I got married a couple of weeks ago. We had a beautiful, rockin’ wedding in Austin, Texas. The wedding wasn’t cheap, but we did find lots of creative ways to cut costs. Here are ten tips for anyone planning a wedding on a budget. I hope you find these helpful!
- Order flowers from a wholesaler, and have friends arrange them
Most cities have somewhere to buy flowers wholesale. Even if you can’t get them at the industry rate, buying your own flowers costs much less than hiring a florist. Ask your friends to arrange the flowers; chances are there’s someone in your group with an artistic touch.
- Find a friend to videotape the event
Having your ceremony videotaped seems essential these days, because the technology’s out there, and it’s so easy. Hiring a professional for the job can cost thousands of dollars. Instead, ask a tech-savvy family member or friend. It means they will be working during the ceremony, so give them a special thanks.
- Purchase your own alcohol
Instead of having a caterer provide your alcohol at a mark-up, do a little research and figure out how much alcohol you’ll need for your event, then order it yourself. Most wine stores will give you a discount if you buy by the case, and will deliver to your venue for a small fee.
- Get crafty
Make a few things yourself, such as crowns for the flower girls, gifts for your bridesmaids (I made granola and packaged it in decorated coffee bags), welcome bags for your guests’ hotel rooms, etc. Get friends together and offer them dinner in exchange for their help with some of the more time-consuming tasks.
- Keep wedding favors simple
Ask any wedding planner; guests leave behind most wedding favors. Instead of spending money on something expensive that most people will forget, give them something they can eat! I put a cup of locally grown strawberries tied with red ribbon at each place setting, and they were devoured. You could use cherry tomatoes, blackberries, or something else that’s in season.
- Send electronic invites instead of paper ones
Wedding stationary and postage cost a lot. You can be environmentally friendly and time efficient using invites sent by email, and you’ll get responses a lot faster. Do a search for online invitations and you’ll find plenty of sites that offer this service.
- Buy a vintage or used dress
Vintage clothing is in fashion these days, with the cultural shift away from disposables and toward all things eco-friendly and sustainable, and a used dress can cost a fraction of a new dress. Visit vintage stores and consignment shops to find a unique treasure that fits your style. Take a vintage dress to a tailor and have it sized to fit you.
- Make your own thank you notes
Instead of buying expensive thank you cards, we bought nice envelopes and used our paper cutter to cut sheets of cardstock down to card size. Once the paper was cut, we decorated it with a pretty rubber stamp of a pink peacock. Combined with my hubby’s beautiful handwriting – mine isn’t exactly picturesque – the cards looked elegant and unique.
- Hire an event planner to do what you can’t do, and do the rest yourself
We hired a “day of” planner who made sure that everything on our special day went smoothly. In order to keep her hourly charge low, we only asked her to do certain tasks. Things you can do yourself include hiring vendors (such as caterers and photographers), having your wedding programs printed, and dropping off welcome bags at guests’ hotels. Let the planner make a day-of timeline, hand checks to vendors, and trouble-shoot.
- Ask for help
It may be a cliché, but it’s more fun for everyone when the event is a group effort. I asked friends and family to make our bouquets and boutonnieres, shoot video, pick up supplies, do make-up, fold programs, assemble the table centerpieces, etc. Everyone who helped felt a personal connection to the event, and was able to proudly show off their area of expertise.
Louisa Shafia is a cook with a passion for healthy eating. She recently penned Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life, a collection of seasonal recipes and eco-friendly advice on food. To watch her cooking videos, see her recipes, and find out about her cooking classes, go to lucidfood.com.