Weddings are not cheap. And if you’re like me, you want to get a good bang for your buck! After planning 2 completely different weddings for my husband and me over the past year and a half – and being heavily involved in my sister’s wedding in 2016 – I have definitely gained some knowledge and insight into the wedding world.
No, I’m not going to tell you to invite fewer people (though that certainly is effective). While we had a small destination wedding (about 40 people), I know that isn’t practical for everyone, and we definitely stepped on some toes by not inviting many people. But overall, we were very happy with the size of our wedding.
Here are some ways we saved money on our Palm Beach wedding.
1. Purchase some of your own decor rather than renting it
I am personally not into the whole DIY wedding thing. While it can be a great way to save money, I think sometimes it can cause more stress than what it is worth. However, I do believe there are ways to find a middle ground. When we were on the hunt for a florist, we got an astronomical quote of $15,000. While for some weddings this would be a practical price due to what the couple wanted and how many people were attending, it wasn’t for us. We decided to go out and purchase votives, candlesticks, and vases for our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception venues (we shopped at At Home, IKEA, Amazon, and JoAnn – just to name a few). Then we approached other florists, told them what we wanted and what supplies we had, and went from there. Purchasing these items helped us in a few ways; we got exactly what we wanted, we avoided a pickup fee (since the florists normally have to retrieve their vases and such after the wedding), and we were able to sell a lot of the pieces afterward to make some of our money back. Avoiding the pickup fee alone saved us a few hundred dollars on top of what the cost would have been to rent each vase/votive/etc. We also brought/purchased some of our own linens, including napkins and specialty tablecloths for high tables. This saved us so much money, considering renting a tablecloth was going to be $15 each, plus delivery/pickup fee; we paid about $5 each. Plus, we were able to keep some of the pieces we wanted as a memory of our wedding day!
2. Find a multi-talented DJ
One thing I do not think you should skimp on when it comes to a wedding is music! If you want people to party and have a good time, you need to find someone – whether it is a DJ or wedding singer – that will make that happen. We used Adam at Good as Gold Events (highly recommend) and surprisingly enough he also does lighting – and it looked great! So he did our lighting in our reception space on top of doing the sound/music for our ceremony, the music for cocktail hour, and the MCing/music for the reception. Again, this was another way we saved money, not only because his rate for it was extremely reasonable (lighting can be very expensive), but it was one less contract and down-payment we had to worry about. If you want a mix of live music and a DJ, I’ve seen many DJs who also sing and/or play instruments! It is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
3. Do a DIY that will be worth your time
My sister was a major DIY bride. I actually DIY-ed the invitations for our wedding when it was originally set to be at Walt Disney World. After spending hours on only 30 invites and ended up with our wedding being canceled, the second time around I opted to use Minted. In reality, I don’t think I saved any money DIY-ing those invitations. It took way too much time and trial and error. If you’re going to do a DIY, you want to be smart about it. Do something that is actually going to save you money but won’t take you a wasteful amount of time.
There was one thing I had seen early on in wedding planning that I knew I wanted, but I also knew the price would be extremely high. I saw a floral/topiary monogram and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I knew any florist would have easily charged $2500+ considering the dozens of roses it was going to take to create. So, I decided to make it! I had previously bought a monogram file from Schuler Studio right after we got engaged. It was the best $6 I’ve spent considering how many places we used it at the wedding (invites, cake topper, monogram light, and website, just to name a few). Since I had the file, I approached my brother-in-law, who owns a wood burner for my sister and his business, and he was able to make it! I then took to Amazon and found realistic-looking roses, I got some E6000, and we hand-glued every rose onto the cutout. We also painted it gold before applying the flowers, and some of the flowers had to be deconstructed in order to get the look we were going for. But, we spend under $200 and only about 3-5 hours on it total. It turned out great if I do say so myself. We got a lot of compliments and it served as a great background at the reception – we were also thankful that the hotel had a boxwood wall piece we were able to use as well!
4. Be smart with your venue
Being smart with your venue can mean a lot of things, and it can save you a lot of money and hassle. Our venue, The Colony Palm Beach, is a boutique hotel that has a ballroom, multiple ceremony locations, and multiple cocktail hour locations. Essentially, we paid one fee for the rental of the space, and then a certain dollar amount per head. This included tables, chairs, white linens, chargers, plates/cutlery, an unlimited open bar, a seated 3-course meal that included wine service, three different hand-passed hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour, and a custom wedding cake. Basically, the only things the venue didn’t include were an officiant, a DJ, a photographer, and florals/decor. This made our lives so much easier when it came to planning, and I know we saved money overall.
Normally you have to find a separate caterer, bakery, rental company for linens and chairs, etc – and all of those come with different contracts and fees. Also, it was the first wedding I had ever been to where all three events – ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception – were all in the same place. It made everyone’s lives so much easier and the whole experience much more enjoyable. Additionally, we chose the Hanging Garden as our ceremony location. This let us do minimal decorations in that space and it was still jaw-droppingly beautiful. The same goes for our ballroom. If you want to save money on florals and decor, get a space that is already beautiful! It will save a lot of money in the end.
5. Print some of your own paper goods
I guess this could technically count as a DIY, but in my opinion, this is much easier and less stressful than an actual craft. After seeing high prices for printed menus, table markers, and place cards, I went onto Etsy and found this shop that offered print files that went with our theme – there are countless Etsy stores just like this. We got cardstock from Michaels and Avery place card tents on Amazon. The Etsy shop was running a sale at the time, so between the files and the paper, we maybe spent $30, when place cards alone (if we ordered them already printed) were going to be $2.50 each. We even got a board printed at Walgreens using one of the designs for our seating chart; the board was under $30 as well, and our venue had an easel for us to use. The same could be done with programs as well, but we just scrapped programs altogether – since our ceremony was so short, we felt they were not necessary. In total, it took us maybe two hours to cut and print everything – definitely worth it. Also, if you want to do something little that will go a long way when it comes to helping out your venue: if you’re having a plated dinner and printing your own menus and/or seat markers, put a letter or symbol in the corner of each menu to let the waiters know who gets what. We put B for beef, S for salmon, K for kids, and V for vegan. Our planner was so thankful that we did that, it allowed everything to go smoothly when serving, and it only took a few extra minutes!
I hope some of these ideas inspired you and might help you to (now or in the future) save money on your wedding, or a wedding that you are involved in! What is a way you saved money on your wedding? Let me know down below! And if you want to see more of our wedding, check out all the blog posts here.
P.S. All wedding photos are by the fabulous Shea Christine!