I saw a post on a blog, unnamed here, that was a bunch of bull. It said, to start saving on your wedding, make the favors yourself. Of course I scroll down and the blogger makes wedding favors. I sell wedding favors, but I say cut out the wedding favors if you are on a budget! I think if you are really cutting down to the bare bone of wedding expenses, you really really need to focus like a laser beam.
In times past, priorities may have been a little different. “Budget” weddings were sometimes even those with seven bridesmaids and 150 guests. But lets get down to the nitty gritty of a real “budget” wedding. We are talking under $10k – a shoestring in today’s wedding terms. Here is a list of real priorities and some suggestions:
- wedding gown
- pre-designed simple invitations (no custom work, offset printing)
- bridesmaid attire (paid for by the maids)
- wedding bouquets (this could be it for decorations, you and your bridesmaids ARE the decorations)
- half-day photography package (about 4 hours of coverage)
- boutineers + corsages for the wedding party
- cocktail reception with standing tables and heavy hor’devours and drinks.
- limit the headcount to under 100
- Use the same venue for the ceremony and reception
- Have a mp3 playlist instead of dj or band.
- small decorated wedding cake for cutting (with sheet cake for eating)
- if you have to do favors make them edible (they are the most cost effective and honestly, the ones that will actually be used)
- shop on eBay or etsy for decorations.
Now you may say you only need a cake social after the wedding, but I am trying to be modern about this and waive that as not an option for most brides. As for the cocktail reception, I would provide some type of couch seating around the perimeter for guests who need to get off their feet but the majority of the tables would be standing cocktail tables. Book a Thursday night or Friday night wedding to save on rental fees and make sure the facility has enough to offer in terms of atmosphere and provided (free) rentals (ie tables, chairs, mic).
For decorations, use votive candles en masse. This said coming from a flower person. You’ll get much more bang for your buck than spreading a bunch of petals around. If you have a little more budget, step up to bud vases en masse or floating flowers in bowls on tables at the reception.
If there is something you have to give up, make sure you pick only one thing that you will allow yourself, if need be, to go over budget. Everyone likes a little temptation and this will allow for one temptation. For example, if you have a budget of $7500, than if you overspend by $500, make sure it is on something that you had “planned” on (ie rationalize) a little bit with. For example, if the gown is your ultimate object of desire, than make sure you get something very close to what you want, even though it means spending a couple hundred bucks over budget. However, make sure that this does not happen in other categories. Be very strict about those other categories. Make some sacrafices, they won’t seem all that bad if there is one category you are spoiling yourself on.
Remember to feel proud about what you are doing. Putting it into perspective will save you a world of hurt. Work on getting knowledgeable, making “smart” decisions and feeling inspired and creative rather than down and out about not having a lavish wedding.
My book Bouquet Chic, came out in October, the beginning of the stock market crash. I thought about the positive side of this. Lavish weddings may still happen, but for the average bride, cutbacks may be necessary. My book is only about bouquets for the bride. I think the bridal bouquet will not be something that will be overlooked. The reason is that brides may have less flowers at her ceremony and reception, but she most likely will have a bridal bouquet. In fact, the bouquet may become ever more important to her in that respect.
I’ll top it off with a photo idea from my website romanticflowers.com