Wedding season is here! Weddings can be super stressful and super expensive. I’ve learned (from growing up in a family with very little money) that you can have great taste and improvise and not spend a lot of money. I’ve always loved glamorous things, but I could never afford them growing up. So, I learned how to either make what I wanted, thrift for what I wanted, or find sales on what I wanted. Most of the time I do a mixture of all three. I figured out how to look amazing without paying full price.
I planned and designed my entire wedding July of 2016. My now husband and I paid for our entire wedding ourselves, so honestly I had to improvise if I wanted something AMAZING. I did my own makeup, hair, found my dress and bridesmaid’s dresses, designed and created all of my centerpieces, designed my card box, and created my own personalized invitations. Using my own creativity to plan my wedding saved me thousands of dollars. In this article, I will reveal to you my secrets on how I had a glamorous affordable wedding.
What’s your vision?
Decide what type of wedding you want to have. Not having a plan can waist a lot of money and time. There are four major things you have to figure out first to find your complete vision.
- Dress style: Ball gown, A-line, fit/flare, trumpet, sheathe
- Bridesmaids style: Cohesive, eclectic, short, or long
- Wedding style: Glamorous, vintage, rustic, modern
- Wedding feel: casual, formal, traditional, non-traditional
Start with the dress
Deciding your dress can set the tone for the entire wedding. If you are in between venues, the type of dress that you want can help you choose a venue. Also keep in mind that to order a brand new dress most bridal shops need about 6-9 months for production. So this should definately be one of your first steps after engagement. If you pick your gown first you can design everything else based off of that. (I don’t know how many brides I’ve seen who booked a beach wedding, but fell in love with a huge ball gown dress) Once you are ready to start dress shopping, call the bridal shops that appeal to you and ask them when their trunk shows and sales happen. You will usually save about 20% off of your gown during a trunk show. If you are really on a strict budget focus on consignment shops or prom shops. The consignment shops will have designer dresses worn maybe once, but they are usually half off or more. Prom shops may have non-traditional wedding gowns, but they will be a lot less expensive than a wedding dress. I personally found my bridesmaids dresses at a prom shop because I wanted sparkly red carpet dresses. My girls’ dresses were originally $300 I got them for $100 each!! Go to a prom shop when they are off-season and they should have awesome sales.
Always negotiate your venue
Venue shopping is easier once you start to have an idea of your wedding. After choosing your dress it is much easier. Once you start talking to the sales person at your venue ALWAYS negotiate. Never take thier first offer and turn down all of thier decorations. (You can always add them later if you want, but my next step will save you more money on decorations) So you just want to book the venue and thats it! Make sure your venue feels good. Look around at the space to scope out how your own decorations may add to the space.
Style your wedding
Choose pictures decorations and details of things you’ve seen online. Once you’ve put together your vision, you can create a collage of things that you like. Most brides find out that they may have expensive taste and it honestly doesn’t match her budget. (I’ve seen this a million times). Search your browser for how much the things you like cost. Most likely they will be super expensive. The next step is critical because it is all based off your creativity and imagination.
Learn how to DIY decorations that are similar to the pictures you’ve seen. From the pictures you’ve seen go to your local craft store. See if they have similar things you can put together to give it the feel that you want. Look up YouTube videos to help you figure out how to put everything together (This is the part where you save money, but you invest time. You will need your bridesmaids and other helpers for this, unless you are a creative rock star like me and love to do DIY projects by yourself.) Personally, this is where I really focused on my décor. I researched florists and researched how much their huge round rose centerpieces would be. To my astonishment, the type of decorations I was looking at came out to be about $300 PER TABLE!! I said no mam! We would have had one decorated table if I had not used my creativity. I ended up figuring out how to create the look that I wanted myself.
Tip: If you are doing fake flowers Hobby Lobby has 50% off every other week. Also, if you happen to be there when what you want isn’t on sale download the Hobby Lobby app and you can get the coupon for 40% off.
Make your own invitations/save the dates
I made my own invitations with my own printer, some cool paper, and some glitter tape. Of course I had a guest list of only 120 people so this was very feasable. If you do have 400 plus guests this may not be the best option for you, but if you have a smaller wedding making your own invitations definately will cut cost. I also made my own save the dates by having a friend (that just so happened to be a fashion/photography student) take our picture and design it on photoshop. It was FREE.99! So my final tip would be to use your resources! You never know who is a talented friend or relative that can really help you out.
So those are my tips on how to save if you want a glamorous wedding. The type of wedding I wanted was priced at $50,000. Using my methods, I cut mine down more than half of that. Our wedding was about $15,000 total and thats including EVERYTHING. Please comment below if you have any questions about anything. I’m sure I can give you more great tips! Happy wedding planning!
If you are interested in viewing more of my designs for weddings click here.