We all know weddings get expensive. It’s your big day and you want it to be perfect! Your Pinterest board is probably 1000+ pins deep and it’s just so easy to get caught up with all the hype and beautiful imagery. But every aspect you add on seem to be a money drainer.
Want chandeliers? $800 each.
Want indoor sparklers? Another $1000.
Want gorgeous draping from the ceiling? That will be $900, honey.
So just where should you save?!
As a recent bride who planned every aspect of my own wedding, here are the 5 places we saved money, without letting down the overall aesthetic.
1. Wedding Dress
My wedding dress was bought on sale. There, I said it. In fact, it was a sample (floor stock) on clearance, but all my guests saw was a gorgeous, figure-hugging white dress with subtle lace and sequin accents. The real head-turner was the cape I paired it with, which (in my opinion) completely elevated it to look high-end and extremely extra. Judge if you want, but you don’t need to actually spend a million dollars to look a million dollars. Save the money you would have spent on a dress (one you’ll realistically wear for only a few hours) and put it towards something more long lasting. Keep your dress simple for your own sanity on the wedding day. Nothing lessens the enjoyment of your special day like being unable to walk, sit, bend, or in constant dread about a wardrobe malfunction.
2. Wedding cake
Do you remember when you’ve last raved on about a wedding cake you’ve eaten? Me neither. In fact, I make a point to steer clear of eating wedding cakes. Not only because they’re usually dense, dry and way too sweet, but also because most are either heavily covered in cream or thick fondant. Neither of which are appealing to me. For something that’s mostly acting as decoration and only getting some action during a 5 minute cutting session, I didn’t feel it was good sense to pour $1-2k for the style of cake I wanted, given we (and most of our guests) probably won’t even be eating it. That’s not to shade how much work and skill actually goes into making a wedding cake. There is an immense amount of effort involved! I should know; I made my own, so I understand first hand how much time and patience is required to make one. I guess if you add up the time I spent, then yes, it’s equivalent to retail price, But I would have spent my evenings watching Netflix on the couch anyway. So, based on material costs only, I saved around 90% on my wedding cake.
3. Bonbonnieres or favours
Ok people, by your late twenties to early thirties, I’m guessing you would have attended at least 3-5 weddings by now. My point is: how many of the wedding favours do you still keep, let alone use? It’s sweet and all as a token to remember the day, but after a few months they’re probably relegated to a back draw somewhere (maybe except for your parent’s house, where they’re probably displayed pride of place). I wanted my wedding bonbonieres to be practical and non-customised, but still very much in theme. So I opted for mini photo frames that doubled as table placecards. They’re nice enough for people to take home and display and act as as a souvenir for our wedding without having initials and dates carved in. I got the idea back when my parents took home a little gold photo frame from a family friend’s daughter’s wedding. I still have it displaying my photos and remember where it’s from a decade later. Other wedding favour ideas I also liked: bag of candy/chocolate/popcorn, bottle opener in the shape of a key, and spices in cute little test tubes (yes, these are the memorable ones from friends’ weddings!).
4. Wedding stationery
If you have a creative streak like me, consider taking control of the design to fully customise all your wedding stationery! I handmade all my invitations (around 50!), including hand-foiling, gluing, sealing, and addressing each invite. Did it take a lot of time? Yes. Did it turn out exactly the way I wanted? YES!
In addition to invites, we also handmade our menus, place cards, seating chart, advice cards, and table game sheets.
5. Wedding Planner
Yes! You can plan your own wedding! But only if you start early and be organised. As a spreadsheet fanatic, I laid out everything in an Excel workbook with tabs for each aspect of the wedding from engagement trip, to ceremony, to reception. I had contacts for vendors, spending budget, distance between venues, and a timetable of the day in 15 minute increments. But that’s me as a control freak and I understand how overwhelming it could get (at one point, I was really feeling it too!). I won’t lie, it was very stressful to coordinate, and there were times I felt like table flipping as I was constantly redoing the schedule because things kept changing. So if you have a big wedding, or you’re just not the planning type, then by all means, get a wedding planner to save yourself the stress.
TOTAL SAVINGS: Almost $10,000!
Yes, there were still more areas I haven’t gone into, like booking early outside of wedding season, buying second-hand wedding items off Facebook Marketplace (wishing well), and even more DIYs (table numbers). Plus, you can turn around to resell your wedding items and recoup some costs. So if you’re a bit creative, patient, and hands on, there’s so many places to provide a personal touch to your wedding without breaking the bank!
Do you think where I saved was appropriate?
For those married, where did you saved in?
For my unmarried readers, where would you be willing to compromise?