Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wedding: What We Did to Save Money, How We Could Have Saved More

Can I just say that one of the most fun things we did at our wedding was to have a dance?  We kicked off the 'party' part of the night with ten-year-old Seth stepping up to the microphone and announcing, "Please gather while the bride and groom cut the cake."
And then Seth announced, "Will all the single ladies gather by the stage for the throwing of the bouquet?"
Kevin's sister surprised us by turning on the music: "All the single ladies!  All the single ladies!"  Way to start the party!
Fight for the bouquet!
Throwing of the garter.
All that was followed by the traditional bride and groom's first dance, then the daddy/daughter (and mother/son) dance. And then the rest of us got to dance! Kevin's family is big on dancing, so he really wanted to have a dance.  Kari was more reluctant.  But we were both SO glad we did it, because it was SO fun, even for those who didn't really dance!  We asked Kevin to put the playlist together for both the reception and the dance.  He and his sister worked together on it and were careful to select only songs that were fun but would be appropriate at the celebration of a temple wedding.

Love the picture of Kari dancing with her dad.  Her face says it all.  It is saying, "Thank you, Daddy, for spending all this money on my wedding!"  Just kidding.  But it is a good lead-in to the subject we are really talking about: money!

Here is a list of things we did to save money, and how we could have saved even more money if we had needed to or decided to.  In our case, we wouldn't have changed a thing. I don't necessarily recommend that you do all the money savers.  They are just suggestions if you do need to make things less expensive.
  • Everything I purchased, I researched the best price, for the quality I wanted.
  • Sewed the wedding dress.  Though this is not always an option,  this is probably the single best way we saved money. The only way we could have saved more on this would have been to not use a lace overlay. 
  • We made the veil. ANYONE can do this.  It will save you $200 or more!
  • Sewed the bridesmaids skirts and dresses, and provided only the skirt, not the rest of the outfit. Money saver:  fewer bridesmaids, but we loved having them all involved!
  • Sewed table runners.  Purchased tableclothes (same price as renting, can use again). We had a tablecloth, a table topper, and a runner. Money saver: only have one layer, ie. just a tablecloth.
  • Rented Farmington City Arts Building instead of a reception center.  Money saver: use the church cultural hall.
  • Invitations: researched prices. Money saver: send less invitations, choose an invitation without a band, purchase an invitation that has the picture printed on it instead of separate from the invite. Hand deliver invitations to people who live nearby.
  • Cake money saver: learn to make and decorate your own cake, choose a smaller cake, or don't even have a cake if it doesn't matter to you! I went to one wedding where they had a cake made out of cans of diet pepsi (the bride and groom's favorite)
  • Photography: had Kevin's sister take engagement pictures for the invitations. Money saver: don't do bridals, have someone in your family with a good camera take pictures, or consider a professional photographer for just an hour either after the temple (where you can get some great formal shots of the bride and groom) or before the reception.
  • Men's clothing: purchased matching ties instead of tuxedos. Money saver: select a slack color that most of the men already have.
  • Decorations: we did the decorating ourselves for the best price we could find for what Kari had in mind. Money saver: borrow or use fewer decorations.  I have heard of lovely wedding receptions done solely with borrowed decorations or fewer and simpler decorations.
  • Chairs: researched the best prices.  Money saver: use the chairs provided by the facility.  We could have used chair covers, but the price for those was the same as for chairs.  Sometimes just a tulle bow will spruce up a metal chair.
  • Flowers: used our neighbor, who provided us with flowers at wholesale and only charged a little for her time.  We also did not use out-of-season or specialty flowers that would have cost more. Money saver: use less flowers. Some brides have smaller bouquets and do not provide flowers for the entire wedding party. We used fresh flowers on each of the guest tables as well. Some other type of centerpiece might have cost less (especially if it was borrowed).  Doing the flowers yourself is another way to save, but also adds a lot of stress the day before the wedding!
  • Food: we saved big time by doing the food ourselves. Money saver: guess right on how much you will need.  Or serve only cake or cheesecake. 
  • Candy: researched best prices.  Money saver:  don't even have a candy bar.  Or have a smaller one.
Okay, there you have it.  I honestly wouldn't have changed any of what we did (except maybe buy the right amount of food. Now I know).  You know from wedding shows on television that the sky is the limit on how much you can spend.  Better to let your own budget be the limit.  Decide what is necessary or really important for you to have at your wedding, consider your talents and how much time you have, and decide what your budget is.  Be sure to consider your stress level when deciding what to do (ie, a reception center is LOT less stress than doing it yourself, but oh, the satisfaction from doing it yourself!) Then formulate a plan from that and make cuts when necessary wherever you can that will have the least effect on your overall desires.  Some things matter, and some things really don't.  Just remember that the most important part takes place in the temple.  All the rest is just in celebration of that most sacred event.

More money saving ideas appreciated if you'd like to comment!


  1. I love that you have done all this research and shared it with the rest of us! I agree with everything except the photography advice. That's the one thing I wish I would have invested in a little bit more. When all the festivities are over, the photographs are all you have left (besides memories) of this once-in-a-lifetime special occasion, and a few amateur shots are not the same as a professional's. Skimp somewhere else and invest in quality pictures!

    1. Oh, I agree completely! We did have a lot of people tell us exactly the same thing-get a good photographer-because pictures will be what is left! That was just ONE way you COULD cut back. If I were to do the wedding again, I would do most of it exactly the same way. I wouldn't change it to save money (unless I really needed to). Although, I don't think the bridal pictures were necessary. They were beautiful, and I'm glad we have them, but we got plenty of beautiful formal shots of the bride and groom at the temple.