It’s true what they say about weddings, they’re extremely expensive, stressful and irritating but they don’t have to be! Our special day was quite the opposite, you normally hear the stories of couples freaking out and almost breaking up, well we wanted to avoid that. Although, if you don’t know us very well, I should tell you that we wanted to pay for everything ourselves. Even though family members offered, we didn’t feel it was their responsibility. That said, we made it a point to ensure the our wedding plan we strategically laid out in advance to allow us to save money while at the same time having the wedding of our dreams…
So if you want to get married or know someone that’s about to take the plunge, I encourage you to read this. Below are a few steps on what we did for our big day!
GET ON THE SAME PAGE
- I think a lot of couples get in the habit of the “wedding stereotype” that we’re all to familiar of. Have an engagement party, get married in a church, make the ceremony 45 minutes long, etc. We didn’t do any of that.
- That said, you have to know what’s important to each of you. If all that stuff us, no worries – it just wasn’t to us, so we were able to save a little money.
- Don’t be scared to have the conversation of what each of you actually WANT, don’t do a wedding based off of what your friends or what the Kardashian’s did, do you!
- I’m a little crazy when it comes to finances in general, so I was extra wild about this part when it came to the wedding. Honestly though, I think a lot of time people don’t take into consideration how much goes into a wedding. We all know about the food, cake and decorations right? Well I kept track of all the other stuff too!
- I wanted to ensure we only spend money on things that were important. I decided on day one to keep a spreadsheet of all our spending, everything down to the napkins, plates and groomsmen gifts.
- What we did (which I recommend) is set a certain amount you want to spend on the total wedding, which includes everything penny affiliated with the wedding and stick to it. Hold each other accountable, that’s what a marriage is. Get use to it!
THERE’S NO RIGHT OR WRONG
- Again, do what the two of you want to do. Stop reading books and looking at pictures/videos online, unless you’re made of money it’s not practical. It may sound good, but take it from me it will only lead to problems in the future if you do what “other people” think is normal for a wedding.
- We did some research on this a lot actually, at the end of the day we decided to design the invitations and thank you letters ourselves. We figured with computer programs and Google, why exactly would you buy invitations at $2-$4 per couple? They’re just sheets of paper with words on them. Just make it yourself and it will save you an average of $2-$2.50 per person, so if you have 100+ people like we did at our wedding, it adds up!
- Plus stamps are expensive! Even designing the cards ourselves, just with a stamp for each invitation it costs a good amount of money to mail out, so don’t waste your hard-earned money on the invitations. They’ll just end up in the trash after the wedding anyway.
- What we realized about this was a lot of places restricted you to do a lot of different things. Some places didn’t allow loud music, candles and some places didn’t allow you to bring your own booze? What!? Just be careful where you end up, you might be spending a lot of money by using THEIR services but there’s plenty of venues that let you DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.
- That’s what we did, we found a perfect venue that met our needs but it took time and patience to find it.
- Researching reviews really helped to. Luckily some spots we were considering had reviews from previous weddings that didn’t end up so good. Take your time.
- After months of searching, we found a place were you pay a flat fee (affordable) and you can bring your own food/drinks plus no one will bother you all night..
DECORATE IT YOURSELVES
- This was a big one. We decided to design the entire wedding ourselves. Literally, everything in the venue, I either made by hand and/or the wife created it from scratch – centerpieces, flowers, appetizers, backdrop, everything.
- We didn’t want to waste ALL of our money on things that people aren’t there to see. Remember, when they RSVP to your wedding they want to see YOU TWO, not the centerpieces!
- As beautiful as this part of the wedding is, people want to see the “I DO” part, that’s it. If you pay for a venue, shouldn’t you get the most out of that venue? What’s the biggest part of the wedding that people remember…the dancing! So make it that, make it fun and exciting and don’t spend one hour of the 5 hours that you rented the venue on the ceremony, that’s just crazy. That’s like spending $10 on a movie ticket and only watching the previews. Give the people what they want, dancing and alcohol.
- We rented our venue and only had our ceremony be 15 minutes. Yes, including my beautiful bride and the groomsmen/bridesmaids walking down the isle, 15 minutes total. The rest was just partying!
- This part was tricky. We thought to ourselves “what if people don’t like the food? What if they have a bad experience with the place that caters?” But then we realized, who gives a shit. Are the guests there for the food or us? Of course we want the food to be perfect but if they don’t show up or the food is bad, will it ruin the day? Maybe…so why spend a few thousand dollars on it.
- Honestly, we just picked a local restaurant that WE LOVE (because it is our day), which was a local Taco place in Orlando, so they brought a food truck to our venue and served some of the best food we’ve had. By the way, haven’t heard a single compliant from our guest. That saved us about $1500.
- If your not into drinking, you can skip this. But if you plan to have alcohol, this is simple. Make it open bar! This is one you can’t be cheap on, if your family and friends are responsible enough, this is well worth it.
- This one was easy. Since we have most of the things we want that’s actually important in our lives, we didn’t want our guests to gives stuff that’s just going to sit in the kitchen and collect dust, so we asked for contributions.
- Going into this, we were prepared (and did) pay 100% of the wedding. Luckily our family and friends were nice enough to donate to help us with the wedding and our honeymoon. Of course, that allowed us to not be so stressed for Day One of being married. What do you think would be more beneficial to a successful marriage? Donations or a couple pots and pans?
- Don’t be afraid to talk about what you want as gifts. If you get nothing, who cares? The day is about YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE, don’t over complicate it.
THE WEDDING NIGHT
- Lastly, I truly believe that where you spend you “wedding night” is very important. You don’t want to go back to your house or anything because you want it to be fresh and exciting, but the question is “do you need to stay at a 5 star resort,” the answer is simple – NO!
- We got a nice, affordable Marriott hotel that was close to the venue/our home for the night of the wedding. This was the same place some of our guest were staying, it was all we needed. Really, you’re just sleeping there for the night right? Or if it’s a good wedding – you’re not sleeping at all 😉 !
- Plus we thought to ourselves, do we want to spend money on the hotel for one night or continue to stack up money for the honeymoon?
In closing, what’s the point of this blog? Well, I truly believe in a lot of cases, we spend a ton of time, energy and money into things that aren’t that important. Weddings are a great example of that but if you have a lot of money to spend and want a big wedding, you just wasted your time reading this so I’m sorry.
For us, the wedding day (which is only about 4-6 hours by the way) wasn’t as important as making sure we had a great time but it was important we’re able to have money left over to start our lives together, not just spend our saving all on ONE DAY.
Oh, in case your wondering about our Honeymoon. That was fantastic too! Since we were able to save a good amount of money on the wedding and with some generous donations from our family and friends – we had a beautiful Honeymoon in Costa Rica!
I hope some of you that were planning on getting married one day take a few tips from this and if you want any other advice, reach out. Just remember, it’s your day so do what makes YOU happy! Everything else will be just fine. Enjoy!
If you want to see how the wedding turned out, we’d love for you to watch our wedding video – which I created (to save even more money). Click HERE for our wedding video!
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