California-Los Angeles

Need your best tips.... I am drowning!

I just started the planning process and I refuse to believe that I need to spend $30,000 (which my fiance and I do not have) to have a fun, and beautifull wedding.  Please send me your best money saving tips and amazing and yet affordable vendors.  Thank you

Re: Need your best tips.... I am drowning!

  • RoMy215RoMy215 member
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011

    You CAN indeed have a wedding for less than $30k .. but it will depend ... what area are you looking in and about how many guests are you planning for?
    Without knowing that....
    Many venues are less expensive for a daytime (or a Sunday) wedding than for evening ones. 
    All of the photographers I looked at had packages that allowed you options based on your budget.
    I prefer real flowers, but many people save by using silk flowers, or by doing their own. If you're doing your own, pick a friend who is not in the wedding to do it for you (the night before). : )
    Don't do a full can offer just beer/wine/champagne or just have a "signature cocktail"
    Let us know where you're looking...

    Oh ... congratulations!!!

  • edited December 2011
    I agree with RoMy215.  A lot depends on your guest list and venue. I think your budget is reasonable. Mine is very close to yours.

    Ways to save money-- don't do guest favors at all (because nobody really wants them anyways).

    Keep your guest list low--like 150 or less if possible. This will make a huge difference.  My guest list is about 120.

    Great vendors I found so far:
    My venue is wonderful--The Long Beach Museum of Art (a bit more than I wanted to spend but I still feel they are very reasonable for an ocean view)

    Love, Love my florist Bride and Bloom Flowers (she really "gets me" and my style.  Prices are reasonable)

    I am getting my rental items from Signature Rentals (linens)  They are really cheap!!!

    I also found a great deal on my dress by going to trunk shows.  I highly recommend that!!!

    Hope that helps :)

    Warning No formatter is installed for the format bbhtml
  • Vans18Vans18 member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I agree with PP. I started my list at 200 and something and had to cut it down to 130. I spent about 25grand for my wedding but could have saved much more.

    -Have your wedding on Friday or Sunday
    -Cut down the list, in other words have a smaller wedding maybe 75-120 guests
    -Do buffet style
    -No open bar
    -Have a lot of DIY projects i.e. invitations, Save the dates (STD's), Menus, Table Number/Names, things like that.
    -Find cheaper vendors, I extremely recommend "Commerce Flowers" they work on your budget and make flower arrangements just like you imagine them.
    -Skip chiavari chairs...I know they look beautiful but other chairs or chair covers look as beautiful once you see everything together.
    -Have a smaller or not bridal party. At the end is a bunch of drama and extra gifts you might buy for them. So I say cut that!

    I know there's more, if I think of anything else I'll post it later. Hope this helped! Good Luck!
  • edited December 2011
    We got married on a Sunday.  

    I DIY all of my flowers - it was a lot of work, but they were gorgeous and exactly how I wanted them to look!  It saved me thousands.  I couldn't even imagine what my order would have cost... my guess is AT LEAST $5,000.

    DIY your invitations - Tom at Anchor Paper is awesome, as well as the Kelly Paper store.

    Check about the dinner options - it was cheaper for us to have a sit down dinner.

    I agree, Chiavari chairs are pretty, but have you sat in one for a reception?  THey're really uncomfortable after a while.

    Get your wedding rings at the downtown district.

    Ask a friend to officiate for you.

    You don't need your photographer to make you an album - use the disk with images and make your own.  

    Find a location that allows you to BYOB
    Warning No formatter is installed for the format bbhtml
  • RoMy215RoMy215 member
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Here's a few other tips...

    Our venue includes 2 statioary appetizers. I was debating about doing some passed ones as well, but based on the fact that at many of the weddings I've been to, I've enjoyed the appetizers so much I've hardly been hungry for dinner, we're not doing any passed appetizers. So really think about how long people will be waiting in between the ceremony and the reception. You don't want to starve anyone, but this is defininitely an area where you can save money.

    Don't get a desert in addition to wedding cake. Some of the venues I looked at charge a cake cutting fee but will waive it if you don't get another desert. Also, we're going with cupcakes. (Buttercake Bakery is good and only $0.75 p/cupcake!!! I think we're going with Vanilla Bakery which is a little bit more, but REALLY delicious!)

