Every little girl dreams of how her wedding will be one day. They picture wearing an elegant dress, being taken to their ceremony in a horse drawn carriage and having all of their family and friends being served five course meals and enjoying themselves to their favorite music. All of her wants and needs will be attended to and everything will just fall into place.
Then one day those girls grow into adults with (likely) limited budgets, and that is when they suddenly realize that all of those fancy wedding experiences they have dreamed about cost money. There is no magic godmother who will bypass their budgets and magically create shoes made of glass. Future grooms have it no better as the days of the bride’s parents footing the bill are dwindling as well, so more and more couples find themselves in the unenviable position as the ones who will be responsible for paying for the event. This is the main reason that so many people nowadays choose to have a do-it-yourself (DIY) wedding, or at the very least include DIY elements into their wedding as a cost saving measure. If you and your future spouse are planning to go this route you will find some great tips below that will help you turn your big day into as close to your dream wedding as possible!
Tip 1: The Dress
If you are having a DIY wedding there will be no professional to help you chose and fit your dress. If you are already on a budget this should not be a surprise. In fact, dress shopping on your own can help you land much better deals. Many bridal shops will have some beautiful dresses starting at $100. Have an idea of what you are looking for before you start shopping so you can save some time. And you never know; you may find a dress that blows your mind even though you had not considered the style before!
Leveraging the internet can also help you find your perfect wedding dress. Online sites connecting local sellers with buyers such as Craigslist will allow you to see dresses for yourself and buy at extreme discounts. You can also buy previously worn dresses at online discount sites like Tradesy, Once Wed and Nearly Newlywed at a discount. You can also go the extreme DIY route and contact a talented local seamstress to create your own custom dress for the cost of materials and labor! Enjoy savings by just thinking out of the box and doing some research.
Tip 2: The Unity Candles
Not all couples add unity candles to their ceremony, but if you wish to have them you can save a good deal of money by making them yourself. You will need two tapered candles, one pillar candle, a rectangle base made of Styrofoam, embellishments such as beads and ribbons, and hot glue. Take the hot glue and add the embellishments. Wrap the ribbon around the tapered candles to make a band. If you are using flowers or greenery put them in each ribbon before forming the bow. Place the middle candle on the Styrofoam and voila! You have a gorgeous unity candle! You can get all of the items to create it from the dollar stores and pay only about $15.00.
Tip 3: Invitations
DIY couples can easily save money on wedding invitations by making them yourself. You can find packs of blank wedding invitations at stores such as Wal-Mart for fairly cheap. These packages also come with CD’s that have templates on them for differently worded and designed invitations. Simply add your information to the template and print the invitations out. Then you can either hand write the addresses on the envelopes (which come with the invitations) or print them out as well. All this will cost is the invitation package, the ink for printing and the stamps for mailing. This is usually the cheaper DIY way to do wedding invitations, especially if you have a large guest list. If you’re not happy with the template provided to you, do a Google search for ‘wedding invitation templates’ or ‘wedding invitation wording’ and pick a wording and style that appeals to you.
Tip 4: The Wedding Cake
Cakes can be one of the more expensive items associated with weddings – if you use a professional baker. However the fact is that many times wedding guests will only eat a bite or two or forego the cake entirely, making the investment better used on other things. If you are an intrepid DIY couple you can go to your local Wal-Mart or local supermarket that has an in-store bakery and get a beautiful wedding cake for less than half the price of other places. For instance, if you need a cake to feed 100 people, you can get one at Wal-Mart for only $150. If you prefer not to get a store purchased cake, try to think of someone in your family or circle of friends that is a good baker and cake decorator. A wonderful cake can be made with mix and some decorating talent. You can add some fake flowers or bows to the cake to make it look like a professional bakery made it!
Tip 5: The Reception
Your reception venue and your catering bill will be the two biggest ticket items you will need to budget for on your wedding day. In order to save some money you can opt for a buffet style meal with several types of finger foods instead of a sit down meal which is usually pretty costly. You can also do a potluck or simply server light or heavy Hour’doves. There are too many to list here, but many expert tips on how DIY couples can save money on their wedding reception can be found here for your reception venue and here for your wedding catering.
Tip 6: Wedding Favors
While many couples would love to give amazing favors to their guests, sometimes the wedding budget just won’t allow for something costly. Instead, here are some great favors that you can make yourself for much less money than it would cost to buy them from a wedding vendor:
- Print out you and your soon to be spouses name and your wedding date on small strips of paper and wrap them around Hershey Kisses or Hugs.
- Add some candy that matches your wedding colors to a bag made of tulle and tie it up with ribbon.
- Buy a heart shaped cookie cutter. Mix a cup of bird seed and egg white that have been well beaten. Fill the cookie cutter with the mixture and let it harden. Remove it from the cookie cutter and hang a string at the top so your guests have a homemade bird feeder.
- Purchase some scented soaps in bulk. If you have good hand skills you can carve your names and wedding date in each one.
- More expert tips on DIY wedding favors have been gathered by our staff and can be found here!
When it comes to planning, executing and paying for the whole event, there is still hope of having the wedding of your dreams even when you DIY many of your wedding elements. All it takes is some self-control and a good budget!
Have you or someone you know taken the DIY route to save money on their wedding? If so feel free to share your experiences and let us know how it turned out!