The Bride With No Vendors

I don’t think it’s a secret that weddings are expensive. In fact, at, you can enter your zip and come up with the average wedding cost in your city. For mine, it’s $35,140. Ouch.

When I got engaged, I knew that my budget would be a small fraction of the average wedding cost, so I immediately started scouring the internet and bridal magazines for cost-saving tips. It’s really ridiculous how many bridal magazines I’ve bought because the cover said “50 ways to save money on your wedding!!!” ”“ and yet, how much have I spent on the bridal magazines??

From all my scouring, I found some good, consistent tips:

  1. Get married off-season: approximately 70% of weddings are held between May and October ”“ so from November to April, vendors will be more willing to negotiate prices.
  2. Skip Saturday: since Saturdays are more popular, they usually have higher minimums and higher prices ”“ opting for a Friday, Sunday, or even any other weekday, could save you significant coinage.
  3. Cut down on guests: obviously, most prices are per person, so fewer people = fewer dollars spent. I didn’t have to tell you that.
  4. Skip dinner: people like to be fed, but most would be perfectly happy munching on hors d’oeuvres all night. Hors d’oeuvres are cheaper than dinner, so why not?
  5. Daylight wedding: just like Saturdays, evening weddings are the norm, so marrying earlier in the day can really cut costs ”“ especially because, who eats dinner at 11 am?

Like I said ”“ all great tips that I’ve heard again and again. But what happens when you want to get married in May, on a Saturday, with 130 guests, and a seated dinner in the evening???

Well, if you’re like me, you become: The Bride With No Vendors.

I exaggerate. I have a vendor ”“ because I have a venue. But aside from that, this wedding is oddly vendor-less.

  1. Photography: Mr. BG’s cousin’s husband is an amateur digital photographer ”“ and since he is SUPER AWESOME, he has agreed to shoot our wedding. I know that photography can be a huge expense for a lot of people because it’s hugely important to them (which I fully support). For us, I guess I just think ”“ not only do we have great confidence in our guy, but all of our guests will be coming, camera-in-hand, so I don’t think we’ll have trouble remembering what we looked like.
  2. Cake: As I’ve mentioned, I am making my own cake. The way I see it, cakes are meant to be eaten, so even if my own creation isn’t perfect, life will go on ”“ and do you know how CHEAP cake is? It’s 88 cents a box at Walmart!!!
  3. Flowers: I’ve bought my bulk vases, I’ve done my cost comparisons, and so when it comes time, I will be ordering my flowers from a wholesale flower distributor such as are actually tons of sites that do wholesale flowers ”“,, and to name a few more. I can’t vouch for the quality, but I’ve heard good things about fiftyflowers, so I think that’s where I’m leaning.
  4. Music: I have no hesitations about jumping on this bandwagon ”“ Mr. BG and I will be putting on an iPod wedding (to be fair, Mr. BG’s mp3 player is made by Creative, but iPod is one of those words whose brand name has taken over for the generic ”“ like Kleenex or Q-tips). My brother and SIL pulled this off beautifully back in ’03, and now it’s our turn. In fact, this is Mr. BG’s big project, so wish him luck. J
  5. Invitations: This has been a lonnnng and difficult process. But I am proud to say that, for the cost of an inexpensive invitation, we’ve been able to put together a whole suite of paper goods ”“ Save the dates, invitations, insert cards, etc. ”“ that all match! And if you don’t have your heart set on letterpress (but believe me, I don’t blame you if you do), printing your own invitations can extremely cost-saving.
  6. Other: We have quite a few other projects going on ”“ favors, escort cards, programs, OOT bags, etc. ”“ but we’re finding deals all over the place, and it’s kind of nice!

As strange as it may sound, the DIY-intensity of this wedding has me surprisingly at ease. I don’t have to regularly call vendors to catch up. I’m not running from appointment to appointment. We’re doing as much as we can up-front, and we’ll be ridiculously busy right before the wedding, but personally, it puts me at ease to have this much control.

Anyone else skipping the vendor-madness to cut costs?


Mrs. Bubblegum

Exeter, NH
Wedding Date:
May 2008

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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Amanda, Guest @ 2:36 pm

    Those of you that are diy-ing food – how are you handling this with your venue? I’m interested in making my cake and some hors d’oeuvres, but all of the places I’ve looked at want food to be provided by a licensed caterer. Some won’t even allow you to bring in candy or mints from home.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Sarah, Guest @ 4:25 pm

    I was the photographer for a coworker’s wedding about two years ago. Another coworker did the food, one DJ’ed, one guy’s wife did the dress alterations, and one woman’s husband was the officiant. All the paper stuff she did on her home computer.

