A Wedding on a Budget
Updated: Mar 24
The past couple of days, Mark and I have been completing more wedding stuff and although weddings ARE expensive, I'm still blown away at how people can spend more than $21,000 - the average cost of a wedding in Nebraska according to theknot.com. Unless you plan on having 500+ wedding guests, there are some EASY ways to cut costs here and there (and I promise no one will bat an eye) to help save you money.
Our wedding venue, food, drinks, and primary decorations are all about $8,000 which has been our biggest price tag BUT that $8,000 is for EVERYTHING. The venue, unlimited food, half open-bar all night (and they promised they wouldn't run out of anything!), even their largest decoration package, valued at an extra $1,000 was complimentary and free for us. They do the set-up/teardown and even include security in that price. We are seriously so excited to work the DC Centre in Omaha. Dennise has been great and the only things we have to worry about is getting there and getting back to our hotel (but they also throw in a complimentary shuttle service so do we even really have to worry about it?!). How sweet is that?!
So with that being said, tip #1:
Have an "out-of-season" wedding.
We've found out that when people say it's cheaper, it's CHEAPER! Like half of the cost or more cheaper. Plus most venues WANT you to have your wedding during the off-season so they have some kind of income to count on. They are more willing to work within your desired budget and even throw in some extras to help sway you to choose them.
Know your MUST HAVES and ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANTS.
You've heard this one before. Pick the top three things you want, but also keep in the mind, the things you for sure DON'T want. This will help when picking vendors, venues, and even decorations. You can save a lot of money just by asking to opt-out of certain items. If you don't want the service, why should you pay full price? Most companies are willing to work with you (especially during the off-season!) but others are firm, so make sure to do your research.
Use your resources (aka YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY!)
A friend of mine from college (okay MULTIPLE friends of mine) have taken up photography as a side-hustle or a full-on, self-owned business and they are all CRUSHING THE GAME! Nate Jensen is an incredible friend and also a brilliant photographer. I'm thankful college brought us together because he now gets to photograph a huge day for Mark and me! Now, I am ALL ABOUT supporting your friends and not letting them do work for you for free, but Nate gave us a discount and we are eternally grateful! Check out his amazing work!
Once you find one vendor, get their advice on others.
Mark and I are still toying around with the idea of having a videographer, but guess who I turned to, to find a budget-friendly option who is also amazing? Nate Jensen our photographer. So many people know one another within the industry. Use their expertise and experience. Plus, if one of your vendors recommends another, there's a higher chance everyone will be willing to work well together and most importantly with YOU.
There is no shame in reusing items from your family/friends weddings, or from hitting up thrift stores.
Sometimes those options hold the highest reward! I just scored my flower girl's basket at ARC for literally $1.50 and it's exactly what I was looking for. There are all kinds of Facebook groups to hit up too! There you can get advice, decorations, even dresses!
If you really want to save money, hit up craft stores like Hobby Lobby and get your DIY on.
Yesterday, Mark and I went to Hobby Lobby to create a "mock bridesmaid bouquet." Although I was terrified of how much they would initially come out to, seven bouquets came to about $336 (before tax) if I were to pay full price, which if you know me, I hardly ever do. This still SOUNDS LIKE A LOT TO ME but I also know that I will be crafting with them by cutting and gluing parts together to cut costs down. On Facebook, I have seen multiple past brides sell their fake bouquets for way more than that! (I almost bought 5 for $300, glad I didn't...)
Probably the most important tip - have fun!
You are planning your WEDDING with your best friend! I know sometimes it can be really overwhelming, but take a deep breath and realize that this process is supposed to be fun. If you don't find any part of it fun, that's totally okay! Hire a wedding planner to take care of the nitty-gritty items. My only advice if you go that route is to make sure you have a set budget that you cannot move from. This will make both your life and your wedding planners life easier leading up to the big day.
PREVIOUS BRIDES! Did I miss anything? Is there anything you would like to recommend to myself or others as they go through the wedding planning process? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you! I'm always looking for easy and budget-friendly ways to help add to Mark and I's wedding day. Any and all advice is much needed and more importantly, much appreciated!