After seeing THIS ARTICLE on Today.com, it spawned a few additional ideas on ways that we saved at our wedding in 2007 and other ways I've seen my brides and friends save on their's. Ultimately, it comes down to what YOU want to splurge on and what isn't as important to you the day you say, "I do" and everyone's priorities for their day are different. I hope this list is helpful to get a brainstorm going if you're looking to save on your big day. 

1. Do you have to serve alcohol? Many of my brides aren't, perhaps it's my clientele that I attract, but alcohol isn't always seen as a "must have". Some just have a simple glass of champagne for toasts, but no open bar, for example.

 

2. Do you have to serve a full meal? Gerard and I chose to have a mid afternoon wedding so we wouldn't have to serve a full meal. We asked for finger foods and appetizers. The spread looked fantastic-not like we'd skimped at all and our guests left with something in their tummies.

3. Get Away Car options: we used my late Grandfather's 1967 Chevelle to have a part of my Grandpa there. Gerard is an antique car lover and knew how to drive it well. We used to own a 1949 Pontiac Chieftain and it fit well into Cole & Dayna's wedding day. Again, Gerard posed as Chauffeur. See who you know or use your own vehicle, and save on the hassle of transferring your change of clothes from car to car.

4. Opt for an engagement ring that can be added onto later. For example, my sister in law was gifted a third diamond studded band for a special anniversary from her husband. If you're ok with the look of your ring shifting with time, this might be an option to shift the cost down the line a few years when your job(s) might be providing more income for you.

5. Have bridesmaids find a black dress on their own that they are sure to wear again. A friend of mine has been in over 30 weddings as a bridesmaid. What do you do with the dress after? My sister had bridesmaids scattered all over the country and to avoid the hassle of trying to get their measurements and fittings worked in, she asked them to find a simple black dress roughly knee length-ish. Easy Peasy!

6. DJ-are one of the members of your bridal party really good at getting the real party started? Gerard & I asked our Best Man to do the honors, admittedly, dancing wasn't the main focus of our reception, but Jason did a fabulous job! Gerard ended up being a last minute DJ for my sister 4 weeks later and ran an ipod through a speaker system he picked up from Target the morning of the wedding. The guests didn't seem to notice a difference!!  (And there were not really awkward "diggings" for the garter.....) (photo below between Ali and Mark was the least awkward I've ever seen--and they had a friend as the MC! :) )

7. Dress, Shoes, Veil, Bustle-some brides suffer through high high heels and then change to flats for the reception. Why not start at the flats and save yourself the discomfort? I've seen several brides borrow a simple veil for their "something borrowed", and some have borrowed the bustle slip for under their dress as well. Just think through how much you are willing to spend on a dress you'll wear for one day. What are your intentions for it afterwards? (I'll get to this subject in my next post!) 

8. Do you have to send out "Save the Dates"? Gerard and I made sure our extended family knew our date so they could make travel arrangements and we were only engaged for 6 months, leaving little time for an extra mailing. Also, 'Thank You cards' don't have to be personalized-buy them in bulk. Or, you could design a simple postcard with your favorite wedding image and save on postage (currently, a regular card is $0.49 while a postcard is $0.34). Postage was one of the things that stunned me on our budget between invites, announcements and thank you cards....it really does add up!

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9. Bridal Party Gifts-For my bridesmaids, I gifted them some pampering lotions and body washes/scrubs. These gifts were purchased from my sister's Sensaria personal business-so I supported small business and was budget conscious. You could also bring your maids along with you to the salon and their pedicure (or manicure) is your gift to them. That way, you get time with them, pamper them, AND gift them! 

As always, I hope this helps inspire some ideas for your own day and gets the brainstorm churning. 

Looking forward to the brides I get to photograph this season of 2016!!!

--Carrie


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