According to The Knot, the average price of a wedding in the US was $33,93 in 2018. If you live in NY, this price increases tremendously to the whooping $65,824 as surveyed by Reuters. It is no wonder that for many, this happy occasion creates a lot of stress and financial strain. However, even in the most expensive cities, savings can be made for affordable yet beautiful and amazing weddings. Quality does not have to be compromised for you to have the wedding of your dreams on a budget.
We have put together the most thorough list of genius hacks to make your wedding dreams come true and relieve financial anxiety.
1. Do An Off-Season Wedding
For different states, off season falls on different months. For NY, off-season wedding months are end of November through March. Off-season weddings are often half the price of the in season weddings. Moreover, with the unpredictable weather, your off season wedding might end up having a nicer day than in-season. According to The Knot, January, February, and March are the least popular months to get married. What does it mean? If you decide to get married on those months, the venue would probably give you the best discounts.
2. Choose A Friday Or Sunday For Your Wedding
Saturday weddings are most expensive. Going with a Friday or Sunday option will help to keep you on the budget. We chose Sunday afternoon for our wedding, the hours of 2pm-8pm so that our guests could arrive in time and left early enough to go to work on Monday.
Now, choosing a friday or sunday on an off-peak season will give double the savings.
3. Get Married Within Half A Year
This is a tricky one. For many it takes one year or longer to plan a wedding. However, if you're getting married relatively soon, you might get lucky with the venue prices. Most brides and grooms book their venues well ahead of time, about a year or two. If you are getting married fast, you can go to the venues and ask them what dates they have left (which means you have to be flexible on dates). Most venues with some empty days realize that by then, it is unlikely they will get to fill them. Therefore, they are likely to give heavy discounts!
4. Negotiate The Number Of Guests
Many venues require a minimum number of guests. It is possible to negotiate the number of guests down. This will allow for a more intimate wedding and will fit the budget better.
5. Negotiate The Venue Price
Many venues will not negotiate their price but it is worth a try. If not the price, you can ask to throw in some extras such as additional menu items, decor or lighting.
6. Read Carefully On What The Venue Includes
Some venue prices might seem cheaper but it is important to read what each venue includes to make the best informed decision. The more items the venue includes, the less work you have to do finding vendors, negotiating and planning. Here are some of the things to look for: catering, alcohol, wedding cake, coffee and tea service, menus, direction cards, day of coordinator, table linens, utensils, bridal suite. Some venues also include Dj and MC services, centerpieces, and officiants.
7. Find A Photographer Looking To Expand Portfolio
For a New York wedding, I was quoted up to 10 thousand dollars for photography. No, thank you. Photography is one of the most important vendors for the wedding. Try finding photographers who are experienced but are looking to expand their portfolio to weddings. Make sure you love their photography style and personality since they will be working with you all day long. You can look for photographers on Facebook by joining wedding groups and photography groups in your area.
8. Forego The Albums
The most important thing we want from photography is beautiful pictures. While most packages provide albums and prints, you can eliminate them to get the best price. Hint: I will show you how to print the most beautiful albums and prints on your own!
9. Choose 1 Photographer Instead Of 2
This is especially relevant for smaller weddings. One photographer, especially if experienced, is more than enough to capture your beautiful day.
10. Cut The Number Of Hours Your Photographer Has To Be At The Wedding
Generally, photographers come about 2 hours before the ceremony to take bride and groom and family pictures. If they stay for the duration of the whole wedding, they end up staying for up to 12 hours or even more. Negotiate with the photographer the price of the package by cutting the number of hours down to 6. At the end of the day, do you really need the pictures after the cutting of the cake?
11. Hire A Starting Out Company
Having the wedding video is a beautiful memory that budget conscious brides do not have to forego. Find a videographer who is experienced in videos but is trying to expand to weddings. You can join Facebook video groups and ask for recommendations specifying your budget right away.
