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Money Saving Tips for Your Wedding

weddings, saving money, planning a wedding

First of all, let me say, “congratulations!” Regardless of your wedding style or whether or not this is your first wedding, this day should be something you and your partner remember for the rest of your lives. With many weddings costing upwards of $50,000, however, they often leave couples with debt that can make difficult the first months their life together. In order to avoid this ridiculous cost, the bride and groom need to be smart consumers. When I planned my wedding these ten simple tips saved me hundreds of dollars.

1. Everyone Has a Story- Tell Yours!

In this modern, materialistic world, both businesses and consumers are always trying to make the most of their dollars. Companies never know when someone might be trying to pull them into a scam, so they might be firm with their high prices at first. I’ve found, though, that being honest and up-front with your situation can result in more understanding businessman. For instance, when my fiancé and I got married we were both full-time college students who only worked part-time when class schedules allowed. We called a few different entertainment firms, although we were sure we could not afford to have a DJ. We had almost given up, but the on the last two phone calls I told two friendly managers about our situation and that our parents would not help with the wedding. Having started his business on a college budget, the manager of one firm knew what we were going though and gave us half-off a DJ service!

2. Do-It-Yourself is Not a Dirty Phrase!

I was nine when my mother and stepfather got married, so I got to witness the disaster that was their wedding cake. They made the cake themselves, and in the end it cost them just as much as I would have to order the confection. This is the way that most people imagine do-it-yourself weddings, but if you choose to only take on those tasks that you feel comfortable with and might even enjoy the results can be much different. There are so many tasks that go into planning a wedding; you are sure to have some experience with one of them! If you are great at cake making, bake your cake! If you a designer, decorate your invitations. If you knit, make your ring pillow. The list is endless! If you think doing it “yourself” might be a little complicated, than ask a group of friends or the wedding party to help you, which brings me to my next point...

3. Six Degrees of Separation!

Everyone has a lot of connections, even if they don’t realize it. Most people have co-workers, fellow church/organization members, family members, friends, and acquaintances that they see on an almost daily basis. You probably have experts on wedding cuisine, fashion, and centerpieces right under your nose, but you just do not know it! Most likely, the people you know will be excited about your big day, so asking them to help is usually not out of order. Close friends and family could be willing to provide their services out of love, while others who might not be able to offer you free help can give you discounts, referrals to others, or even advice with no cost to you! If you are uncomfortable asking for favors, perhaps suggesting that a friend bake your cake, make your veil, or do your hair as a wedding present would sit better with you. At our wedding friends designed our invitations, made my veil, baked the cake, catered, provided hair and makeup services, and designed the center pieces, all for free. Some close friends even covered the cost of the materials!

4. Choosing the Site- Not a Nightmare!

First of all, you have to get realistic. You are not going to get to have your wedding on the National Mall without some cost! There are plenty of beautiful churches, halls, and other sites that can be rented at little or no cost to you. I was married in the church where I met my fiancé. We reserved the church for free and gave the pastor a donation for presiding. If you are or know someone who is a member of a church, the church can often be used free of charge. If you are not a church member, but still want to be married in a church, talking with the senior pastor, or whoever will officiate at the wedding, is often a good idea. Most of these people understand the emotion and frustration with planning a wedding, especially financially, and most of them understand that the commitment made on the day of the ceremony is most important. For that reason, many churches will work with couples, though they may require flexibility with your wedding time. Similarly, if you want to be married outside, some parks can be rented for as little as $50 for the whole day, especially if you choose to be married in a small town. You will also find that many people who own exquisite private properties might be willing to let you use for the occasion. Does your aunt have an elegant house? Your cousin, a garden? Your mother, a gazebo in her backyard? These can all be wonderfully landscaped to have the perfect, affordable wedding!

5. Nobody Knows its from Wal-Mart!

Candles burn. Rice gets tossed. Plates get dirty. I always say that you can be thrifty without being trashy. When planning your wedding you need to think about what things are really important to you and spend the most money on these things. When it comes to small details like your silver wear, tablecloths, and centerpieces you can get an off-brand from a place like Wal-Mart, cutting the cost in half while keeping the class. I bought beautiful floating candles for my center pieces from Wal-Mart for $.78 a piece. A designer party store was selling the same paper plates and napkins I acquired from Wal-Mart for almost twice the price. You don’t have to worry about people thinking your wedding looks tacky just because of where you shopped. The design determines the classiness, not the brand name.

