Did you know that the average wedding cost in 2017 was $26,720? Now I don’t know about you but I didn’t have that kind of cash just lying around whenever I got engaged. Thus the wedding budget was born! Matt and I used Google Sheets to our advantage. It really helped keep our financial responsibilities organized and it was easy to keep each other updated. We sort of worked backward with budgeting and aimed to keep in under a certain amount. I did this because I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted yet or how much everything would cost. Our budget was simple and yes I based it off of a “Who pays for what” pin I found because I had no clue! Of course, we made adjustments as we saw fit.
I researched and found many DIY ideas to bring the daunting wedding costs down. Here are some creative things we did to bring the financial stress down:
- Made a Save the Date video and emailed it to your guests. This will cut back on paper products and it’s a more fun and modern way to spread the news! You should be able to send it directly to them via email, but we used a link since my video was uploaded to my YouTube channel. We included all the necessary info a Save-the-Date would have such as, date, website, official hashtag (#ohhappyheatons) and here’s how it turned out
- Get creative and design your own invitations and programs. Picmonkey is a program that I normally use to make my YouTube thumbnails, but they also have blank templates you can use to design your stationery. It’s simple, and a good tool to use if you’re intimidated by photoshop like me. Picmonkey is free to use but if you would like to access some of the “royale” features it’s only $4.99/mo. The invitations and programs I designed are below. 100 invitations alone are estimated at $5000.00- $8000.00 Amount Spent: $4.99
- Create a Wedding website. It is a fun way to share the news of your engagement, display those adorable photos and list other good information. Such as links to your registries, directions/details for your wedding day, RSVP’s, and your love story. Matt and I used Minted but there are many others. They have several designs you can choose from, and if you pay $20, you get other perks like custom URL, photo gallery, custom pages and many more. Amount Spent: $35.00 (the price for premium has since dropped)
- Opt for digital RSVPs. Doing this will cut back on postage costs, which could be close to $100 depending on the size of your guest list. Put that extra cash towards your tropical honeymoon or a new couch! Average Cost: $44.00, Amount Spent: $0.00
- Print stationery locally or at home. We printed our invitations through a local print shop in Abilene (be sure to proof for any typos on your invitations, I learned this the hard way). Call around for prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal. My parents printed the programs on their photo printer from home. As you saw, both were front and back single page, keeping it simple and cutting back on resources. I found basic 5×7 envelopes on Amazon. Average cost: $700-$1,200, Amount spent: $183.00
- DIY your floral arrangements. If flowers aren’t super important to you, more reason to DIY them. Put on your creative cap and get arranging. I used Michael’s and Hobby Lobby coupons and sales to ensure the best price for fake flowers. I found small wreaths for $4.00 at Michael’s and I used them to make the guys’ boutonnieres. I purchased small pre-made bouquets from Michael’s for $5.00 ea. for the bridesmaids (added a vase and they doubled as part of their wedding day gift) and for my toss bouquet I put two of the bouquets together. I wrapped the stems with floral tape and ribbon. You can do lace or whatever material fits best with your theme. I bought individual stems of blush and mauve peonies for the corsages. And glued them with extra greenery to an elastic band they have premade. I bought the stems for my bouquet at hobby lobby half off. Full price is way too expensive for fake flowers in my opinion. For our flower girl basket, I bought white flower petals 1/2 off from Hobby Lobby. Average Price: $1,000.00-$2,000.00 for the ceremony alone, Amount Spent: $47.00
- Have your wedding mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Matt and I knew that we wouldn’t be able to afford a full meal for everyone at the wedding so we settled on a 3:00pm start time for the ceremony. We opted for a snack bar theme with trail mix, Chex mix, chocolates, pretzels, cookies and served coffee and fruit infused water as well. Buying food in bulk from Sam’s Club or Costco is very cost effective. They have great prices for larger amounts and can save you a ton! The food at our reception was displayed in jars, vases and stands purchased from thrift stores, Dollar Tree and TJmaxx. Average Cost: $12,790, Amount Spent: ~$200.00
- Take time to research the best venue for what you are looking for. This is one of the biggest ticket details. It’s probably not wise to get an expensive venue that doesn’t offer chairs, tables, and linens if you’re planning on having a sit-down meal. Be sure to plan out how much the rentals would be. Most venues will have different packages, some including these items. Our venue provided tables, chairs, and linens. We purchased plasticware, cups, and napkins in bulk to use. Average Cost: $12,343-$14,006, Amount Spent: $2,650
- Plan to shop in the same season that offers the color scheme you’re going for. Our wedding colors were Mauve, Ivory, and Green. Even though it wasn’t until October, I began purchasing many decorations and flowers in the Spring because those colors were in style at that time. This will help prevent long hours in Hobby Lobby trying to find items that will match.
