I totally understand what it's like to be a bride who wants a beautiful wedding that is also affordable! When planning my own wedding, I received some great advice. I was told to pick 2-3 things that I want to prioritize and to spend money in those areas, and to try to cut costs as much as possible in all of the other areas. So I picked my most important priorities: Photographer, catering, and venue. Then I made a budget with those three thing being the priority and then limiting my costs elsewhere. It's really important that you make and budget and that you stick to it!
1. Order local, in season flowers
You can save a lot of money by ordering flowers that are in season. Look for a farm or a florist who buys seasonal flowers from local famers. For my wedding, I purchased flowers from a farm and my original plan was to arrange them all myself. That got a little too overwhelming and so I ended up paying a little more to have the farm owner put them together for me. If you plan to order local, in season flowers, it is important that you remain somewhat flexible with your colors and types of flowers. Local farms only have so many flowers available and they may not have the exact colors you imagined. However, I always prefer the natural, somewhat wildflower look anyway! Two great options for people in the Raleigh-Durham area are Spring Forth Farm and Pine State Flowers.
2. Rent furniture and decorations
Instead of buying 200 candle holders or multiples of decorations you'll probably never use again, why not rent them? I recommend searching for a vintage rental company. A great option for Raleigh-Durham area weddings is Plume Events!
3. DIY decorations
There are so many great decorations that you can make yourself! I made almost all the decorations for my wedding and I kept things really basic. Pinterest has a lot of great ideas for DIY wedding decorations! You can also find great ideas on Something Turquoise.
4. Serve a Smaller Cake
Wedding cakes can get really expensive! One way to save a lot of money on your cake is to display a smaller cake and then to have sheet cake in the kitchen that your caterer can cut up and serve to guests. That way, you still have a pretty cake display and your guests will probably never know that the cake they're eating isn't actually part of that display!
5. Buy a sample or secondhand dress
There are a lot of great wedding dress consignments stores out there these days! You can also find many wedding dress options on sites like Tradsey and Preowned Wedding Dresses. Also, you can ask bridal boutiques if they have any sample dresses for sale. Keep in mind that the average wedding dress sample size is a 10 so you may need to be a size 10 or less (if you are a smaller size, you can always get the dress altered).
6. Have a smaller bridal party
This was one that I really had no clue about when I got married! I never thought about the connection between bridal party size and cost and so I had a bridal party with 18 people! Now, I don't regret that at all and I'm so thankful for each person who was in our bridal party. However, if you're trying to cut costs, consider having a smaller party. The reason bigger bridal parties cost more money is because you have to pay for each bridesmaids bouquet (typically $50+/person!), boutonnières, and bridal party gifts.
7. Invite less guests
When planning my own wedding, I was also pretty unaware of how much each wedding guests costs. If you are serving a full dinner, you're most likely going to spend at least $35/person just on food! One of the things that can most significantly reduce the cost of your wedding is inviting less guests.
8. Borrow or make a veil
I saved $200+ by simply borrowing a veil from a friend. The bride in the picture below on the left had a friend make her veil with tulle and a brooch! You could also consider not having a veil at all.
9. Get married on a Friday/Sunday or during the Off Season
Choosing to have my wedding on a Friday evening was one of the best decisions I made! When you get married on a Friday or Sunday, venues are often less expensive and you typically have a much larger selection of vendors available to you.
10. Skip the favors
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy wedding favors and they're fun to photograph. But if you're trying to cut costs, wedding favors are something you can easily skip and I guarantee that people will not notice. At most weddings I've been to, I've found that over 50% of the guests don't even remember to pick up favors anyway! Hmm...maybe that's why I still have a huge basket of pink matches in my closet 1.5 years after my own wedding?!
I hope you found this post helpful! What are some ways you've found to save money on weddings?