{wedding wednesday: how to budget}

I guess this post is a long time coming. I may have written something similar before, but it’s definitely time for another Wedding Wednesday post about how to have your wedding on a budget.

I tweeted recently  that I almost wished some wedding blogs would post the budget of the weddings that they feature, and it seemed like most of you agreed with me. We’re constantly bombarded with beautiful weddings, so don’t you think it would be nice if we knew what the cost for such luxury and elegance was?

On a Budget


If you know flowers at all, you might realize that the picture above is a little ironic for a post having to do with weddings on a budget. That’s because peonies, the number one flower requested these days {to me, at least}, are one of the most expensive options out there. I’ve seen them as high as six dollars a stem, and that can go even higher if they are out of season. Yeah, they’re gorgeous {definitely one of my favorite wedding flowers these days}, but using peonies definitely can add up. Here are a few tips on how to save on your wedding, starting with peonies:

  • The great thing about peonies is that they are a really large flower. They bloom so big, that an entire bouquet doesn’t need to take a whole lot of stems. That being said, you can easily use a few peonies in full bloom and use another type of flower, such as garden roses or tulips, to fill things in.
  • I’m all about prioritization when it comes to weddings. That means that when you first start planning, write down the elements that will go into your wedding in priority order. For example, photography may be number one, food number two, and the music very last. When it comes time to compromise, look back on this list and make your decisions accordingly.
  • If you want a nice reception without having to sacrifice the design or food, I would highly suggest having an alternative reception. Options include a food truck, brunch reception, or cocktail/dessert reception.
  • The easiest way you can save money on your wedding is cutting the guest list, compromising on location, or having your wedding on an off day or season {i.e. a Friday night in February}.
  • You don’t need to offer a full bar at your wedding, though I don’t necessarily condone a cash bar. You can definitely offer only beer and wine, or a few signature cocktails. Also, ask if you have the option to provide your own alcohol. Or, if it isn’t important to you, forego alcohol completely.
  • Don’t feel as if you have to send out Save the Dates, which can be costly to design, print, and ship. They are really only necessary if you’re getting married over a holiday weekend or during the peek of vacation season {i.e. during the summer or New Year’s Eve}. Another option is to email your save the dates.
  • I do not feel that favors are necessary. In fact, in my opinion, they are a superfluous expense and one of the first things that can be cut from your budget. Especially if you choose something that is just going to be thrown away later anyway.
  • Do toasts with drink in hand rather than champagne.
  • If you really want cut a cake, order a small cake and supplement it with a sheet cake or cupcakes.

So those are some of my favorite budget tips. Here are a few things I suggest you don’t do to save money:

  • Cash bar. I’ve heard it’s a cultural thing, but I’m really not a fan.
  • Use your iPod instead of hiring a DJ. People don’t necessarily understand this, but the DJ is a really important part of keeping the party going. You don’t necessarily want breaks between songs, and a good emcee {which is often the DJ} can make or break a reception.
  • Please, please put a stamp on your RSVP envelopes. Not paying for the postage so that your guests can RSVP to your wedding is a sure way to not get RSVPs in on time.
  • Be very careful with providing your own flowers. You might be surprised at how much they can cost if you don’t have a wholesale license, and they definitely take up a lot of time to put together. You really need to evaluate whether or not it’s worth your time, and understand that a professional florist will do it better.
  • Get a planner! I promise, it’s worth the money if you don’t have to worry about who is doing things and if it’s all going to come together.

What are some of your favorite budget tips?

Link Up


Courtney said...

ohh no, the part about doing your own wedding flowers makes me nervous. :(

hollie said...

someday you're going to be my wedding planner...like in a few years ;)

Megan Flanagan said...

The flowers are gorgeous! I'm not sure about $6 per stem... that sounds bonker :)

xo, Megan
indie flower

Betsy Transatlantically said...

the most important thing that Jon and I have done in our wedding-planning process is #2 - prioritization! he made a list of his top three "willing to spend real money" things and so did I and then we put the lists together and agreed that these four things (we overlapped a lot, thank goodness!) were the non-negotiables and that we'd try to cut corners on everything else. (I wrote a bit about it here: http://betsytransatlantically.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/wedding-wednesday-setting-budget.html)

having just met with our florists, seeing how things work on the ground is a real wake-up call! $6 per stem... phew!

Claire Gould said...

I'm all for wedding DIY and crafting all the papery things... but keep it simple. It's very easy to go overboard with details and buying crafty bits. Use ribbon rather than lace, don't over-embellish stationery, decide what you're making before you go to the craft store to buy what yoacu need (or you'll leave with armfuls of pretty things to experiment with! Trust me, I've been there... going there this morning as well...)
Great blog post :)

nikki joy said...

So useful. Thank you! We've avoided setting a strict budget because we realised that some things, you just have to pay what it costs. But we've saved loads by DIY-ing, calling in favours from friends and staying true to ourselves instead of caving to what you're "meant to have" =)

Style Events said...

I love the idea of sharing brides budgets as long as I get their approval to do so. That would be really helpful to other brides to be! What a great post, as always! Full of lots of information.xoxo

Joelle Duff said...

Are you planning on doing your own flowers? It's definitely possible, but I think a lot of people think it's easier than it really is. If you do, I would highly suggest that you have someone else be responsible (like a friend or family member) so you don't have to worry about it! Same goes for cake and any other big element that takes a lot of skill and talent :)

Joelle Duff said...

I would kind of love that :)

Joelle Duff said...

There are some flowers that just cost a lot, for a variety of reasons. I just know that peonies are one of the most requested wedding flower these days, and you definitely pay for it :/

Joelle Duff said...

So glad you and Jon prioritized things before getting started! It's definitely one of my biggest pieces of advice for anyone planning a wedding, and can make the whole process a lot easier :)

Joelle Duff said...

Ha, I have this problem on a regular basis! But you're definitely right. DIY sounds like it is a great solution, but it takes a lot of time and can cost a lot of money if you don't do it right. Thanks for the great tips!

Joelle Duff said...

I love that last thing on your list Nikki :) Being true to yourselves and leaving things out that aren't "you" can definitely save a lot of money!

Joelle Duff said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so! I just think it would helpful, and kind of a wake up call for everyone!

Mei said...

RSVPs- we gave our guests two ways to RSVP, online or by phone. We set up a free phone number on Google and had an RSVP hotline with voicemail.

Joelle Duff said...

Not including RSVP cards is definitely an option! Just make sure you're clear about how they can contact you, and be prepared to make some phone calls once the deadline has passed :)

ashley said...

again, such fabulous advice. we did almost all of these things to cut down on budget and i'm really proud of what we were able do to keep cost down. i'm totally with you on the cash bar!

Joelle Duff said...

Thanks Ashley! And I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't believe in a cash bar :)

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

Really great tips for save on wedding. Peonies are really good we can easily use a few peonies in full bloom. But I want to ask one thing There are some weeks in which peonies will become unavailable due to weather changes. So in that case what we do?