I don’t think it’s a secret that weddings are expensive. In fact, at www.costofwedding.com, 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Cut down on guests: obviously, most prices are per person, so fewer people = fewer dollars spent. I didn’t have to tell you that.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!!!
- 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 www.fiftyflowers.com.There are actually tons of sites that do wholesale flowers – www.onlinewholesaleflowers.com, www.growersbox.com, and www.costco.com 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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?