My husband and I got married August 2014 and we had decided together that we didn’t want to waste our money on ONE (very important, but none the less one day) when we had our whole lives to spend together. Couples roughly spend around $30,000 CAD on their wedding and to me, this is completely outrageous! Do you know what I could buy with $30,000??? My husband and I didn’t get married until we were 27, with two kids from previous relationships and knowing where we wanted our money to go, we did what we could to save costs and still have beautiful memories. We spent less than $5,000 CAD on our entire wedding and it was fabulous! I am going to tell you how we did it and hopefully this will help you save some cha-ching for more important things (like a car, education for your kids, a down payment on a house bla bla bla you know … adult things)
Plan In Advance. You cannot have a cheap wedding if you decide one day, “Let’s get married in 8 months!” You’ll need to plan in advance, so that you can look for deals and have time to make everything yourself. I planned our wedding for two years when we got engaged. I understand that not everybody has time like this, but if you do, than you should wait.
Keep Your Guest List at a Minimum Why do you need all those people at your wedding? Do they really mean anything to you? Just invite the people that mean something to you, your immediate family and closest friends. Don’t let your family or parents get into your head about your relatives needing to be there when you’ve maybe met them once. Explain that this is your wedding and you want to stick to the minimum to save money to eventually support their grandchildren (they can’t resist grandchildren). These 30+ people are the ones I love the most and although there were a couple who couldn’t make it, I wouldn’t want anyone else to share our day with. These are the ones who matter … our family.
Pick an Off-Season Location We got married in the summer time, so we looked into renting a ski chalet for our wedding. They don’t use it all summer, so why not have a wedding there? We got married at the top of the ski hill which looked over the lake and it was picture perfect. The cost was so low to rent the place, that it really was a steal of a deal. Think outside of the box when determining your wedding location. Could someone’s backyard work, or if you’re doing a winter wedding, where are places that don’t book anything during that season? Think outside the box and maybe you can score a deal, since they might not rent it out during the off season or maybe they have never even thought about renting it out before.
Do Everything Yourself and I mean EVERYTHING! Try your very best not to pay someone to do things for you. Check with friends and family for skills that they can help you with. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most of your family and friends want to help anyways to save you money, because they understand how much things cost or want the two of you to have a successful life together without wondering what the next paycheck is going to pay off.
Skip the Save the Dates – EVERYBODY has a computer nowadays, so don’t waste paper or stamps and just send one out through email. There are so many websites that will do digital save the dates, just google, “digital save the dates” and pick one. If you don’t want to spend the money on them, than create them yourself. If you have access to photoshop, than it’s pretty easy to design one with some photos and just email it. I have access to cheap printing with where I work, so I was able to make and print mine for very cheap. If I was able to hand them out to my guests, instead of mailing, than that’s what I did.
Design and Print Your Own Invitations/Programs/Seating Charts etc. – Making your own printables will save a ton of money. If you have the opportunity to design your own, than props to you. Keep with the same theme, save the clipart to design all your other printables. If you can’t design your own, check out Vista Print. They have some really cool custom design options for pretty cheap. Click here for my wedding invitation tutorial and a couple links to help you get started.
Find Bargains on Decorations – Stick to the same “theme” as your house style. This way anything you buy for your wedding can be decorated into your house instead of trying to sell it. Go to garage sales or goodwills and look for cute trinkets that can be used on your tables for decorations. If they don’t match your theme, just spray paint them in a color that matches your wedding colors. I stayed pretty rustic and neutral, as this was the easiest for me.
Grow Your Own flowers – Flowers are crazy expensive! If you are having a summer wedding, try and grow your own flowers in your backyard and then cut them for the wedding. In my case, we had a rustic wedding on a ski hill, where a bunch of wild flowers grew. The plan was to cut them and put them in mason jars for the tables, but I forgot to assign someone that task, so we had no flowers, which was totally fine as nobody even noticed, plus I probably would have brought in a ton of bugs EEK!
