My beautiful Budget Wedding
The average wedding costs $30,000. As a wedding vendor this may be on odd statement for me to be saying, but I'm going to go ahead and say it anyways: spending $30,000 on a wedding is insane.
I mean it’s ONE day people, chill.
When I was a young teenager and someone asked me what my dream wedding would be, I said I wanted to get married at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and have all the guests stay and celebrate in the campground. That actually remained my dream wedding into adulthood. But you quickly learn that planning a wedding isn't just about making the bride and groom happy. You want your guests to have a great time as well, and if you're going to subject your friends and family to a day all about you, then you should really try to make it a day that they will enjoy. And my mom wisely pointed out to me that most people do not want to eat hot dogs for dinner (say it ain't so!), sleep in a tent or cabin with terrible beds (fair enough, the beds are terrible), or use an outhouse (wimps). So, I let go of the camp idea in place of a wedding venue in a beautiful setting on the shore of Lake Superior. But my husband and I are pretty low key people and we still didn't want to spend a ton of money on one day, so here is what we did:
Choose your top 3 things that you care about the most.
For us, it was food, drinks and photography. I wanted to stick to a budget so I chose those things and sacrificed in areas that weren’t as important to me.
If decor is important to you, definitely get it! If you don't want to be stressed or you feel disorganized, then get a wedding planner. It is all a balance of not wanting to have regrets, and not wanting to break the bank.
I decided to decorate myself, I was lucky with being able to borrow decor from my sisters wedding. I opted for cupcakes instead of a wedding cake, a playlist and rented speakers instead of a band or dj, a white dress instead of a 'wedding' dress.
Here are other big ways I kept costs low:
Shorten the Guest List
This is the easiest and most effective way to ensure costs will be kept low. If the guest list is small, then a smaller venue can be chosen and the cost per plate for catering will be low as well, not too mention you won't need as many centerpieces, chair rentals, table cloths, and so on. If you don't speak to them in a whole year, do they really need to be at your wedding?
Choose Your Venue Wisely
If your venue is beautiful to begin with, you won’t have to spend as much on decorations. An outdoor setting with a natural backdrop is perfect, or a cool indoor space with exposed brick. Let the venues beauty shine and ditch the decor.
Not a designer? That’s okay! There are plenty of options for keeping low cost, while having wedding invitations that your guests will actually want to treasure! You can purchase invitation sets for $20 or less online. There are so many unique options and most come with everything included (rsvp, save the date, thank you, menu, place cards, table numbers and programs).
Head over to my Creative Market shop here to check out over 100 different $20 template suites.
Another great way to save with invitations is to go the extra mile and print them at home! If that sounds like too much work, Vistaprint offers inexpensive printing as well.
I purchased a bridesmaids dress in ivory for my wedding dress and saved almost $1,000. I was drooling over one designer (Watters) when I was looking online at dresses. But I knew I didn't want to spend more than $200 on a dress I was only going to wear once. So, I decided to check out the Watters bridesmaid dress line. Voila! The perfect dress at a fraction of the cost of a wedding dress from the same designer.
You can also purchase the designer wedding dress of your dreams at a fraction of the cost! How? Easy! There are many websites where you can purchase used wedding dresses. Sometimes they haven’t even been worn, the bride simply decided to go with another dress after purchasing it.
Not convinced? Just consider this: wedding dresses are worn for only one day, and in addition to that, a day that the average women is super careful about her attire. Most pre-owned wedding dresses are in great shape, almost like new because brides take care of those babies!
Homemade Photo booth
Set up a camera on a tripod. Have the camera set to timer mode, if possible with the setting set to take three photos after a ten second delay. BOOM. Done.
Another fun option is to do a video guestbook and set up the camera in a quiet corner and have your guest record a little video message of well wishes for you. And yes, as the night goes on the video messages get hilarious and provide you with plenty of good blackmail, so there's that.
Another cool trend is the Polaroid guestbook. You just have to leave a photo book and the instant camera on a table and let your guests take photos. It makes a really sweet keepsake of the day and then you have a fun camera afterwards!
Don't be afraid to ask your friends and family for some help. Most likely a few ladies (or gentlemen) in your life will have some really nice items that you can ask to borrow for your wedding. Mix and match pretty vases, teacups and anything else you can think of. My aunt offered to let me borrow about 40 beautiful lanterns for my wedding. I didn't end up needing them, but my point is, it doesn't hurt to ask.
Florist do create incredibly beautiful bouquets. But if that isn't in your budget, flowers don’t have to be a huge expense. You can have beautiful centerpieces and amazing bouquets without spending a dime! Take a look at these gorgeous bouquets. The first was made using only wildflowers that my mom found outside the morning of my wedding. The second was made by my sister with flowers from our moms garden.
Another cost friendly option is Costco. They provide high quality flowers at a very fair price. And they will deliver on time right to your door! I only ordered one of their batch of white flowers for about $100, and it was more than enough for all of my centerpiece vases and for bridesmaid bouquets as well.
Photos by Laura Paxton of Flashback Photo: laurapaxton.ca
I want to hear from you! How did you lower your wedding costs? Did you stick to your budget?