It’s a wonderful time to be a bride on a budget. Never has there been so many resources to help you pull of your dream wedding on a shoestring, never has there been so much creativity to inspire the budget bride and NEVER has it been more stylish to have a budget wedding. From the wedding planner in Manhattan dealing with brides spending over 100k to the editor of Martha Stewart, the wedding industry has given a resounding thumbs up to low cost nuptials.
The keys to budget success is to stay focused, be creative and work hard. The main difference between the budget bride and a bride with no restraints is that you will have to put in a lot more time and effort to create the day you want. BUT when you do and it’s all said and done, you’ll find a deep sense of satisfaction in what you’ve accomplished. Here are some tricks to help you along the way.
1. Choose a venue that allows you to use your own caterer.
Food is one of the major costs for weddings. You can save big by either making your own food or bringing in a less expensive caterer. Spokane area venues which allow you to choose your own food provider are few and far between, but they do exist! Also, ask your caterer if there is anything they could take out of their package to make it less expensive (ie if you pick it up or serve it yourself). Or you could have the caterer bring half the food and make the rest before the wedding. Check out the Apple Brides Directory for venues in Spokane.
2. DIY one major part.
Professionals are professionals for a reason. But if you really want to cut costs, DIYing one major part of your wedding will drastically reduce costs. You could do your own flowers, make your own food, cake or stationery or even DIY your own wedding venue in your backyard! But I recommend choosing just one or two of the big areas to do yourself, because unless you are Martha Stewart’s more talented younger sister, DIY can cause A LOT of headache and hassle. Narrowing your DIY down will keep stress levels lower, help you focus on quality and will probably save you more in the end. DIY is definitely not always the cheapest option because you have to buy supplies and account for mistakes…not to mention, time is money!
3. Get married on a Friday or Sunday.
You can literally save thousands by choosing to have your wedding on an off peak day. Venues typically have these days wide open and are always delighted to fill them so they give great discounts. If you give your guests enough notice, you will find they will be there regardless what day it is.
4. Buy your dress second hand.
Find a style or designer you like and go on a mad web search to find it second hand (or something like it). There are a ton of wedding websites specializing in second hand designer dresses or e-bay is always a sure bet. Some of the vintage stores in Spokane occasionally carry wedding dresses, so be sure to check those too!
5. Choose flowers that are in season.
This is one of the surest ways to cut your flower bill way down. Tell your florist what flowers and colors you like and ask her what will be in season for your wedding. Also ask if there are any cheaper blooms your can substitute for the more expensive ones.
6. Have a brunch reception.
The brunch/breakfast reception is one of the hottest trends in weddings right now and a great way to save some cash. In true brunch fashion, this is a meal between breakfast and lunch. You can choose lighter options for your menu like croissants, fruits and vegetables, eggs, ham or a waffle bar and pair it with mimosas all around (made with Prosecco instead of Champagne of course!)
7. Order a small wedding cake and use other desserts to supplement.
Buy a very small wedding cake for pictures, then supplement with sheet cakes from Costco or homemade pies, cookies or cupcakes. The average Costco cake is in and around $20 and feeds 40-50 people…and it tastes pretty darn good too! Or have a big baking party a couple days before the wedding and make your own goodies for a beautiful dessert table.
8. Cut the guest list.
If you really want to save money, cutting your guest list is the best…and often most painful…way to do it. Sit down with your fiance and decide how many guests you can honestly afford to have, then narrow it down to the people you can’t imagine your wedding without. The most delicate way to handle the tight guest list is to start telling people from the get-go you will be having a very small and intimate (the opportune word) wedding, that way nobody gets their hopes up about receiving an invitation. You will find people are more understanding when they think they weren’t the only ones to get cut from the list!
9. Use candles instead of flowers for your centerpieces.
Flowers can be a big budget eater so instead of floral centerpieces, opt for candles. You could buy beautiful colored glass candle holders to enhance your theme, use lanterns or hurricane vases or mason jars. Candlelight is a classic way to create a warm and elegant atmosphere.
10. Choose an up and coming photographer.
Choosing a talented photographer who is new to the local wedding scene is the best way to get the quality photos you want for a price you can afford, and Spokane is FULL of them. I’ve seen about 10 come on the scene in the last 6 months! A word of advice though, this doesn’t mean choosing your cousin who has a nice camera or a senior from the high school photography class. Choose someone who has experience in photography but is new to weddings and trying to build their portfolio. Check out the Apple Brides Directory to see a list of Spokane area wedding photographers.
11. Get bridesmaid dresses from a non-wedding store.
Places like Macy’s, Target, Ann Taylor, The Gap, Old Navy, Nordstrom and even Forever 21, are great places to find bridesmaid dresses for a low price. You have to think outside of the wedding box, but there are some fabulous dresses to be found by staying away from any garment that declares itself to be a ‘bridesmaid dress’! If you find a dress in the store, buy as many as you can and then buy the rest online.
12. Consider hiring a wedding planner.
I know, I know this seems like an oxymoron. But wedding planners know the ins and outs of weddings like no one else! They know who the cheapest vendors are, they can get discounts and they can show you how to stay within your budget. They will also know the best way to decorate and style your wedding without overspending.
13. Keep things simple.
When it comes to weddings, there are a million and one ways to spend money. Decide early on what you and your fiance’s priorities are for your big day, and put those first. Try not to be sidetracked by all the other inspiration you come across on your wedding journey. Stay focused on your priorities and keep things simple!
Photos by Megan Robinson Photography.
….Those are my best tips, do you have any others???