As anyone who has ever planned a wedding knows, costs can add up quickly. From flowers to food to your dress to the perfect venue, there are a lot of different expenses that go into making your dream day a reality. And whether you’re working with a generous sum from your parents or your own modest, hard-earned savings, almost every bride has some sort of a budget to stick to.
So, together with a handful of industry experts, I’ve put together a list of 10 tips for the bride on a budget. The real trick is prioritizing what to splurge on and where to save. To begin, Jess from Carats and Cake recommends creating a list of the things that are important to you and prioritizing them with numbers. Spend on the things that really matter to you, and find a way to save on the things that don’t. Once you have your priorities straight, refer to the list of penny pinching tips below…
1. Have your cake and eat it too.
Los Angeles-based planner Allison Erlikhman of Bookend Events recommends cutting your dessert budget in half by having a smaller cutting cake on display and a sheet cake hidden in the back: If your heart isn’t set on having a towering wedding cake, order a smaller ornate one for cutting and then serve the majority of your guests sheet cake. I promise, no one will know the difference!
2. Give your table a glow.
Can’t afford the big, beautiful floral arrangements you dreamed of? Florist Kimm Birkicht from The Velvet Garden has a smart tip for saving on centerpieces. Kim says, “If your flower arrangements are on the sparse side, enhance the atmosphere by featuring tons of candles on your table for an intimate dining experience.”
3. Save on your shoes.
I know it’s tempting, ladies, but you don’t need to break the bank on designer shoes that no one is going to see anyway. Allison says, “Don’t splurge on expensive wedding shoes if your gown will cover them completely. Save that money for your dress and accessories.” Smart tip!
4. Combine your escort cards and favors.
Jess from Carats and Cake says, “Look for ways that items can be used for more than one purpose. For example, seating cards that can double as favors.”Some examples include little treats (like macarons or chocolates) and small potted succulents with tags tied on them.
5. End the open bar early.
No, this doesn’t mean that you have to cut your guests off before the party is over. Allison says, “See if your venue will charge you for alcohol upon consumption in the later hours, instead of charging you for an open bar all night long. Drinking tends to slow toward the end of the night as some of your guests leave, making this a cost-effective option.”
6. Go wild
Kimm from The Velvet Garden says that using wildflowers at your wedding is extremely cost effective and will create volume in the arrangements. Picking seasonal blooms is also smart, since it means that they won’t have to be flown in from far away.
7. Skip the Champagne toast
Set on doing a toast at the beginning of the night? Jess recommends asking your caterer for more budget friendly alternatives to traditional French Champagne. Or, just toast with whatever drink your guests have in hand at the time.
8. Have a still life centerpiece
Kimm recommends thinking like a still life artist when you’re designing your centerpieces. Consider incorporating bowls or vases of fresh fruit into the design (which is much less expensive than flowers).
9. Beware of hidden costs
When you are crafting your wedding budget, keep in mind that many vendor quotes won’t include taxes, service fees, and tips. So it’s always smart to leave a little bit of cushion when booking everything.
10. Trim the guest list
This is one tip I’ve learned myself. It’s a hard thing to do, but it’s also the surest way to save money when you’re paying per head. Click here to read about how I decided who would be invited to my wedding.
I hope these tips helped! I’m definitely going to keep them in mind for my own wedding. It’s true that you only get married once. And I think that every girl deserves to have her dream wedding. But keep in mind that you also don’t want to start off your marriage in the red—which is why it’s super important to stick to whatever budget you set.
Do you have any good wedding planning advice of your own?
I’d love to hear it!