The average cost of a wedding in 2011 was $25,631. That’s $85.44 a minute for a 5 hour wedding!
In this economy, every bride is looking for ways to trim her wedding budget. And to help, we’ve created a list some of our favorite ways to cut your wedding costs. And we don’t mean by having your wedding on a Tuesday in February. But rather smart simple ways…that your guests won’t even notice!
1) Use flowers in key areas only (like the altar or place where you will say your vows). This is where all of your guests eyes will be, and where the majority of your photographs will be taken. Make this area a pretty focal point, and skip the blooms elsewhere.
2) Have your florist create hand-tied bouquets for you and your bridesmaids. They are less expensive than wired ones (because they take less time to create) and are every bit as pretty.
3) Use your wedding party flowers again at your reception. Bouquets look gorgeous surrounding your cake and they can make amazing centerpieces at your head table.
Photo Chia and Hon Photography
Food and Beverage Costs
4) Butler passed hor d’oeuvres can actually be less expensive than buffet style (because guests tend to eat less of them). Ask your caterer about your options.
5) Create a signature drink (made with non-premium alcohol) to save on bar costs. Give the drink a personalized name to make it fun and all about the two of you.
Photo: Jonathan Burton Photography
6) Reduce your cocktail hour by 15-20 minutes. None of your guests will notice. And your bar bill will be less.
Flowers/ Centerpieces/ Tables
7) Use fewer, larger tables to reduce the number of centerpieces and linen rentals required. Create tables of 10 or 12 instead of 8. (Be sure to use larger tables that guests aren’t crowded).
8) Make/rent table runners instead of fancy tablecloths – they are just as impactful and less expensive than full linens.
9) Instead of printing individual menus, create one large menu and place it by your entrance or escort cards.
10) Give your florist a long list of flowers you love and those you don’t. Then give him/her flexibility to use the most cost effective/ seasonal flowers from your list. Flexibility equal savings.
11) Consider less expensive flowers like carnations, baby’s breath or gladiolas. These blooms tend to be 1/3 the cost of roses and look very dramatic and impactful when used in large monochromatic arrangements.
Photo: Cornerstone Events
12) Buy your own vases from places like Pier1 or Ikea. They can be less expensive than what your florist carries. (And you’ll be able to give the centerpieces away at the end of evening if you’d like).
13) Go for simpler arrangements vs elaborate ones. Less timing consuming for your florist = less cost.
14) Ask your florist for ideas about including non-floral items that add impact while lowering cost. A vase filled with lemons or limes can be quite striking.
15) Save by using a faux cake. They are absolutely beautiful and your guests won’t notice the difference (you can still cut it).
Cake Photos by Luisa Galuppo
16) Or order only enough cake for 75% of your guests (more guests than you think actually don’t eat the cake).
17) Another option is to have a smaller cake (tall but smaller cakes have great impact) and then a second “kitchen cake” which is cut and served to your guests (who will never notice).
18) Skip the cake altogether and serve your favorite dessert!
19) Of course, we have to mention the savings associated with a preowned wedding dress! Whether you buy a preowned dress or sell your new gown after your wedding, you can save (or recoup) a significant portion of the retail price. That’s hundreds or potentially even thousands of dollars that can be used on other wedding costs (or towards upgrading your honeymoon)!
20) Don’t buy “wedding shoes.” Instead, buy a fabulous pair of colored shoes that will add a fun punch of color to your day…and that you can wear again and again.
Do you have a favorite way to save on wedding costs? Share you savvy below!
Source: Wedding costs data via The Wedding Report.
We just love this idea from Martha Stewart Weddings….
Tulle sashes are such a fabulous (and inexpensive) way to dress up your bridesmaid dresses. What a great way to create one look for your ceremony, and another for your reception. And here are just a few of the bridesmaid dress options we think this would look great with…
1. David’s Bridal Short Pleated Dress, $129
2. Ann Taylor Silk Pintuck Dress, $70
3. J.Crew Belinda Dress, $195
4. Alfred Sung, $122
One of the great things about buying a preowned wedding dress – is that you can save (a lot of !) money – without looking like you cut corners. In keeping with that smart saving idea, here are our 20 favorite ways to reduce your wedding budget – without looking like you did.
1. Opt to use flowers only in key areas (like the altar or ceremony spot) which is where the majority of your photos will be taken.
2. Carry hand-tied bouquets which are less expensive than wired ones).
3. If you are using a church, check if they will provide the flowers (since they usually do them for Sunday services anyway). Some churches will provide beautiful altar flowers for under $100 (with your choice of flowers).
Food and Beverage Costs
4. Save by using less popular dates/times: Jan-May are less popular wedding months, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays are less popular days, afternoons are less popular times. Having your wedding on “off peak” times means the cost per person may be less and the required guest count will be lower.
5. Reduce the length of your cocktail hour by 15 or 30 minutes. This will reduce f&b costs and no one will notice.
6. Serve a signature drink (made with non-premium alcohol) to save on bar costs. Give the drink a name that matches your wedding theme to make it fun.
7. Skip the champagne toasts – no one drinks it. Or if you want to include it, try Prosecco, a sparkling Italian wine that tastes like champagne – but costs a lot less.
8. Butler passed hor d’oeuvres can actually be less expensive than buffet style, so check with your caterer.
9. Use fewer, larger tables to reduce the number of centerpieces and linen rentals required.
10. Give your florist a long list of flowers you love and flowers your don’t. Then give him/her flexibility to use the most cost effective/ seasonal flowers from your list.
11. Buy your own vases from places like Pier One or Ikea. They can be less expensive than what your florist carries.
12. Avoid weddings near holidays (like Valentine’s day) where floral costs are inflated due to demand.
13. Reuse your bridesmaid bouquets at the reception…they can make great centerpieces or a great frame for your cake table.
14. Consider carnations, which are generally 1/3 the cost of roses and look very dramatic when used in large, tight arrangements.
15. Use large bloom flowers which will fill out a centerpiece with fewer flowers and often cost less than two or three smaller flowers that equal its size.
16. Use non-floral items like like curly willow branch, kale, and even fruits and veggies (artichokes, plums, acorns, apples, and bright citrus fruits) which can enhance floral arrangements at a lower cost.
17. Non-floral centerpieces can be very impactful and can serve dual purposes (like also being your dessert or favors)
18. Order enough cake for only 75% of your guests (because so many people don’t actually eat the cake), or order enough cake for 50% of your guest and ask that half servings be plated and served. A third option is to order a smaller cake (one that would serve 30-50% of your guests) for the cutting, and have the rest of the servings cut from a kitchen sheet cake. Cakes that are taller (with smaller layers) can feel large without being as costly.
19. Add impact with minimal/low cost
o A walkway lit with luminaries can be done for under $75 and provides a welcoming entrance to a ceremony or reception
o White holiday lights can be wrapped around trees or doorways to create a magical look
o Waitstaff with trays of wine and hor d’oeuvres can line the entrance to your reception and have a dramatic effect
20. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with vendors. Costs can usually be reduced or additional items/services included.
All images from PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com Real Wedding Features
There is something so charming about a pair of wreaths on the doorway to your ceremony. They invite guests in and set a welcoming tone for your entire wedding.
I love these moss covered initial wreaths from (where else) etsy. At only $150 for the pair, its an affordable and stylish addition to your Day. (You can even use them again as Bride and Groom chair markers at the reception).
If florals are more your thing, check out these wreaths from CreativeDecorations.com. At only $45 – $80 each, they too make a statement – without breaking the bank.