8 Ways to Drastically Reduce your Wedding Budget: Tips from the Pro’s

By November 19, 2015 December 22nd, 2015 Tips

Besides trying to find the perfect dress, what I hear a lot being a “vendor” in the wedding industry is that budget is just as crucial as fitting into the perfect Vera Wang. The idea behind a budget for most couples planning their wedding is to pick a number and fit everything they need/want in that number without going over.

Obviously when getting ready to go into a budget it is important to already have picked out what is most important to you.

What item is a must?

What are you willing to compromise on?

Is there anything you can make yourself?

As I have mentioned in the past, I am most certainly not a wedding planner nor even an expert in budgeting so I felt it was necessary to bring in the professionals.

The women I have called in to help me with this article are not only professionals in the wedding industry but they are experts in their respective fields. They have decades of experience between them and share a passion for saving money right alongside the rest of us.

So without further ado, here are the 8 Ways to Drastically Reduce your Wedding Budget: Tips from the Pro’s:

Photo Credit Kelsey Shirley Photography and florals by: a Floral Note

Photo Credit Kelsey Shirley Photography and florals by: a Floral Note

Frugal up your Flowers

Elizabeth Victory owner of a Floral Note

As a florist my top recommendation to save money on your arrangements would be to let your florist focus on a certain theme or feel, rather than focus on a certain type of flower. Roses or Peonies are very beautiful but can cost you a small fortune if ordered in a good amount of quantity. By focusing on a theme or feel you are allowing your florist to work within your design while maintaining your budget.

Another tip is to not be afraid of greenery. When done right greenery can look beautiful as a focus point in any arrangement and is significantly less expensive than flowers. Embrace thinking outside the box to get the arrangements of your dreams and still stay on budget.


Finding the Photo Package of your Dreams and Saving Pennies

Kelsey Shirley owner of Kelsey Shirley Photography

There are a lot of ways to save money at your wedding, but to piggyback off of the ideas mentioned above, it is crucial that you know what is important to you going into your big day.  If you are a total foodie, don’t hire your sister’s boyfriend’s cousin who is starting culinary school next year to cater your wedding!

Photo credit: Kelsey Shirley Photography

Photo credit: Kelsey Shirley Photography

If you have been drooling over amazing bride and groom portraits on Pinterest for the past 2 years, spend time looking through portfolios of local photographers with your style that are in your budget. Prepare your photographer in advance and ask if they have special packages to cut down on cost or if certain parts of the wedding are more important to you.

For example, if the ceremony is important to you but not the getting ready portion of the event ask them if they have a different price point for that.

By preparing your photographer in advance of what you are looking for that day it will save time at the actual event. You also want to make sure that your photographer is giving you the “feel” you want for your big day. This is why it is important to look at their portfolio before selecting. Put the time in at the beginning to save you money in the long run.

Finally, make sure the wedding photographer you hire has insurance. Not just the standard type of insurance if they were to be found negligent for something, but they need what is called “Professional Liability”. This is important because if something should happen to those photos after your special day you need to make sure your wedding photographer is prepared to reimburse you for lost expenses due to loss of your photos.

Glamming up your invitations on a budget

Jenny De Filippis- owner of  De Filippis designs

The wedding invitation itself is the first glimpse into the theme, feel, and even the dress code of your wedding. This is one necessity that you want to get right.

However, what I often find is brides stressing about the cost of wedding invitations, cards, and even having

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Mcdonnell Photography Design by: De Fillipis Designs

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Mcdonnell Photography
Design by: De Fillipis Designs

someone hand address each one.

I recommend to all of my brides that to cut down on some cost that they have an “assembly party” this is where you have already ordered all of your stationary items but you are saving cost by assembling the envelopes, menus, and rsvp’s cards yourselves. This will save you a lot of money because it is the most tedious part of the invites and the most labor intensive. So pour some wine and invite the bridesmaids over.

