Well hello! And welcome to my guest post :) As our impending nuptials quickly approach, I figured I would throw in a few of my frugally-minded wedding experiences to share with those interested. And, as I am MUCH more charming and interesting than the regular writer of this blog, you will probably find reading this to be the greatest experience of your life!! Haha, just kidding….it will be closer to the second or third greatest experience of your life.
I keed, I keed!
So as the oh-so-handsome Mr. BudgetsareSexy (aka J.) had previously mentioned, our initial wedding budget from my lovely and generous mother was just around $10K, and then we planned to pitch in the rest ourselves. It may be hard to believe, but most weddings, particularly in our (*cough*snobby*cough*) area, cost a great deal more than this, so we had to work hard to make ends meet and still make it a beautiful day for all to enjoy.
The following are some of my friendly and frugal tactics for cutting costs:
1) The wedding dress. Some brides want (and can afford) a dress that costs thousands of dollars; I am not one of them! I meandered over to David’s Bridal, tried on 6 or 7 dresses and luckily found one I liked for a reasonable price. Some other tips for brides looking for their dream dress would be to check out second-hand bridal stores (where you can find a gorgeous pre-worn dress for a fraction of the cost), or for the hardier ladies, even the “running of the brides” annual event done by Filene’s Basement. I did this years ago with a friend of mine who was getting married, and it was chaos! But, to some degree, it was fun–and indisputeably thrifty! If you are one of the lucky ones, you just may end up with a dirt-cheap designer gown, with only alterations and cleaning costs to cover.
2) Accessories. It’s pretty easy to run up wedding costs with bridal accessories—headpieces, shoes, lingerie, handbags, etc. can put a considerable dent in your budget. However, keeping an eye out for sales and prioritizing your “must-haves” in light of your “can-do-withouts” is always important. Personally, I hit up Target for my reception shoes ($5.09 on clearance), eBay for my veil ($23 from an original $179), and the cheapest shoes/dress combo I could find for my rehearsal dinner outfit ($20 shoes from payless, and a $22 dress from Forever 21). It’s definitely a special day and worth spending a little extra money for things you want to preserve for posterity (ie, i spent about $150 on a pearl necklace and earring set–on a 60% off sale, of course), but for the rest, give your wallet a rest and comb the clearance racks!
3) Online coupon codes. I ordered all of my bridesmaid gifts on overstock.com ($ saver in itself), and just today ordered disposable camers (on sale for only $2.99 each) and bubbles ($8.49 for a pack of 48) from theknot.com. Before checking out online, I did quick google searches for promo codes for both sites. Lo and behold, I found them, and wound up saving 10-15% off the original cost just by finding a little code to type in! Just as those little dollars here and there add up to the total wedding cost, saving those dollars wherever possible can also add up big in the long run.
4) Wedding favors. Who ever uses those crappy throwaway items that many people give away as wedding favors? I mean, seriously…when you get a cake-topper to bring home from a wedding, do you really ever do anything other than toss it in the garbage when you get home? The frustrating part about favors is, even though people don’t tend to use their $2-3 momento for much, they expect them, AND, it winds up costing us hundreds when factoring in 170 guests or so. Our plan? Tentatively, we are planning to donate a tree for each guest from the Arbor Day Foundation. 1 tree costs $1, and even though it will still end up costing us a fair amount, it’s A) tax-deductible, and most importantly, B) going to a good cause. We will then type up some small cards to place at each setting, letting the guests know that a tree was planted in their honor.
5) Stationary. Once upon a cold February evening, Mr. B and I headed off to a meeting at a fancy-shmancy stationary store to discuss wedding invitations. It was a night that we will not soon forget, but that is only because they basically ignored us after shoving some books of overpriced paper samples at us and walking away. We promptly returned home, and Mr. B found some much more reasonable online invitations for us to order over at ExclusivelyWeddings.com. If you do your research, there are plenty of options out there in the online world for all kinds of budgets. And in lieu of buying matching thank you notecards with the invitations, we opted for non-matching (but still cute) notecards from the dollar bin at Michael’s. 10 notecards for $1 is an awesome deal, and I guarantee you that no one is going to mind if our thank you notes don’t match the invitation pattern. It’s what written inside them that counts!
As this is turning into less of a blog posting and more of a book, I’m going to stop here. If you’re getting married soon, I hope a few of these tips and experiences are helpful to you! And for the rest of you readers….well, hope I didn’t bore you to tears!!
Happy Blogging to all!
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!