- Purchase your cake from an inexpensive bakery. Matt and I got our wedding cake from HEB. For those of you that live in places other than Texas, HEB is not a fancy abbreviation for a cake designer. It’s a grocery store that has a bakery in it. It would have been nice to have a spiffy 5 tier cake covered in fondant but I’ve heard fondant doesn’t taste that great. And it wasn’t a detail that we were super picky about. I knew I wanted a semi-naked cake with a bit of floral detail and a cute topper. We got a small 3 tier cake 6x8x10 (The topper was saved for our 1 year anniversary). We also chose to get an additional sheet cake to accommodate the number of guests. This is a great option for short engagements as well, they can take orders up to 3 weeks before the date. I decorated it with leftover flowers from the other arrangements and topped it with our custom topper that I found on Etsy. Average Cost: $750.00 on cake alone, Amount Spent: $283.00
- Buy your dress used or online. I bought my wedding dress online. I know it sounds scary. I found a very good custom dress designer on Etsy. She had a ton of great reviews and I took a chance. The dress I wanted was way too high for my budget. I showed her the picture and she was able to re-create it. The quality of a few details seemed a bit cheap but overall the dress fit like a glove. I loved it! I added the applique and wore a hoop skirt underneath to add the extra volume. Average Cost: $2,000.00-$2,700, Amount Spent: $333.00
- Get Thrifty! I purchased my veil from Goodwill. It was perfect after I trimmed off the very dated headpiece and gave it a good steam. My mom made the floral headpiece from leftover flowers (I’m telling you fake flowers is the way to go!) I also purchased the white ring bearer bible there as well and gave it a good clean up. My mom was able to find a lot of the glassware for our wedding at thrift stores as well. Average Cost of Veil: $274.00, Amount Spent: $6.00
- Do your own Makeup. This can seem intimidating but with a little practice and false lashes, it can turn out beautiful. I really wanted to do my own makeup because I knew that I would like it and it was one less thing to have to plan and coordinate. I purchased name brand foundation that I knew would provide all-day coverage, and false lashes but other than that, I used makeup I already owned.
- Rent Bridal Party Tuxes/Suits Online. For the men of the bridal party, we opted to rent the Slate Blue suit from Generation Tux. Doing it online really kept everything organized especially since everyone lived in different cities. We were able to customize the suit with shirts, shoes, ties, belts that we liked. They also offer a “Groom Rents Free” promotion if 6 people rent suits (that can include the Father of the Bride, so don’t forget about him). They ship the items 2 weeks before so you have plenty of time to try on the items and request new sizes before the big event.
- Do Premarital Counseling. Not only is this a way to save some extra money on your Marriage License (available in most States) but it is a great way to get your heart in the right place for marriage. The engagement season can be very stressful, I’ll share some things that helped me in a future post, but taking the time to invest in your marriage long term will prove to be a great decision. Matt and I attended an Engagement Retreat hosted by our church about 2 weeks before the wedding. This worked well for us because we lived hours away from each other and couldn’t do a longer counseling program. Ask your church office or do some research to find marriage counselors in your area. I assure you, you won’t regret it. *If you live in Texas, click here to learn more about the Twogether in Texas program.
I hope these money saving tips are helpful to you as you plan the best day of your life! And remember, your wedding day is but a moment. It is the years ahead that you get to look forward to with your new spouse! Take time to step back from planning and enjoy the season of celebration that you are in.