Another idea for saving money is to print your RSVP cards on a postcard instead of requiring another envelope be sent back. This will save you both envelope costs and of course the cut on postage for a postcard is cheaper than that of a regular envelope.

There of course are many other ways you can save on wedding invitations but you will want to remember to talk with your designer or make sure you have a clear understanding of your wedding theme, colors, and even what your guests should prepare to come dressed in before you send out the invitations.

This will save you time and money in the long run to make sure you know exactly what you want.

Making sure your wedding Do doesn’t become a Don’t

Jo Martinez- owner of Studio London Hair Salon

Being a professional hairstylist the biggest tip I can offer is use a “recommended” hair stylist. This can actually be a big money saver for you. By you being able to actually see their work in real life it allows you to see what it looks like on a living breathing person instead of perfected in a magazine photo. This will help your pocket book in numerous ways — one being that you know they are good, they are reliable, and you

Photo Provided by Jo Martinez Hair by Jo Martinez

Photo Provided by Jo Martinez
Hair by Jo Martinez with Studio London

won’t have to spend a fortune getting a last minute stylist because your initial one couldn’t get the job done.

A perfect example of not knowing someone’s work would be if you decided to “skimp” and forego the trial run; you may end up hating it in your wedding day and spending way more money to photoshop!!

Also, I personally reduce the price of the mothers’ hairstyle for the wedding; I like to give them a break as they have already done so much financially that they deserve it!! As your stylist, if they do anything special as a “throw in” whether it be flower girls hair, bridal party, etc… see what they have to offer.

Last but certainly not least; find a hairstylist who will go the extra mile; I have provided touch ups to bridesmaids who had their hair done and hated it, find a stylist who will lend out their hair tools and products for someone in need. A great stylist will know the importance of this as well as helping get everyone ready in time for photos.

You spend thousands of dollars on your wedding and it is important that every piece of the puzzle fit perfect so every one of your dollars count. I hope this helps!

What Happens in the Limo…. shouldn’t break your budget!

Julie Cruz – owner of Majestic Limousines in Tucson, AZ

Majestic Limousines-arizona

Photo provided by Majestic Limousine Services, Tucson, AZ

Utilizing a Limousine service for your wedding can be a great way to enhance the day’s celebration.

One way to stretch your budget for this special day is to think of ways to best utilize your transportation service.  Instead of hiring two limousines to transport the bridal and groom party to the wedding hire one limousine for half the cost.

A lot of times, you as the bride or groom would be “sold” two limos because it would make sense to have one that would take your bridal party and the other to take your groom party.

However, the Limousine can transport the groom party to the venue and then come back and transport the bridal party to the wedding.  This simple arrangement can save over fifty percent of any transportation costs.

At the end of the celebrations you can hire the Limousine to shuttle guests back to the hotel thus ensuring a safe and fun evening for everyone. This also depending on size of your wedding can help cut costs for your guests since booking limo service’s on a “time rate” is most of the time less expensive than a cab service or uber.

Just remember as we playfully say in our business, “what happens in our limo stays in our limo” but you want to make sure that your pocket book doesn’t feel the aftermath. Cheers!

That Cake had “Batter” be in Budget

Kelly Simmons owner of Batter Baked Goods

If you’re looking to save money be open minded, and understand the cost behind the art of creating a wedding cake.

Batter Baked Goods-arizona

Photo Credit: Elizabeth McDonnell Photography Dessert Table by Batter Baked Goods

If you want your cake to be eye catching but don’t know that a 4 tier cake is in your cards, opt for 4 individual 8 or 10 inch cakes on different level cake stands and create a dessert table! And don’t forget the power of the sheet cake!

Most people will present one photo of a design they like without realizing the cost behind the details, the flowers, and the structural support of a wedding cake. Take the time to talk to your baker about your budget, and determine what your dollars can get you, together.

