How We Saved Over $15,000 on our Wedding – #WeddingWednesday
Weddings can be expensive. The word expensive being subjective of course. To a millionaire, $50,000 probably doesn’t seem like a lot for a wedding but to me, that’s a heck of a lot of money to spend on one day! Don’t get me wrong, it’s arguably one of the most important days of your life but come on… That money could buy me a brand new, decked out SUV. To be frank, a wedding DAY is not worth being in debt for years and years. It’s just not. I know there are a lot of you out there that feel the same way so today I’m sharing how we saved money on our wedding. Hopefully it helps someone! As usual, let me know if you have any questions.
We did not hire a wedding planner. My mom and I planned the entire thing from start to finish even despite the fact that we were eight hours apart. If you have a knack for party planning, are organized, and can handle the stress on top of your everyday job and life, do it on your own. If you think it’s just way too much for you to handle, a wedding planner would certainly be nice. For us, we’d rather put in the extra time ourselves to save the $2-3k bucks. I may or may not secretly want to be a wedding planner… I had so much fun!!! Need help with yours? Call me! HA! Not even kidding…
The reception venue was the home I grew up in. Now, some people might think we saved boat loads of money because of this but I want to make it clear that even though we didn’t have to pay for the venue, the tent, rentals, etc. weren’t cheap. It was also a lot more stressful having it at the house. I mean… A LOT more stressful. It was a lot more work and a lot of extra planning that went into it. We did it though and I’m SO GLAD we ended up having it there. It was so incredibly special (mud and all).
We purchased all of the beer and wine from Costco. This was HUGE! For a second there we thought we might have the reception at a local country club. However, once we learned about their alcohol policy and realized we’d be throwing $5000+ down the drain, we decided that was downright stupid. We saved over $4000 on alcohol alone. For us, that was a big deal. Stephen did all of the math ahead of time so going into Costco we knew exactly what we needed. He ended up being almost dead on with his math. We only had one or two of everything left over!
We served beer, wine, and two specialty mixed drinks. Along with purchasing our own alcohol, only having two specialty drinks really saved us money because we didn’t have to buy a large variety of liquors. We got only what we needed for the mixed drinks and were done with it. We received compliments on the drinks all night long!
We purchased the champagne for the toast from Trader Joe’s. At about $2.40 a bottle (I don’t remember the number exactly) it was actually cheaper for us to get it there compared to Costco. It was pretty decent champagne!
My cousin Savannah of Savannah Yokley Design, designed everything paper related. Save the Dates, Invitations, Thank You Cards, Bridal Shower Invites, Printed Signs, etc. they were all done by her. She brought my vision to life and I think they were perfect. It was one of the greatest gifts we could’ve received for our wedding.
We printed and cut everything on our own. We purchased card stock and envelopes from Walmart and printed everything using my Maid of Honor’s printer at her apartment complex. That was HUGE for us! The only money we spent on the invitations were on the stamps, paper, and envelopes.
We used The Knot for our wedding website. Not only is it free but you can customize your entire site. I really loved the way ours turned out.
We had people RSVP using the website or by phone. Ideally we would’ve had RSVP envelopes that people mailed back to us but the amount of money that you can save on 200+ stamps and envelopes was better spent elsewhere in our opinion. This RSVP method worked out just fine for us!
My mom handled all of the catering. Since my mom has catered on the side for years, she decided to manage all of this herself versus having to pay thousands of dollars for a catering company. She called up all of her catering friends months in advance, established a supervisor for the day of, and had it all arranged ahead of time. We saved a lot of money doing it this way! A little extra work can go a long long way…
We had a buffet. The plated meal versus buffet style was something we went back and forth on. My mom and I have both been to too many parties with cold buffet food. Heck to the no. My mom was so adamant that if we had a buffet at the wedding, the food would be hot. We eventually decided that considering we were having an outdoor tent reception, we wanted a more relaxed vibe that comes along with buffet style. It was just a huge plus that it saved money on top of that. We used Alexandria Pastry for our food. We had catered parties with their food and said years ago that when I get married someday, we would use them for my wedding. If you’re having a wedding in the NOVA area, I highly highly highly suggest using them. It was worth every penny. They also offer catering services as well. Oh, and it was all hot of course!
