Saving for a Wedding


Anonymous
on Oct 14, 2007 @ 11:10 am

I need some tips on how I could save or raise more money for a wedding. My man and I are already saving up for a downpayment for a condo - and I realize that by the time we have a condo, there will be no money for a wedding. We plan on paying this wedding by ourselves. But we have a couple barriers to saving more money - we both have a lot of student debt, and we can't receive financial help from our families. Any advice?

Also a few other questions!

What is a typical wedding budget? And has anyone had great deals with wedding services??
 

18 Replies


Feisty Redhead
not sure I can help on Oct 14, 2007 @ 01:48 pm

I don't know that my bf plans on asking me to marry him any time soon LOL we both want to get our careers going and both be done with school (I'm done, he's not yet) before we think about getting married. And we both agree we're not going to want a traditional wedding by any means; we're both very happy with the idea of just heading downtown to the courthouse to get married, then maybe have a small "reception" with our very closest friends and family (maybe 20 people or so if that many) at home or a nice restaurant or something. Neither of us really wants to make a huge fuss over a wedding.

My whole point was I know absolutely nothing about typical wedding budgets and such. My brother is engaged now though and he and his girl agreed to open a joint savings account and each deposit a certain amount in it every month to help them save up. That seems like a good idea to me since you'll not only both be contributing some money, but the money you contribute will earn interest while it's in the bank and that'll help a lot. =) Try searching the net and I'm sure you should be able to find wedding planning forums filled with ideas for saving money for your wedding, tips and ideas to save some money on different things etc.

Good luck and congrats!
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Ali de Bold
Congratulations!! on Oct 14, 2007 @ 03:21 pm

I started writing a mammoth response to your q, then decided it would be better as a blog post...

http://blog.chickadvisor.com/2007/10/budgeting-for-your-happily-ever-after.html

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Bubblybunny
Sorry for the long post... on Oct 15, 2007 @ 03:12 pm

Congrats on the wedding and buying a new house!! :)

MissChickie gave a lot of great advice on weddings and budget. My hubby and I also got married in a small town and so did many of our friends. It really makes a big difference in terms of budget because your venue and food will be your biggest spending.

One way you can reduce your budget is to have a smaller wedding. It is nice to be able to invite everyone you know and everyone your parents know, but would you really be heartbroken if your 3rd cousin, twice removed whom you've never even met come to your wedding? Probably not. We only invited close friends and families, slashing our head counts from 120 to 70 and that saved us a couple thousand dollars.

If you feel bad about not inviting all your friends, having a BBQ or something before/after your wedding. Provide all the food and drinks. It's much cheaper this way and because this is not your wedding, your friends would not feel obligated to buy you gifts. So it's a win-win situation. We had a party before our wedding and we explained to our friends that we can't afford to invite everyone. Everyone was very understanding.

We didn't rent any cars. We took our car, gave it a good cleaning inside and out. It was clean, comfortable and big enough for my dress. I arranged drives for my wedding party so we all got to the church and reception hall without any problems.

I didn't have a tiara either because it was too expensive. Instead, I bought really nice little rhinestone hairclips to spice things up a little, hairclips I can still use for going out in the evenings or parties. It's cheaper and good accessory investment. :)

We didn't hire a photographer and I asked someone we trust to take our photos. Our pictures turned out really well and we were able to pick out some really nice ones for our album. Because it was someone we know, we ended up with a couple hundred pictures and we got negatives for all of them (some pros will not give you the negatives and you have to order from them). We were very happy with our pictures. Also, I asked our guests to send me copies of the pictures they took from our wedding. We ended up with over 1000 pictures just from family and friends alone!!

For our wedding, we put together our own wedding favours, centerpieces as well as our invitations. It saved a lot of $$ and in the end, it all looked fantastic! One advice for the invitation, I bought ours for 50% off at Michael's (craftstore); they have sales often, so watch out for them. I printed them on my own but that was a mistake. The printer drove me nuts. So my advice is to buy your invitations cheap and then have them printed at Staples or something. (Before you buy your invitations, make sure Staples will print on that particular paper type.)