    I totally agree w/ElleFirst1980 about forgoing favors. Unless there is something meaningful/'s just extra $$ that is going to get left on the tables.

    Oh and take your time and do your homework. Don't feel pressured to have everything in place because "everyone wants to know". Wink
  • imlovingitimlovingit member
    Eighth Anniversary 100 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I'll try to think of other tips others haven't mentioned but it's hard because they already gave you some really good tips.

    You can try having a Friday or Sunday wedding that alone can you save you alot of money! You can also make it a daytime wedding. 

    Research, research, research when looking for vndors. You can find great vendors that are friendly with your budget but you have to research really good to make sure you get good vendors.

    Some people rent limos but I say don't do it if you are on a small budget. 

    You can order your dress onlune and save alot of money.

    I'll see of I can think of more.

  • edited December 2011
    Some of the things we did to save money:

    -for the rehearsal dinner, we booked a room for pizza and beer! It was a lot of fun and made a relaxed atmosphere for our families to meet each other.
    -i gave the bridesmaids the brand and color for their dresses, and they could choose which one, fitting their budget.
    -DIY: save the dates, jewelry for the bridesmaids, seating cards and a board for them, addressing the invitations in calligraphy.
    -bought some great stuff and good deals on etsy, like our invitations and my jewelry.
    -no programs
    -we kept our guest list low- 65 including the bridal party.  We only invited family and very close friends.
    -we did a buffet instead of a served dinner.
    -no desert except for wedding cake.
    -no guest favors, we just made a donation to 2 charities that are important to us, which was cheaper and much more meaningful.
    -used all white linens and regular white chairs.
    -centerpieces were small but elegant and simple.
    -our venue was half the price if our wedding was before labor day, not sure if that's the case for other venues.  
    -we had the ceremony and reception in the same place so there was no transportation (limos) needed. 
    -definitely make your own wedding album

  • edited January 2012
  • edited December 2011
    You ladies are so amazing.  Thank you all so much for the advice!
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="">Re: Need your best tips.... I am drowning!</a>:
    [QUOTE]  Ditch the candy buffet.  They add up.  Beside, my venue would charge me $2/pp additional for just having one.  Then you'll need apothecary jars, other jars, candies, etc.  My favor cost me no more than $3/pp. 
    Posted by Ticosparents[/QUOTE]
    $3 a person for a favor is steep, IMO.  We did a candy buffet for less than $1.50 based on my estimates (I sold my jars after the wedding), and I had over 100 bags of candy!<div>
    </div><div>IMO, it's all about shopping smart ;-)  I raided sales after xmas and V day, which helped a lot (75% off, etc.)</div>
    Warning No formatter is installed for the format bbhtml
  • DeniseF7DeniseF7 member
    edited December 2011
    Elope. Then come back and have a reception only. 

    Seriously, spend the money on what is important to you and skip the other stuff.  Have fewer attendants. Less hassles and less flowers, gifts you have to buy.

    Find a place that has chairs that fit the decor so you don't need chair covers.  Skip the stretch Limo, just get one for the 2 of you.

    Don't invite the world to your rehearsal dinner.  People have started including out of town guests and that drives the cost up.  As an out of town guest I have learned to skip the rehearsal dinners, (saving the bride $$) and I explore the town with another guest. The dinner is mostly for the couple and their friends, it is boring as a relative to attend.  If you have to have a rehearsal dinner, make it short,  your bar bill will be smaller.  You can have the dinner before the guests hit town too.

    My invites came from Vroman's in Pasadena, custom done in shop.  Very, very reasonable.

    Skip the guest hotel goodie bags or if you must, use local items from California only as a theme.  I got polka dot recycled bags from Michaels at $1.99 each and added Crystal Geyser water, organic strawberry lemonade, Sunmaid raisins, California almonds from Cost Plus, California Chips, small size California wine, Calif.  made bars from Berkley(can't remember the brand), Giardelli squares etc.  Could also do some fruit but you would have to purchase that atthe last minute and I didn't have a last minute.  A mini friut basket would be cute too.

    I bought favors from our destination wedding location with the logo on them and just set them at each place, no decor needed.

