5 Simple Ways To Save On Your Wedding Budget

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 sarah@skbevents.com :)

Xo,

Sarah 

Our favorite new trends for 2017 weddings

Hey everyone! I can't believe summer is officially over and we are right around the corner of 2016 coming to an end. This also means that 2017 brides are getting down to business with their wedding plans and in the midst of making lots of decisions when it comes to color palettes, floral design, bridesmaids dresses... the list goes on and on!

Since my official business launch earlier this summer, I've been completely immersed in the latest wedding trends with a focus on Maryland and the DC Metropolitan area; both for 2017 clients and for upcoming styled photo shoots I'm leading planning on (which I can't WAIT to share more about on the blog very soon). So, I thought now would be the perfect time to share some of these amazing trends with all of you brides-to-be who want to step your decor game up a notch and incorporate these stunning ideas into your special day. Enjoy!

Ombre Color Palettes

Ombre bridesmaids dresses; Image via Style Me Pretty

Ombre bridesmaids dresses; Image via Style Me Pretty

Recently, we are seeing less color palettes consisting of 3-4 distinct colors, and couples choosing to have one main color featured in an array of different shades. This turns out to be visually stunning, especially mixed with a metallic color. Our favorite colors for this trend include mixed shades of gray, purple, mauve, and blues. It's also an amazing way to update your bridesmaids dresses! Rather than have all of your maids' in matching dresses, you can add a lovely amount of dimension by choosing one color in different shades - and if you prefer, you can even keep the gown style the same for uniformity! If you need color samples to help you decide, a super easy idea is going to the paint section of a local Home Depot where you can pick up endless options for colors in various shades. You can also incorporate different shades of the same color into your floral design, invitation suite, and linens for a cohesive look. 

Go Green

Image via Wedding Sparrow

Image via Wedding Sparrow

Lots of lush greenery with an organic feel is making a huge comeback with weddings. Even if you are having a ballroom style reception, greenery is perfectly acceptable for a black tie affair! There are so many beautiful shades of green that can work into any color palette: Emerald with jewel tones, Sage or Mint with light, airy colors, or Moss for a garden style palette, just to name a few. 

If you are using a head table, we love the idea of draping a lush green garland across the enter of the table with floral pieces along either side. For your bouquets, adding green pieces, such as eucalyptus, will give you lots of texture and make your blooms stand out against your dress. Even adding a simple piece of foliage, such as a branch of rosemary, on top of each guests' place setting is a simple, inexpensive way to add a green touch to your table scape.  Green is a symbol of rebirth and harmony, and is also known to be the most calming color. Who wouldn't want calming vibes on their wedding day?! 

Copper, Velvet & Silk Accents

Copper details; Image via Style Me Pretty

Copper details; Image via Style Me Pretty

In recent years, weddings saw a huge wave of "shabby chic" decor - such as burlap, tulle, lace and DIY details. Most planners and industry experts agree that those trends are now on their way out, at least here on the east coast! The fresh way to add texture to your event design is with luxe fabrics such as velvet and silk. Instead of using satin or tulle to tie your bouquets, we love the idea of using an airy, loose silk tie which ups the romantic style factor. Silk table linens and ties can be purchased by fabric companies like Silk & Willow, or if you are looking for a less costly option there are many shops on Etsy that sell the fabrics for a reasonable price. Using a silk table runner across a farm table is super chic, elegant and modern. 

For fall and winter weddings, incorporating velvet into your wedding adds texture, warmth, and a rich feel. We especially love to see velvet in jewel toned color palettes! Velvet can be used inside an envelope liner, used to wrap boutonnieres or bouquets, or even as a table runner on your escort card table or dessert table. 

Finally, for 2017 we say that Copper is the new Gold! We especially love Copper for fall and winter weddings, but with the right palette it can be used any time of year. Like Gold, Copper is super versatile and can blend well into nearly any color palette. Copper looks amazing when used in foil lettering on invitations and paper goods, with votive candle holders, table numbers, wax seals, dinnerware and even cake stands! Our favorite use of Copper is mixing it with earthy colors: greenery, grays, taupes, burgundy, and purple shades. Darker and richer in color than gold with warmer undertones, copper is definitely having a moment. Moscow mule, anyone? :)

What are your favorite wedding trends for 2017? What trends would you like to see less of? Let us know in the comments below!