    I think she had a tent and rental company, and that’s it. And she’s just as married as I am, for a tiny fraction of the cost.

  3. Member
    julieulie 266 posts, Helper bee @ 4:27 pm

    My zipcode is $61,920. We’ll be coming in under (albeit only slightly under) and I’m still DIY-ing a lot of things to save money — making all my own invitations, made my own save-the-dates, made my own wedding website from scratch rather than “buy” one, crocheting all the yarmulkes rather than purchase them, etc. I can’t imagine how much our wedding would have totaled had I not been doing all that on my own to cut down on cost.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Lupakitty, Guest @ 5:01 pm

    Mrs. Bubblegum, you are my idol!
    We are going to try so hard to keep everything at a low cost. I can’t wait to see how your wedding turns out. :D

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    eringoblog, Guest @ 5:19 pm

    I think we have a lot in common!

    We are also going sans-DJ. We have a friend who is willing to keep an eye on the iPod/laptop for us, as well as serve as emcee when necessary.

    AND a friend is going to do our photos. She’s an excellent amateur digital photographer, and I’m very confident in her ability. I know lots of people have issues with this, but I’m not concerned!

    Our big cost is going to be food and drink, because I’m not willing to cut the guest list to a reasonable number. ;)

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    Stephanielee, Guest @ 5:23 pm

    Photographer – importing from Phoenix, AZ to Minnesota for a heck of a lot cheaper

    Music – friends make up the ceremony string music; iPod for the reception; renting a sound system

    Flowers – (I’m really excited about this)

    Cake – Renting a chocolate fountain for cheaper, having a friend make the cake “to cut”

    Paper stuff – through my connections, buying stamps will almost be more expensive than what I’m paying for STDs and invitations combined!

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    cindy, Guest @ 8:22 pm

    My own wedding was extremely DIY. I wore my Mom’s dress, was married by family members, music and photography was provided by friends, and as a graphic designer it was no problem to design my own invites, centerpeices, favors, etc.

    However, I’ve seen the flipside of hiring non-pros for weddings at some other weddings I’ve worked at. I’ve seen the remnants of a wedding cake done by someone’s aunt that melted and imploded on the way to the venue. It was not baked correctly. The only pictures that could be taken were of the topper. We’ve attended a wedding where the groom’s sister volunteered to be the photographer. She had no backup gear or even batteries and her battery ran out during the processional. We’ve heard countless people complain about wedding photographers who were friends and the images were very poor quality. And, we were once hired for a wedding where a friend “photographer” backed out less than 2 weeks before the wedding. So I think it’s great to be creative and DIY with your wedding plans, but consider hiring professionals for some of the areas that are most important to you.

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    Liene, Guest @ 9:25 pm

    Ms. Shamrock – your caterer/site coordinator will most likely NOT put together your flowers for you. They may be willing to set them out on tables, but definitely check and get it in writing before going that route. If you do DIY flowers, it will be you and/or your bridesmaids/family doing it the day before and the day of your wedding. Also check to see if you can put them together at the venue – chances are you will have to arrange them at your home (or wherever you are staying) and transport them to the wedding site yourself.

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    Weddingbee » Blog Archive » Watercooler, Guest @ 1:09 pm

    [...] The Bride With No Vendors by Miss Bubblegum, Welcome To Engaged by Mrs. Peppermint [...]

  10. Member
    sphbride 154 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:45 pm

    Holy smokey, for my zip code is $42K. I think mine comes out to be around $17K. I think I’ll be saving because I rented city owned park & community center instead of luxury hotel or other places specialized in weddings.

  11. Member
    meelahj 134 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:30 pm

    two friends of ours are doing all of the paper stuff (invitations, place cards, programs, STD, table numbers, etc)…

    my aunt is making the cake :)

    my dad and my friend’s husband are amateur photographers that have done weddings and other events so they will be handling the photography…my friend’s husband will do the ceremony since my dad will be walking me down the aisle…and my dad will be doing everything else…

    one of my dad’s friend is the videographer…

    we’re putting together the centerpieces ourselves…they’re wheatgrass so it shouldn’t be a problem…

    a friend is doubling as wedding singer (to sing the Lord’s prayer) and hair dresser (and possibly makeup artist)…

    another friend who DJs in the area is going to be our DJ…

    the only thing i’m up in the air about are the flowers…all we need is 1 bouquet, 10 bouts, and 3 corsages…it seems doable but i’m not sure how confident i am…

    oh, and how can i forget, my FH’s father is our officiant….

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    aa, Guest @ 1:13 am

    I’m a photographer based in the NYC metro area. please visit my site for my portfolio and book me for excellent wedding coverage. Thx!

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