Many couples are choosing to have a 2 tier wedding cake on display, while having sheet cakes available to serve the rest of their guests. These cakes are simply frosted and delivered straight to the kitchen to be cut for your guests, so you’ll save on design costs and structural support that 1-2 added tiers would cost you regularly.

When you hire vendors for your wedding you’re paying for not only our specialized service, but for our passion and expertise. Trust in your vendors to help develop different options within your budget.

Using Video to thing outside the box

Elisa and Bobby Francis- Owners of Arclight Pictures

In this modern day era of weddings it is very common to see video being used in unique and creative ways.

Photo credit: Kelsey Shirley Photography Video Team: Arclight Pictures

Photo credit: Kelsey Shirley Photography
Video Team: Arclight Pictures

What you probably don’t know is that the more unique it is doesn’t necessarily mean the more expensive.

One tip we have advised our clients of is to think outside the scope of simply having a videographer at your

wedding. Use video prior to actually be able to show to your guests the day of the wedding.

We like to call this our “True Hollywood Story” version of the love letter. Take your time and tell your spouse how you love them, be funny, and be creative.

However, by doing this in advance you are paying a flat cost instead of an hourly basis of having a film crew at your wedding day and venue. You aren’t paying for the different lightnings and set ups needed to actually capture it in the way a wedding should be captured.

Use film in different ways and find a videographer that is open and willing to try new things withing your budget.

Don’t forget about your Bridesmaid’s budget

Kari Chen- Fashion Stylist Expert with Henkaa

Bridesmaid Design Specialist Kari Chen displaying a convertible bridesmaid dress after a wedding.

Bridesmaid Design Specialist, Kari Chen with Henkaa, displaying a convertible bridesmaid dress after a wedding.

How much does a wedding cost on average… for a Bridesmaid?

By the time you add up the cost of the dress, flowers, the venue, the cost of food per person per plate, photographers, the cake, insurance, and all of those extra little things… You’re talking about $30,000 on average for the wedding couple on an Arizona wedding!

However, a wedding isn’t  just expensive got for the bride and groom (or their parents), but how much does it cost to be a bridesmaid?

Bridesmaids still have to fork over a ton of money, and it isn’t even their party!

One source (How Much does it Cost to be a bridesmaid?) reports that it costs about $1600 for a bridesmaid to travel, pay for lodging, be part of the pre-wedding events, get special shoes and jewelry, and get a typically-horrendous dress that they will NEVER wear again!

Instead of choosing your typical run of the mill bridesmaid dress, a bride might save some money by just letting every girl choose their own dress in a specific color.

But in all reality, this can still end up being VERY expensive because even if the dress looks okay, it may still be a dress they will only wear once or it will fall apart after 3 wears.

If you have to be a bridesmaid in the future, consider opting for a convertible style dress. Not just for economic purposes, but for comfort and wearability!

A convertible dress can offer at least 20 different ways to wear the dress that will look REALLY great on YOU… Not just on the magazine model.

When a dress looks that good, you’re be more likely to wear the dress for more than one occasion. There are even some convertible dress brands that can be more casual when accessorized appropriately.



Photo Credit: Kelsey Shirley Photography

Photo Credit: Kelsey Shirley Photography

The most wonderful thing about weddings for me is truly watching two lives begin together. Somehow going home to a mountain of wedding debt, “wish I hadn’t spents”, or even “we can’t afford to take a honeymoon”…. well to be honest this just jades it.

Don’t waste your money on things that will fade away after the day and spend the money where it matters to you. We hope this was helpful and thank our amazing experts for all of their valued tips!

Is there something you feel should be on this list? Leave us a comment below!

Erin Nutting

Author Erin Nutting

Erin Nutting is the owner of Integrity Insurance Services, an independent insurance agency located in Tucson Arizona. Integrity Insurance specializes in among other things, wedding insurance. If you are looking to protect one of the most important days in your entire life, give us a call today.

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