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Wedding Money Savers (for Sicy)

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Since Sicy said in her official announcement that they are working on a budget, and I know a lot of us have done that, here's a thread just for brainstorming ways to have a really super nice wedding on a smaller budget.
post #2 of 24
Thread Starter 
We saved a bunch of money and had a lot of fun making the flowers and decorations ourselves. I did mine in silk flowers, actually mostly with velvet poinsettias since I had a winter theme in blue and silver. You can buy the bouquet holders at Michaels (any decent crafting store), and all of the floral supplies you need. If I remember right, all of my flowers and decorations (not including the cake topper) cost around $50. I had my bridesmaids make their own bouquets while I made mine. They didn't match, but we had so much fun making them and they were a little more meaningful for them to keep too.
post #3 of 24
For us, a huge money saver was that we held our wedding and reception at the same place...a lovely lodge that was part of one of the county's public parks. The rental was under $400, and it included use of the grounds and building...if it hadn't looked rainy, we would have been married outside, but we also chose this lodge because it was so lovely had a full industrial sized kitchen, a stone fireplace (floor to ceiling) that was a double- one side faced a huge open room with another room opening directly off it, and behind the fireplace was another room (made this the bride's changing area)with another stone fireplace facing into it.

We ended up married with a rented trellis, adorned with flowers, in front of the fireplace, weather be danged!

And...due to the full kitchen, if we had not been able after all to afford a caterer, we would have pre-cooked/had family bring food and used the kitchen for the reception dinner. All in all, for one low rental fee, we got this coblestone and wood building, room to dance, room for a buffet set up for the reception, charming room to be married in, and the grounds were just lovely!

Something to consider (of course,we also didn't invite 200-300 people, but we could seat over 100, which worked out fine for us).

best wishes!
post #4 of 24
In Germany we ask our friends and relative to make the cake's and that save you a lot .
You can just make a privat BBQ with a few relative and friends and every body is bringing something to eat ( Potlok sp ) and have a Stereo playing some nice music . Heck for that I may get married again
post #5 of 24
okay, somebody stop me...keeping this one more brief

music...wanted a string quartet, found great group of music teachers who hired out, very reasonable, and very good!

Frej designed and we printed our own wedding programs (complete with the wedding poem I wrote)

we made our own favors...just pretty netting, filled with Jordan Almonds, tied with ribbon with a gold colored metal wedding ring attached, and slide into the ring, a inexpensive, pre-printed scroll with a poem I liked (from a wedding stationary company).

My Aunt Mamie made our family recipe Italian cookies (as did my mom) so we could have awesome, authentic cookies to pass out at the reception (I loved the idea of serving as a couple).

and it never hurts to have friends who are musicians, play your favorite song as your wedding gift at the reception...
post #6 of 24
Get family to help with food. My mom made perogies,cannage rolls,a ham,potato salad and other things too. Its cheaper and it tastes better!
post #7 of 24
Originally posted by Fluffy'sMom
Get family to help with food. My mom made perogies,cannage rolls,a ham,potato salad and other things too. Its cheaper and it tastes better!
And it makes even more special memories of the day
post #8 of 24
If you have a good quality printer, make your own invites.

Use dried or artificial flowers and make your own arrangements (if it is dried/artificial you can make it in advance).

Here is a good info link - the menu to the right of the 1st page offer different suggestions.Budget wedding

Instead of having the photograph stay for the reception, get little disposable cameras to place on each table and ask the guests to take some candids.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
We got our cake from the grocery store. They make excellent cakes, and we ended up paying about $200 for the wedding cake. It was a very nice cake, nicely decorated, tasted great. Much cheaper than going through a specialty shop.

I also make my own veil. I bought the tiara and veil from Michaels, and then sewed on seed beads and little snowflakes to the edging of both layers of the veil. It turned out really pretty, and matched my winter theme, which a store-bought one wouldn't have done. I think I ended up paying about $35 total for the materials, and when I priced them at the bridal stores they wanted over $200!
post #10 of 24
Wow thanks you guys! The wedding probly wont be for awhile.. I guess I should bookmark this thread
post #11 of 24
Get married on a Friday night or a Sunday Afternoon instead of a Saturday. Most places are open for those nights, and cheaper because they are less popular wedding times.

My cousin is getting married in August 2004, so we have been brain storming on money saving tactics.

Great idea for a thread.
post #12 of 24
Remember - research is the key. Look at alot of different options before making a decision.
post #13 of 24
Sorry if this is long...I just got married this spring and am still coming down from wedding land!

This book
is a lifesaver! Well worth the very reasonable paperback price, and you can find it at most book stores.

