I was reminded of wedding cost-savings last week, when I was interviewed for a wedding article. The pricing of wedding stuff in our area (NY Metro area) is insane and priced way above anything I researched online. We wanted a unique wedding while trying to save money on this one-day occasion – we hated spending that much on ONE day! We actually wanted a beach wedding with just family, but our family put the kabash on that so we did our best to cut down costs where we could.
Here’s this list of things we did to save money, but still have a full-fledged venue wedding with all the trimmings.
Reduce our guest list.
Harder than you realize, but we stuck to our rules: We had to have met everyone in the room at least once and We didn’t allow +1 unless they were living together or engaged. Some people might have been upset, but this was OUR budget and wedding. Since your food/venue is per person – this cuts the largest savings.
We wanted a unique venue not a place that churns out weekend weddings. We initially wanted a place so we could choose our caterer, but after the venue tasting when the chef nailed Indian and Thai food we were sold. Other things we decided on that helped with pricing.
- Day of the Week. We got married on Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend (within three months). Sundays are cheaper and it makes sense on a holiday weekend.
Save on paper.
Paper is expensive – that is Save the Dates, Invites, Programs, Place cards, Menus – but they also tie together the elements of your wedding. We went the DIY route and thought ahead to save.
- Buy paper in bulk. We made a list of everything we needed paper for and what we would need (hard stock vs. regular). Here’s where we bought the basic papers from and the envelopments.
- Print at home if you can. We printed everything at home, not all at once but a quantity a day to not overload the printer.
- Save on stamps. We decided to do a size of invite so we didn’t have to pay extra for postages and it wasn’t heavy. We also made the RSVP a postcard to reduce postage of that as well.
- Email. If you want to save even more – go the digital route and email your invitations. We emailed our save the dates.
Flowers & Décor
Flowers are expensive, however since we live close to NYC we were able to take advantage of the flower market area. Yes they are open to the public. They close early so get there before noon. They are located around 28th Street and 6th Ave. I believe their delivery days are usually Thursday and Saturday (or it was for the flowers we wanted).
- Centerpieces. We didn’t love non-flowered centerpieces, so we tested and tried flower centerpieces that we can make in advance and came up with submerged orchids. We bought tall glass vases from a warehouse for party goods.
- Candles. Our venue had long windows and we saved money by ordering our own candles and for the windowsills. We ordered them from here [need to find the link].
- Church Flowers. We didn’t do fresh flowers on the pews, we created faux flower balls. We actually used them for the cocktail hour for centerpieces. We then sold them post-wedding – SCORE! I bought the tissue paper to make them here.
- Shop Smartly. I searched the internet for good buys.
- Shop Ahead (we didn’t with 3 months). You can buy color specific décor (candles, lights, chocolates) at post-holiday sales. Red/Pink after Valentines, Green after St. Patty’s, Pastels after Easter, Red/Blue after July 4th, Orange/Black after Halloween, Assorted colors after Christmas.
I hate asking for help, although I’m pretty sure if I asked friends they would not hesitate. Hubby and I did a lot ourselves that we could do in advance, however we did hire help for some things.
- Day of Coordinator. the day of the wedding we did hire someone, but surely not $1000+ for the day-of coordinator. I hired someone from craigslist to help with making sure details were taken care of. (I had hired him for an event I had 6 months earlier and trusted him, but still not sure if this big guy could handle wedding details – but he rocked it). His tasks: take décor from church and bring to venue for cocktail hour, set-up posters, fill water in centerpiece vases, light candles and help where needed.
- Hair & Make-up. I really had no idea how much hair and make-up costs and when I did I almost didn’t get it done professionally then I realized it was my “day.” So I posted on craiglist. I hired hair three days before and make-up two days before. Obviously there were no trials and I trusted that whatever they did would be good. It actually turned out GREAT for me – but I’m not picky.
- Videographer. We found ours for free. He was new to the business and trying to build his portfolio. We found him on the Marketplace area of facebook.
- Photographer. We asked for digital images only. We would make our own photo albums if we wanted. Those big bulky albums weren’t for us.
- Favors. We made our own – box of truffles, but skipping them altogether is just fine. We don’t like do-dads, they collect space and then end up in the garbage, so we wanted something edible or nothing (family put kabash on this too).
- Short-time Line. A short-time line isn’t for everyone. It worked for us. We had fewer choices for vendors and could easily make decisions. We also had less time to start doing or adding more things to the wedding.
- Rent Bridesmaids Dresses. I didn’t do this, however we went to a wedding and I thought this was awesome. If I had bridesmaids I would have done this. They rented from here.
- When Done, Sell Everything! We sold stuff on Weddingbee and Craigslist.
I loved reminiscing about our wedding, might have to reminisce some more on our DIY projects.