I always said I was not going to make a big deal about getting married — much to my mother’s chagrin. But when I got engaged a few months ago, something changed inside me and my inner-wedding planner came out.
What I realized pretty quickly, though, is that weddings are expensive. Like, sell your Plasma TV expensive. Luckily, there are a ton of savvy ways to save money for brides (and grooms!) on a budget that don’t sacrifice style. Here are my top ten frugal wedding ideas anyone can incorporate into their Big Day.
1. Budget First
One of the first frugal wedding ideas is to set budget boundaries around your Big Day. Before deciding that you just have to do that destination wedding in France, sit down with your future spouse and hammer out a wedding budget (try using a budgeting template if you’re not sure where to start). That way, you’ll know exactly how much you have to spend before you start shopping for venues, photographers or other vendors that might be out of your price range.
2. Don’t Forget the Tip
When shopping for wedding vendors, remember that quotes do not usually include service charges, gratuity or taxes. These things can often tack on an additional 30% to your initial price, so be sure to factor in those hidden costs in when finalizing your list of vendors.
3. Go Off-Season
Shopping off-season isn’t just for winter coats and swim suits. It applies to wedding venues, too! Wedding season runs from May to October, so if you get married from November to April, you could save big bucks on your dream venue.
Bonus Tip: Put even more green in your honeymoon fund when you get married on any day but Saturday, the most popular day for weddings.
4. Pass the Hors D’Oeuvres
Instead of serving a plated meal to your guests, which can get pricy, consider serving lighter fare. Passed appetizers are often a less expensive option if you’re planning a wedding on a budget.
Bonus Tip: Guests will be less likely to expect a plated meal if your wedding is in the afternoon between 2-4 p.m. rather than the during the traditional meal time of 6-7 p.m.
5. Nix Traditional Bouquets
Traditional fresh flower bouquets typically start around $50.00 per arrangement. If you’re having a large bridal party, that could easily set you back a few hundred dollars, if not more. Instead, use bouquets as an opportunity to get creative. I’ve seen brides have their gals carry everything from peacock feathers to Jane Austen novels! If you really want your bridesmaids to carry bouquets, consider paper or felt flowers as a cost effective and eco-friendly alternative.
6. Skip the Stamps
One of the more antiquated wedding traditions is spending a fortune on elaborate invitations that must be mailed. The cost of paper invitations can add up quickly, since wedding invitation postage will cost more than the price of a regular stamp. As a frugal wedding idea, consider sending out online invitations, and use a website like RSVPify.com to keep track of who’s attending. Not only is this a great way to save money, it’s an easy way to be green.
7. Pare Down Your Guest List
A wedding guest list can easily get out of control, with family, friends, and coworkers — and you don’t want to leave anyone out! But one of the best frugal wedding ideas is to pare down the guest list.
Think about who you really want to share in your special day. If someone asks why they weren’t invited, you can simply explain that you’re having an intimate ceremony, and that only close friends and family were invited.
8. Forget the Favors
Believe me, no one will even notice the favors at your wedding. Why spend a ton of money on tchotchkes that are just going to gather dust and eventually be thrown away? If you’re planning a wedding on a budget, save that money for some of the bigger ticket wedding items, like the ceremony fee and catering costs.
9. BYO Booze
This is one of my top frugal wedding ideas to help cut costs on the reception. Look for a venue that allows you to bring your own alcohol. You can save big bucks on booze (one of the most expensive things in any wedding budget) by buying wholesale. The venue will still probably require their bartenders to serve, but you’ll save big by bringing your own drinks.
10. DIY Like a Pro
I envisioned gold confetti on each table at my wedding, but I quickly realized that little paper circles are almost as expensive as real gold. Instead, I put my fiancé to work punching confetti out by hand during his down time. We saved a ton of money, and no one could tell the difference. You’d be surprised at how many wedding items you can DIY!
Planning a wedding on a budget doesn’t mean you have to cut back on the things you really want. A frugal bride is a smart bride who knows that a little planning and ingenuity can go a long way.
Do you have any frugal wedding ideas for brides on a budget? I’d love to hear your ideas and experiences in the comments! And for even more inspiration, be sure to check out our Pinterest board and browse 77 Diamond’s Guide to Sustainable, Zero-Waste, Ethical Weddings.