We didn't have an open bar. We have 2 bottles of wine on each table and our guests paid for any additional alcohol. No one complained and everyone was happy. I think openbars are overrated.

In addition to having Friday night weddings, you should also consider having your wedding during their low season. Winter is cold in Canada but winter weddings can be very beautiful and very cosy. You can have a decent size wedding, at a nice hotel, for a much cheaper price. Alternatively, have a cocktail reception instead of a sitdown dinner. It could be a lot cheaper.

Finally, the honeymoon. MC is right, don't give up your honeymoon just because you can't afford it right now. We didn't have a lot of $$ or vacation time when we got married. So my hubby and I postponed our honeymoon. We spent a year saving for it and we just came back from a 2-week honeymoon in Italy. Our honeymoon was fantastic and worth every penny we spent and it was definitely worth the wait.
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Anonymous
Thank You :) on Oct 15, 2007 @ 09:21 pm

Wow your advice has been super helpful. I will for sure act on your saving tips when planning for my wedding!
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mamaluv
My $0.02 on Oct 17, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

I think some excellent points have been made here already. My own wedding cost around $6000.

We had 50 or so guests. The small number made it possible to host the reception at a small restaurant. We chose a historic location - actually a renovated house, and it was fabulous! For about $50/person, we got a full meal and dessert, 2 bottles of wine on each table (which sat 4 people, so that was plenty), unlimited non-alcoholic bevs, the room for the whole night, and they did all the decorating. We told them our colors and when we arrived, it was all roses and tulle, ice sculpture, and candlelight. Gorgeous! They also had a private garden that the guests could wander through. This was, though, 13 years ago, so prices have changed. We were married in Kelowna, BC, which is mid-road for price.

I saved on flowers b/c I had a very small wedding party and my tastes were simple. Also, our friend's new car was our transport, and my whole outfit was less than $400 with jewelry and shoes all together. Many of my friends picked up prom dresses for their weddings, and they were so beautiful! Especially since these days, brides like simpler lines and cuts.

Also, get married out of season, which is to say - avoid April through August. We were married in November and it had just snowed the night before, yet the daytime temps were above freezing and with bright sunshine.. it was fantastic!

Our other splurge was an expensive photographer, and I agree with misschickie that it really is worth it. Invitations were done by email and over the phone (I kind of wish I had done something written, but whatever). Our honeymoon was not included in the above budget because we paid for it out of our gift cash.

I would skip the wedding planner and just get your most fastidious and nitpicky friend to help you out. Chances are she'd love this opportunity! As long as you keep her in check, of course. Don't try to make this day so huge that you set yourself up for failure. Even if you plan the perfect event, it could rain or your car might break down! Just take it in stride and make sure that all the elements you feel would be important for you to have covered when you look back years later are included. It is a big deal, and hopefully you will only do this once in your life.

I agree, though, with MC when she says saving for a home and wedding plus having debt might be a little too much to hope for right now. If you want to raise some cash, throw a wedding social. Some people might find that a little tacky, but whatever - it's your day and if you need the money, you should not feel bad.

JMO! I wish you lots of fun and patience as you plan your day - remember, it is supposed to be fun!
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spotty
fiance on Oct 18, 2007 @ 11:16 am

hehhehehe, is it any coincidence that "fiance" is one letter away from "finance?"

Anonymous, I'm in your boat. We're looking to be wed October 2008. We will have a very budget wedding (<$2,000) for several reasons: 1. we're just simple that way, 2. we each have sizable student loan debt, 3. we live in CA where owning a home is IMPOSSIBLE on 2 standard incomes, so we're looking to relocate in about 1.5-2 years. Sooo, we're kinda strapped.