We used it for a lot of advice. We didn't have the option of a small wedding - my husband's family is very large & their weddings are considered a big family event. We thought back to what made wedding receptions we attended memorable & fun for the guests, and tried to make that the priority & not worry too much about every little extravagant detail.

Watch out for the bridal magazines - they're great for dress ideas, but they're really in business for their advertisers, and will push all sorts of expenses and "extra special touches" that you "must have" but really are just additional expenses. Do you really remember every detail of weddings you've been to, or just the happy couple & if the food & drink was good, and if you had a good time at the reception? The kind of people who would judge us b/c we didn't have lace chair covers aren't the kind of people I'm worried about impressing.

I bought a moderately-priced off-the-rack wedding dress & had a seamstress customize it the way I wanted. We had the wedding in a small town not too far from the city and utilized the small-town vendors - we received excellent service at a very reasonable price, just the opposite of what we would have received here in the city. The 1890's painted church was gorgeous, so we didn't even need any church decorations. The church hall was very affordable but also very plain, so we had a woman local to that town who does bridal rentals decorate it for us - she did a fantastic job & made it look heavenly for a very reasonable price, and we weren't stuck owning a bunch of wedding decorations. For catering, we had BBQ (yes, we're in Texas all right!) from a restaurant that we go to regularly - they gave us a really good price and great service, I think a large part of that was because we're regular customers of theirs.

One area where I wouldn't skimp is the photographer, though. I've had friends who were unhappy with their photos, and can't re-take because it's a one-time event. Get names from friends and relatives who were happy with their photographer, and interview the photographer in person- he or she needs to be someone you can get along with on a stressful day, too.

For general wedding ideas & info, is a great site...just watch out b/c it's like an internet bridal magazine & they have lots of suggestions for you to spend lots of money! has wedding gowns for sale online...I didn't buy from them b/c I wanted to see the gown & try it on, but they have lots of gorgeous gowns to look at to get an idea what you want to try.

Have fun, enjoy this special time, and if anyone offers to help, take them up on it!
post #14 of 24
Josh and I got engaged just over a week ago (August 31) and we're planning a July wedding on a very, very small budget. I've come across a couple of good ways to cut down on the expense of it all..

Instead of a huge wedding cake, get a small one for photography and cerimonal cutting purposes, and a large sheet cake (or two) to serve to the rest of the guests.

Also, when it comes to flowers, the bridesmaid's bouquets can get pricey (or so I've heard) so you may opt to have them carry single candles or single flowers (I think I'm going to go the candle route).

Those are the two that come to mind. If I come across anything else, I'll let you know!!!
post #15 of 24
My sister just got married in March, and she saved some by doing the following:

1. My mom made all the bridesmaids dresses (except 1, the other grandma made it), and they turned out really well. And b/c the one bridesmaid is larger, it cost her less as well.

2. Instead of a cake, she had cupcakes just white ones I think, decorated with purple icing, and those little heart decorations.

3. Everyone pitched in and made food for the reception. There was a supper, which a local charity group did for cheap, and then there was also meat trays, and cheese trays.

That's all I can think of right now, but I do have more written down somewhere from other weddings I have been to. When I find them, I will post them.
post #16 of 24
One general tip that I used to save money on my wedding is to not do things just because they are tradition or because everybody else does them that way. Ask yourself if it's worth it *to you*. Here are some of the "compromises" I made that got me the exact wedding I wanted for under $5000, for 80 guests, with very fancy food:

Dress: A seamstress friend of my mother's made my knee-length wedding dress, based on a formal dress I already had and looked great in (so no commercial pattern needed) for about $150, and I made a beading panel to go around the neckline. I spent more on a matching pearl hairband and short veil, because it really made the outfit look like a wedding ensemble. I bought the shoes at Zellers and my earrings were my something borrowed. My husband wore a nice new suit that he needed for work anyway. My maid of honour wore a pantsuit (not that it saved me any money, but was just another non-traditional element)

Miscellaneous: I didn't do favours/souvenirs, professional photos or flowers, garter or bouquet toss, or a feathery pen for guest book. Nobody noticed, or they didn't say anything to anyone. I know I wouldn't feel insulted or cheated if I went to a wedding that didn't have these things, so I figured I'd spend the money where my guests and I would appreciate it. Family and friends helped out with flowers, photos and decorating. We each only had one attendant. We got married in May (non-prime season) so were able to easily book rooms at the hotel for everything and everyone we needed.

Food: I made my own cakes and the catering staff stored, cut and served them for me, since they were doing the other food anyway, at no extra charge. The dining/dancing and ceremony rooms were free since we used the hotel catering service, and we got the honeymoon suite for free, too. We had the ceremony at 6PM since almost nobody in my family is an early riser (I got out of bed at the crack of 10 to get to my hair appointment...), so we avoided a sit-down dinner, and had an amazing hors d'oeuvres buffet for less than a very basic plated dinner. Only really rich people do open bars around there, so we paid for a champagne toast and everyone was thrilled.

