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April 2013 Weddings

Saving Money?

Has anyone come up with more clever ways to cut your budget down that don't include the standard "cut the guest list, get married on a weekday, no alcohol, morning reception, etc"?  



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Re: Saving Money?

  • Vendors at wedding fairs usually have wedding fair deals. I saved 50% on my DJ because I booked them when they were having a wedding fair special. I also saved money on my venue because it was in my city and I was a resident.
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  • Spunky414Spunky414 member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited June 2012
    I've definitely saved money by only doing things my FI and I actually want or have meaning to us and not just doing anything because it's expected or traditional. No point in spending money on things we don't care about just because. Also, I found myself having way more wants when I exposed myself to wedding sites, blogs, magazines etc so I've cut back. I only look at them when want specific ideas. Not being constantly bombarded with advertising helps. 

    Otherwise our invites are coming from vistaprint or zazzle, the music from an ipod, I'm diying my feather bouquet, boutineers, and centerpieces with most of the supplies bought with coupons or on sale which is way cheaper than traditional flowers, our ceremony and reception are in the same location and it's an all inclusive price per person, I'm getting ready in a hotel near the venue and we are taking pictures before to cut down on the time we need our photographer, and we get printing rights to all our photos so we can get prints and albums elsewhere for a much lower price

    ETA I'm also making my veil, they are super easy to do even if you aren't crafty and the markup on them is absolutely insane. Oh and a small bridal party, fewer flowers, fewer gifts and bonus of less drama.
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  • vk2204vk2204 member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary 100 Love Its Name Dropper
    Find a venue that has a lot of costs rolled into one price. Our venue had a per person price with drinks included. At first glace it was more than every other venue, but most places around here only showed their per plate price NOT drinks included. When we added that all up it was way more than our venue. Also our venue provides linens, complimentary cake cutting, champagne toasts etc.

    Don't knock out a vendor you love until you have met with them. Most are willing to work with your budget and can create custom packages for you. Look for vendors who are just getting into the business, they usually have awesome deals.

    I am not having flowers at my wedding. I am making a brooch bouquet and don't want real flowers anywhere except corsages.

    We aren't doing STD's. For me, they are a waste of money because 80% of our guest list already know when/where our wedding is.

    I don't think we are doing favors. If we do they will be the frames from our photobooth AND those will be used as their seating cards too. The company will print them for us at an extra cost, but it is still cheaper to do them together instead of all separate.

    We aren't going on a honeymoon. Partly because FI (hopefully) will be in a new job and can't get time off, and partly because we would rather put that money towards our actual wedding.

    Limit your current spending now. Any extra money throw in a jar until the day of. Use that for the little things - hair, make up, or anything else. An extra $20 a month of not eating out or buying unnecessary items will add up quickly!
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  • All of what PP has said is great advise.  Also utilize your local board.  Mine has a vendor review list and they are very helpful in finding low prices.  
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  • When you meet with a vendor, don't let them show you what THEY offer.  Tell them "Our budget is xyz - what can you do for us?"  A lot of times, they will work with you and discount one of their packages because they'd rather have a booking than have nothing on the books for that day.

    I'm doing MAJOR DIY, but that is one of my strong suits.  I've always been crafty and creative. 

    If you don't have anything set in stone, look around for towns nearby that might not be so expensive.  For example, a sit down dinner reception IN Chicago will run you at least $150pp.  If you're willing to dirve an hour or so into the suburbs, you can get the same menu for $99pp. 

    Don't be afraid to call in favors or ask people for help.  I have a cousin who does graphic design for a living and she designed our Save the Date postcards for free.  Then I waited until Zazzle had a 50% off sale and had them printed. 

    ALWAYS ask, before you buy or commit to anything, if the store/vendor will be offering any discounts or sales any time soon.  Don't be ashamed of telling them you're on a budget and that their current prices are more than you can pay.  The place printing our invites (that I designed myself) told me that they usually run a sale in October.  I'd love to get them done now and out of the way, but I'm waiting until Ocbober so I can get that 25% off.  If I hadn't asked about sales/discounts, I would have paid full price for the printing.

    Are there certain areas where you are running into budget problems?  Maybe if you post specific things you need help with, someone can help you with better ideas.
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  • Okay, more info requested?  Your wish is my command :-)

    FI and I are getting married at my parents' rental home in NC so it's not one of those "everything's included venues," like another one we toured that was totally outdated and would have required a TON of decorations.  It's a small town so there aren't too many options as far as vendors go but luckily most of the ones we've talked to offer a military discount :-)

    I'm getting a military discount on my dress, photography, and potentially my florist(if we go with her).  We're getting the use of the house for free and having the ceremony and reception there so we don't have to pay for transportation or lose time with the photographer, etc.  

    The thing we're running into is that we have to rent all of the equipment: tent, chairs, tables, linens, dishes, glassware, etc.  I cut back by choosing a smaller tent and having dancing inside so we don't have to pay for a big tent, dancefloor and extra tables for the DJ, bar, etc.

    I'm also trying to find a way to get a cheap arch.  The rental company has one but it LOOKS cheap.  New ones are about $200 at Lowe's but I was wondering if any of you have found some cheaper ones online.  Craigslist doesn't have much.

