Welcome to our wedding DIY mirror Rogue Hop Farm Oregon

Hello everyone. This blog post is dedicated to couples planning their wedding on a budget …or maybe you just can’t see the point in spending several thousand {tens of thousands?} on a wedding. OR maybe you want to spend more on your honeymoon.  Whatever the reason, this post will lay out some tips that, if used properly, will help trim the bill for your BIG day.

Things to avoid:

  • Wedding specialty items. If it’s specifically marketed as a “wedding”, “bride”, “groom” item; it’s going to cost more, A LOT more.
  • Impulse buys. That should seem obvious, but it’s easy to get sucked into buying things you don’t need or want when you’re in the middle of planning and you have wedding-fever.
  • Price doesn’t necessarily reflect quality. This touches on the specialty item price-hike problem. Oppositely: just because something cost less, doesn’t necessary mean it really saved you any money. If it isn’t what you want and you end up buying something else anyway, or if it requires more time and messing with than a more expensive item… just get the more expensive item.
  • Thinking you’ll save money by hiring friends as vendors. If you do have a friend that’s a fantastic bartender, florist, photographer, whatever… and you hire them for your wedding day, for that day they are not your friend. That’s not to say that they don’t like you on your wedding day, don’t be silly, but for that day they are there to WORK. You should consider this very carefully when deciding who to hire. Expect to pay full price and expect them to do their job as if they were at anyone else’s wedding.

Next I’ll list out my Top 11 places to save money >>>

Off Season:

Probably the single biggest money saver in planning a budget wedding is having it during your area’s “off season”.  In Oregon this is November-May, as the weather is unpredictable and people here just love getting married outdoors. But the good news for you is that you’re more likely to get the vendors and date you want without competing with other weddings. Yay! Many vendors have off season discounts to encourage bookings during their slow season. Be sure to choose a well lit, all weather accessible venue and have plenty of indoor activities available for your guests.

Clothes:

Ladies, there are so many beautiful dresses out there; have an idea of what you want going in, do your research online before you shop or buy, and don’t get so excited about a dress that you ignore the price tag {or the fact that it will need altering and cleaning}. Which leads me to my first money saver:

  • Pick a dress that need minimal altering.
  • Next, try an off-white or colorful dress. Maybe it’s technically a bride’s maid’s dress …do you look AMAZING in it? Yes? Then who cares.
  • Prom dresses: high school prom is in May, which means that dresses are in stores around March. Check them out {good for your bridesmaids too}; they’ll be much easier on your budget than a dress from a bridal store.
  • Borrow. Yep, borrow a dress from a friend, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, or whoever; then make it your own with some accessories that are all you.

Gentlemen, why so formal in that tux? A good suit will very often do just fine; they’ll require less purchasing and fitting, and they’re more customizable to the colors and style of your wedding. Plus, a good suit could be considered a double investment since you’ll need one for future formal engagements.

>>> UPDATE: I must tell you about a wonderful company call Little Borrowed Dress. This company has dresses available for renting! Four styles are available, each at a cocktail and floor length, and in a variety of colors. They even send a back-up size just in case. It’s extremely affordable and in the end you or your bridesmaids aren’t stuck buying a dress that they’ll never wear again. WIN!

Poppy Little Borrowed Dress Bridesmaid Oregon

Flowers:

Get flowers that are in-season and common in your area. In-season is more accessible and plentiful; common or native flowers will look and hold up better. You can also go easy on the flowers as decorations/centerpieces to save some scratch.  They can’t be reused and really you end up having to pawn them off on your family and guests. I’ll talk more about decorations in a minute.

Colorful DIY Wildflower bouquets in Ashland Oregon

Wedding Planner:

You should still hire a wedding planner. This might seem like an unnecessary expense, but trust me …a quality WP will make sure that you can actually enjoy your wedding day.  For couples on a budget, hire a WP that offers “week of” or “day of” planning. This will reduce the cost without losing them as a resource. You take care of the big planning and arrangements; they take care of last minute details, field questions, and make sure everything is on schedule. WORTH IT!!!

