Cheap Wedding Ideas To Make Your Special Day Memorable
One of the most frequently asked questions we get, especially at this time of year is “Do you have any cheap wedding ideas to help me save money on my wedding?” When you talk about money, emotions run high and if you talk about weddings emotions get even higher. Put the two together and you’ve got an explosive situation. In spite of that I will be brave, jump in and try to answer your questions with some cheap wedding ideas that turned out great!
I think the best way to help you get ideas for a low cost wedding is to use my daughter’s wedding as an example of some do’s and don’ts that we learned. We paid about $1500 for a wedding with 100 guests and 2 attendants. She had the whole works; white gown, flowers, cake etc. In spite of spending so little, we managed to make it the wedding of any girl’s dreams and one that the guests really enjoyed too.
As you read about these cheap wedding ideas, I hope it becomes clear that your special day is not made special because of the money that you spend but rather the love that is shared, first of all between the bride and groom and second of all between the couple and the guests. That brings me to the first way you can save money on your wedding.
Low Cost Wedding Tips: The Guests
One important thing to consider when planning a cheap wedding is to be selective when making your guest list. Decide on a reasonable number of guests that you can afford and stick to it. Don’t invite every Tom, Dick and Harry (well unless Tom, Dick and Harry happen to be your brothers or your best friends!). I am continually shocked at how often couples invite people they hardly know to their wedding just to impress them or so they can get more gifts. If you do this, you have already started your wedding off on the wrong foot. A wedding is an intimate and special time. Most people don’t share their intimate times with total strangers.
Decide which aspects of the wedding are most important to you and spend a little more on that area and less on some of the other less important areas. For example, my daughter’s main desire was to have really nice photos so we didn’t skimp on that. We hired the best photographer in town, but spent less on the cake by having my mom make it. That ended up being a mistake. Grandma’s cake that cost us nothing, turned out to be more beautiful than the pictures the expensive photographer took. Lesson learned: Just because something costs a lot doesn’t mean that it is the best or what you need or want.
If you want nice photos but flowers or a cake take higher priority, you might hire a professional to take just a few main pictures, like those of the bride and groom, family members and attendants and then ask someone else to take all the other general shots or videotape it. I found at both my wedding and my daughter’s wedding that the pictures I enjoyed the most were the ones family members had randomly taken with their own cameras and given me later.
In this day and age of computers, digital cameras, and other such things, you can get some really nice photos without the expense of a professional. And even though professional photos seem very important and you envision having lovely photos of that day displayed all over your home, the reality is that in a year or two most of them will be put in an album or tossed in a box to be replaced by pictures of baby #1.
Though a girl’s wedding gown is probably the most important dress she will ever wear, you still don’t have to break the bank to have a beautiful and special dress. My mom is a great seamstress and she made both my dress and, years later, my daughter’s dress. They didn’t cost us an arm and leg and they have even more meaning to us because they were made by her. Her cheap wedding dress was much more valuable to her because grandma made it.
If you don’t know anyone who sews, don’t despair. Buy a used gown. There is nothing wrong with that. I have seen some of the most beautiful gowns in thrift shops. They were gowns that were worth hundreds of dollars selling for as little a $50. Don’t allow pride to keep you from having a beautiful, stress free (because you don’t have to worry about coming up with the money to pay for it) gown of your dreams.
Along with the gown is the veil. When Tawra (my daughter) got married we went to buy a veil. The least expensive one was $100 and it was “cheap” looking, so instead we bought some tulle, lace and a comb to make our own. We hot glued ribbons, strings of pearls and flowers to the comb. We spent $5 making her beautiful veil that looked richer and more expensive than anything we had seen at the bridal shop.
I used a very plain veil for my own wedding. My future mother-in-law gave me a string of pearls that she had worn at her wedding. Since I also had jewelry that my husband had given me to wear, I took the pearls and carefully sewed them to the head piece of my veil. It cost me nothing, had lots of meaning and looked very elegant.
Using the same thoughtfulness we used making the veil, we made other things. We took the left over scraps of fabric, lace, and pearls and made a ring bearer’s pillow. It turned out so cute that we started making and selling them to the bridal shop in town. There is nothing wrong with making a lot of these items yourself and just because you make them doesn’t mean that they have to look homemade or cheesy.
Other Cheap Wedding Ideas: The Bridesmaid’s Dresses and Other Essentials
I know that it is proper for the bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses, but I personally have never felt that is right. If possible, pay for your bridesmaids dresses or consider splitting the cost. Maybe you could buy the material and accessories and then have the bridesmaids find someone to make the dresses for them.
Don’t just hit bridal shops when looking for bridesmaid dresses for your cheap wedding. Dresses are often much more expensive at bridal shops. I was a matron of honor once and we went to a regular dress shop and found a gorgeous dress for me to wear. The nice part about it was that it was dressy enough for the wedding but not so dressy that I couldn’t wear it to church, so I was able to get lots of use out of it.
Be careful of those little hidden costs like manicures, pedicures, hair and other things. They’re small costs, but they add up. Most brides can do their own manicures and pedicures just fine and usually only have these things done to pamper themselves. It is fine to do that if you have the money but if you don’t, this is a good area to save by doing your own. You may do a lot of these little things to pamper yourself and to help you de-stress before the wedding but if you can’t afford it, you will find them coming back to haunt you a couple of weeks after the honeymoon in the form of exorbitant bills that will end up causing you 10 times more stress.
One way you can have these extras done and still save is to go to a beauty college. If you don’t want to chance having your hair done there that’s fine but you might consider having your nails and toes or a facial done there. They do all kinds of beauty treatments that you don’t always think about so check into them.
You could also have a girls night “in” before the wedding and let the bridesmaids give the bride a manicure or pedicure or everyone give each other one.
One important tip to remember: Don’t have your first facial the day or week before the wedding. If you aren’t doing them on a regular basis, they can cause your face to break out the first couple of times you do it.