The journey of wedding planning was exhilarating! And tedious, I’m not gonna lie. I AM that girl who has dreamt about my wedding since I was simultaneously dreaming I was Wonder Woman. Some kids played with dolls or other games, and while I enjoyed those too, I REALLY liked to “play wedding”! Haha! My mom to this day threatens to show the pictures of my childhood friend Cory and I doing just that (we always played eachother’s maids of honor, which we got to live out for real! 🙂 ).
When Ryan and I got engaged, I was excited to have the wedding that I had dreamt about, but wanted to keep within a budget; it does just last one day, after all. Once the wedding day came, all of the hard work and research paid off, and I was able to experience and truly enjoy our dream wedding.
Here are the ways I planned our dream wedding on a budget:
Think Outside of the Dress
Or rather think outside of the box in regards to your dress. I had a very specific picture in my mind of what I wanted my dress to look like. After many trips to bridal salons and searching online I realized that this dress didn’t exist. Let me rephrase that, this dress didn’t exist anywhere near my price range!
From there I took a new approach; I decided to look for a basic dress style that I liked, and then I could find my own embellishments to make it my own. I found a dress from the previous season for 1/2 of its original cost. I liked SOME of the dress; the ruching of the bodice, buttons up the back and draping of the front. What I DIDN’T like was that it was too big, had a straight neckline, and not enough beading. I got it anyway.
I had the sweetheart neckline and size alterations done by a skilled seamstress I found on The Knot, then I cut up this Mori Lee sash I bought online, reworked the beading and my mom sewed it on. The next step was getting crystal embellishment along the neckline like I wanted. The crystal edged veil I got with my dress was 2-tiered and I only wanted 1, so my mom cut off the crystals from the edge of the unused layer of veil, and sewed them along the neckline of the dress. I LOVED the finished product, you can see each stage of my dress below. Thanks Mom!
This was hard for me in the beginning. I didn’t want any vendor to think that I was implying that they weren’t worth the price that they charged. After researching money saving tips for wedding planning, I realized how common this actually is. There were no vendors from our wedding that we weren’t able to negotiate a lower price with. Not ONE. First we would just ask outright if we could get a lower price. For the vendors the answer was no, we next asked if there could be a discount for paying in cash, or paying in full at the time of booking (most wedding planners would shreik in horror at this idea, but it worked well for us). For the 2 vendors that were left after those 2 strategies, we asked if they could work with us on our budget on a different package than what they offered. Done. One of those 3 methods worked for all of the vendors, and most just from asking.
Channel your inner crafter
There is a difference between crafter and artist; artist I am NOT! There were many aspects of our wedding that I was able to DIY (with the help of friends and family) that saved LOADS of money, you can see them here.
Be flexible with your date and day
Prices for vendors and venues are CONSIDERABLY less expensive in the wedding “off season”. In general, May – October is considered to be the prime wedding season. We had originally picked a wedding date of May 10th. I had no idea there was such a thing as an on/off wedding season. By moving up our date by only 2 weeks (technically the end of the wedding off season) we saved on average around 25% for our vendors.
A friend and I were planning our weddings at the same time, and she was able to get the same type of savings by having her wedding on a Friday instead of a Saturday, even during prime wedding season. Sunday’s are also less than Saturday’s.
search for internet promo codes, store apps and groupons
Through a lot wedding planning internet searching, I got 50% off of the fish bowl vases we used for our centerpieces from Hobby Lobby by watching their app for glass and floral markdowns (which made them even less than renting them from a florist!), 25% off Save the Dates at Wedding Paper Divas, 30% off our wedding invitations from Michael’s, 60% off our Save the Date’s, thank you notes and cocktail napkins all from a Groupon for Vistaprint, 10% off our votives and holders from a Retail Me Not promo code for Quick Candles, 10% off our invitation pocketfolds by signing up for promo emails for Cards and Pockets, and the list goes on and on. These were all major money savers. Before you buy, check for a code first. For example, google “vistaprint promo code”.
If you’re in the planning process, enjoy this fun and exciting time! I hope that some of these ideas will help you enjoy the process more, and stress over the budget less! 🙂