Every wedding has a budget. Some people have lots of money saved up and others don’t. For Sterling and I, we were not swimming in cash when we got married. We had just finished an internship with our church, and did not have the cash saved up to throw a huge traditional wedding (we wouldn’t have wanted that anyway). During the planning process I had to get creative, while not settling on what we pictured for our special day. Here’s how we had our perfect wedding on a budget!
I am a “Say Yes to the Dress” fanatic! So for me, of course the dress was a super important part of the wedding. I had seen a dress that a childhood friend wore at her wedding and fell in love with it! I went and tried it on (very important, because what you love may not be what looks good on), and it looked great! The dress, alterations, and a veil would have been close to $2,500 if I bought it from the boutique I visited. Now because I am not a person who could pay that much for a dress I’m going to wear once, I started searching discount dress websites to find my dress for less. We found it for half of the boutique cost! It was a bigger size, but close enough that I could have it altered to fit perfectly. The veil was another thing I saved money on. A new veil from the boutique was $200-$400. I couldn’t pay that, even though they were gorgeous. My mother-in-law helped by making one. The veil mesh material cost probably $3 for a yard, which we then cut to the right shape, and pinned into place with bobby pins and a tiara ($20). All together, for dress and veil we paid half of what it would have cost from the boutique.
Venue is a huge part of a wedding! Everyone loves something different. For Sterling and I we wanted to have a summer wedding outdoors. How we saved money on the venue was choosing to have it at one of the campuses of our church. Sterling worked for the church, so he got a discount. The courtyard of our intern campus was perfect! We were one of 2 couples ever to use the courtyard for a wedding. Since it was a church, there were rules that we had to follow (no alcohol, no sit down dinner, no dancing, etc.). That’s where our personal quirks helped out too. Sterling does not like dancing and we don’t drink alcohol a lot; so we were able to make the venue work for how we wanted our ceremony to go! Now I understand not everyone works for a church and gets a discount, but being creative on the location and style of ceremony can help with your budget.
For the guys, we added some unique touches to the outfit. We are not suit or tux kind of people and the one thing Sterling wanted was custom Converse. The guys outfit cost about $120 which included the white button down shirt, wax coated skinny jeans, bowtie, and Converse shoes. One thing I am thankful for now is letting Sterling have his say on what the guys wore, because it made our wedding that much more US. This outfit was perfect! And every anniversary, Sterling wears his custom Converse when we go out!
Another way I saved money was not decorating with flowers! These bouquets are literally the only flowers we bought. Daisies are my favorite flowers (also one of the cheapest) and we only bought them for bouquets. Flowers totaled $60 from the flower warehouses in Seattle. Because our venue was had trees and plants already we did not need to add more flowers to it. We spent money on bulb lights for the trees, waterproof votive lights for the fountain, and goldfish to put in the fountain pond.
At our wedding, we did not do a sit down dinner (HUGE MONEY SAVER). We served hors d’oeuvres and then had fire pits (supervised) and roasting stations for s’mores. We loved having this unique touch at our wedding! Some of our favorite things as a couple is stargazing and s’mores, and we were able to have both at our wedding. For the s’mores we bought gourmet marshmallows in bulk, chocolate in bulk, and built the boxes by hand to store everything. We took an afternoon to put together boxes and it was super easy. Measure, cut, nail together, and stain. To this day we still use these boxes as planters. They are on our deck currently.
When planning a wedding, I cannot stress enough how important it is to be creative! A wedding is a celebration of two people coming together as one, so make it unique to you as a couple! That could mean a traditional wedding or one completely out of the box. Do what you want on your big day! Have fun, be patient, and stick to the budget (you don’t want to start marriage in debt).
What things did you do to save money on your big day?
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All photos in this post are copyrighted by Art Mendoza of Art Mendoza Photography.