Save for a Sunny Day - Keeping Your Wedding on Budget

If you follow my blog, you know that I have a passion for planning parties.  I plan holiday parties, birthday parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties and baby showers.  To me, throwing a party is like a sunny day.  It's something I very much look forward to landing as well as participating in.  Planning my wedding was the ultimate planning extravaganza, full of excitement and joy.  In any wedding situation, loved ones want nothing more than for the happy couple to blissfully enter married life with the day of their dreams, however, planning this big party can also be full of stressful money battles, disgruntled bridesmaids and disappointment when it comes to budgeting.  But it is possible to save up for your big day and control your spending in a big way.  I'm here to share some tips that I used in my planning to stay in control of your money and live your sunny day!

Plan your budget with "your people".  
Everyone involved in your wedding planning has to be on the same page.  This conversation needs to happen between the bride and groom, the couple and each set of parents, the bride and bridesmaids and the groom and groomsmen.  Find out who is contributing what, in terms of both money and time.  Get details on who is planning what, such as bridal showers and rehearsal dinner.  Get dollar amounts from parents and in-laws to be if they are contributing to your wedding fund.  It's crucial to start with this step so expectations can be realistic and budgets don't get blown.

Discuss what is important to you and your fiancé.
When my husband, Steve, and I sat down to plan, the food was the most important thing to us, so most of our budget was dedicated to it.  It might seem a little over the top to create a ranked list of things that are important to you as a couple, but it really helped us put things into perspective.  Ours went like this: food, music, bridal attire, decor/flowers, photography, favors/little details/invitations.  I suggest making a meeting out of it; go over the details and put things in writing.
For our flowers, I wanted colors to go with our "look" but they would have been incredibly expensive, so I asked the florist to spray color plain white blooms to what I wanted.  They were cheap, beautiful and made quite a statement. 

Elect a "budget chairman".
This is your money person and in my life this was my husband to be.  This is the person who stays rational and keeps your budget and "list of important things" in mind when you try on and fall in love with that $15,000 wedding gown, desire a photo booth, live band, clown, caricature artist.... Weddings can get out of control very quickly and your budget chairman is there to take you aside and politely tell you that, no, your budget cannot afford a performance by Beyoncé.

Figure out where you can skimp.
I personally believe the place to skimp is invitations and that's exactly what we did.  Sure it's impressive to receive a beautiful box full of textured, layered cards that play delicate harp music and have a live butterfly fly out... But where does this invite end up? That's right, the trash.  I'm a wedding enthusiast and still every invitation I've ever received is now in a landfill.   It's simply not necessary to spend hundreds or thousands on invitations, unless you have quite the budget.  Another place to skimp: favors.  I really hate favors. Most of the time these nick nacks also end up in the trash.  Save money here and forgo them all together or give me a cookie, candy or something else I can eat. 

Don't be afraid to go "out of the box".
This is a biggie.  This is your day as a couple and if you're forking over the cash for this event, don't let anyone tell you how it should or shouldn't go.  Don't feel forced to have a traditional hotel/country club reception because it's "expected".  They are often the most expensive options.  My sister in law had her reception in a barn, roasted a pig, had pies instead of wedding cake, hired a friend to serve homemade sangria, margaritas and beer and DIY'd the centerpieces with wild flowers.  It was was one of my favorite weddings to date.

If you can do it yourself, do it! In the days of Pinterest and Google, it's so easy to find tutorials on just about anything.  The resources are endless and DIY is very trendy.  I say over and over that it's  amazing what you can make with paper.  Get online and start looking; your dream wedding is yours to create.  Make sure to enlist some crafty friends and family and practice some serious time management.  You don't want to be that bride up all night before her wedding putting finishing touches on menu cards or centerpieces.
DIY paper flowers in a DIY reclaimed wood flower box.
My mom made my headpiece which was both a money saver and incredibly special.

Know your friends and families' situations.
Try to keep in mind that everyone does t have the same financial status and remember how expensive it is to be a part of a wedding.  Don't let your expectations ruin relationships.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen it happen, especially with bridesmaids.  There is money drama in almost every wedding I've been a part of.  It's true this is your day as a couple, and your friends and family want to support you, but think about them when selecting dresses, tux rentals and accessories.
I chose a reasonably priced dress and gave jewelry as part of my bridesmaids gift.  The jewelry was DIY. 

Reuse and repurpose.
This tip is more useful for showers and other wedding events.  Every time I throw a party, the first step is to pick a theme.  I then walk around my house/closets/attic and inventory what I can integrate into my theme that I already own.  It might be silver candle holders I use every day that would look great topped with pink poms for a bridal shower, or the sailer wheel I have in my beach themed bedroom for a nautical baby shower.  It also doesn't hurt to do this same thing in the homes of your friends and family to see if you can borrow anything.
Use Google to find great deals.
I've had some amazing luck googling "used wedding reception decor" to find some awesome resale websites around the net.  You will find everything from 100 place card holders for $25.00 to bulk burlap, votive holders, photo booth props... The possibilities are endless and most items are a great deal because people want to unload this stuff.  It's also a great place to resell your own wedding items.
"It's only one day."
People throw this saying around all the time and while it's a true statement, the memories made on this day last a lifetime.  I preach to plan your idea of a perfect day, and "perfection" includes a perfect budget.  Everything will fall into place with proper planning, and your planning should start at for all of your budgeting needs!

1 comment

  1. Thank you for sharing this information. It’s very helpful in planning events within our budget. I'm arranging my friend's wedding and looking for wedding venues nyc. Have searched online and found some nice venues. Looking forward to book a beautiful one.