting married in a beautiful church or your reception is in a beautiful venue. However, if you absolutely must have flowers at your venues, you can save a lot of money by buying wholesale. Here’s a local Ottawa area wholesaler. Better yet, use wild flowers as your centre pieces to give a rustic charm. (I have been admiring wild flowers in mason jars on Pinterest lately.)
- Cupcakes vs. wedding cake: Not only are cupcakes one of the current “in” things for the past few years, but they can save you money (depending on how many guests you have and how fancy they are). If you have cupcakes instead of a wedding cake, your venue won’t be able to charge you a cake cutting fee. If you want to go this route, in order to keep costs down, keep your cupcakes simple. Have just a swirl of icing (in your wedding colours, of course) instead of intricate decorations on each cupcake. You can still create tiers for your wedding cupcakes. A lot of couples are choosing to have a small traditional looking cake (for your cake cutting) as the top layer, and then the other layers as cupcake layers. However, if you do want to have a traditional wedding cake, keep it simple and not too large as you will pay much more for more intricate cake decorating and larger cakes. You could always have a small decorated wedding cake for show and then a slab cake in the kitchen with the same icing as your wedding cake. That way, when it’s cut up, people won’t know that it’s from a slab cake. See, you can still have your cake and eat it too.
- K.I.S.S Guest List: Keep your guest list as simple as possible. When I say simple, I really mean small. Instead of inviting every single person who is related to you or who you’ve ever associated with, invite the people who really have meaning in your lives. Obviously, you want to invite your close family and friends, but you might want to rethink inviting all of your co-workers, business associates, long lost friends, or Aunt Sally who you haven’t seen since you were 6 years old. If the bride & groom are paying for the whole wedding, then you’ll need to be upfront with pushy parents who insist that you invite an extra 50 irrelevant people to the wedding because they think they should be there. If that’s the case, you can suggest (in a nice, but firm way) that you would like to keep your guest list simple to keep costs down, but if they think it’s really important that these extra 50 people come as guests, they can pay for these guests themselves since it’s not in your budget. Be strong! You can do it! Remember, the smaller your guest list, the smaller your reception venue, catering, liquor, centrepiece, and cake budgets will be.
- Wedding Photography: Don’t ask a friend or uncle Bob to shoot your wedding for free in order to save money. You will get what you pay for! In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.” Instead of forgoing professional photography or hiring a cheap, poor quality wedding photographer, hire a good professional photographer for less coverage in order to save money. What I mean is, Instead of hiring them to photograph from when you are getting ready at the beauty parlour at 8:00 am until the reception at 11:00 pm, why not hire them to photograph from when the bride is getting ready at home (about an hour and a half before the ceremony) until either the beginning of the reception dance (so you get your first dance photos) or hire them to stay for part of the dinner. That way you’ll still get all of the important shots, such as ceremony, formals, reception details (i.e. table centrepieces, wedding cake, wedding favours, reception hall, guest photography) without breaking the bank. Besides, you’ll have all of your guests taking photos at the reception.
- Wedding Invitations: Although formally engraved invitations are beautiful, you don’t need to break the bank to have beautiful looking invitations. Keep the envelopes simple—you don’t need envelopes with colour co-ordinated lining. Simple white or cream will always be chic. There are plenty of online printing companies that have hundreds of beautiful types of wedding stationery to choose from. All you have to do once you’ve chosen your template is to choose your colours (if that’s an option) and input your names and wedding details in the wording. Save even more money by having your wedding guests RSVP by e-mail instead of enclosing a separate card, envelope and stamp. It will be so much faster, save you money as well as the environment. You can also hand deliver invitations when you see your friends and family to save on postage. You can Google plenty of online businesses that print invitations. Some of the various online vendors are: Wedding Paper Divas (signature collection), Believe it or not, Vistaprint also has some nice wedding invitations as well. If you want someone local, You’ve Been Posted does great invitations. I have seen her work at the Ottawa Wedding Show as well as a friend used her services.
- Transportation: Do you really need a limousine or horse drawn carriage to get to your wedding? Will they get you to the venues faster than a regular car? No. Instead of hiring a large limousine or bus to get all of your wedding party around, why not hire a nice car for the two of you and have your family and bridal party travel in their own cars. Or, instead of paying for a tripped out limousine with all of the bells and whistles (for an extra price), keep it simple and hire a regular limousine for you and your wedding party. You’ll save money while still arriving in style. If you have a friend with a nice car, ask them if they could drive you to the church.