10 Tips for a Budget-Friendly, Mostly Stress-Free Wedding

by - September 15, 2018

Six years ago I married my best friend. We got married in a barn, threw out the programs, served our guests BBQ, opted not to hire a wedding planner, and broke so many "traditional" rules I lost count. Looking back on that day, I remember the happiness and love and fun. Of course there were some stressful moments leading up to the big day, but everything worked out and we had the wedding we'd hoped for. So as I reminisce on the day that started our journey through married life, I want to share some of the things we did that helped us stay on budget and cut down on stress.

Tip 1 - Shop around...for everything. We wanted really simple invitations and didn't want to fool with RSVP's. After comparing prices of online companies, retail stores, and local printers, we ended up going with a local printer. I never would have thought they'd come out cheaper, but they were at least $100 under the other guys, had more designs to choose from, were more flexible on everything, and were faster.

Tip 2 - DIY Centerpieces. I don't know if we saved a significant amount of money by making our own centerpieces, but we were able to customize the look of our wedding. We were also able to make just the right amount, and I had a pretty good time making them with my MOH. Bonus: my mother-in-law took all the jars afterward and was able to use them for canning.

Tip 3 - Borrow what you can. We were able to borrow hay bales and ferns to make our aisle. We also borrowed some other decorative pieces from a family friend including burlap table runners.

Tip 4 - Get everything in writing. When we reserved our venue, we asked about specific things like being able to light candles. It was in the contract we signed that candles were allowed as long as they were in containers. On the day before the wedding, we were getting everything set up when one of the venue managers came in, took one look at our centerpieces and told us we couldn't have the candles. Turns out, the previous weekend another wedding had managed to catch something on fire with a free-standing candle and they decided to change their policy. Luckily we still had the contract we signed and the crisis was averted.

Tip 5 - Make use of payment plans.

Tip 6 - Say no to programs. It'll save you a good bit of money and make your reception way less stressful. Trust me.

Tip 7 - Enlist help...family, friends, friends of friends, friends of family, etc. My granny made both of our cakes (and they were delicious). My aunt did my hair and my best friend (MOH) did my makeup. My cousin directed the wedding ceremony. Another aunt and family friend handled cutting the cakes. Still another aunt kept the guest book and was over gifts. Our wedding was a labor of love, and I truly believe that made all the difference.

Tip 8 - Wedding party eats first. Otherwise you won't get around to it. Besides, it's your day. You should eat.

Tip 9 - Don't make your wedding guests wait on you to take pictures before the reception can begin. Or if you insist on not letting the groom see the bride before the ceremony, make sure there's something for your guests to do so they're not just sitting around bored. Wedding pictures take a long time!

Tip 10 - This is the most important tip and needs no explanation. Do what makes you happy, no matter who may disapprove.

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