Before I even begin writing the content of this post I just want to express how much I LOVE weddings. I was the typical little girl walking down the pretend aisle in my mom’s wedding dress, with the groom waiting at the end of the aisle in the form of my teddy bear. To this day, I love going to weddings, talking about weddings, planning weddings, etc. I seriously considered becoming a wedding planner twice and I almost enrolled in a weekend course but couldn’t produce the funding at the time. So even though I love weddings, I still think the wedding industry squeezes a RIDICULOUS amount of money out of the bride, groom and even anyone who is involved in the wedding. I can’t wait to one day plan my own wedding but I am a girl on a BUDGET so I am constantly searching for ways to save a penny in my everyday life.
I understand that there are many components of a wedding that you can’t necessarily just decide you’re going to save money on and call it a day. A lot of couples luck out by personally knowing a photographer, a baker, maybe even a wedding consultant; so they get a nice discount on those services. If you don’t personally know a photographer but you want your wedding photos to be unforgettable, you obviously need to cough up the money in order to get a quality service; that’s just how life works!
However, there are still things here and there that seem to have become important parts of the modern day, twenty-first century wedding that just can’t be avoided. Let’s explore:
I have been to way too many weddings where the centerpieces (though absolutely gorgeous) probably cost the happy couple a FORTUNE. Although certainly time consuming, why not make your own centerpieces? Start with going to the local dollar store or craft store and pick up some pretty jars/cups. You can buy all sorts of different sizes, you could also collect these from home after using a mason jar or a nice bottle. You can decorate them on the outside with paint, gemstones, etc. and/or add some nice stones to the bottom of each jar then fill with flowers. The choice is yours and it won’t cost you $100.00 dollars just for one centerpiece. This can also be achieved with fake flowers, and if you have a crafty hand; look into making soy candles (not an expensive or overly difficult hobby).
For most people who are getting married, the bachelor and/or bachelorette party is easily one of the most excitable parts of a wedding (aside from, you know, marrying the love of your life). I’ve seen people take these parties to a whole new level of extravagance, spending thousands of thousands of dollars taking the party to different cities, countries, etc. There is NOTHING wrong with this and probably makes the party 1000x more exciting, but there are so many ways to do this on a budget and still have a blast! My one friend who is engaged is pretty conservative and isn’t about the whole champagne-strip club-Vegas escapade for these types of parties. She asked me to plan her party for her and since I know her so well, I put together a fun, but quiet Paint N’ Sip night. For those who don’t know, this is when you attend (or host) a painting night where a professional artist/painter shows you how to paint a particular picture while you’re drinking wine. It was relatively cheap and I know an artist so I got a really good deal. We’re finishing the night by going to her favourite bar in the city and getting bottle service, which we got a really good deal on. I would suggest to keep in hindsight what the bride/groom’s interests are and if you are on a budget, look into ways to still satisfy those interests but in a less intense way.
Will you be my…..?
Either I’m getting old or this is a fairly new concept, with the bride and/or groom asking their wedding party to be in their wedding by presenting favours, gifts, etc. I’ve seen some really extravagant prizes being handed out to parties asking to be in their wedding, and I think this is an adorable gesture, but this can also be managed on a budget. The bride and/or groom can make it as simple as visiting the local dollar/craft store (can you tell I do that a lot?) and putting together a personalized card or mini scrapbook for each person. You can even buy a wine glass each ($2-3 dollars at the dollar store) and include cute party favours inside, then tie a note around the stem asking them to be in your wedding party. I find your best bet if you want to save some money is to buy something small and make it personalized towards the person you are asking. It doesn’t cost a lot, and you are probably giving a much more meaningful gift than something expensive that doesn’t mean anything to them.
This is probably the most interesting one to me. Buying wedding invitations can cost easily over $1,000.00. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but I seriously can’t justify spending that much on a piece of paper to give to someone I see on a regular basis inviting them to my wedding. That’s not to bash those who spend lots of money on them, sometimes you want to present your invitations in the classiest way possible and I respect that but personally, I wouldn’t spend over $400 dollars on my own. Start by comparing prices- this goes for any component of a wedding, really. Start shopping around, calling places, and if you intend to order online make sure you know what the cost of shipping & handling is (this can bite you in the butt later on). There are many local craft businesses that would be eager to make wedding invitations, but many people don’t know about them because they assume the larger companies that charge more, are more legitimate. Shop around for these small businesses, look for them online or close to your location. Lastly, I would suggest (if you have the time) to make your own. Obviously this can be time consuming but if you have a crafty side to you, you would save a heck of a lot of money by purchasing the materials yourself.
Stag/Stag and Doe/Buck and Doe
I’m not entirely sure how universal the concept is of a Stag and Doe (that’s what I call, anyways) but essentially you have all of your friends and family, and sometimes people you barely know, come to an event where your entire wedding party and the bride/groom/whoever is getting married host a night of games, food, drinks, contests, and prizes to be won. I think this is a really good concept for modern day weddings as people know how much the wedding industry costs in the 21st century. Supporting those who are getting married by coming out and spending money to drink, play games, eat and potentially win some contests in fun. They are also getting something out of it, which is the potential to win a prize or two (or three). This can be organized in a way that the wedding party can make a GIANT profit just from the Stag and Doe alone. If you orchestrate a number of games, pay a bartender to have the booze that you know people will like, have a decent arrangement of food and have actual GOOD prizes to deal out, you will have people buying tickets all night wanting to get their hands on your great prizes. The alcohol is an added bonus considering the more intoxicated people get, the more loose they get, and therefore the more they want to spend money and have fun.
Weddings are absolutely AMAZING events to celebrate the love that two people share and planning them can be either the biggest headache, or a fun adventure for those who like to plan. Either way, before you start to look into how you’re going to plan your wedding and you’re interested in saving some money, it definitely pays to do some research and compare things to get the cheaper alternative.$