Nearly all engaged couples have been there. Once you start getting quotes from vendors and realizing how fast everything adds up, the amounts can feel overwhelming. The most common question I get from couples, regardless of their budget, is "how can we save money while still pulling off our dream wedding?". The good news is that you can, as long as you're willing to prioritize, do your research, and get a little creative. Side note: having a good wedding planner behind you is key to saving money and getting the most out of what you spend on your wedding day.
Before you read on, keep in mind that the most significant way to save money on your wedding is by lowering your guest count, which trickles down to your spending on food and beverage, invitations, table settings, wedding favors and so on. Once you've reached a guest count that you feel is realistic for your budget, read on to discover five practical ways to cut back on your spending without taking away from the fabulousness/wow factor of your wedding day.
1. Limit your number of bridesmaids
Ladies, I totally get it. It's your wedding day and you want to include all of the important women in your life - your childhood friends, your college girls, sorority sisters, your own sister(s), cousins, and even your fiance's sister(s). However, before you pop the question to your bridesmaids, you should take into consideration the costs that add up for each maid. Yes, it's true that bridesmaids traditionally pay for their own bridesmaid dress, shoes and accessories, but there are several other parts that the bride/couple take care of that you shouldn't skimp on. After all, your maids will be a big part of your support system throughout the planning process and on your big day!
Here is a breakdown of the average costs a bride will spend on each bridesmaid:
"Will you be my bridesmaid" gift? - $30
Bridesmaid bouquet - $70
Rehearsal dinner - $75
Professional hair & makeup - $140
Bridesmaid gift - $60
Based on this example, each bridesmaid will cost an average of $375. A bride with ten bridesmaids will dish out a total of $3,750, while a bride with 5 bridesmaids will spend $1,875. However many bridesmaids you choose to have is a very personal decision and one that only you can make, but the costs are something important to think about when developing your wedding budget.
2. Repurpose your bouquets
A wonderful way to save on your floral budget is by repurposing your handheld bouquets. Once the ceremony and group photos are finished, have your day-of coordinator gather the bouquets and place them in vases laid out in your cocktail and/or reception area. Your florist or coordinator can place the vases during set up time. You don't necessarily have to repurpose them as guest table centerpieces, but they can be used to dress up cocktail tables, bars, escort card tables, or anywhere else in your cocktail or reception area that needs a little added prettiness. This alleviates the need to purchase additional floral pieces, since you won't really need your bouquets after the ceremony and group photos.
3. Use couples' names on place cards
99% of the time, couples or families attending your wedding will be seated at the same table. It's perfectly acceptable and makes sense to print their name on the same place card for their seating arrangement, rather than giving each guest an individual card. You can label the cards the same way you labeled their invitation envelope. Custom place cards can range anywhere from $2 to $10 a piece, so coupling up those cards can easily chip away a couple hundred dollars from your spending. The only time this idea won't work is when each guest pre-selects their meal, and your caterer needs you to indicate their meal choice on the place card. In those cases, I would recommend discussing your options with your caterer.
4. Choose flowers that are in season
If you have your heart set on a particular flower type to be prominent in your floral design, look into what the peak season is for that particular flower before choosing your wedding date. For example, peonies are in full bloom in the spring, while dahlias peak in the late summer and early fall. If you choose flowers that are not in season during your wedding date, you will end up paying a premium to get those pretty blooms.
Additionally, don't forget to use greenery and foliage in your floral pieces! Not only do they create a fuller look for less money than flowers, but they add dimension, texture and natural beauty to your floral design. Check out The Knot's Wedding Flower Guide for further reading and tips on blooms and their seasons.
5. Use wedding favors that multi-task
When it comes to guest favors, I encourage couples to choose something useful that guests will remember and not be inclined to leave behind. If you love the idea of having a photo booth, many companies will print the couple's name and wedding date on the photo print outs, giving your guests both a fun memory and a thoughtful favor from your wedding.
You can also put your place cards in small frames or attach them to a small keepsake, which gives your guests a special memento to take home. Your caterer or baker may even offer gift bags with macarons or sweet treats for a reduced price which you can use for favors, as well.
Alternatively, you can forgo traditional guest favors all together and make a donation to a charity that is meaningful to you and your fiance, which your guests are sure to be appreciative of!
Hope these ideas are helpful for you! For questions or further assistance with your planning needs, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org :)