It’s been a while since I shared an update on how the wedding planning process is going. I got engaged last September and we’re planning to tie the knot in just a few months now.
The planning is still going well and it’s even kind of fun, but I honestly don’t understand how people can actively plan a wedding for a year or longer. All the extra budgeting and organizing can take a lot out of you. Nevertheless, if you want to have an amazing day that doesn’t cost you an arm and leg, it’s worth it. During my last update, I mentioned how and why I still wanted my definition of a dream wedding despite our financial situation and the debt we have.
This will certainly be a budget wedding, but it won’t be the usual uber frugal or ‘I only spent $1500 and invited 20 people’ type of wedding and that’s fine with me. We will have well over 100 guests and an all-inclusive venue, so in order to save money on the big day, I need to get creative with my strategy.
Here are a few unique ways to save money on your dream wedding.
Attend Lots of Bridal Expos
Now that I’m engaged, bridal expos are my new thing. Bridal expos are often held at a venue or hotel and include tons of wedding vendors, food samples, special offers and sometimes even a genuine fashion show. The best part is that 99% of all bridal expos are free for guests to attend. For my first bridal expo, I received 4 free tickets so I could invite some of my bridesmaids. The second expo I believe it was a free for all. There was a champagne fountain, a dessert table, beef brisket and other appetizers to taste, photo booths to test out, and more all for free.
It’s a great way to enjoy an outing with your friends and explore and compare dozens of vendors all at the same time. Most vendors will offer extreme discounts for booking a service with them if you mention you saw them at the expo. Others will operate raffles and contests to give away free prizes to lucky brides.
Almost everyone wins something at bridal expo so it’s important to sign up and enter contests. You can always unsubscribe to email offers later. I have one more bridal expo to attend this Sunday, but so far I’ve won the following free items and discounts:
- A free tux rental for my fiancé for the wedding plus a free custom suit for him to keep
- 50% off tux rentals for all the groomsmen and ushers
- 50% off invitations
- A hand mixer (woot! woot!)
- A beautiful free veil and headpiece
Bridal expos occur all over so all you have to do is search for an upcoming event in your area nd reserve your free tickets. Attending them can been a fun activity, an easy way to win freebies and reduce some wedding expenses, along with a great place to connect with vendors when you don’t have a clue as to what you want.
Cut the Cost of Food and Snacks
That way, I don’t have to worry about how many plates of food to purchase and what types of soda I should offer.
We’re doing a buffet style meal because it’s cheaper and quicker to get through. I was told that doing a plated 4-course dinner would take an hour and 30 minutes to serve everyone. When you only have your venue for a certain time period, you can make the most of your time by skipping that option and doing a buffet.
For dessert, we’re doing cupcakes because they’re just better than cake 🙂 Plus, cupcakes will only run about $2 each with decorations while cake is often $3.75 per slice or more. By ordering 100 cupcakes instead of a cake, we’ll save at least $200.
At my last expo, I spoke with someone from a company that rents out equipment for events. It turns out, I’ll be renting a popcorn machine for the wedding for only $40. The supplies and materials need to pop the popcorn will only run me about $25. The idea of having popcorn at a wedding might sound weird but I love popcorn and I’m sure people will find it convenient when they need a snack. Plus, it beats paying for a dessert table with over sweetened cookies and pastries.
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Use Reward Points for Your Honeymoon
If you plan to go on a honeymoon after your wedding, I would definitely include that expense into your general wedding budget. I always wondered how people could afford to pay for a big wedding, then ride off into the sunset to some exotic location for a week or two right after.
I knew I didn’t want to go right back to work after my wedding, so thanks to some credit card churning, I’ll be riding off into the sunset right after as well.
My fiancé and I committed to paying for most of our wedding expenses on credit cards so we could earn enough bonus points to pay for our flights and hotel stay in full. Now all we have to do is pay for taxes and fees on our trip, transportation to and from the airport, and bring a little spending money.
I would only advise this option if you have a good credit score, don’t already have credit card debt, and have the means to pay off the card(s) in full each month. I personally don’t like having so many credit cards and using them because it is tempting to overspend, but we had to spend money on certain things for the wedding anyway so it worked out.
If you’d like more specific tips and strategies to help you save money on your big day without sacrificing your values, I recently released a 50-page digital guide called Save Thousands on Your Dream Wedding and you can learn more about it here. My guide includes real money-saving strategies, resources you can utilize when shopping for even the tiniest details, the strategy I used to go on a $400 week-long honeymoon and more!
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