Make Your Own Bouquet – While not everyone is that crafty or has the patience, you could make your own flower bouquet with fabric flowers. I’ll put up a tutorial soon on how I made my bouquets or search Pinterest for a tutorial on making your own fabric flower bouquet. Remember, it doesn’t have to be flowers that you hold. Be creative and hold greenery, beads, feathers or paper flowers. Who says you have to be traditional and hold a bouquet of flowers? It’s your day, do what you want to do!
Here’s some Pinterest Inspiration for non-floral bouquets
Skip the Take Home Favors. I know they are cute, but they really are a waste of money. We did little s’more boxes because we were camping and it fit with the theme, however I think 5 people took one home with them and the rest were left over and melted because of how hot the day was, so they all ended up in the garbage.
Skip the DJ. Download a music DJ app on your phone or ipad and have it shuffle through your music. Hook it up to some computer speakers and you are set. DJ’s can run you $500+ for the night and in my experience they never play the songs you really want anyways. My step dad took care of this for us, as he has a crazy collection of tunes.
Have an Alcohol Free Wedding…..haha I’m totally kidding. But instead of free boose, have a loonie or toonie bar. Don’t over buy your alcohol, check with the liquor store to see if they take returns, so you’re not left with an abundance of liquor. And don’t buy a huge selection, if you don’t have something that your guests want, I’m sure they’ll settle for something different. Or, do a BYOB, like I did. We were camping so my family brought their own coolers and stored it in the large fridge. I had a cheap bottle of wine on every table, so 10 tables at $9 bucks a bottle made for a cheap, but fun night
Photography. As someone who works at a photography studio, don’t cheap out on a good photographer. A photographer is going to cost a pretty penny, but this is where I’d put my money. A really good photographer can find the beauty in anything ugly and if they can’t make the ugly go away when taking a photo, they can always do it after with the magic of photoshop! Your pictures are going to last longer than your memory and when you have good photos to look back on, you won’t be able to remember the outdated carpet, blue trim through out or the cheap plastic chairs. We were in an old run down ski chalet, but in these photos, it was hard to tell.
Here’s a breakdown of our total wedding costs…
- Save the Dates: $15 for stamps, printed at work for $5
- Invitations: $45 (lace, burlap, ribbon, printing and stamps)
- Hotel for Bridesmaids: $200 (Groomsmen and family stayed at our family cabin)
- Reception & Ceremony Location: $300 for 3 days
- Chairs $0 – Borrowed from my workplace
- Officiant: $200
- Bridal Party: $0 Everyone bought their own dress and shoes. Didn’t matter what it looked like, as long as it was a neutral color.
- Groomsmen: $0
- Groom: $200 (told to wear grey pants and white dress shirt)
- Wedding Dress $580
- Alterations $0 – my husbands step mom did this for me at no charge (the dress was a size 10 and she took it down to a size 1 for me)
- Shoes: $70 from ALDO
- Hair Extensions: $120. I did my own makeup and my sister did my hair.
- Jewellery: $0 I wore my bridesmaid gift from my best friends wedding
- Flower Girls:
- Dresses were $100
- Flower crowns $20
- Flower baskets $10
- Shoes $40
- Decorations: $600 (table decorations/lumber for signs/flower bouquets materials, cutlery, plates and cups, odds and ends) Most things I tried to borrow from my workplace or from friends/family.
- Alcohol: $100 for a bottle of wine on each table ($10 each) and the guests BYOB
- Photography: $0 I was extremely fortunate that my bosses took all the photos of our wedding, from first thing in the morning at the hotel until 1 o’clock in the morning to get a specific photo sparkler photo in the dark.
- Food $100 – My mom made homemade burgers and brought whatever food we needed. I had friends and family who brought salads and desserts as kind of a potluck. I would estimate that my family spend around $500 on food for my guests, but I only spend about $100 with what I brought
- Cake – $0 My mom baked us a carrot cake and covered it with cream cheese icing. I handmade the cake topper with some leftover clay I had sitting in my craft room.
Grand Total for the Perlinski Wedding: Approximately $3,000.00….wait, maybe I should add that again….yep $3 grand is all we spent (give or take, as I may have missed something)
I hope this post helps you save money in anyway you can but still have a beautiful and romantic day for the two of you
If you want to download the Kids Activity Book for Free, click here