Like many other girls peppered around the globe, I had some serious dreams for my wedding day. Of course there was the dress, but I had also envisioned an picturesque venue, a larger-than-life feast, and the glistening wedding band that would accompany my dream ring. But of course, like most things, when you’re young, the reality part of your brain hasn’t fully developed, and when it comes finally time to plan your wedding, the foreign concept of “budgeting” becomes all too real.
When it became my turn to tie the knot, I did not have even close to the amount of money I had anticipated, which meant one thing: Money-Saving hacks. So, before even starting a Pinterest board (which I highly recommend) I made sure to have a concrete budget in place, dividing every section of the big day with a dollar value. If the dress cost more (which it did) the money had to come out of somewhere else, that way, I wasn’t spending my honeymoon crying at a bank statement. So, if you’re looking at ways to save on your wedding, without compromising the dream dress, and all of the fun that comes with it, below are just a few ways you can reprioritise your spending.
And from someone who's done it, it is definitely possible to have your dream wedding and stay in budget.
- Refrain from too many magazines: Sure, as soon as you’re engaged the first thing you want to do is prepare and get inspiration. But just think: For every magazine you buy, that budget can be allocated to another guest or a bigger bar tab. Besides, Pinterest is such an amazing tool to use for every element of your day, and truth is, the latest trends, will all be on there anyway, with many magazines automatically pinning the content they create in their print editions.
- Borrow instead of buy: You’ll hear many a bride say that what makes a wedding expensive is the unforeseen costs that often come up closer to the day (after all the money is spent). So, once sourcing a location, I suggest pulling in all your favours and borrowing what you can. For me it was sound systems, church pews for the ceremony (true story), a beautiful vintage car, and fairy lights. While it may not seem like that big a saving at first, it all tallies up. And besides, why not add those savings to the wedding dress or the flowers?
- Set a priority list: Chances are, you will overspend at some point. The tricky part is figuring out where to overspend and where to scrimp. So, if you’re someone that is obsessed with décor, flowers and perfect hair (guilty) you automatically know where you should prioritise your money towards. Whereas, if signage, live music and shoes don’t matter as much, those are the areas you can put lower on the list and allocate less budget towards.
- Try Etsy first: Name cards, neon signs and wedding favours are just a few thing you can find on Etsy. And chances are, you’ll get them at a fraction of the price. Most Etsy vendors also ship overseas at an affordable rate, and if you’re not into the idea of DIY wedding Etsy is a great way to get what you need, in one sitting, and never have to think about those details again.
- Use your friends: Don’t get me wrong, you definitely shouldn’t ask too much of your loved ones, but in actual fact, most of them do want to help in anyway they can. If the budget is getting tight, think of talents your friends dabble in and maybe ask them if you can do you a favour as your wedding gift. Does your friend moonlight as a florist, can another one sing you down the aisle? Do you know a meticulous planner that can organise guests for you?
- Swap flowers for foliage: It’s no secret that flowers can fast become one of the more expensive elements of the wedding day, so before finding a bouquet that you must have, I suggest looking at what your budget can get you and planning your entire aesthetic around that. My flower budget wasn’t huge, so once I decided what I wanted to spend, I spoke to my florist about the vision I wanted, and whether it was realistic. It ended up being lots of foliage with soft white flowers in-between, and I loved it because it ended up matching the entire wedding aesthetic.
- Look for new venues: While tried-and-tested venues are always a safe bet, often they come with a hefty price tag. For my reception venue, I called around and found one that hadn’t really done a weddings yet. So after promising to provide beautiful imagery of the space taken at the wedding, and keeping the styling low-key so they could still operate during the day, I was able to save some serious cash on the venue. Because there hadn’t been a wedding there, I made sure to do a food tasting, and visited the space as it was getting decorated. This way, I had no anxiety about how it would all turn out.
- Don’t say the word “wedding” to vendors: It’s pretty much a fact that vendors hike up the prices once they hear the word “wedding” so where possible, try not to mention it. Whether you’re in the market for tables, cutlery, or are going for a marquee, try to omit the fact that it’s for a wedding out of the equation when you’re bargaining for a good price. Instead try saying more general terms like “event” or “family function.”
- Don’t compare your day: Up until the last few weeks of the wedding, I was completely cool, calm and collected. And then suddenly, something came over me and I started comparing my wedding to the weddings of others who were also getting married. One of my biggest suggestions for saving money is to stick to your original goal and remind yourself to only spend on the things that will bring you joy throughout the day. Trust me, people won’t remember whether your invitations had gold flakes on the envelope or whether you chose the veil with more expensive lace. If it’s important to you, then that’s fine, but if it’s not, ditch it.