12. Make Your Own Save The Date Cards.
These days, with the technology available, you do not need to pay a stationary store for save the dates. You can use a website, such as VistaPrint to create amazing save the dates. You will just upload the picture you want to use on one of their designs. For our wedding I purchased 50 save the dates with their matching envelops for $37.93, which comes to about 75 cents per save the date with its envelop. Of course, whenever ordering on Vista Print, I always look for coupons and discounts online. There has not been a time when I did not find a promo code for VistaPrint. Usually these codes range from 15-40% off. If you want to splurge a little, you can even get magnets. I purchased 10 magnets with their envelops for $14.65. Vista Print even has a Free Wedding Sample Kit that you can ship to your home. This kit includes: Invite, RSVP card, Save the date and custom envelope, Program and Menu, Paper stocks like linen, foil, pearl and more, Samples with our rounded corner option. Their kit allowed me to figure out what paper I wanted to use and what sizes to order.
13. Make Your Own Invitations
These can be done the same way as save the dates, using VistaPrint or any other company similar to it.
14. Email Save The Dates And Invitations
Emailing is free and will save you hundreds of dollars of paper, printing and stamps. It might also make it easier for your guests to RSVP instead of having to sign and ship the cards back. Many websites include free emailing feature including: evite, and greenvelope.
15. Make Your Own Thank You Cards
You can use VistaPrint again to customize your thank you cards or simply buy nice thank you cards at any department store and send them to your guests.
16. Make Your Own Wedding Albums
You can make absolutely gorgeous wedding albums using the pictures provided by your photographer. AdomaPix is used just for that. It allows you to choose the album cover such as hardcover, leather, and metal insert. It also allows to design the album using their templates and make it as personal as you wish to. I could not be happier with my beautiful, good quality album that we got for under $100.
17. Check Out Sample Sales
Many stores have sample sales a couple of times a year. Inquire from your nearby wedding stores whether they have sample sales and when they take place. Oftentimes, sample wedding dresses are reduced to a half or less of the original price.
18. Look On Amazon
Amazon is a surprising idea for a wedding dress, but it is worth checking out. Make sure that there are a lot of good reviews, and that returns are allowed (select amazon prime and check return policy from 3rd party sellers).
19. Check Etsy
Etsy will not only give you beautiful dresses at a reasonable price, but also allow you to support small businesses. Just like amazon, you should look for many good reviews and check the return policy.
20. Check Amazon
For items such veils, and hair accessories, amazon is great! If you don't feel like buying a $300-500 veil at the store, Amazon has great veils for $10-20. What's even better is that many items on amazon prime have a free return policy for any reason (make sure what you're purchasing has free returns). I bought 5 veils and chose my favorite among them, sending the rest back under the free return policy. Remember to read the reviews, and to go with items that have the most positive reviews.
21. Check TjMaxx and Marshalls For Hair Accessories And Wedding Jewelry
These discount stores have beautiful hair accessories, oftentimes in bridal styles as well as bridal jewelry. If you find something better, you can always return to these stores as long as you hold on to your receipt and return the item within 30 days of the purchase.
22. Choose A Suit
Why? How many more times would your husband wear a tuxedo after the wedding? A nice suit is a great investment that can be worn to work and corporate events as well as any official gatherings. You can check out stores such as Macys, Nordstrom Rack, and Century21 for good suit deals.
23. Use Costco
Costco has wedding packages starting from $229.99. For example it's Soft Grace Wedding Package for $229.99 includes 1 Bridal Bouquet, 2 Bridesmaid Bouquets, 3 Corsages , 3 Boutonnieres and 1 Bag of Rose Petals.
24. Use Sam's Club
Sam's Club sells wedding flower collections as well at similar prices to Costco. It recommends having the delivery date 2 days before your event. Sam's Club also has a video on how to best store and take care of flowers once you receive them.
25. Find A Florist Within Your Budget
The best way to stay within your budget is to tell the florist the number of items you need as well as your budget. You will be able to find a florist who can accommodate you. The key is to call many florists and state your budget right away. It is also important to be flexible with the varieties of flowers.
