How to Save Thousands When Planning Your Wedding

Keep the little things from adding up.

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How to Have a Beautiful and Affordable Wedding

If you’re feeling like planning the wedding of your dreams is going to cost you more than you’re eager to spend, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Wedding planning is infamous for how much every little thing costs, but there are ways to find deals and cut costs that’ll save you thousands while maintaining pride in the final result.

Hunt for a Discount on Your Dress

Once you’ve twirled around in the dress of your dreams, it can feel tempting to pull out your credit card and buy it on the spot. Press the pause button on that idea and instead, hand over the dress, leave the store and hunt for a better price.

If you know the dress you have to have, or a style you like, search other stores around the country. Some might be offering a sale or discount on the exact same dress. Plus, many stores offer almost 50 percent off during their sample sales.

Buy Your Wedding Dress Used

Another option for saving between 50-75 percent off that dress is to search online marketplaces–try Facebook groups or the platform Nearly Newlywed for example – to buy the dress used. You might have to spend a couple hundred dollars in alterations for the dress to be just right, but the savings might be worth it in the end.

If buying used isn’t your thing, perhaps you’re open to selling your dress once the wedding ends. That way, even if you do pay a retail price, you’ll be able to recoup some cash post-wedding.

Search for Non-Wedding Vendors

When you’re doing a deep-dive search to find the right vendors to hire for your big day, look outside of the wedding industry. An unforgettable study done by Consumer Reports exposed that more than a quarter of wedding vendors charge 28 percent more on their packages the second someone says the event they’re planning is a wedding.

You don’t have to tell a vendor you’re looking to use them for a wedding; at first, you can just tell them you’re hiring for a large event. Not only will you notice a drop in price but they’ll usually let you customize your package more since they aren’t going to try to offer you a bunch of things you hardly want.

Search on websites like Punchbowl or GigSalad to find local event vendors in different price ranges.

Get Crafty

Spend enough time on Pinterest or Instagram and you’ll have your mind set on making elaborate centerpieces that’ll cost you a pretty penny, especially if you work with a wedding designer or a florist. Instead, come up with your ideal table settings, centerpieces and wedding accessories (like a card box, guest book, etc.) and see what you and your friends can DIY.

Head to a craft store with your idea book and source material. You’ll likely be able to create these items for 75-80 percent less than you would if you hired a wedding professional to take charge.

Hire a Helping Hand

If you and your crew aren’t the best with a hot glue gun and paint, you can hire someone on Taskrabbit or Fiverr who might be able to lend a hand for a few hours at a fraction of what it would cost at your florist.

Once you have your DIY crafts in place, then you can hire a florist to help add flowers and make it pop. This way, you’ll wind up spending less because you have the big pieces in place and ready to go.

Create a Must-Have Wedding List

Before you even reach out to vendors, it’s important to take a few steps back and fully understand what your wedding looks like and what’s included. Sit down with your fiancé and create three lists: a list of must-haves, a list of things you’d like and a list of things you’re willing to drop if the price is too high.

After you have your wants prioritized, start to create a budget so you know how much cash you’re willing to spend on each thing, from flowers to food.

Customize Your Own Package

Rather than eyeballing prearranged packages, let vendors know what you’re looking for and see if they can customize it, which is usually done at a less expensive price because it doesn’t include a long list of upsells.

Create Your Own Photo Booth

Want a photo booth but don’t want to spend $600 on one for just a few hours? Make one yourself. Grab a tripod (for $20), borrow an iPad from a friend, get props and a fabric background from the craft store (under $50) and have a friend set it up for you at the wedding. People can drop by and take their own photos using the iPad’s timer, and you can email those photos post-wedding.

While it’ll take a bit more work, it’ll also save you quite a lot of money and it still gives your guests a fun time and a great digital party favor that they can have for social media and, of course, their memories.

Plan Early to Catch Deals

If you have a list of vendors you want to hire or stores you want to get your dress from, keep a close eye on them for holiday or end-of-season sales. Usually, vendors will offer a deal at the start of engagement season (which ironically falls around Black Friday and Christmas time).

You can also reach out to specific vendors and ask if they offer any discounts, or when their next sale will be. Join local wedding Facebook groups where vendors will often post offerings, pick up local magazines to see any advertised sales and ask friends for vendor suggestions and referrals. Sometimes, vendors will give you a little off if they know you were referred from a past client.

Have Fun!

Planning a wedding is a money-sucker, but it can be worth it if every dollar spent is part of the best possible deal you can get. Plan ahead, jot down your must-have list and then get good at hunting for the best and most well-deserved price.

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