    I did my own escort cards and place cards on the computer and used the tent style that came in sheets.  Used my own photo for save the dates at Fedex/Kinkos.  Did notes on my PC for the gift bags, paper from Staples as they have a nice little scallloped edged card you can use. punched a hole in the corner of the card and tied with a ribbon to the bag. 

    I didn't want table numbers so I used photos of places important to us and put them in a frame from Walmart. Walmart was the only place I could find frames in quantity
    for the style I wanted. I can reuse the frames to send a photo of us to family members who couldn't sttend.

    We used a restaurant but didn't have music. Restaurant is much better quality of food for half the cost.   Planned to go clubbing afterwards but I am old and I was tired. 

    Got Sand Ceremony stuff online from Amazon.The have nicest selection. If you are having a sand ceremony ask me about it first!  Got my knife and server from, engraved and it was so nice I can't believe it for very little cost.  I got the one with the solid metal heart shaped handle and it is lovely.

    Keep a book of all your notes in 1 place. Don't skip signing contracts with your vendors and have them write every little detail down. Like for your DOC if you have one, write down that you expect her to have a hankie if you sneeze or that you expect them to be able to think on their feet.  They take all your money in advance and then can do what they want . (Some)
  • edited December 2011
    Cut back your guest list.  Seriously. If they are not family and you haven't spoken to them in years, you won't miss them.

    Shop around for all of your vendors.   Never, ever get just one bid for a job.  Weather it be your flowers or your cake or your reception, your make up and hair --everything!  It's very important that you get to know the market in the area before you start writing contracts.

    Silk flowers vs real flowers: for whatever has to be made ahead of time and will be lying around for awhile, use fake flowers.  No one will care that your wedding trees have fake orchids in them--seriously.  And they'll look just as good on camera as the real thing.

    Use craft store coupons every time you go to the craft store to do your DIY stuff. If you don't have your coupons, just don't go there that day.  When you're spending hundreds of dollars on diy projects 40% off coupons free up money that can be used elsewhere.<--This is a tip I am still following now after I have gotten married.  It has saved me hundreds of dollars decorating the new house.

    For your dress:  If you must have a designer gown, find a good seamstress first.  Pay her a little extra and have her go with you to Glamour Closet.  I am dead serious on this one.  It's the equivalent of bringing in a mechanic when you buy a car.  My dress was a floor sample and the cost of alterations on top of the discounted price ended up being half of what the dress originally cost.

    Have a friend take your engagement pictures rather than a pro.  If they don't turn out right you still have the option of getting them done professionally, but if they do that's at least $250 or more saved right there.

    Decide what is most important to you, and what details are just fluff.  There's plenty of "wedding junk" that will be thrown your way as a bride.  You are much better off shopping for "non-wedding"  stuff that will make your wedding look original.  Same thing goes for gifts.  Avoid almost all jewelry, shoes and accessories that have the word "wedding" related to them.  You can expect mark up of  50% or more on such items. The only time I wouldn't follow that as a rule is when you decide that you want a specific item because it is special.  Once you figure out your budget and avoid unnecessary cost, you'll be able to free up some cash for one or two splurges(which is totally okay). 

    For your candy buffet, take advantage of holiday sales on candy.  Especially with candy that is in your colors.  Most candy is made to last on the shelves 6 months
    or more.

    Cruise the forums and look and see what items brides are wanting to get rid of at a serious discount.  I did that with my chargers.  I got them for $0.25 a piece.

    Just remember, not everything has to be a splurge to pull off a successful wedding.

    I DYI-ed our Save-the-Dates, Invites, programs, menus, flowers.  For escourt cards, I ran out of time and decided just to go with table numbers.  Instead of going with chivari chairs we just went with covered chairs(provided by our venue) and ordered chair sashes in our colors for 69 cents each.

    We skipped the pros for our E-pics, and because my DH had a nice big car, also skipped the limo(didn't make any sense).   I am also glad I skipped the white asile runner, it would have have totally drowned out my dress.

    Places you don't want to skimp are your main course(food), and your music. Skip the dessert buffet and have them serve only your cake.  Get a good DJ or a good band.  Find a DJ that will also through in uplighting for your event. Extra lighting cost us about $200.  Without good lighting the money that you spend on other decor items is totally wasted. 
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards