Tuesday Ten: Tips for Brides on a Budget

Tuesday Ten: Tips for Brides on a Budget

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!

XO Lauren

Photo: Buttercrumbs Bakery
Categories: Celebrate, Contributors, Grow, Lauren Conrad, Tuesday Ten, Wedding
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  • http://hollydolly88.blogspot.com.au Holly

    Thanks for the tips I’m planning my wedding as we speak and I am on a budget!
    Great ideas that will come in handy!
    xo Holly xo


  • http://www.fashionmumblr.com Josie

    Fantastic tips, I’m not planning a wedding yet but love reading all your tips :)

    Josie xoxo | Fashion Mumblr

  • leona

    ALWAYS trim the guest list! a girl i went to school with had a big wedding that she invited all her sorority sisters to because she thought they were her friends. instead they were texting each other and other people throughout the ceremony, saying the bride was fat in her dress. be careful of the people you invite into the special, intimate moments of your lfe…. not everyone is there to celebrate with you

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/ScottishWeddingTV ScotWeddingChannel

    Over at The Scottish Wedding Channel we have some fantastic advice for Planning a wedding such as make up tips, hair tutorials and booking your photographer https://www.youtube.com/user/ScottishWeddingTV

  • jessicaaaa

    Some of these tips are definitely true, but I think there’s better ways to save. The biggest money saver is picking a budget friendly venue. If the venue you have your heart set on is on the pricey side opt for a Friday, Sunday, Holiday, or off-season wedding. They tend to charge less per head.

  • Laureniey

    What kind of cake is that in the picture? Is the recipe somewhere on this site?
    Its perfect!

  • SaraP

    Do a lot of the planning and decorating yourself! I love DYI.

  • http://www.shelearnsthings.com Ana Pierce

    Another great way to save is to strategically plan how long you really “need” the venue. I’m a wedding planner for a venue in my hometown, and we charge hourly when the wedding party exceeds a certain number of hours. If the bride/bridesmaids have their makeup done off-site, it can save big on time and money. (And it won’t get windblown like hair would!)


  • http://www.sparrow.nu Annie

    One thing that I did for a bride that REALLY helped to cut costs was by having guests “gift” you favours for the wedding. E.g. someone can bring flowers, a talented friend can make the wedding cupcakes/cakes, a relative can work on the chair decor, etc; or someone that has connections can help donate a venue.

    Annie @ sparrow.nu

  • Kimberly Ann

    This is a great post! I’m planning a wedding and my priority is having a SMALL wedding! Besides, big weddings can make the attention more on planning a party rather than whats really important :)


  • http://dreamliveandrepeat.blogspot.com/ Ashley

    These are great tips that I’ll pass on to my friend who is getting married next year! 😀


  • http://www.wayfaringwanderer.com/ Wayfaring Wanderer

    I love some of these tips! I’m a bride (and wedding photographer) who is planning a celebration on a budget in a short period of time. The financial limitation has allowed me to get really creative when it comes to saving money! If you can believe it, I’m getting married with a $1k budget! People say it can’t be done but I’m ready to prove otherwise! 😉

    • ms.queen

      How are you doing your wedding on a thousand dollar budget. Can you please let me know how.

      • http://www.wayfaringwanderer.com/ Wayfaring Wanderer

        HI Ms. Queen! How am I doing my wedding on a $1k budget you ask? Well, we had to scale back our expectations because we can’t afford a conventional wedding.

        Two huge things that are saving us a TON of money is the fact that I worked out a FREE wedding venue on a farm, and we’ve decided to host a pot luck celebration because we love community fueled gatherings and host them often, so we wanted to incorporate that into our wedding for that reason, but also because it will help us save BIG! We’ll be providing some food—not sure what yet—but we’re having an early wedding on Sunday, so we’re doing brunch because we LOVE breakfast! :-)

        I realize that saving money in those ways isn’t possible for everyone but that cut out about $1500+ in cost alone! My wedding dress was only $165, too, so that’s another area where I saved money so far.

        I’ll be doing a series on my blog that shares my experience planning a wedding on less than a $1k budget if you’d like to follow along, I welcome you to connect with me!

