If you're having trouble setting a date, a budget, a venue, etc. it's nothing to worry about. Shop around, get prices from multiple venues and rental companies. Base your budget off what you find and set a date when you feel comfortable you'll be able to make the deposits and pay in full on time.
Budgets Made Easy
Utilize pre-existing budget templates when you can...this is much easier and more helpful than starting from scratch! And always ask for references from family and friends to help ensure you get the best deal possible.
Don't Stress, DIY!
For the least stressful wedding planning experience, make sure that you include your fiancÚ and wedding party! Don't be afraid to ask them to help you out and get all your girls together for DIY parties in order to not only save money, but also time and stress!
Choose a place to have your wedding that is of your own or of someone you are close to, such as your church, home's yard, etc. Also consider those who know how to fix a dish and allow them to bring a dish to the reception. You will save money and create a real family and friend reunion-type environment!
You Don't Always Have to Shop Around
It's okay to only interview one vendor and stick with them! It'll stress you out too much if you find 4 choices for every single vendor and then have to make a decision. Less stress equals a happier bride!
Read Your Contracts
Before you sign the contracts, make sure you're not required to serve the same meal to your vendors that guests will receive. Otherwise, you could be paying for 20 additional lobster tails. Choose a less expensive (but equally hearty) meal for them instead. Let your wedding caterer know a couple of days before the wedding exactly how many vendors you need to and what you want them to serve.
To save money on alcohol, serve a custom-made cocktail or punch, instead of providing a full bar!
Go all inclusive! It took ALL of the stress and worry out of wedding planning, down to the cake, and the flowers, and the DJ, so I can actually ENJOY my engagement and NOT be stressed on my wedding day!
Account for Everything
When accounting for budget, put more than you are initially assuming. It will make room for any last minute costs. Account for literally everything, from the linen on the table to the plates for the cake.
Make sure that most arrangements you use for your ceremony, you can use for your reception. When finding a venue, try to find one that has most things included so you can pick what you want, negotiate on what you don't and have less vendors to work with.
Lilia (Chula Vista)
Deal of the Month
When you start looking for a venue ask them if they run specials! We were originally going to get married in October but the venue we booked runs specials for the slower months of the year. We changed our wedding date to July and saved over $3000 and our package includes catering, DJ, flowers, and cake!
If you're having a destination wedding, ship the favors and any decorations you may have 2 weeks before the wedding. It'll cost less shipping a box of items than it will to pay the extra bag fees on the plane.
ALWAYS do your homework and research your videographers! If you can't find any reviews on them, it's probably best not to choose them. Also, never fully pay for something until you have received it.
To save money on decorations, start collecting early! Browse thrift stores for colored glass vases, bottles and candle-holders, as well as any chic/fun decorations that speak to you! Getting married in spring? Gather wildflowers or lavender. Let dried flowers from your backyard complement live flowers, and add flair that completely represents you and can't be found anywhere else. Like to read? Collect old books at and set them out as decoration or give away as wedding favors. There are so many inexpensive and unique ways to do your wedding if you keep your eyes open and start collecting early.
Have Your (Cup)Cake
An easy and new way to save on your budget is to have cupcakes instead of a cake (much cheaper!) and do individual cupcake stands on each table as your center pieces. Very different but also very cute!
Are you a bride on a budget like me? Renting tables, chairs, linens, and tents can get pricey! One thing to look into is renting tables and chairs from your local firemen. Some fire stations rent out tables and chairs for a fraction of the cost of most party rental stores. Keep that in mind when you are shopping around for the best price!
Food for Thought
For a budget reception, a (well-planned) potluck is a great money saver. Have the food put in chafing dishes or pretty containers. Guest love to bring their fave dishes!
Don't be Afraid to Ask!
When talking to your different vendors, don't be afraid to ask: "Is there anyway you can give me a better price? We are on a very tight budget, but really like the services you provide." It worked for almost every vendor we booked and saved us up to 600 bucks!
Polaroids for Place Cards
As a cheaper version of the photo booth, place a Polaroid camera on your place card table. As each guest walks in to take their place cards, have them replace it with a Polaroid shot of themselves and their date! To make it even more fun, add cost-effective props for the photos!
Fake the Cake
I want a three-layer cake, so to save money, the bottom two layers will be fake! No one will know, and our baker will have sheet cake to serve to our guests for a fraction of the price!
Christina (Santa Rosa)
Be the DJ
Instead of paying for a DJ, I am creating my own wedding music playlist on my iPod. I know everyone will still have a great time, and I will get to hear all the music I wanted.