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Money Saving Tips For A Budget Friendly Wedding

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

Secrets on how to save a few pennies from an Oklahoma Wedding and Event Planner

Media from Wix

Whether you're beginning to plan your wedding or are in the midst of it, one thing that is important to factor in is your wedding budget. When you're looking at your overall expenses, they can be broken down into various categories. Between the venue, catering, photography, the attire, and décor, it all adds up really quickly.

One of the best ways to start is to make sure you and your partner have created a list of things that are most important to you about the wedding (other than the two of you, of course). Maybe you've been dreaming about finding a venue with a staircase and your partner has always wanted a full bar- keep those kinds of things in mind when you're setting up the budget.

After assisting couples in their wedding planning (and planning my own in the middle of a pandemic), I have found some sure ways to trim down your budget so that you can allot it to areas that are most important to you! These are some tips I used for my own wedding last year.

Tip #1 - Skip The Favors

Unless the favors are something that guests can eat, I recommend just skipping it all together. Guests often leave the favors at the wedding and if they do take them home, they're likely put away and not seen again- especially if they're personalized. How often do you see other people using a keychain or a koozie with someone else's names and wedding date on them? Take my advice on this one.

Don't be like me. I just had to have personalized shot glasses as our favors. I loved them! Our names and wedding date in beautiful script- on all 200 of them. Want to know how many we ended up bringing home?

175 shot glasses.

Send help...I don't know what to do with so many shot glasses! They're sitting in a box in the closet just mocking me. Learn from my mistake!

In all seriousness, they are cute shot glasses. I should have bought a few for us to keep as mementos, which is what I'm recommending to you, so you're not shelling out hundreds of dollars for no reason.

Since we're on the topic though... do you want a shot glass? Ha!

Media from Wix

Tip #2 - Book Your Venue For The Off Season

Over the last several years, people have steered further away from using parks, backyards, and churches as venues for their weddings. Those are wonderful cost efficient options that I think a lot of couples have forgotten about. However, maybe that isn't your style and you prefer to have an event venue.

Most couples tend to try to save their weddings for either Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Hence why you may notice a lot of venues have different pricing for those days. They're high in demand. Try having your wedding during the week. This will help lower the venue cost and will give you more options due to availability for all vendors.

In addition to booking on a weekday, try booking your venue during off peak season. From late April to mid October, there are weddings galore. Try picking some of those other months for your wedding date. Many venues will offer discounts during the calmer months.

How can I vouch for this? Because my husband and I did exactly this. Planning a wedding in 2021 was difficult, not only were you having to work with the normal amount of weddings, but also all the weddings that had been canceled or rescheduled. We opted to get married on a Wednesday in the middle of December. Off season and off prime wedding days.

We were able to get our venue for fifteen hours for less than $2,000

Their normal rates for peak season weekends start at $7000.

Don't worry about convenience on the day of the week, we still had guests come to our Oklahoma wedding from California, Texas and Colorado. As long as you give enough notice, you should be fine.

Tip #3 - Minimize Your Wedding Stationary

Photo By Annie Gray

I know, you're looking at all the beautiful invitations on Google or Pinterest and you found one that is absolutely perfect. It's got the glitter, the pockets for the RSVP cards and they can even emboss you and your partners name! It's dreamy, right?

Unless having invitations like this is an absolute must for you, DON'T DO IT.

In reality, we all know that some of the invitations you send out will sit on the fridge as a reminder and some will put the information in their calendar and then toss the work of art you spent so much time and money on. The same goes for save-the-dates (which, I feel like you can skip all together). What seems to be forgotten when getting invitations is that the invitation will cost more than just the invitation itself. If you get the invitations with the envelopes, you still have to consider the amount of time and effort it will take to gather addresses and have them on the envelopes. If you're wanting a calligrapher to do it, that's an added expense. Then, there's the postage. Stamps, especially if you're buying for over 100 invitations, are not cheap and that's if the tri-fold, glitter, metallic embossed art piece fits within the weight requirements and does not require additional postage.

RSVP's are another culprit when it comes to wedding stationary. Physical RSVP cards can create quite a bit of headache. If you're providing postage for them to be sent back, add that to the list. People also forget to write their names on the card for you to know who is coming (this happens quite a lot). A way to just take those out of the equations is in the palm of your hand. We live in a digital world and there are so many ways to produce elegant digital work.

Wedding websites such as The Knot & Zola offer couples the option to make free wedding websites unique to them. You're able to add photos, a registry, schedules, FAQ's, and (my favorite feature) they collect the addresses and RSVPs so you can get an accurate head count.

It's okay to not send out physical save-the-dates, invitations, or RSVPs. Use free options!

