Everyone knows wedding are expensive, there’s little you can do to get around that unless you’re willing to elope or have a really small wedding. But, there are ways to help keep the costs down, read on to find out how!
- Flowers. Flowers can be hugely expensive for a wedding, especially, if along with
the bouquets, you want flowers for your venue and centre pieces. Think about cutting down on the amount of flowers you are using, or think outside the box and get paper flowers, silk flowers or other kinds of reusable, long-lasting artificial flowers. I love flowers but don’t want to spend a lot on them for the wedding, so my bouquets will be paper flowers (made from old maps to incorporate our love of travel) and I’m not getting flowers for the venue.
- Decorations. Again, this is another area where costs can really add up. Take a step back and consider if you really need those giant letters that spell out “Love” on the dance floor, do you need to spend the extra money on getting centrepieces that tie in with your “theme” and is the wall of flowers really required for the reception area. If the answer is yes, then go for all of it, but if you’re only getting those things because you feel you should, then stop. Weddings have come a long way and thankfully, we are well past the day where you have to do everything according to “tradition” and by the book. Of course, if you want the traditional wedding, then do it, but if you don’t, then that’s fine, it’s your day so do what you want! I personally don’t care about decorations so will not be spending money on any. My venue will have the room done very simply but that’s enough for me!
Chairs. I’ve seen lost of people worried about ceremony chairs and reception chairs. Their vision includes a very specific chair that will fit in with their theme, especially if it’s an outdoor wedding. If you want specific chairs, you can be sure you’ll pay a hefty price to rent them. Firstly look at the chairs that your wedding venue offers as part of the package, are they really that bad? Are they comfortable? Will anyone even notice the chairs? I for one, have never been at a wedding where I took one bit of notice of the chairs, so think about this when making your decision.
- Wedding cake. One area where we have decided to save money is on the wedding cake – we aren’t having one! For us, when we realized the cost of the wedding cakes we began to ask ourselves “do we actually want a wedding cake” and quickly realized the answer was no. Most often, the wedding cakes aren’t eaten, they are very costly, and are really just required for that one shot of the happy couple cutting the cake. I personally don’t like that staged cake cutting photo so I know I won’t miss it in my wedding album. Another alternative if you want a wedding cake but want to keep the cost down, have some fake layers and just one layer of real cake! Or, it’s becoming increasingly popular to have a cheese cake, as in wheels of cheese positioned like a cake! I think that would be way more likely to be eaten than the wedding cake.
- Wedding Band. I’m not sure about other parts of the world, but in Ireland it’s standard to have a band play for a couple of hours before the DJ starts, however, in recent years, we are seeing more people opting not to have band and have the DJ start earlier, which is what we are doing. Wedding bands are really expensive, now don’t get me wrong, they are usually worth every penny and I’ve seen some fantastic wedding bands over the years, but for us, the cost was just too high. I’ve been at weddings with no band and the DJ gets started at 9pm, and they were brilliant! If you cannot picture your wedding without live music, then, obviously, you will be going for a band, but if you’re open to a DJ only, it can save you a lot!
- Ceremony music. We wanted the uileann pipes Ireland’s version of the bagpipes) for our ceremony. We are having a short, non-religious ceremony and would only require 3 songs but were quoted €500!! I nearly died! Now, not many people play the uileann pipes, they are pretty rare, so I expected them to be pricy, but I just can’t bring myself to pay that much for 3 songs. A lot of ceremony music can work out expensive so we have decided to have our songs on a playlist and just play them using a phone/ipad. It’s another great way to save some money, especially if you are only having a couple of songs.
- Videographer. Photographers and videographers are usually quite expensive, with the videographer usually being a little less than the photographer. For me, a picture speaks a thousand words, so we are having a photographer only. I’ve heard so many people say that they are so glad they got videographer and warning me that I may regret not having one, but I know I won’t. Myself and Phil know if we get a videographer, we will watch the video once and then never look at it again. I cringe at the thoughts of looking at myself on video, or hearing myself speak so, no thanks, we will stick to our beautiful pictures only!
- Wedding dress. You can save money on your wedding dress by buying second-hand,
if you’re in Toronto Brides Project is a fantastic place to start, or by going to sample sales. I bought mine in a sample sale off the rack, now this means it doesn’t fit me perfectly so I need to get it altered. But it’s an expensive brand name dress, and even with the cost of alterations, it still worked out cheaper than ordering that dress into the store in my size! There are also Facebook groups where you can buy “pre-loved” wedding dresses at great prices. At the end of the day, the dress is only worn for one day, and provided it wasn’t damaged and has been dry cleaned, buying a second-hand dress is a great way to cut costs.
- DIY – can you do any DIY for your wedding , and do you want to? Lots of people do their own invitations to save on costs, although Vistaprint did ours and it was very reasonable. I mentioned earlier that you could have paper flowers instead of real ones, could you make them yourself? Or if you’re lucky like me, you have an artist in the family! If you really want to have lots of venue decorations, you could probably make a lot of them yourself. Depending on what you are doing for your guest book, you may be able to DIY some of that too!
- Gimmicks. I’m calling these gimmicks, because to my mind, that’s what they are. While I’ve been planning our wedding, I’ve seen so many ads for things like: selfie mirrors, singing waiters, comedy acts, hypnotists, you name it, you can get it, but all for a hefty price. I’m part of two wedding Facebook groups, one here in Toronto and one in Ireland and I’ve noticed that these things seem to be way more popular in Ireland. I’ve also seen posts from brides to be asking “What else do I need for my big day, I have the selfie mirror, a hypnotist….” etc etc. I love some of the smaller, cute gimmicks, that don’t cost much. And for those of you in Canada looking to stock up on personalized champagne flutes, pjs, cocktail napkins, bridal party gifts, check out weddingstar, there are some really cute items for a really good price on that site! When you’re planning your wedding, remember that this is your day, and if you don’t want any of those extras or “gimmicks” then don’t feel pressured to get them.
Overall, my motto is its our day so we are doing things our way. We aren’t worried about tradition, or what we “should” be doing, or what was done at other weddings. We are doing what suits us, our budget and our personalities. In my opinion, the two most important things that people will actually remember from your wedding are 1) the food and 2) did they have fun, so I want excellent food, an I want everyone to get tipsy, go wild on the dance floor and have fun. Keep in mind that no one but you will notice the little details that you are fretting over, or that you spent a lot of money on, so when planning your wedding, don’t just go with the flow, ask yourself about everything “do I really need this and do I really want it?” If the answer is no, then cut it!
Happy planning! 🙂