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How to have a great wedding on a small budget

I used to be by no means one to dream of a massive, traditional wedding with all the trimmings once I was a little woman. When my now-husband and I obtained engaged, we talked about exactly what we needed for our wedding and reception, as an alternative of what we have been “supposed” to do. We didn’t understand it instantly, but by considering outdoors the field, we have been in a position to save hundreds on our wedding — and didn’t go into debt.

Neither of us was taken with a conventional church wedding. We most popular to have a small, intimate ceremony and a separate reception.  We already had planned to take a vacation to Hawaii to attend a good friend’s wedding, so once we received engaged, we determined we might go to a totally different island and get married ourselves. We informally invited our shut friends and family and ended up having 11 individuals be a part of us for our day. We made it clear that everyone was liable for reserving and paying for their very own journey and accommodations.  We defined to our visitors that this journey was our trip, wedding, and honeymoon rolled into one, and we wouldn’t be spending a lot of group time collectively. The one day we had planned with the group was our precise wedding day, which was very simple.

We have been married on an remoted stretch of a public seashore before sunset, so no decorations have been wanted. I bought leis for the wedding friends at a Costco store on the island (much cheaper than buying them by means of a florist) and purchased some assorted tropical flowers that my mother organized into a small bouquet for me to carry.  We didn’t have musicians (the ocean waves have been enough). Visitors stood in a semicircle around us for the brief ceremony, and my mother and father walked me down an “aisle” path onto the seashore. Our officiant and photographer labored as a workforce and obtained the seashore occasion permit for us. We paid them a complete of $499, which included the ceremony, an hour of images and printing rights to the CD of absolutely edited pictures. After the ceremony, our group went to dinner at a nice restaurant.

Every week after we returned from our wedding/honeymoon, we had a cocktail reception get together with about 100 friends. Since we weren’t hosting a full day of events, we set it for a Friday night time so we wouldn’t reduce into individuals’s work schedules.  We hired a caterer to do heavy hors d’oeuvres (pulled pork sliders, a mashed potato bar, flatbread pizzas, meatballs, hummus and plenty of other options), and served cupcakes as an alternative of a wedding cake. We had an open bar, a DJ, a photograph booth and asked a member of the family to take pictures. Our reception was exactly as we hoped it will be — if solely it might have lasted longer.

We spent approach less than we might have if we had gone with a conventional wedding reception through the use of the following ideas:

The large image

Make a listing of priorities. Good meals (we specifically needed appetizers as we don’t usually take pleasure in reception meals), a photograph booth, music and a absolutely stocked bar have been all necessary to us. Since we already had our beautiful wedding photographs from Hawaii, we weren’t  concerned with spending a bundle on a photographer, and we knew the photograph sales space would offer tons of fun pictures of our friends.

Think about eloping (or having a very small wedding). You’ll be able to all the time host a less-formal reception on one other day, like we did.

Schedule your reception for a day aside from a Saturday.  We had our occasion on a Friday night, as a result of it’s not sometimes a day for weddings. This made it cheaper and simpler to e-book the few distributors that we used.


Contemplate your visitor record rigorously. Our rule of thumb for associates was that if we’ve never invited someone to our home, or they’ve never invited us to theirs, they weren’t on the record. We don’t have giant prolonged families, in order that a part of the visitor record was affordable and we invited all kinfolk that our fast households needed there. Youngsters (apart from relations, who all happened to be over age 8) have been excluded: A cocktail social gathering isn’t an applicable setting for teenagers, anyway.

E mail “Save-the-dates,” or use postcards.  I made photograph postcards on my regular printer. They turned out great and have been much cheaper than professionally printed invites. And through the use of postcards, the postage prices have been $.33 every vs. the $.46 price for playing cards in envelopes.

Go for easy invites. We used seal-and-send invitations comparable to these with an all-in-one design on which you’ll be able to print your invitation. The format we selected included a response card on a perforated decrease part.  Just fold, seal and mail — no envelopes needed! Because the RSVP card was a tear-off postcard, we saved on postage again.

Restrict attendants. We didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen since we had such a small ceremony.  This saved us from shopping for attendant presents and having a rehearsal dinner. It additionally saved our friends and family from having to purchase particular clothes or pay to lease fits.

Should you have a rehearsal dinner, host it at house or a park. Enlist a few friends and family members to make it easier to make meals.  Select a meal that’s straightforward to serve a crowd, like pulled pork and other picnic favorites.


As an alternative of a conventional bridal robe, contemplate shopping for a bridesmaid’s gown in white or ivory. Most clothes may be ordered in either of these colors. You may also select an evening gown that isn’t specifically made for a wedding. I opted for a beachy wedding gown for the ceremony and a Grecian-style bridesmaid’s gown in ivory for the reception and paid properly underneath $1,000 complete.  Take a look at 5 ways to save on a wedding gown for extra ideas.

Don’t purchase white footwear. Go together with something you’ll put on again. Or, spring for a pop of colour, like silver, blue, purple or gold.

Don’t lease a tux for the groom. A brand new go well with and gown footwear can value about the same quantity as a rental tuxedo.  Search for good offers, and select something he can put on many times.