Cake:

Yes a big, beautiful cake is one of the iconic images that goes with any wedding, but most couples order WAAAAAAY too much cake. Order for the lower number of your expected turn out, not everyone will want cake and most people are satisfied with a small piece. Also go with a small two-tiered cake and a sheet cake {also called a groom’s cake}, a small round cake and cupcakes, or a small two-tiered cake with a non-cake dessert. Cupcake businesses are popping up everywhere and they can be a great way to accommodate certain dietary needs {gluten-free, vegan, nut allergies} without dedicating a whole cake.

Simple Beautiful Classy Wedding Cake and desserts in Corvallis Oregon

Alcohol:

First a quick reminder: you MUST have a licensed {Oregon – OLCC} person serving the alcohol! Many venues will require a copy of your bartender’s license if they’re not providing one. Ok, back to saving money. Even if you want to have a hosted {open} bar you can still set it up to save some money. If the venue has a bar with provided bartenders, limit the hosted options to cheap drinks like domestic beer and well drinks. If you’re setting up the bar, hire a bartender and have a couple options with a few simple ingredients; Mojitos and/or Lynchburg Lemonades with a single keg. You can take home what you don’t drink and it’s a lot cheaper than paying for drinks at the bar.

Signature cocktail for PNW English Garden Wedding Independence Oregon

Venue:

One of the best ways to save money on a venue is to rent a space that is not typically used for weddings {back to that specialized product again}. Rent a lovely corner in a park, a restaurant on a day they’re usually closed, or if you have the space and privacy a backyard wedding can be both convenient and sentimental. In any case go with a venue that needs minimal decorating, set up, and additional rentals {chairs, table, linens, etc.}. …OR you can have an intimate courthouse service; saving you money or freeing up money to invest in your reception.

DIY Decorations:

Only do this if you have the time AND skill. If you don’t have both you’ll end up buying supplies for said DIY decorations, then buying ready-made decorations because the other ones aren’t ready or don’t look good. If you and your friends & family are up for some crafting days, which could build some really special memories and be lots of fun, plan out some simple, classy, and inexpensive centerpieces. If those go well …feel free to take on other decorations. Decorations that double as party favors or decor for your own home will also save you some bucks!

Not feeling the DIY itch, but still want to have fun decorations and table tops at your wedding/reception? Check out ae creative’s rentals!

DIY Decorations made of wine corks and paper Oregon Coast Wedding

Photographer:

Like the Wedding Planner your photographer is well worth the investment. I’m not just saying this because I’m a photographer, but because it is the #1 thing I hear people say they wished they had done right, but didn’t. This is also where you are most likely to be tempted to hire a friend. Remember that if your friend is a professional they will be there to WORK; not to dance, party, and have fun. In either case the most important thing is hire a PROFESSIONAL.

Check out my friend, Edith Taylor’s blog post over at Simply Kissed Photography if you want to hear all about what happened when she didn’t hire a professional for her own {on a budget} wedding. 🙁

Your wedding photography will be the one thing that you can hold on to for years and share with everyone. Your photographer will be your most trusted and involved vendor so hire with care and… Hire a PROFESSIONAL. So then, how do you save money on your photographer? For your photographer it’s more about not spending extra money. Once your service is over and the reception is underway, get started on some of the key events {cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter snap, toasts, etc.} and make sure that you don’t keep your photographer for longer than you arranged to avoid paying for additional hours {avg. $150-$200/hour}. Your WP and/or photographer should let you know if you’re running behind schedule and ask if you want to pay for additional time before continuing.

There you have it boys and girls… now get out there, plan your wedding, and have fun!

Check out these great webpages that are full of wedding money-saving ideas: Off Beat Bride, A Practical Wedding, Rock My Wedding, Rock n Roll Bride. Disclaimer: This post is NOT meant to devalue any vendor, industry, or profession. Sometimes we just have to work with what our wallet can stomach.

Planning your own wedding-on-a-budget and want to ensure that it’s authentically + beautifully captured? Please contact me for full details + booking!

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  1. […] there on your actual wedding day and trust me they are totally worth it! There are lots of ways to cut costs when planning your wedding, but please remember that there are always consequences. Sometimes you’re fine with the […]