Wedding photographer Melissa Miksch has seen a LOT of weddings, now she's giving away her insider info on how to save money at YOUR wedding.
As you know, the budget-friendly DIY craze has swept the wedding industry. But what if you're the kind of person who doesn't want a DIY wedding? What if the idea of making your own decorations makes you break out in a nervous sweat just thinking about it? OR, what if you've already got the DIY thing maxed out, but you still need ideas to get the budget beast under control?
Fear not! You can still save some serious cash with my budget-friendly tips below…
Saving on the package deal
Most wedding vendors offer packages. Look closely, and you'll likely notice that the package includes a discount — sometimes big ones. If an offered package doesn't exactly fit your needs, you're better off asking to customize the package as opposed to building your own from scratch, since that discount will likely still be there.
Saving on wedding dresses
- Trunk shows can offer special discounts on designer gowns.
- Many wedding shows have sample sales at steep discounts.
- Check local second-hand or consignment shops.
- Online retailers like IGIGI, Dolly Couture, Sydney's Closet, ModCloth, Lord and Taylor, Free People, and BHLDN all offer great lower-cost options!
- David's Bridal — it isn't for everyone, but sometimes you just can't beat the deals.
- Many bridesmaid and prom dresses are just as pretty as wedding gowns, and cost less for similar styles.
- Have a dress made just for you. This can actually be cheaper than buying off the rack.
- Find a dress that fits well already to keep alterations at a minimum. If you go “train-free,” you don't have to worry about a bustle.
- Check local stores during sundress season to see if something pretty pops up.
- Go short. Less material = less cost.
Saving on the wedding pants
- When renting tuxes, often one tux is free if you rent a certain number for the day. Check with the rental company. Also, most people won't notice if you rent the fancy tux, so stick with the cheaper options.
- For something you'll own and get more use out of, go for a suit. Look for good sales, or consider places like K&G or Burlington Coat Factory.
- Skip the jacket, and simply wear black slacks, a dress shirt, and a black tie for a casual/cool almost formal look.
- Khakis and a nice shirt are a great way to dial back the formality, especially for beachy or nautical-themed weddings. Jeans and cowboy boots are a cool option for all those trendy rustic chic weddings, too!
Saving on the catering bill
- Does one of your favorite restaurants offer catering? These will often be lower-cost options than caterers that specialize in fancy wedding meals.
- Think alternative. We had a couple recently that catered with gourmet pizza. It. Was. Awesome.
- Food trucks are in the same category — unusual food, great creative presentation, and so much fun in addition to saving money. Who doesn't love that?
- Did you know that most caterers charge a cake cutting fee? With cupcakes, there's usually no fee. And cupcakes can even cost less than a “serving” of wedding cake, too.
- Have your friends and family toast with whatever is in their glasses instead of champagne, and you'll also skip out on pour fees, the cost of the booze, and potential corking fees as well!
Saving on the venue
- Some venues include items you would otherwise need to rent (from tables and chairs, to linens, decor, and even china). So it is always a good idea to do a full cost comparison to see what you're getting.
- Some local parks allow you to rent out certain areas for weddings.
- Local community centers are often less expensive than “wedding venues,” and often still include the tables and chairs.
- Consider a weekday wedding, or a wedding during the late fall or early spring. You'll probably get a better rate than you will on weekends or during the summer or holidays.
- Sometimes you can rent out restaurants (or their banquet rooms) for nothing more than a food/drink minimum.
- Getting married at your church? You can look into whether they have a reception space you'd be interested in using.
Saving on decor
- Recycle. One of the easiest ways to save money is to re-use your ceremony decor during the reception. Bouquets and aisle and altar flowers can easily be re-purposed if you're careful with design. You can also buy decor that you can use in your home after the wedding.
- If you can donate your decor to a non-profit after your big day, it's a tax write off. No immediate savings here, but you will see some come tax time.
- Think outside the box. If you're using a regular florist, incorporate lots of greenery and in-season flowers to cut the bill down.
- Also, if you're thoughtful with your venue choice, you may not need a lot of decor at all.
Consider your guest list
Consider cutting down your guest list. Each person you don't invite is one fewer person you pay the caterer for, one less place setting to rent, one less chair to rent.
Consider spending money to save money
- Hire a planner: Good planners have lots of contacts in the industry that often times will offer them referral discounts, meaning savings are directly passed on to you!
- Hire a great photographer: This may not save you money, but an experienced wedding photographer can take beautiful photos of even the most frugal events and make it look like a million bucks.
photography: Melissa Miksch Photography
What are YOUR favorite budget-saving wedding ideas?