Have Your Cake & Eat It Too! How I Shaved Thousands Off My Wedding Costs

June 9, 2015  |  

With wedding season here, I can imagine what brides-to-be are experiencing. I was in their shoes a few years ago as my now husband and I (mainly me) planned for our special day.

At the time, we lived in the New York City area where everything costs practically twice as much. Did I mention several venues were booked years in advance by some folks who weren’t event engaged yet? Yeah, I guess it was that serious.

Rather than rush or settle for something that was just okay, we decided to extended our engagement. I know it’s not for everyone, but for us, it worked. In addition to saving for our wedding, we also had a hefty mortgage to pay that ate away at additional spending money. By having a little more time to save, we were more comfortable paying cash for all of our special day needs, and more importantly, had no debt once it was over.

No matter how excited things appear (they are), a wedding is hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime event that can and will break the bank if you aren’t too careful. Yes you should have what you want but it’s still important to keep things in perspective. Unfortunately I know of too many couples who had over-the-top events only to divorce a year or two later. Being money conscious doesn’t guarantee a successful marriage, but it does help avoid debt.

Having a budget in place is crucial to wedding planning. Keeping a particular number in mind allows you to prioritize your wants from your needs.

Prior to our engagement, I attended an industry event where I met Vera Wang. Not only was the opportunity amazing, but she gave us a heads up about an exclusive collection she planned to design for David’s Bridal. I personally can’t imagine spending $10,000 for a dress I’m only going to wear once. Luckily I spent a fraction of the cost thanks to Vera’s tip.

One area where I didn’t want to skimp was the ceremony and reception venue. It had uninterrupted views of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline. In order to save money, we opted to have our ceremony on a Saturday morning — followed by a reception in the early afternoon. Anyone who gets married knows the price per person is one of your biggest expenses. Because of our flexibility, we were able to serve the dinner menu mixed with brunch favorites. This allowed us to save $150 per person.


Our next hurdle was the guest list as my husband comes from a big family. Funny enough, both of us didn’t feel pressured to turn our wedding into a family reunion, or political event where we invited people we weren’t close to for the sake of appearances. In the end, we had 110 guests which was perfect for us.

The rest of our wedding plans pretty much fell into place. We found local vendors with good reviews and affordable prices. I also purchased craft and decoration needs from Save on Crafts, an online inventory of DIY materials at a wholesale price. All of our wedding flowers shipped wholesale, arriving two days before the event from a farmer. They bloomed beautifully and saved a fortune. Florists are creative but do come at a price. In most cases, the flowers you purchase aren’t as fresh because they move from a farmer to a wholesaler — and then a florist.

Looking back at our wedding, I wouldn’t change a thing. We did our research and found quality options for a great cost. Once everything was said and done we ended up saving close to $15,000. The total cost fell around $17,000 and included a 14-day honeymoon to Aruba (saved with a family member who owns property on the island).

That’s some serious cash we were able to save for our future.

Related The Financial Kiss of Death? There’s More to Marriage Than a Fancy Wedding

all photos courtesy of Tanvier Peart. Cover photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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