Things we did splurge on: food and DJ; the first because we love to eat, and the second because nobody in the family could do it, and we all love to dance.

The other great thing about doing things yourself is that you are in control. The few things that I left to the "professionals" were the only ones that caused me any headaches. My headpiece took forever to come because the store forgot to order it the first time, and the DJ played the one song I asked him not to (the Macarena, which I detest). As an unabashed control freak, it was just easier to do stuff myself
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Congrats on the engagement Jillian!

Julie has a really good point....traditions are only important if they mean something to YOU.

For the Rehearsal Dinner, it was a buy your own. We couldn't afford to pay for everyone and neither could his parents. So we went to Fuddruckers, a hamburger joint. We had a section reserved for our party, and it was a party! It was actually one of the best things we did.

We didn't do the bouquet or garter toss either, mainly because my (grr) sister was late and we didn't get all the pictures done before the wedding like I had planned. But that was OK because I actually forgot to make a throw-away bouquet and there was no way I was tossing my real bouquet! LOL

We had a really small wedding, and we actually had the reception at our apartment! It turned out to be a blast though. A friend of ours worked at a micro-brew/restaurant and gave us a keg of beer for our wedding present, and we made our own meat and cheese trays (much cheaper than buying them pre-made!).

Really about the only thing traditional about our wedding was the ceremony.
post #18 of 24
I think my head is going to explode
post #19 of 24
Calm down, you have plenty of time to worry about details later.

What's important is that you two are happy.
The fact that you get married to the one you love is the only detail that matters. You have lots of time to worry about how you want to do it.

My mom got married out in the country on my Grandma's ranch by a justice of the peace & only immediate family there - then they grilled their supper & drank beer. She loved every minute of it!
post #20 of 24
Hey, check out this site if you're feeling stressed - I loved it!
post #21 of 24
Originally posted by Sicycat
I think my head is going to explode
OH boy...did we all forget to tell you that no matter what, no matter how well intentioned, you may feel overwhelmed (it's no wonder folks elope!). Lots of advice will come your way, just take the best of it, and then do what you want <G>. And don't take it personally when someone, on one side of the family or the other, throws a fit...someone(s) always does something that ramps up the stress.

Somehow, weddings still occur, are still wonderful, and the day always goes by too fast.

Just do what is best for you and he, you're about to become a partnership, and in my (and my husband's opinion) it is the foremost relationship next to one's relationship with God (if you believe). It surpasses in importance the relationship with even your parents, and is to be safeguarded and tended as the precious thing it is.

Oh HECK I SOUND OLD! I swear I'm not (whimpering off into silence on this topic, I promise).
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
Sicy, the one thing to keep in mind, and this doesn't cost any money, is that no matter what goes perfect and what goes the end of the day as long as you are married to the man you love the rest is pretty trivial. It is easy to get stressed and overloaded. Someone gave another very good piece of advice - when someone offers to help, let them! I planned everything of my wedding myself, and at times it was overwhelming.
post #23 of 24
Do as much as you can yourself and have friends and family pitch in as much as possible.
Buy in bulk.
Use disposable cameras to get good candid shots.
Make your cake yourself or have a family member do it for you. I got lucky and the hotel threw it in for free.
Don't get a guest book, go to a scapbook store and buy pretty paper and print out a signature page on it and use it instead (then it can go into your album!).
If you know someone who does scrapbooking then don't buy the album from the photographer, have them do it instead (it will be more personal and more fun).
Try to go with someplace for the reception than can do the decor, the cooking, the music. We had the hotel cook the meal and they did the cakes for free. They provided the decorations and my family decorated. And hubby and I bought CD collections of romantic songs and they were able to play that and pipe it into the room.
Make your own decorations--we did the pew bows and the table centerpieces.
Check 99cent stores, dollar stores, the discount sections of places like Walmart on an almost daily basis. You'll never know what you'll find--I found little ivy circlets for candles for my reception at Walmart in the discount section and bought 10 for $5.
Make your own veil.
Buy a second hand gown (do NOT get a seamstress if you can avoid it).

Those are just a few of the things I did or learned I should have done.

Oh, also, it works even better to make sure that the people you are paying (like maybe the florist) is a friend of the family.
post #24 of 24
Also, we did not provide alcohol. We figured if the people wanted to get drunk they could pay for it themselves. We didn't want to be responsible.

And don't worry about any of it! My dress and the groom's tux was messed up, the photographer was a jerk, etc., and only I was aware of it. Everyone else had not a clue except for those helping. When you look at my wedding pictures you cannot tell my dress didn't fit and wasn't the right design.
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