These are our tricks so far for keeping our wedding planning costs low. We're getting married where we live, not where we're from -- that may not save money, but it will save on headaches. We're getting married outdoors at a state park in Big Sur. Cost, $35 permit fee! The ceremony will be small (just immediate family). The reception will be up the hwy at another state park (permit fee extends to this park -- 2 for 1 :-) ). It will be of a laid back, casual, low key bbq/cook-out/picnic variety. There will be more people at this portion of our celebration, but still not loads.
As for a dress, simple is the name of my game. And I mean simpler than even the most simple wedding dresses. Since it'll be an all day rolling bbq, I want to be comfy and casual, but still stand out, and not DIE if the dress gets dirty (which is bound to happen at a bbq). So I'm thinking of hitting up stores during the easter season.
And for shoes, again comfort is the key. I'm planning on getting some super cheap white flip flops and then heading to a craft store and gussying them up w/ some ribbons and bows! :-D
Next up, photos. I've read the warnings about having a friend shoot it. I've actually been that friend shooting a wedding (I did the reception, not the ceremony). It was fun. I'm no pro, but her pictures turned out great. In addition to asking a friend to do photos, you can always rely on all your other guests, too. These days nearly everyone has a digital camera. Ask your guests to send you their photos. Before long you will have a large gallery.
Next, invitations. Like mamaluv, we plan on email, phone calls, wedding web page, etc... Again, options cheaper than gobs of fancy, though pretty, invitations.

Anyway, those are my $.02. I'm no expert, just getting started.
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Anonymous
Your 2 cents are worth a lot of bucks! on Oct 18, 2007 @ 11:25 pm

I feel so comforted knowing that I can have a nice wedding for under $10000.... yay! no troubles!

Has anyone experienced throwing a stag party? do they work? someone the other day mentioned it to me...
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mamaluv
huh? on Oct 19, 2007 @ 11:24 am

What kind of advice are you asking for here? My understanding of a stag /stagette party is a night or few before the wedding, closest friends and bride out for a last evening before the Big Day. I've attended and thrown several... please be more specific?
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Bubblybunny
Jack n' Jill type party on Oct 20, 2007 @ 08:02 am

Are you talking about one of those Jack n' Jill parties where your guests have to buy tickets to come to your party or come to your party and have to give money to play games? Any excess money you earn from this party goes towards your wedding budget.

Personally, I find those kind of parties really tacky. My motto has always been "if you can't afford it, then you don't have to have it". Since you have a pretty big wedding budget, I'd stay away from this style of party. I think it should only be used as a last resort if you are a little short on money and you could really use the help from your friends and family. But before you throw something like this, keep in mind that the people you invite will likely be the same people who will be invited to your wedding which means on top of this party contribution, they will also be buying you a gift. For the wedding party, that money is in addition to whatever they are shelling out for your wedding party stuff. In the end, that adds up to a lot for your guests. So please keep this in mind.

Now, if you are talking about a stag/stagette or bachelor/bachelorette party, then that's different. Normally, it's your wedding party or someone close to you that organizes it for you. It's generally consider inappropriate to plan your own and I think some people thinks it's a big no-no to even ask for it. For our wedding, my brother-in-law planned a party for both of us and invited all our friends. He paid for the whole thing and although we don't know how much he spent, we figured it was at least a couple hundred because we had a lot of food. But all my best girl friends couldn't be there because they were all from out of town. So the day before the wedding, I organized a brunch for all of us to hangout for a few hours. Since these girls were involved in the wedding, that was when I gave them all their gifts as well. (We got married in my hometown, so we all had to drive/fly into town and we all live in different cities.) So that was my party. It was laid back, it was fun. Great way to relax before the wedding.

Having said all of that... If you want a party, then be honest with your wedding party because afterall, they are supposed to be your good friends. Tell them you'd like a get together and you are wondering if they have anything planned. If they don't seem to be interested in planning a party for you, then you can suggest a get-together where they all come over for the evening to hang out, bbq, etc, maybe go out to do a little dancing afterwards. I think it's perfectly ok to plan your own party as long as you don't go bridezilla on them and that you keep their financial situation in mind. I think as long as you don't _demand_ to have a party or expect them to spend their life savings on you, no one will be offended and they may even be happy to get involved.
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Anonymous
stags or jack & jills on Oct 21, 2007 @ 08:54 pm

Actually I had no idea what a stag or a Jack/Jill party was...so my question was just to know what it was...and if anyone had experience throwing one. Someone had suggested it to me (as a way to save money for a wedding) in passing, so I was just looking for some details. But thanks for your response! From Bubbly's response, neither sounds appealing.
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