        Let me know if you have any other questions! Cheers!

  • Tracy

    This cake looks fabulous!


  • lisa robb
  • Katelin

    When planning my wedding, I knew regardless how much I could spend, I did not want to. I trimmed my guest list, incorporated faux flowers, and used tons of candles to cut on budget. There will always be hidden cost, so make sure to budget a little more just in case. :)


  • Nicole Smith

    I will keep these tips in mind when I get married one day.

  • http://www.librarianlavender.com Librarian Lavender

    Great advice, as I’m not married yet, I’m going to keep this in mind for when I will have my big day.

  • Justine

    I used Vistaprint for our Save the Dates (plus a VistaPrint Groupon!). VP always have great sales and are seamless to work with. Between the Groupon and the sale prices, we bought 150 custom STDs for $59! I also purchased my dress at Davids Bridal and consequently received a 30% off coupon for invitations purchased through DBs website. We purchased $150 invites for less than $100! Additionally, we are using an online RSVP service via The Knot, so we did not have to include response cards or reception cards with our invitations. This saved us time, money (less paper, cheaper price) and return postage. All of these tips allowed us to maintain our creative goal, but save a few pennies along the way.

  • MissEmmySue

    Fabulous tips!

    I work for a wedding magazine and 99% of the weddings we cover are elaborate, over-the-top affairs that cost a fortune. It definitely doesn’t have to be that way though! Trimming the guest list and choosing a budget-friendly venue make the biggest difference. Also, as much as I love DIY projects, they can sometimes be MORE expensive when it comes to weddings…


  • Lindsay Barrows Ruggieri

    Having a favor table instead of putting favors at each place setting means you can purchase less than 1 favor per person as some guests won’t go to the table a get a favor- they forget, they don’t want one, etc. You can get by with about 80% of the favors you would have purchased by opting for a favor table. We should know we are the wedding favor experts!


  • http://www.thesinglediaries.com/ The Single Diaries

    Good tips! Along the lines of a lesser open bar, a lot of couples are doing wine & beer gratis which no one seems to bat an eye at.

    The Single Diaries

  • http://www.altaredvows.com Taya DaRev Dianna

    Don’t bother with the disposable cameras on each guest table – you’ll end up with some silly (inappropriate) pictures, tons of pictures that are too dark or blurry, and dozens of pictures of the same shot (first dance, cutting the cake). If you REALLY want pictures, attach a “scavenger hunt”-type list to each camera, assigning shots to each table. Or ask just a few guests to take specified photos. OR, create a hashtag for your wedding (reception only!) & ask ppl to post their pix to social media using your hashtag.

  • http://www.military.com/spouse/military-deployment/reintegration/returning-to-home-life-after-deployment.html Jeffrey Dowling

    How To Stop A Divorce And Save Your Marriage?(Dr.Brave).

    Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in TEXAS,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.([email protected]}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly email this wonderful man {[email protected]},i f you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{[email protected]}, Thanks..

  • http://www.military.com/spouse/military-deployment/reintegration/returning-to-home-life-after-deployment.html Jeffrey Dowling

    Do you need your ex husband or lover urgently? ?

    My name is Nora woodland from the United States of America and am here to share a testimony i would please want you to read careful. I was married for seventeen years until misfortune came in. My husband and i were living happily with our children and enjoyed the company of each other. Our eldest daughter eloped with her boyfriend and this cost my husband his job because he could no longer concentrate on his job and this almost tore our home apart. My husband lost his job and we were living on the little income i was making from my cabbage. This really tormented our home cos my husband loves her more than our other kids. I tried all i could do to make my husband happy even when i wasn’t happy. This happened for sometime and he had cardiac arrest. We spent virtually all the money we had and still the condition did not improve. I was left with no choice than to sell the stuffs in our house, I was able to realise some money which was spent on his medical bills. I did this for a while until we had no money on us again. We came home and was hoping he could get better. He continued like that for some months and we decided to seek for solution else where. I went online where i met many self acclaimed doctors and spell casters but none could help. I then came across this particular caster whose testimonies i have read. His name is Dr.Brave he promised to help and he did in a way i find very surprising to explain. He told me that he would cast some spells to make my daughter come back and to get my husband his job back. It was like an impossible task. But with the help and intervention of this prophet of GOD, my daughter came back home and saw her dad was sick and she cried and asked for forgiveness. My husband after a week became whole again and another spell was cast to get him his job back. Like a dream it happened. My daughter is back home and my loving husband is well again and now has his job back. So good people of the world i want you to help me in saying a big thank you to Dr.Brave for his intervention. This is one Dr i will seriously recommend for anyone with issues of such nature or any other problem. Simply contact him on his email via [email protected]

