Wedding couple standing on a Dollar bank note isolated on white backgroundWhen my hubby and I got engaged, we didn’t expect to plan our wedding in less than a year – but life is unpredictable, and that’s what happened. Looking back, we realize that our situation was unique in that we each had saved up a reasonable amount to contribute to the event, enabling us to immediately jump in to planning. Still, even if you haven’t saved considerably, there are ways to ensure a budget friendly day.

In seven steps we were able to guarantee we didn’t go for broke – and you can too.

Save On Your Wedding in Seven Steps

  • Buy a Guidebook. I was given Bridal Bargains right after I got engaged and carried it with me for the next 9 months. It was chock full of ideas and tips for budgeting, including how to save on dresses, flowers, venues and beyond. Thanks to this book I found manzanita trees on Craigslist that another bride was selling. I was able to pick them up at a discount, spray paint the boxes to match my colors, and save myself a decent amount of money on centerpieces.
  • Work your contact list. Are any of your friends and family designers, bakers, or party planners? I reached out to a family friend who is a DJ and he offered to do our wedding for half of his usual rate. Also, our actual wedding venue was on my original “no way can we afford this” list. It turned out that my husband’s uncle had a contact at the venue and we were offered friends and family pricing that we couldn’t pass up!
  • Don’t be shy – Ask! The wedding industry has a reputation for steep prices. Vendors are going to quote on the higher end, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work with you. Always ask for discounts. Inform them of your budget and ask what they can provide in your price range. Since my husband is in the Navy, we asked about military discounts. Our photographer threw in an extra hour of shooting. Many vendors also provide referral discounts if you’re being sent to them by a past client.
  • Prioritize. We all want our big day to be just right, but it’s unrealistic to think we can afford it all. By identifying two or three items that are of most importance to you, you’ll know where to adjust for the rest. My husband and I each picked two non-negotiables. We were willing to pay more for a photographer and a DJ.
  • Be flexible. Sometimes you just need to roll with it, as things won’t always go as planned. Imagine our surprise when we found that our planned minister could no longer marry us… two months before the wedding. Stress set in, but thanks to Yelp and Google, we had a great (and affordable!) minister lined up within a week.
  • SALEs. It is possible to get quality items at a discount. I bought the first dress I tried on and it was on sale in the low hundreds. The invitations we ordered online were also purchased at a discount because I searched for coupon codes before placing my order. By coming in lower on these budgets, I was able to allocate money elsewhere.
  • DIY. It takes time, but creating items yourself can save a lot of money. Instead of giving away favors, we made two donations to our favorite charities (this can also double as a tax deduction at year end if you itemize). In addition, by using Microsoft Publisher, I was able to design our programs, seating chart and more.