We had a cookie table and donuts. It’s a Pittsburgh tradition to have a cookie table and since it’s the greatest thing ever of course we did that. Stephen’s mom and aunts did such a great job at making all of the cookies and arranging them on the platters (literally, on the hotel beds the day before) for the catering team to take over from there. We made to-go containers for each guest to take as many as they want to eat there and for the road. Since we had so many desserts, we didn’t spend loads of money on our wedding cake. We ended up getting a two tiered cake to cut and serve to our parents, grandparents, and bridal party. We also purchased a couple of sheet cakes from Costco (MY JAM) in case other guests wanted cake. We had so much cake leftover that the sheet cakes and second tier of the wedding cake were definitely not necessary. Apparently the guests were satisfied with all of the cookies and donuts! Lesson learned. P.S. Do you think I have a sweet tooth or what?
Our florist was a family friend. I’m not going to lie, I’m getting teary eyed writing about this… Jacque did anything and everything floral related for our wedding. The amount of work that Jacque did could’ve costed a small fortune but she was able to stick within our budget perfectly. I know that I was one tough bride to deal with just because I’m very specific and know exactly what I do and do not like but she understood me exactly. I’ll go more into detail on another post but all I have to say is that she really brought my vision to life. I mean… To the point where I could cry over it. If you’re reading this Jacque, thank you for everything. We love you!
The girls stayed at my parents house the night before the wedding and also got ready there the day of. It’s typical to have to get hotel rooms for the night before and day of but we saved that money by staying at my parents house. We only had to pay for a suite and room for the guys.
I did a crap ton of research. I spent so many hours on the computer to find our photographer, DJ, hair and makeup artists etc. for good prices. I mean DAYS. I was worried that because their prices were lower than others that they wouldn’t produce the quality that I desired but I communicated with all of them very frequently, asked tons of questions, and read a lot of reviews to find the right one. Each of them was PERFECT for our day of. I was so proud of all of them. Our DJ was the bomb, I couldn’t stop staring at my bridesmaids and mom because they looked so flipping beautiful, and our photographer, well, click here if you want to know about I feel about her.
We did not hire a videographer. This saved us thousands and thousands (they are not inexpensive whatsoever) and we don’t regret our decision at all. The pictures Meg took paint the picture of our wedding day pretty darn perfectly.
Stephen did a lot of research on our wedding favors to get them down to about $1 each per guest. Stephen loves coffee and I love donuts so not only did each guest get to take donuts home from the cookie table but we also gifted each of them a glass jar filled with coffee. I can’t tell you all how many compliments we’ve received on that coffee. It was so so good. The three flavors we chose were Snickerdandy, B52, and Vanilla Hazlenut. Here is the link if you want to buy some! It is amazing.
We purchased the bridesmaid dresses from Azazie. If you are getting married soon and need to find bridesmaid dresses or are going to get engaged someday or don’t have a boyfriend yet but want to plan your dream Pinterest wedding on the side anyway (no judgement zone here sister), LOOK INTO AZAZIE DRESSES. Once again, tons and tons of research went into finding this place but holy crap I am so gladthat we did. They were absolutely phenomenal for the price and HELLO! Look at those beautiful bridesmaids of mine! Don’t they look stunning in their dresses or what?!
The groomsmen wore their mess dress. This saved a boat load of money on suits since they already owned their mess dress (or were going to need to get it for the future anyway). My brother and Chris wore suits purchased during a super sale at Macy’s. Man oh man we have some fine looking family and friends.
Little, inexpensive details! If you know me, I’m all about the details. I think they can take something from average to really stinking special. We had a lot of details integrated throughout our day and most of them were DIYs! These corn hole boards, for example, were built my Stephen’s dad and stained and hand painted by me. Stephen’s mom made the precious, personalized corn hole bags. I think about how much we would’ve paid to purchase those and it makes me giggle. The VT building names on each table… The graphic was designed by my cousin, printed by my MOH using her free printing service, and the frames were from the dollar store that I spray painted.
DIY, baby! Continuing on from the last point… Anything that we could do on our own, we did. You think I’m kidding… You see this pool area? That was all my dad right there (contact Newkirk Services Inc. for all of your masonry needs 😉 ). My behind was in a tractor for days leading up to the wedding and Stephen was shoveling wet leaves like it was his job. Hire someone to do it? No. We work hard play hard or as I like to say… Donut Ever Stop.