  • http://www.daisychainsanddreamers.com/ Sarah

    I posted a blog today about a handmade wedding I attended two weeks ago. Loads of great ideas to make your big day beautiful on a budget! Check it out! http://wp.me/p1kjIW-UB

    Sarah xx


  • Angelica

    You can save money with cheap invitations and save the dates!!

  • kacey

    I has a florist do the bouquets amd ceremony pieces but bought roses from costco online and arranged our own centerpieces which saved us a ton! More tips on our blog http://www.everythingsisters.com

  • shannon

    We did artificial flowers for bouquets and arrangements, and only bought them when on sale at Hobby Lobby. We went with an out of town caterer that was cheaper and let us keep the leftovers! The food and cake were awesome. I ordered engagement photos online but had them print 4 wallets per 4×6 photo and cut them myself. I found silver picture frames online and provided enough for one for each family. Other favors were wildflower seeds and mixed candy and chocolates in silver bags. No alcohol served, big savings there. My mom and I planned the decor, my aunt did the floral arrangements, and my uncle did the photography. I am grateful to have a creative family. Other friends helped run the photo booth we set up. Don’t shell out big bucks to rent a photobooth if yoy have tech savvy friends. Don’t bother with personalized candy, spend your money on a long lasting keepsake.

  • shannon

    I designed our invitations and programs and had a copier print them on the stock I got on sale at Hobby Lobby. Buy comfortable shoes!

  • Adele

    I have lots of fun budget wedding planning tips from my own wedding last year! I had so much fun planning and making crafts, etc. You can do your own flowers, for example, I ordered 100 white roses and 30 mini calls from Amazon. Then bought delphinium and baby’s breath from Whole Foods and mixed in dried lavender flowers that I got online at save-on-crafts.com. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you can’t do it – you can! :) Also you don’t necessarily need a wedding planner. If your caterer is good they will set up decor and flowers/centerpieces for you, and you can have friends and family help with the rest. Re-use your ceremony flowers and have the wedding party place them on the tables during cocktail hour. We had mini cupcakes and a regular sized cake for cutting. Definitely cut the guest list that is an obvious one. If I didn’t know the person well enough or at all, I cut them – I didn’t want random people coming up and talking to me at my wedding when I could be spending time with loved ones. Also we bought our own wine, beer and liquor and our caterer provided the bartender. We had so much alcohol we had some left over, with no need for an open bar. For the “champagne” toast, we used a sparkling white from the Alsace region of France – still beautiful but it cost way less and no one knew the difference. I recommend finding a wonderful caterer – ours helped set up and clean up, we were able to get the cakes and table linens through them, they gave me planning advice, provided the bartender, and kept everything running smoothly. It was amazing!

  • BonnieBelle

    November through March is considered off season for wedding venues. If you book during these months, the price is dramatically lower. You may want to consider getting married around a holiday as well. The venue you choose may decorate for the holidays which will cut your decor value as well!

  • Jordan Mark

    My name is Tiffany Sanchez from USA My boyfriend and I were happy as far as I could tell and I never thought that we would break up. When his cousin died in a tragic car accident he went back to Philippine for a week to be with his family. I could not go because I was in the middle of entertaining out of town clients for work. He did not seem to be upset that I could not go so I let him be. The next thing that I know, he reconnected with an old friend from high school that he had a crush on years ago and they started to have an affair! I had no clue what was going on until a month after he came back from Philippine.He proceeded to see both her and I until I caught him testing her one night. I confronted him and he told me the truth about what happened. We broke up and went our separate ways. Neither of us fought for our relationship. I was angry and decided not to be upset about it and just keep it moving. Then after about a month of not speaking to him I became sad. I wanted him to tell me that he wanted to be with me and not her. I contacted prophet ekpen for a love spell and he totally helped me! he was able to get him to miss me to where he wanted to get back together again. He had a lot of regrets and felt bad for not fighting to keep me and for cheating in general. He values our relationship so much more now and we are together now! You can also get your lover back with the help of prophet ekpen contact him through his email: [email protected]

