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Tag: wedding planning budget advice

To round out the last few weeks of wedding budget advice (in honor of our newest e-book!), we’re going straight to the source: the smart, talented, creative, resourceful couples that grace our site day in and day out! I combed through several years of real wedding interviews to find 20 of my favorite ways our readers have saved money on their weddings, allowing them to have the celebrations of their dreams without sacrificing their budgets. Whether you’re a DIY-er or not, I know there’s an idea (or two!) here that will get your wheels turning!

Photo by Kelli Durham from Elle and Kegan’s wedding

“Rather than hire a popular cake baker, we hired a local lady who makes delicious cakes! She saved us a fortune!” – Elle and Kegan

“I found it helpful to make a dream ‘wishlist’ of things, from special foods to flowers to specific materials you want to incorporate into the weekend, and see it all listed out in one place. From there, it’s easier to figure out what you can afford to let go of and what’s an absolute must-have. The vendors are experts, so if there’s something you don’t want to compromise on but you don’t have the budget for, they likely have another idea on how to get the same point across for less money.” – Brent and Graham

Photo by Anna Paschal from Olivia and Scott’s wedding

“Having a custom invitation suite and calligraphed envelopes was really important to me. In order to stay within my budget for invitations and paper, I decided to forgo paper items like individual menus and programs. I also decided to learn the art of modern calligraphy so I could address the invitations, create the place cards, and hand-paint the table numbers and signage myself. I walked away from my wedding day with the man of my dreams and a new skill to boot! – Olivia and Scott

“We used a ticket system for our bar, where every guest was given three drinks. After that, they could purchase more (or use a friend’s ticket)! This was great because it allowed us to serve our guests while also having a budget and no surprises.” – Whitney and David

Photo by Jenna McElroy from Madeline and Jordan’s wedding

“We used acrylic plates, flatware, and cups, as well as paper napkins (cute ones, of course). I couldn’t even remember this stuff from other weddings I had attended, so I felt it was a great way to cut costs. I also did not make programs for our ceremony. Instead of lots of florals for our ceremony background, I chose to spend only $300 having a banner made, and used it as our only ceremony decor. I felt that God’s creation surrounding us in the Texas Hill Country was the best decor we could have asked for.” – Madeline and Jordan

“For the ceremony, we used a lot of greenery and candles for the front of the church, instead of large floral arrangements. Central Presbyterian Church’s sanctuary has massive, colorful stained-glass windows throughout and lots of natural light, vaulted ceilings, and large lanterns; it’s a beautiful place and didn’t need much extra.” – Anne Elise and Nick

Photo by Jennings King from Kristen and Rick’s wedding

“We married on a Friday evening and saved an enormous amount! I also replaced some florals with lanterns (and pineapples, of course!). Lastly, instead of renting a dance floor, we arranged the tables so that there was enough space to dance on the venue’s existing patio.” – Kristen and Rick

“Music is very important to Andrew especially, and we went with a DJ over a live band to cut costs; however, with a live performance for our first dance and the harpist at our ceremony, we were able to get the feeling of live music without a band’s price tag. Our first dance was performed by Andrew’s brother-in-law, professional musician Will Evans. “Life is Just a Photograph” is one of our longtime favorite songs written by Will, and it speaks to lifelong love and commitment. It was very special and emotional to have one of our close family members perform this song live as we danced together for the first time as a married couple.” – Lauren and Andrew

Photo by Jen Fariello from Janie and Adam’s wedding

“We cut costs by choosing a venue in our family and performing the landscaping ourselves. We spent two months beautifying the grounds of the house. Although we worked tirelessly, we recognized that any imperfections would hopefully just make the outcome even sweeter! We also cut costs by having close friends play the processional and recessional music, as well as by having an iPod and speakers for music at the cocktail hour.” – Janie and Adam

“There was a bride getting married at our venue the Monday following our wedding, so we tried to find ways to share items and split the costs. Our lighting company was nice enough to extend their pickup so we could do just that!” – Tracy and Ryne

Photo by Becca Lea from Callie and Chris’s wedding

“My grandma and mom made all of our napkins. They sewed fabric that fit into our blue color scheme and worked on them over the course of our engagement. My mom also started buying Walmart out of all their silver utensils so we would have plenty for our family-style meal without having to rent them.” – Callie and Chris

“One thing I did to save money was to do all of the hair and makeup myself! The morning of the wedding was so fun–we relaxed and the bridesmaids did each other’s makeup while I curled everyone’s hair, including my own. I’ve always been notorious for playing with my friends’ hair while hanging out, so why would I do it any differently on my wedding day?” – Julie and Jonathan

Photo by Elisabeth Carol from Brittany and Eric’s wedding

“We knew from the beginning that we wanted a small wedding with just our closest friends and family, and although our decision had nothing to do with cost, it ultimately did help out quite a bit. Since we had a much smaller guest list, it became easier to put the emphasis on the quality of the experience rather than the quantity of guests in attendance.” – Brittany and Eric

“A great feature of our venue was that we could bring in our own alcohol. Instead of doing an open bar with our caterer, Michael and I selected and bought all of the wine, champagne, liquor, beer, and specialty cocktails. Not only did this save money, but we were able to select top shelf and the drinks that we enjoy. What bottles we had leftover (since we definitely over bought), we were able to return to Total Wine and Costco for even more savings.” – Lauren and Michael

Photo by Sarah & Ben from Dacie and Dennis’ wedding

“We purchased all of the vases, glasses, and plates for the wedding. In addition to the fun look of it all, each item was less expensive than if we had rented it. My mom set a strict budget for each plate/ glass/etc. so we wouldn’t spend more than it would have cost to rent. The effect was great, cost-effective, and it gave us dishes to hold on to as a fond memory! – Dacie and Dennis

“Sterling and I decided early on what was important to us: a lively band, delicious Southern food and an open bar, transportation for all of our guests, and having the venue in Linville. Beyond that, our response to most decisions was, “Which is cheaper?” Sometimes, our moms had other opinions, but for the most part, we invested in the things we cared about and cut costs elsewhere. We also decided not to have a bridal party, which ended up being one of the best decisions we made. It allowed us to cut costs and save some headache around logistics (pictures, timelines, hair and makeup, dresses, gifts). But, most importantly, our amazing friends still made us feel so supported and loved throughout the whole process, and isn’t that the main reason for a bridal party? Whether or not to have a bridal party is a really personal decision, but one that proved right for Sterling and me over and over again.” – Leila and Sterling

Photo by Lynnesy Catron from Libby and Matt’s wedding

“My bridesmaids were amazing. They would come over for movie nights and sit on the floor putting programs together or helping to assemble table numbers. I would have been far more stressed and spent far more money without them!” – Libby and Matt

“One of the simplest but most effective ways we saved money at our wedding was prioritizing what I had always dreamed of including vs. things I had never given much thought to.” – Lindsay and Ty

Photo by Clark Brewer from Catherine and Hunter’s wedding

“We hosted our wedding on a Friday instead of a Saturday. This simple compromise cut our venue rental cost almost in half and saved us money on several other vendors. We also hired a food truck for dinner, which cut the catering cost per head in half.” – Monique and Tim

“We used my uncle’s Jeep Wrangler, the beloved car I drove during college, as our getaway car! It was a fun, lighthearted contrast to the more formal details of the wedding. We hopped in the car and took it for a drive down Broadway on our way out! – Catherine and Hunter

Elisabeth Carol is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily

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