6. SALE!!!!!

This depends on how much time you have before your wedding, but keep your eyes peeled for expected sales. The day after New Year’s Day my fiancé and I hit the stores, stocking up on party glasses, pitchers, and bowls for our wedding. We got these items for more than half off because the stores were trying to get rid of their New Year’s Party supply. Bridal shoes went on sale for 50% off at Payless and I was there the next day! Stores go out of business, colors get discontinued, businesses need to sell their overstock. There are a thousand reasons for sales and a thousand sales a day, so this is where a good bridal party comes in. Distribute lists to your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and parents if they decide to help. If you have a garage-saler in your group, all the better. Make sure you let these people know that you can reimburse them for what they buy, so there will be no hesitation. You will be surprised at how many sales you friends find and how much you save!

7. Something BORROWED and something blue!

I never had the need to buy a punch bowl before my wedding, but my grandmother did and I thought diamonds, that I did not have, would look beautiful with my dress. My aunt leant them to me. It makes no sense to buy something you will use for one night when someone you know has that very item. Even if you don’t KNOW anyone with serving dishes or a linen tablecloth there are lots of places that rent these sorts of material to party throwers for less than it would cost to buy the item.


Before I started planning my wedding I thought negotiating was only for the flea market! What I found, on the other hand, was that if you have a legitimate claim, you can ask the manager for a bargain. For instance, when I got my wedding dress there was a tiny thread under the strap. Now, no one could have seen the thread and it could have been fixed with a simple clip of the scissors, but we decided to ask the manager if she could compensate for the sewing error. Her answer: 10% off! I know this might feel like you are “cheating” hard working store owners or companies, but, in reality, you get what you pay for. The price on the tag is the value of a new and flawless item. If you payed that price for an item that was not flawless, you would be getting the wool pulled over your eyes!

9. Compare, Compare, Compare!

I know that weddings are very exciting times and often you feel a sense of exhilaration as you shop for the odds and ends that will complete your perfect day, but you don’t have to buy the first thing you see. I myself often fall victim to the thinking that if I leave it on the shelf it won’t be there when I come back, but most stores will allow you to put items on hold for at least 24 hours. This makes it easier for you to compare styles and prices at a variety of stores before making a commitment. I thought I had found the perfect wedding dress, but put it on hold until the day after Christmas, so I could look at the mall. That was when I REALLY found the perfect wedding dress. If I had purchased the first one I saw, I would not have been as satisfied.

10. Compromise not Sacrifice!

No matter what your budget, I am a firm believer that you can have everything you’ve always dreamed of at your wedding. If, after first researching the prices of say a caterer or a band, you realize you cannot afford what they’re offering, be creative. Think of a different way you can get what you want. You might not be able to have a professional caterer, but you can still afford to have someone serve your food. Use your resources, the internet, the library, your local chamber of commerce, and your friends. People who often do a lot of business with weddings like bakers or printers might happen to have good references for caterers or limo services. What makes the wedding is more the amount of work you put into it than the cash you contribute.

With these money saving tips as well as your own creativity, your wedding can be classy without being costly, but let me leave you with one piece of advice. No one’s wedding day is exactly how he or she imagined it when he or she was eight. Nonetheless, even if your napkins turn out to be the wrong color, the DJ is late, or the baker accidentally made a mocha wedding cake, the memorability of your wedding will be in your attitude. Remember how much you two love each other and why you are getting married, instead of fussing over the details in order to have a real memory to last a lifetime!
Published: 2006-05-01
Author: Miranda Collins

About the author or the publisher
Though I am a rather new recruit to the buisiness of freelance writing, but my my efforts so far have been successful. I am currently a correspondent with the Marion Chronicle Tribune in Marion, Indiana and all of my comissioned articles have been published as of this date. I have also been the recipient of various writing awards and honors. My work as been featured on a number of websites and I have found that I am able to write on a variety of topics. I would love to write for your site!

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