  • Jordan Mark

    Hello every body my name is Glen Victoria from USA Thanks to Dr charles for helping me get pregnant after 8 years of marriage with my husband we have been to several hospital for checkup and the doctors keep telling us that nothing is wrong with us so my friend at my work place linked me with with this great spell caster Dr charles email: [email protected] who helped me with my problem …. now am a happy mother of a baby girl thanks to you Dr charles … i am shearing this testimony to tell you Dr Babaka how grateful i’m for your love and assist in saving my marriage and also bringing joy and happiness to my family…… you can contact this great man and be sure to get quick solution to what ever problem you may be having at email: [email protected] … once again thank you doctor

  • Jordan Mark

    my name is Joyce my life is full of joy because Dr Cool asked me to be happy What happened to me is not what i can keep only to myself but to also tell the world so that those that were once like me will get there love ones back and been happy once again. I and my lover had some issues which leads to our break up since after then my life has never been the same i tried all method to get him back but they were just waste of effort and waste of time. But one day during my search on the internet i came across someone testimony about Dr Cool helped him to get his lover back so i contacted Dr Cool and to my greatest surprise Dr.Cool was able to bring back my lover within 48hours. With the great thing that happened in my life i decided to tell the whole world about this great man called Dr Cool. For those in need of anything he told me that in his temple there is know impossibility now i believe him so much friends if you need help kindly contact him via email:[email protected] And i promise you that your lover will definitely be back to you.

  • Erin Cody

    It’s unbelievable how fortunate I feel after finding your website. For the past 6 months, I have been so depressed after losing my husband to another woman. My money situation worsened so much that I thought I’d have to file for bankruptcy. I had a huge amount of debt and I didn’t know what to do. Out of complete and total desperation, I contacted many of those so-called individuals who promised powerful magic, witchcraft or black magic. None of them worked and none were as wonderful, affectionate and warm as Dr Marvel has been. He is definitely different from the others and I felt immediate hope and strength from hearing about the promises he had to offer. He carries an air of purity and divine strength that is as pure as fresh snow on the ground. I requested Kofi’s most powerful spells and I was relieved right away that I had someone to solve my problems for me. His spells worked wonders and I am now back with my husband and my money troubles resolved itself after winning the lottery. Dr Marvel, I have no idea what I would have done without you being there to help me out. Here is his website http://extremespellhome.webs.com. You can also reach him via email [email protected] [email protected] call +2348106985072.
    With best regards, Erin Cody

  • Erin Cody

    It’s unbelievable how fortunate I feel after finding your website. For the past 6 months, I have been so depressed after losing my husband to another woman. My money situation worsened so much that I thought I’d have to file for bankruptcy. I had a huge amount of debt and I didn’t know what to do. Out of complete and total desperation, I contacted many of those so-called individuals who promised powerful magic, witchcraft or black magic. None of them worked and none were as wonderful, affectionate and warm as Dr Marvel has been. He is definitely different from the others and I felt immediate hope and strength from hearing about the promises he had to offer. He carries an air of purity and divine strength that is as pure as fresh snow on the ground. I requested Kofi’s most powerful spells and I was relieved right away that I had someone to solve my problems for me. His spells worked wonders and I am now back with my husband and my money troubles resolved itself after winning the lottery. Dr Marvel, I have no idea what I would have done without you being there to help me out. Here is his website http://extremespellhome.webs.com. You can also reach him via email [email protected] [email protected] call +2348106985072.
    With best regards, Erin Cody.

  • nancyedward

    Wedding DJ Melbourne
    Ohh! I love this article,amazing. cake is looking so beautiful, tasty and fresh and flavor choice is also good, i think its a strawberry cake.


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