The days are longer, the birds are singing, and the amount of wedding pictures I’ve been seeing in my feed has increased drastically. That’s right, it’s wedding season! Whether you’re getting married, you have a friend getting married, or you’re avoiding marriage like the plague, these money-saving tips could come in handy for any big bash you’re planning.
Tip #1 – Decide as many details as you can early on.
This will allow you to price match and keep an eye out for sales and coupons.
Knowing what kind of decorations I wanted early on helped me save some major money. I knew that I wanted to decorate the roof of the reception hall with tulle and lights, so I visited almost every Fabricland in Edmonton and bought out all their tulle during Dollar Days. For the lights, Seth price matched and compared all the fairy lights he could find (we ended up buying them on Amazon). The lanterns that we placed down the sides of isles, we purchased at IKEA for 25% off during a weekend sale.
Here’s a little bonus tip within a tip for you: DOWNLOAD THE MICHAELS APP. Michaels is filled with so many wedding gems and downloading their app gives you 40% off a single item each time you go (and sometimes even better deals than that, if you can believe it). So spread your purchases out over time and you could be saving some big bucks.
Tip #2 – Decide your priorities.
What do you really want your wedding day to look like? What things do you picture first? What details are important to you?
For Seth and I, it was my dress, Seth’s suit, the wedding party attire, hair and makeup, the hand bouquets, the reception atmosphere, and the pictures. Some of this stuff we lucked out on and got some great deals, but overall, this is what we ended up spending the most on.
Unless you’ve got a huge budget, you’re probably going to have to compromise somewhere. Focus on the things that are most important to you first and then see what you left to work with.
Tip #3 – Think outside the box.
Try not to buy wedding-specific items if you can avoid it. Companies know that brides and grooms will spend more for products that they’re purchasing for their wedding day, so they jack up the price. You can avoid this easily by just looking for more generic versions of things. Whenever possible, avoid items with the words “wedding”, “bride”, or “bridesmaid” in the title, they usually charge two to three times more than the generic version of the same item. If you want proof, just do a quick Google search.
Here are some specific “outside the box” things we did (that I don’t regret) that saved us money:
- Purchased the bridesmaid dresses, bridesmaid jewelry, and the groomsmen shirts from one of the Le Chateau outlets in Edmonton
- Ordered our reception centrepiece flowers from a grocery store & bought old-fashioned style books from a second-hand store to place under the flowers – we used the books to add dimension to the table and layered them so we could place candles on the books at different heights
- Instead of buying a wedding-specific card box, we ordered a mini greenhouse from IKEA and wrote on it with chalk markers
- Bought discounted decor items (such as frames to hold our engagement pictures we displayed) from HomeSense
- As an alternative to buying traditional wedding favours, we bought a variety of regular sized chocolate bars in bulk from Costco and stapled little ribbons and thank you tags on each of them – we didn’t want to do any “Seth & Jess” trinkets because we wanted to make sure that we gave out something all our guests would enjoy – and we found that people were really excited about sweet this alternative to a classic wedding memento
Here is one specific “outside the box” thing we did (that I DO regret) that saved us money:
- Ordering our cake from a grocery store
Now, this could have been a great money-saving hack if we had done it with a more reliable grocer or had picked a cake from their cake lookbook. Unfortunately, all Seth told them was that we wanted a cake with flowers on it.
We were picturing a bunch of those nice, big, full flowers (kind of like the ones that you see on Costco cakes) covering the top of the cake and forming a beautiful, colourful wedding cake.
Our vision did not align with the grocer bakery. Instead, we ended up with the tiniest, ugliest little flowers on the corners of an all-white cake top. Honestly, it was probably the most disgraceful cake I have ever seen.
This is pretty much the only wedding regret I have, but it wasn’t even a big deal considering we didn’t want to do a cake cutting.
But, surprisingly, if I could go back and do it again, I would still order the cake from a grocer. However, I would definitely be more specific about what I was exactly looking for and find a more consistent place to purchase it from.
Tip #4 – Use your skills.
I studied design in college. This was extremely useful when it came to making my own stationary. I designed the invitations, reception cards, ceremony programs, thank you cards, and even little stickers to put on the envelopes.
The only thing I had to pay for was the printing, which I found was very reasonably priced through Vistaprint. (They did a fantastic job. I would 100% recommend them.)
Tip #5 – Realize that this is literally just one day and that you’ll still have to live beyond it.
It’s easy to get swept up into the glitz and glamour of your wedding day, but try your best to keep your head on straight. Your wedding is just the beginning of the rest of your life with your significant other. No matter how you decide to celebrate it, your wedding will be beautiful because it represents something beautiful. So please don’t spend so much money that you’ll be struggling through the next couple years. In my opinion, it’s better to spend less on your wedding than struggle with the major financial strain an over-the-top wedding can cause.
What, I think, scares so many people is the belief that this is their one chance for the perfect day. That’s simply not true. You two will have many more beautiful days in your life together. This really isn’t a one chance thing. Yes, it’s true you only get one wedding day, but you can celebrate your love any day of the year (and in whatever way you want).
At the end of the day, a wedding is a beautiful symbol of love; a celebration of the union between two people. I know it’s been said about a million times, but the material things aren’t what makes this day special. If you can’t afford your “dream dress” right now, save up and – if it’s still important to you in a couple of years – buy a stunning dress and surprise your husband with a fancy date. If you have always wanted a beautiful cake, but it’s not in the budget for your big day, go over the top with an amazing cake for your anniversary.
Trust me, if you two truly love each other, your day will be so full of joy, happiness, and excitement that all the little details will fade away.
And if all that sappy stuff doesn’t help, just remember: no matter how much money you spend on your wedding, a wedding day disaster could still occur.
Are there any great tips or tricks that I missed? Help some future brides and grooms out by leaving your suggestions in the comments.
Thanks for reading.
The featured image for this post was captured by Sarah Jozsa.