Posted by: shadesofwhiteevents | February 4, 2010

Wedding Budget-Saving Tricks

Whether you’re planning a small wedding for friends and family or an all out reception for 500 guests, you’ll need the bucks to back up your plans. A typical “Orange County Wedding” for 100 – 150 people costs a bank bursting $20,000- $25,000. Real Simple Weddings suggests to start squirreling away money for your wedding now. They say to open a savings account with an online bank that pays high interest rates, like ING Direct. Because these banks don’t have a lot of overhead, they let you automatically transfer money out of your checking account and into a linked savings account with no fees. Ideally, arrange to have 10 to 20 percent of each paycheck deposited into this account, beginning at least a year before your wedding.

Other money saving tips? Just ask!

Shorten your timeline. Don’t wait a year or more to get married and it will be easier to simplify the wedding instead of getting bogged down by the little details.

Schedule the wedding in the off-season. When there’s less competition for dates, you can have more negotiating power.  November, or January through March – except for Valentine’s Day – can save you roughly 20 percent on costs.

Choose any day other than Saturday. Surprisingly, Friday and Sunday weddings are increasing in popularity. Picture a Friday evening cocktail reception with cake, cocktails and tray passed appetizers instead of the usual Saturday sit-down dinner or buffet. Not your thing? Perhaps a beautiful Sunday brunch reception is more your style. Lunch or brunch is always less expensive than dinner.

Consider choosing a nontraditional venue. Check out less expensive facilities, from botanical gardens to restaurants or more offbeat locations that have some meaning for you, from a beach to your parents’ yard. Keep one thing in mind, however, if the space is not equipped to cater a party, calculate extra costs for bringing in tables, linens and other items.

Sending save-the-date’s? Use a website like and have personalized postcards printed for next to nothing.

Offer a limited bar. Alcohol is one of the biggest expenses of a wedding reception and can quickly eat away at your budget.  Choose a signature cocktail, then ask to stock a few other bottles of liquor based on the wedding party’s preferences. Another option is to serve just beer, wine, and champagne for toasts.

Have a small cake. You can have a beautifully decorated, yet smaller cake on display that’s used for cutting, and then have a sheet cake in the kitchen for serving.

Make your own centerpieces. This is a huge commitment depending on the number of tables you will have at your reception, but there are a variety of centerpieces you can make with little or no flowers (like this). Have your heart set on beautiful floral arrangements? Choose seasonal and local flowers for your reception. This will cuts costs, because your florist won’t have to import any exotic or out-of-season blooms. Or go online to check out wedding flower packages from sites like Pro Flowers, 1-800 Flowers and event Costco – you can have bouquets and centerpieces shipped to you for huge savings.

Keep bridesmaid bouquets small. This will save you money and please your posse (it’s not easy to carry a 10-pound cascading bouquet).

Take advantage of the talents of the bridal party and other friends and family. Anything you can make yourself becomes a fun shared effort and can save a bundle. Michaels craft stores offer a whole line of DIY wedding invitations, favors and programs that you can make and print at home, or have printed professionally for half the cost.

Make some items do double duty. To save the cost of printed place cards, add guests’ names to the favors and set one at each place. Consider having a framed list (like this) of your guests names and their tables instead of individual placecards too.

Make your own favors or skip favors altogether. I made a donation to a charity for my wedding and had little cards placed on the napkins at each seat letting my guests know about the donation in lieu of a favor.

And for all of you DIY brides out there, Martha Stewart has a ton of cute and fun ideas, as well as some wonderful templates, on her website that are available for free. Check them out here and at Michaels craft stores.

Happy planning! 🙂         

                                                                                                                             – Ashlee Baskin


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