Pulling off a debt-free wedding is becoming increasingly hard to do, but when Jonathan and I got married, that was one of our top priorities. Although we spent a LOT of money on our wedding (it was over 300 people and two different ceremonies), there were still ways that we cut down on costs. If you’re planning a wedding soon, here are a couple of DIYs that could save you tons of money so you can enjoy your wedding while still having some coins left over!
My #1 gripe with the wedding industry is the cost of flowers. I don’t even know what peonies look like, so it didn’t make sense to spend thousands of dollars on flowers that will die in a few days. It’s super easy to make your own bouquets using Blooms By The Box (what I used) or The Bouqs, and you can save on centerpieces by using candles, lanterns, or even houseplants depending on the season and the theme of your wedding.
Tip: Repurpose flowers from the ceremony to the reception. Ceremony flowers can become large centerpieces, and bridesmaid bouquets can be grouped for smaller centerpieces or used to decorate the gift and cake tables. That’s one benefit of doing the ceremony and reception in the same venue!
There are a lot of overpriced services specifically for weddings, but hair has to be one of the most egregious. Want an updo normally? $75. Want an updo for a wedding? $275. Although I think it’s super important to have chic hair for a wedding, if you’ll be wearing a veil, your hair won’t even be the main attraction. There are plenty of easy to follow updo tutorials on YouTube that can be accessorized with bridal pins and clips. Treat yourself to a salon visit for a deep condition, trim, and blowout before the big day, then have a girls night with your bridesmaids where everyone does their hair together. If you want to recreate any of my bridal looks, here they are!
Tip: Don’t DIY your makeup unless you’re a professional makeup guru. Your usual setting spray and powder tricks won’t stand up to the long day, the tears and watery eyes, and the cameras and videos.
Programs, menus, invitations, place cards, save the dates. You won’t have seen as much paper (or cursive script) as you will while wedding planning since elementary school. The thing is NO ONE REMEMBERS WHAT YOUR MENUS LOOKED LIKE. Print them out yourself using a template from Etsy or an online seller and no one will be the wiser. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even print out your wedding envelopes or place cards by yourself, though it may require a few extra hours of figuring out which way to load the special papers into your printer. It’s also becoming socially acceptable to send email save the dates (also a great way to collect addresses since we millenials move every 6 months), so don’t spend too much on those either.
Tip: Shell out the savings from programs and menu cards and put them into your invitations, which may actually end up on someone’s fridge and thus have a longer life than your menu cards.
Not sure if this fully counts as a DIY, but get to your wedding on a budget by DIYing luxury transportation. Instead of paying the minimum four hours usually required for a limousine rental, schedule an Uber Black XL to get you and your bridal party from your house or hotel to the venue. The car will be just as nice, and you can plug in a phone to get the jams you want to hear to get you in the mood. This idea was vetoed by my family, so we ended up being driven to the venue by my brother, and to the after party by a friend, but I still stand by the idea to use Uber to get around on your wedding day.
Tip: Transfer all your transportation savings to your guests by offering an Uber code or coupon to get to and from your wedding!
Favors are another way you can easily overspend on a wedding, especially depending on the size of your guest list. But favors are another low impact wedding budget line item. I can’t count the number of water bottles and coffee mugs I’ve given to Goodwill that I got at a wedding. Order something simple like candy, tea, or even customized mini alcohol bottles, and organize the groomsmen to make themselves useful by tying ribbons or boxing the favors. As a nod to our engagement in Italy, we put a few Ferrero Rocher chocolates in a cute box, and most guests ate them at the wedding (because who wants to carry anything home anyway?)!