In the event you have bridesmaids, let them select their clothes. If you’d like them coordinate with each other, inform them the gown have to be a specific shade. Each bridesmaid might be in a position to select a gown that flatters their determine, matches their budget — and perhaps they will wear it again.

Groomsmen can purchase or lease fits that complement the groom’s selection. Or, you can also make it easier on them and ask them to put on a black or grey go well with they already own.

Venue and catering

In case your wedding and reception are on the identical day, attempt to have each in one location. You gained’t have to provide transportation for yourselves or your wedding get together between the venues.

Think about non-traditional venues. City-run areas, public gardens, artwork venues and eating places might be great places for weddings and receptions. Our reception was at a personal racquet and swim club in an upscale group, nevertheless it was extremely reasonably priced.  Because the venue didn’t have its personal catering department, we have been in a position to select our own caterer and supply our personal bar as an alternative of paying per individual or per hour for bar service and drinks. This saved us properly over $1,000.

Non-food gadgets — tables, linens, decorations — shortly add up. Contemplate what your venue or caterer consists of as a part of their service packages earlier than making any selections. Our venue offered tables and chairs, and our caterer offered china, glassware, tablecloths, servers, a bartender and a get together coordinator in its package deal deal. The caterer also handled the rental, supply and return of cocktail tables we needed placed across the venue.

Have a cocktail celebration as an alternative of a full reception.  You possibly can still have all the trappings of a reception with out the usual sit-down or buffet meal.  Our friends beloved the meals at our reception and since they didn’t have to sit down to eat, the evening stored the social vibe that we needed.

Should you plan to have an open bar, hold prices in examine by offering beer, wine and a signature cocktail.  We selected to have specific spirits (vodka, flavored vodka, bourbon, gin and rum) out there based mostly on our friends’ preferences. However our bartender was beneath strict orders to not pour photographs, principally because we didn’t need our friends to get uncontrolled, which is extra doubtless to occur with photographs than cocktails.

You don’t want champagne for a toast. Most individuals are simply as comfortable toasting with whatever they’re already consuming. If you need a sparkly choice, have prosecco or cava obtainable at the bar.  These Italian and Spanish glowing wines can style just nearly as good as champagne and price a lot much less.

Select a small wedding cake. Reduce it for pictures, however serve a inexpensive sheet cake or cupcakes to visitors.  The good thing about cupcakes is that you simply serve a number of flavors. You may also skip the cake and serve your favourite desserts resembling pie, brownies, lemon bars, and so on.


Carry a easy bouquet and give  bridesmaids few stems of a specific flower.  Boutonnieres could be the bud of the same flower. Restrict different recent flower decorations.  No one will care in the event you don’t have flowers lining the aisles or in vases round your venue.

Get flowers at a grocery or big-box retailer. Selecting seasonal or native flowers will lower your value even more. Ask associates or family to assist you make simple arrangements for the reception. Purchase vases at craft stores utilizing coupons or purchase them used. Listed here are another ideas to get monetary savings on wedding flowers.

Get artistic.  Pinterest has limitless ideas for decorating with gadgets like mason jars, wine bottles and other cheap objects.  Select decorations that can be easily arranged on the venue the day earlier than or the day of your event. There are lots of ideas for cheap centerpieces.

The small particulars

If images isn’t a priority, think about hiring a images scholar by means of your local artwork faculty.  Take a look at potential photographers’ portfolios so you possibly can guarantee their fashion matches what you need. Restrict the time you need the photographer present by skipping the “getting ready” pictures and having friends and family take candid photographs for the second half of the reception when it’s just individuals dancing and consuming.

Make wedding favors — or just skip them.  You’ll be able to provide a cookie or candy desk with small packing containers or luggage for a affordable worth. For our reception, photo-booth footage served as favors and I bargained with the vendor to do two copies of every photograph so one in every of each might be included in our reminiscence guide.

Do your personal hair, nails and makeup.  In the event you’re not great at it, ask a good friend or family member to assist. I know so many individuals who didn’t love their hair or make-up on their wedding day despite the fact that they spent a ton of money at the salon.  My sister did my hair and it seemed better than any salon updo I’ve had.

In case you’re decided to have a band, restrict the time it performs. Create an iPod playlist to be played throughout dinner, and have a good friend make any announcements.  The less time the band performs, the less money you have to pay.

Register on Amazon. When you have decided to create a present registry, Amazon has a great one. Not solely do they offer free delivery (visitors can order online and have the merchandise shipped immediately to you, if wanted) additionally they typically have decrease prices than other shops. Plus, they have a 10% completion discount on gadgets you registered for but didn’t obtain.

By focusing on what is essential to you on your wedding and being flexible with the small print which are much less essential to you, you’ll be able to have a wedding you’ve all the time dreamed of for less money.

I was by no means one to dream of a massive, traditional wedding with all the trimmings once I was a little woman. When my now-husband and I received engaged, we talked about exactly what we needed for our wedding and reception, as an alternative of what we have been “supposed” to do. We didn’t understand it instantly, but by considering outdoors the field, we have been in a position to save hundreds on our wedding — and didn’t go into debt. #savemoney #moneysavingtips #wedding

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