Tip #4 - Shorten Your Guest List

This one feeds off tip #3 a little bit. By shortening your guest list, you're able to cut back on the amount of stationary you're getting- if that's something you still want to do. Shortening the guest count also cuts down on tables you need, which cuts down on linens, chairs, food- it almost has a domino effect. With some vendors, package price options may fluctuate depending on how many guests you're expecting.

A way you can think about shortening your guest list is asking these questions:

  1. Have I talked to them in the last year?

  2. Have I seen them in the last 5 years?

  3. Are the immediate family?

  4. Would I and my partner be fine if they did not attend?

  5. Am I inviting them only because I don't want [a parent/family member] to be upset?

  6. Do I want a child free wedding?

There are other questions, but what's important is that you and your partner make the criteria when deciding on the final guest list.

Tip #5 - Don't Be Afraid Of Second Hand

Second hand isn't the enemy. I know that a lot of times you're pushed to buy the new shiny thing because it's a wedding. Sometimes, you can find amazing deals online from past couples selling their gently used decorations and attire. I've seen a lot of couples sell their wedding dresses, floral, décor, lanterns, arches, table linens, chargers, etc., and for a great price.

Thrift stores are also a great place to look! I can't tell you how many time's I've gone in and have seen wedding dresses, wine or champagne glasses- things that could easily be used in a wedding.

Tip #6 - Skipping Décor You Don't Need

This is one that I struggled with a lot, and it's really easy for anyone to do.

Like with the situation with the shot glasses, I also just had to have the personalized napkins and candies. I spent hours hot gluing sleeves onto chocolate bars only for guests to rip them open, eat the candy, wipe their mouth with the napkins and throw them both away. While that's what they were supposed to do with them, it was essentially just tossing money out the door.

Photos By Lanty

"Welcome To Our Wedding" signs, while cute, aren't necessary. If your guests are there, they likely know that it's a wedding. A replacement I've seen are the ones that specify the couples name. If you absolutely want one, I recommend having it designed in such a way that you'll hang it up in your house. Which is a good rule of thumb for most of your décor. Pick something you will use again within your home- something you'll actually use and not just throw in a closet (ahem...shot glasses).

Centerpieces are also a large décor expense. They can be this tall, large, extravagant statement piece, but may also block the view for guests and make talking amongst each other difficult. If they take up a large section of the table, there may not be much room for plates.

Just remember, simple decorations can be just as beautiful.

Tip #7 - DIY & Renting VS. Buying

DIY (Do-It-Yourself) can be a good way to save on your budget as long as it remains a cost efficient option. My mom and I made the bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, and floral center pieces for my wedding. Looking back, as fun as it was to spend all that time with my mom, it ultimately would have been more budget friendly had I just bought them all premade from a private seller. I had a wedding party (including parents and grandparents) of twenty-one and a had over twenty-five tables that each had a center piece that was essentially another bouquet. With the fuel it took for the multiple trips to the craft store and even buying the flowers when they'd have their 50% off sale, it was just way too much. Sometimes, DIY isn't the most cost effective thing.

The same can be said with purchasing inventory for your wedding day. A lot of couples buy their décor outright with the intention of selling it afterward to make their money back. For some, that works! Remember tip #5? Where you can buy items at great prices? It's usually from those that are intending to sell it to make money back, and they usually fall short.

Make sure you consider where you are going to store all of the decorations/ items and how you are planning to get them to the venue for your big day, Renting from a reputable company can help with that. A lot of rental companies will deliver and pick-up their rental items so you don't have to worry about storage, transport, or what to do with them after.

Make sure you weigh the pro's and con's of going the DIY, renting, or buying route. Know that you need to be honest with yourself too, if you know you're not likely to sell or use something afterward you may seriously consider renting the item.

Tip #8 - Hire A Wedding Planner

Okay, so maybe I'm a little bias.

I know that it may seem like a silly idea when you're already on a strict budget, but hear me out. Wedding planners have to network, which means they get connections with all sorts of vendors from all over the place. Some even have vendors that offer special discounts if the planner refers the client to them. When we've worked with these vendors, we're able to make a frame of reference on their price points. Therefore, we're able to point you to quality vendors that fall within your budget. If you can't hire a wedding planner, there are lots of planners that offer free consults- including myself.

The Takeaway

Most of these tips seem like no-brainers, but in all the excitement of planning a wedding I know it can be hard to keep things like these in mind. The most important takeaway from this is to set a budget and try to stick to it as much as possible. If you need to rearrange (like I did for those darn shot glasses), you can use these tips to try to help you out!

And if you do want to hire a wedding planner, send me an email! I'd love to help make your dream one of our AJG Memorable Moments!

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