26. Select Cheaper Flower Varieties
Flowers, just like precious stones, vary greatly in price. The cheapest wedding flowers, according to the knot.com are baby's breath, carnation, sunflowers, gladiolus, daisies, and chrysanthemums.
27. Make Your Own Flowers Out Of Paper Or Silk
If you are crafty and feel like putting your own twist on wedding flowers, you can make them out of paper or other materials. These can be stored after the wedding for memories and will add a very unique twist to your special day. How do you make them? There are a ton of tutorials on youtube and google. Just make sure you make them ahead of time since these will take a lot of time to complete.
28. Assemble Flowers Yourself
You can buy wholesale flowers and assemble them yourself, making bouquets and centerpieces. Youtube tutorials will be your best friends in teaching you how to make beautiful creations. You can also enlist family members and friends to help with putting flowers together.
29. Don't Use Flowers For Centerpieces
Instead you can make gorgeous centerpieces out of: lanterns, candles, tree branches, fruits and so much more. For centerpiece ideas google diy wedding centerpieces.
Hair And Makeup
30. Go to Sephora
Hair and makeup can be extremely expensive on the wedding day. One option is to go to Sephora. Sephora offers makeup appointments with one of the employees absolutely free with a $50 in store purchase the same day. It's important to try it out first and then try to schedule the appointment with the same person on the wedding day for best results.
31. Try Mac
Mac also offers makeup appointments that range from free to 90$ (but good news: the price of service is redeemable for product) depending on the time and services including. The $90 appointment is 90 minutes long and according to MAC: "A one-on-one consultation to design your wedding day makeup, with tailor-made looks created by a M·A·C Artist to complement your style or theme in 90 minutes. On-the-day application also available. Complimentary mascara on day of service."
32. Do It Yourself
If you are used to doing your own makeup, or even if not, doing it on your own is a great option. You know exactly what you want and don't want. You will need to practice ahead of time, and repeat hair and makeup trials 2-3 times at least to know exactly what you will be doing on your special day, and how long it will take. You can also learn makeup skills from youtube or Sephora or Mac stores. I did my own hair and makeup on the special day and it was the best decision I made!
Favors are the tradition for many weddings, yet they often end up being useless or expensive. A good solution to this is to make edible favors. Guests, for the most part, love yummy desserts and will be happy to take them home. This is also a more affordable option for favors.
34. Skip Favors
This is not an essential part of the wedding and can be easily skipped.
These stores have a variety of signs for wedding, such as welcome to our wedding boards, wedding picture frames and many others.
36. Use Picture Frames
You can make your own wedding signs by printing out quotes and inserting them into nice picture frames. Different wedding quote templates are sold on etsy but you can easily make them yourself with the help of Microsoft Word.
37. Use Cricut Machine
Even though this is an initial investment (a Cricut machine costs $120 and up), this machine is very versatile in what it can help you make. Cricut cuts a variety of materials such as vinyl, cloth, paper and more. It uses your own designs for cutting and makes every project easily customizable. I have seen brides and grooms use Cricut to make wedding invitations, wedding signs, seating charts, bridesmaid shirts and so much more.
38. Ask Your Friend Or Family Member
A speech by a good friend or family member will feel very intimate and beautiful since they know your love story best. You can go over what you would like to include or not include in the ceremony ahead of time to make it special.
There are many creative ways for special guestbooks that are very affordable including:
39. A Globe
Buy a globe that your guests could sign
40. A Photograph
You can also bring a big photograph of the two of you or a special place that the guests can sign.
41. Bird Cage From Oriental Trading
Some wedding venues come with envelop holders already, so do not make my mistake and ask ahead of time. However, if you need one, a white bird cage can be decorated and made into a gorgeous envelop/card holder. I recommend the cage from Oriental Trading for $25.99. You can decorate it with flowers, petal and bows.
42. Mini Suitcase
Other card box ideas include mini suitcases, especial for couple who love to travel.
Your wedding day is one of the most special days of your life. You do not have to compromise your budget to make your dream come true. With a little bit of DIY, negotiations and research planning will be fun and exciting.
Share in the comments how you were able to save on your wedding?