    I'm looking for cheap favors and attendant gifts.  I have 8 BMs and 8 GM so we'd like to get them all something nice since this wedding will require a LOT of help from them but we can't break the bank.

    Any tips on the wedding cake?  Are some flavors less expensive than others, typically?  Originally we were thinking a simple, two-tier design with sheet cakes but the more I think about it, the more I want to go big with it.  Cupcakes are a no.   

    We're expecting about 150 people to come but the guest list is around 260 and we're really hoping less than 150 come ;-)  And no, the guest list can't be cut.

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  • I'm DIY'ing my favors and they're coming out to about 75 cents a piece.  I'm also adding a piece of cardstock on the bottom with their name and table assignment so that cuts out the need for escort cards.  The boxes will be turned over on the escort card table so they can find their name and when they flip it over, there's the favor.  I'm doing various landmarks from the city where we're doing our destination wedding, but you could also do pics of you and your FI if you wanted.  I'd be happy to help you with the design if you want. 



    Check the local park district or chamber of commerce for rental of the chairs and tables.  Our park district rents them out for next to nothing.

    You also might want to look into buying tablecloths - I've seen them for as little as $8 online, and you can always sell them afterwards to recoup some of the cost. 

    Try etsy for attendant gifts - most of the time you can get some really cute stuff for under $20 if you're willing to put in the time to search.

    You CAN expand your search beyond the small town itself.  Anyone within a 10-15 mile radius should be willing to provide services. 

    The cake is going to be the killer.  Publix has decent ones, as does Walmart.  Try local grocery stores - ours does wedding cakes and they're really good.  Flavors won't matter unless you want a filling that's off season.  You can also see if there's a culinary school anywhere out there and see if anyone has a portfolio that will work for you.  If you're going to be anywhere near Hilton Head, SC, I definitely vouch for my baker - www.sherisedibledesigns.com. She's not cheap but she's cheaper than others we spoke with.

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  • I recommend Publix for cake. We had originally budgeted $600 for cake, and my WP told me that was a low estimate (we're having 120-130 people). I went to Publix for a tasting and an estimate. A 3 tier cake + a sheet cake including delivery was $400. You can get the price lower if you do 2 tiers instead of 3. And Publix cake is delicious! Good luck!
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  • There's no Publix in this part of NC, unfortunately :-/ Just Walmart and Food Lion.

    We were thinking about doing luggage tags to go with our travel theme.  I've found some super cute, expensive ones and some super cheap, cheap-looking ones.  Maybe I can get the cheap ones and then put a fun little sticker thingy on the back of them??

    We got our escort cards from his Mom, she found some simple ones for about $5 so that's covered.

    Does anyone have any tips for cute cake toppers you can make yourself?  Originally I was going to do flowers on top but maybe I'll supplement them with a monogrammed letter "C"...ohhhh I don't know!  ;-)

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  • Do you have a theme for your wedding?  There's a DIY board and they have some very creative ideas.  If you go with a monogram, most cover it with flatback rhinestones but that can get expensive if you get a larger monogram.

    I bought a topper way back when.  It's an acrylic heart that you can slide a photo of you and your FI into and it sits on its side on top of the cake.  I paid about $15 for it and the photo for the inside will be a snapshot that will cost us all of $.29 to print.  However, I don't know if it will work with the style of cake we've chosen:


    I really like the idea of the 2 chocolate stick figures holding hands on top of the cake and think that would be more appropriate than the photo thing I already bought.  We are about 10 months away and I already need to do a for sale page.  lol

    Are you thinking of luggage tags for favors?  That will get VERY expensive, even with the cheap ones.  But that would be a cool gift for your bridal party if you get the quality ones, especially if some of them travel a lot.
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  • For your BM gifts: one of the ladies on my local board sent me an invite to private coach sales. I recently was able to get leather wristlets for my girls for $23 a piece. You can sign up here for invites to their sales. In the past couple of months, I've gotten two invites to sales, so they are fairly frequent.  

    Have you checked into Costco for the cake? I'm not sure if they make tiered ones, but their cake is delicious and not that expensive...


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  • Oh I also meant to second what a PP said about Bridal shows.  We've already received some great deals while being a mailing list from the shows. For example, our photographer's packages for all day were about 4K.  She sent out a special email and we got a reduced rate of under 2k for basically the same thing. 


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  • Hahaha, y'all are awesome :-)  I've given two of my girls Coach wristlets for their birthdays this year so maybe I can do that for some of the others.  Those were on sale at Dillard's for $25-$35 each.  They all have such different personalities that I'm really going to have to get creative so they're all happy.

    Costco doesn't do tiered cakes but they do sheet cakes.  We were going to get sheet cakes from there depending on how much the local baker would charge for them.

    I haven't heard of any bridal shows near me(Florida) and I can't travel back and forth to North Carolina(where we're getting married all of the time.  Maybe they'll have one in Raleigh over the winter...it's also weird for me to go to those alone since my family and bridal party is so spread out.  It just doesn't seem as exciting if I don't have someone to giggle with.

    As for our theme, it's a travel theme since he and I are military and constantly deployed and always having to travel back and forth to see each other because we're stationed 6 hrs away from each other.

    We're under budget so far, just trying to keep it that way. Thanks ladies :-) I hope others get fun ideas from these posts, too.

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