Happy Wednesday, friends! I’m back with another post to help you plan your wedding day, and this one is designed to help you plan with intention while saving you a few dollars in the process. Planning a wedding day can be pretty expensive… there’s no denying that.
However, after attending so many weddings as a photographer and chatting with many different vendors and couples, I’ve learned that there are a few places where you are able to prioritize spending during wedding planning. Hopefully, these tips save you a few dollars in the process all while having a minimal impact on your wedding day experience and the experience of your guests! I know you’re busy with all that wedding planning, friend. Let’s get started with today’s post right away!
Decide your value points
I say this all the time, but as you begin to plan your wedding day, it is absolutely vital that you are planning how much you are planning on spending and where you will be spending said money. What will you be prioritizing? Which vendors and services are most important to you? What is your budget for decor? Gifts for the people you love? Individual wedding vendors?
You may be wondering how this will save you money, but let me explain… how many times have you gone to the grocery store with an empty stomach and no list? This may just be me speaking from experience, but I know this is typically when I buy all kinds of extra snacks & things I don’t really need. When I go to the grocery store with my list & meal prep gameplan for the week, I typically stick to purchasing just what I need with a few fun things peppered into the mix. In the end? I spend A LOT less than the first scenario.
My point? Plan where you want to spend and what matters to you so you don’t overspend on things that don’t matter to you. Yes, many wedding day services, items, and experiences are an investment, but if you and your partner have a strategic plan, you are more likely to put your money where it counts and are less likely to spend on things that aren’t as important to you. You and your partner are the only two people that can decide what your value points are!
Skip the unnecessary
Ok real talk… there are certain “traditional” items that may not be necessary but everyone will tell you you should have. Taking this back to my first point: decide what matters to YOU.
If you are looking for a few examples… ceremony programs, favors just to have favors, napkin rings, escort cards… I could go on and on.
Oftentimes, I find the “unnecessary” items to be disposable or semi-disposable items for individual guests… and typically, these are items that get unused because a surplus was ordered or left behind at the end of the night. Since I’ve started photographing weddings, there have only been a handful of weddings that I felt truly needed a ceremony program. With programs, oftentimes groups will share, so if you DO want to have programs, you may not need one for every guest plus extras. I’ve seen couples spend on wedding favors they didn’t really care about, just to have favors… only to have the items left on tables at the end of the night. (Pro-tip here: If you ARE thinking about what matters to others in terms of favors, I can nearly guarantee that your guests would rather you put the money you would have spent on favors into the food, drink, or entertainment budget. Late night snack, anyone?) Napkin rings are on the table for just a second once your guests sit down, and you can get creative with sharing seat assignments in one place without printing individual cards for everyone.
There’s no need to spend the money on something, just because it is “traditional” which brings me to my next point…
You do you
This is your wedding… if there is something that is “traditional” that you don’t really want as part of your wedding day, get creative and figure out how YOU want to do things! In the process, you could save a few dollars!
Let me explain: I’ve seen weddings where couples were super intentional with their pre-ceremony timeline and opted to skip having a cocktail hour, saving money on alcohol and allowing for a longer social time post-dinner… I’ve seen couples skip having an official “champagne toast” poured before speeches or dinner and instead asked guests to raise the glass of whatever they were drinking… I’ve seen couples opt for catering from their favorite restaurant instead of doing a plated dinner service (Looking at you Chuy’s & Carrabas… it was delicious!)… I’ve seen couples opt for a smaller wedding/elopement because a smaller, intimate wedding was what they truly wanted… I’ve seen couples opt to have smaller wedding parties or no wedding party at all, saving on bouquets, hair and makeup and gifts to name a few…
There are SO many examples I could list here, and most of them come back to one basic theme: this is YOUR wedding day, and you can plan it however you would like. If there is something you want to do that may be a little off-beat or varied from “tradition”, make it happen OR ask your vendor team how you can make it happen!
The key here? Yes, there are SO many ways that you can make your wedding day your own— planning intentionally is an absolute must.
Bonus: New isn’t always best
I know pursuing Etsy for pretty wedding details is a blast, but what if I told you that everything you use to create your wedding day design doesn’t have to be brand new?! This is a great way to save a little cash AND is also a great way to take a more sustainable approach to your wedding day!
You’re probably saying “Duh, Caity…” BUT here’s the thing: as you begin to look for items to complete your wedding day design, I can nearly guarantee that your first go-to is searching for new items to purchase! If saving is your ultimate goal, I want to challenge you to get creative here as you put together your wedding day design. From furniture and decor rentals to repurposing things you already have, purchasing used items from other couples in resale groups… there are SO many different ways to find new-to-you items that won’t break the bank.
Another alternative here if you do want brand new items… seek out items that you can use beyond your wedding day for home decor! I’ve seen couples reuse frames, glassware, decor pieces, and more. Get creative here! Yes, you may be spending money on something brand new, BUT you’ll be able to use and enjoy the piece long after your wedding day in your home.
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