My background is in the wedding industry as a seamstress and as a musician. Through that I have been involved in lot of weddings so I have seen many times how expensive weddings can be. What blows my mind is how can some spend only $1200 on the whole wedding, while others can spend $10 000 on just the dress.
I know weddings can be such a stressful time, so much to organise, and of course you want that day to be perfect! Something that will make everything 100 times easier, especially if you are on shoe string budget, is to be open minded. If the designs don’t match the exact idea you have in mind, (so what!) the ones that come up might even be better. I know that’s a hard one, but sometimes things turn out perfectly when we let go of the expectations.
So, as I love minimalism in all areas, I decided to go out and find the people with minimal budgets and I interviewed them to find out how they did it, so we can have as many tips as possible on this one article. Budget wedding made simple.
So, number 1 rule; Keep the numbers down! Keep it down to around 40 to 60 people. And remember less is more, in my experience smaller weddings are great! You can create so much more intimacy with a few less people. (I know it’s HARD to draw a line, but can be so totally worth it.) And you know what you can do? Hey we have social media right? Record your wedding live and invite the rest of the people that you love or who might live far away to attend via live streaming. I have attended a wedding that way from my couch, an absolutely brilliant idea.
Do everything you can by yourself and with friends and family’s help, usually people are very helpful. Invitations, wedding program, names on the tables etc. Shop around for stationery. Everything is cheaper online.
One top tip I found was, to write a list of things that are REALLY important to you (for example: venue, photographer, flowers, entertainment and the dress).
Then, think outside of the box!
e.g. Venue; Parks with free seating and a barbecue area, go out of the city, find a nice country venue. How do your friends or family live? Anyone got a big house? And this is one of my favourites, one of the girls I interviewed included a wedding and a honeymoon in one, just her and the husband and one friend went off to Jamaica. And the resorts often have wedding packages including free photos, free cake, free champagne and so on. Also, another top tip. Whether you get married locally or overseas: Ask venues for unusual times for example 9 am instead of the busiest time. You might save a LOT of money 😉
As I mentioned earlier I like minimalism and I don’t like clutter (that doesn’t mean we have none. LOL). Reach out to your friends and find out what skills they have. Most likely you will find a chef, a dressmaker, a photographer, a musician, a florist and whatever a wedding might need just from your list of friends and family. Ask them to provide their service as a wedding gift and no other gifts. I have just offered my beautiful friend who is getting married later this year to alter her dress as a wedding gift. No clutter. (Most of us have too much anyway).
Now one really great option is also to reach out to schools, often times students will do a job on much smaller budget than professionals, however the quality is usually really good as the teachers will be there to guide the process.
Flowers can add so much beauty to your wedding, but this can be a big expense. So here’s a few ways to save in that area. Move the flowers from the ceremony to the reception. A little extra work but a BIG saving, hey!
Use the bridesmaid’s flowers as a decoration at the reception, at the cake table and elsewhere in vases. Ask for flowers that are in season, and the fact is, some flowers are cheaper than others. Shop around and ask questions.. Google!! One little tip, if you get married in a church, around Christmas and Easter time most churches are already decorated with flowers 😉 Also a brilliant idea! Do you have a garden? Maybe there will be some plants that are in flower just at your wedding time, if not, be prepared and plant some a few months earlier.
Second hand silk flowers can also be effective. Have any of your friends had silk flowers? Ask if they’ve still got them and whether you can borrow them.
And remember, like in everything, again, less is more. Focus on the big centrepieces and leave all the rest out. That way you have much more clarity and a classier look. And your guests will most likely notice the decorations more too if they are just in few main areas.
Wedding food, so super important! Get creative and ask for help unless you are great in the kitchen unlike me lol. But something that has come to me in many conversations how to save on food, well, shop in Aldi for cheaper products. Make the food yourself or ask friends or family to do it as a gift. Keep the menu simple! Too many options don’t make your guests any happier, in fact too many options can just complicate things.
A few ideas on saving on the dress. Second hand dresses are a great option and find out if anyone can alter it for you as a gift. Shop for other materials instead of silk. There are some beautiful polyesters out there and guess what! You can machine wash a polyester dress in your own washing machine after the wedding! Consider hiring a dress. That can work out 4 times cheaper, and if you get lucky you might even get to use a brand new dress. For the groom hiring is a brilliant idea. Also ask for the last season’s collection. Some shops can do that for a much cheaper price. You will probably have to let go of Swarovski Crystals, but there are again other amazing looking decorations out there, or no decoration at all still looks beautiful too, if you like simplicity.
I wish you all the best in your shoe string budget wedding, have fun!
– Helsinky Morizon