Today I want to share some of the frugal ideas I have for a wedding. Allow me first to share my general thoughts on weddings and then to share some of the things my wife (Mrs. PT) and I did to avoid spending too much on our wedding.
Our Wedding Story
Honestly, we didn’t have the most frugal wedding, but we did find ways to cut some costs and still enjoy a beautiful day. We had very little help from our parents though.
I’d say we paid for 95% of our engagement, wedding, and honeymoon costs with either savings or (gulp!) a credit card. Before any credit card haters start throwing stones, let me say that the card’s interest was at a 0% intro rate and we paid it off completely in three months with no interest incurred.
A Frugal Wedding in Dallas, TX?
Yep, we got married in Big D. If there were ever a “big wedding” town, it’s Dallas. It’s very hard not to spend some cash when you are marrying a girl here. The expectations are really high. It’s got to be BIG. I’m talking ice sculpture and carriage-ride big (not that we had those things).
So, I guess my first piece of advice is to consider a destination wedding. Get out of town and get it done quick and cheap. You don’t have to go to Hawaii, but at least get away from the major metro areas, where demand and prices for services are tripled.
Face It: The Wedding Industry is a Racket
Let’s say you’re not into the destination wedding thing. Which most aren’t, I suppose. If you’re going to pay for a “traditional” in-town wedding, you’re going to pay a premium. The wedding industry is the only industry where 90% of the customers don’t care what it costs…because Daddy is paying for it. Where does that leave you “little Miss Frugal paying for everything herself”? 🙂 Either in need of some savings or in need of a credit card (not recommended).
I say this not to discourage, but as sort of a reality check. In my opinion, weddings aren’t cheap by nature. They’re a celebration of a special moment. A moment that should be honored, I think, by involving all your close friend and family and spending the money to treat them as honored guests and to have a great time. I’m sure most of us believe that “experience” is the best thing one can spend “extra” money on, right?
Decide where the balance is for you between an over-the-top party and a simple ceremony. You’ll know it when you see it. Besides, you only get one shot (hopefully) at this thing so you need to do it right.
In general, the biggest tip I can give you is to do some of the preparations yourself. Not everything…just some of the little things. Not only will you spend less, but the day will feel that much more special because of all the time and little touches you put into it.
As you are going through your budget and talking with vendors, ask yourself “is this something I could do just as good and for less money?” If so, go for it. Just don’t get over your head and end up doing something you aren’t proud of.
My Big, Fun, Frugal Wedding
With all of that said, here are some specific ways to have a more frugal wedding:
- Make your own save-the-date cards out of postcard-sized card stock (less postage). We did this and they turned out great.
- Skip the Wedding Planner. Since we were paying for it all we did all of the planning ourselves, as it should be. However, I’d recommend letting go of the reigns a bit to allow some of your family and friends to help out. Don’t put everyone to work though. Remember, they’re your guests too.
- Do your own ceremony programs, favors, and out-of-towners care package. For our favors, I took generic match boxes and covered them with card stock which had been “laser” printed with our own custom-designed logo. They were a huge hit. Thank you office laser color printer at my old job!
- Utilize friends in the business. At the time I had a good friend that was just getting into the videography business. He only charged me half his normal rate.
- Pay for the rights to the digital photo negatives. If you use a professional photographer, (which I highly recommend) do your best to negotiate the rights to your photo negatives. This may cost more upfront, but it will save you from all those high-priced orders and re-orders. We’ve got 1,700 wedding photos on two CDs that we can print or share at any time.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my wedding experience. I know my methods aren’t the answer for everyone, but it worked great for us and I’m super proud of my wedding day and the choices we made. Best of luck.