8 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

8 ways to save money on your wedding

8 ways to save money on your wedding

saving money on a wedding image

I’ve always had a big sweet tooth.  When we decided to have our ceremony at 7p, I opted for desserts instead of “food” at the reception.  We offered homemade ice cream along with an assortment of family recipes.  Because we didn’t have the reception catered, it meant lots of elbow grease before hand (especially for my mom) and that we needed to find someone to keep food stocked for guests.

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saving money on a wedding image

When it came to our bridal party, I didn’t want to be too matchy-matchy.

For the girls:  My bridesmaids ranged from my best friends growing up to Josiah’s younger sister to my older sister.  With such a variety of women, it was important to me that all four of them were comfortable in what they were wearing.  It didn’t seem reasonable to me to put someone 26 and 15 in the same dress.  I also didn’t want to break anybody’s budget with a dress they’d never wear again.  I made a wish list on Modcloth of dresses I liked.  Even though only two of them chose a dress from my list, it gave them an idea of the style and color I wanted (and the option to pick one they thought was affordable).

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For the boys:  Guys are much easier to dress than girls.  For starters, it’s easier to find the same outfit in a wide range of sizes.  Plus, guys usually aren’t as picky about what they’re wearing (at least not the men in my life).  I wanted the guys’ suits to be as afforable as the girls’ dresses.  That’s why I chose gray pants and vests from JC Penny’s.  They could buy both for around $75 (and Josiah bought the ties).

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saving money on a wedding image

Finding a wedding photographer can be tricky.  Someone who fits both your style and budget is even trickier.  When we got married I was in college and knew someone who was a photography major.  I love, love, love her style!  The catch was she had never been the “lead” photographer at a wedding.  What I mean by that is that she had assisted photographing weddings but had never been hired for one of her own.  She was going to spend the summer shadowing another photographer (who would help with ours).  Knowing her style, how talented she was, and that she’d be able to ask for help made me more than comfortable hiring her.  I can’t say I recommend that route for everyone.  Being confident in the people you hire is critical.  Even though we saved a lot of money by hiring her, it wouldn’t be worth the risk if you weren’t confident in their ability.


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saving money on a wedding image

Like most of our DIY wedding projects, my mom did the flowers.  I had pinned a few bouquets I liked and we decided we could handle making them ourselves.  A few nights before the wedding mom, dad and I headed to Sam’s to get flowers.  I knew what color I wanted them to be but didn’t have a specific kind of flower in mind.  When we got there, there weren’t enough.  We asked the poor, unsuspecting Sam’s employee to check the back.  A few minutes later he came out with a cart full of bins of flowers.  We got enough for bouquets and for the vases that would line the tables.  Going to Sam’s worked for us for two reasons: 1) I didn’t have a specific kind of flower in mind 2) I was willing to wait until the day of the wedding to know exactly what the bouquets would look like.  Some brides would be freaking out, and I totally understand that!  There were some aspects I wasn’t willing to leave to chance.  As long as I knew what color the bouquets were going to be I was OK not knowing how they would come together.  Again, my mom was willing to put in the time to make the bouquets (which isn’t for everybody) and she made them just what I wanted!

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saving money on a wedding image

The atmosphere of the reception was really important to me.  I wanted it to feel relaxed and romantic.  To set the stage we had cafe lights hanging from the rafters, votives on the table, and Louis Armstrong playing in the background.  Doing the electric slide or dropping a sick beat (ok…I can’t pull that off :) ) wasn’t what I wanted.   I decided to make a playlist of my favorite artists–Ella Fitzgerald, Jack Johnson, Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, Norah Jones…you get the idea).

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Like I mentioned earlier, we got married in a renovated tobacco barn.  I made a pretty big pinterest board of things I liked, but narrowed it down to a few ideas that would make the biggest impact.  We started by hanging paper lanterns and cafe lights from the rafters.  Then we made pennants out of scrapbook paper and strung them onto twine.  We also gathered pictures of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents on their wedding days (or as close as we could get).  I made tags with their  names and wedding dates and pinned them to twine.  We also put three of our engagement pictures into the panes of an old window and propped it up on the gift table. wedding 28

Instead of buying plastic plates and disposable napkins we collected saucers from Goodwill for about .5o each.  We Mom sewed cloth napkins which we rolled the silverware in and finished off with…you guessed it… twine. :)

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I’ve seen several alternatives to a traditional guest book.  I didn’t see myself pulling out our guestbook in the years to come and reading the names of our guests.  My bridesmaid painted a cartoon of Josiah and I for guests to stamp their fingerprints onto, as well as signing a paper to tape to the back.  We chose a solid wooden canvas so the pressure of people’s thumb prints wouldn’t make indentions into the cloth.  Now it’s hanging in our hallway as a wonderful reminder of all the people who were there on our wedding day. wedding 11


I loved my dress.  It had a keyhole back, lace that trickled onto the skirt, and a beaded sash—but I couldn’t tell you the designer.  I’m not saying designer labels are bad things, I love Vera Wang, but I loved my dress more than any designer dress I saw.

  • Something Old: My grandmother’s pink trimmed handkerchief
  • Something New: A pair of sequin sandals from the mall ($30) & my dress
  • Something Borrowed: My grandmother’s diamond/pink pearl earrings
  • Something Blue: Mom stitched our wedding date into the lining of my dress

I also wore the past, present, and future necklace my parents gave me for my high school graduation.  Even though I wasn’t trying to save money at the time, I decided to do my own make-up and my bridesmaids painted my fingernails and toenails pink while I got my hair done.  To be honest, having my make-up done never crossed my mind.  I wanted to do it myself so it would look and feel like a fancier version of what I wear everyday.

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Game Day Cheese Ball

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With the NCAA championship tonight, lots of people are gearing up for a party.  I can’t say I’m a die-hard sports fan but I do enjoy having something delicious to munch on  while we watch.  There are plenty of quick and easy snacks to make but this cheese ball is one of our favorites.

What you need:

-2 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened

-2 c shredded cheese

-1 T finely minced onion, I usually substitute 1 t onion powder

-1 T pimento, chopped

-2 t Worcestershire sauce

-1 t lemon juice

What you do:

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Combine softened cream cheese and cheddar cheese, mixing well.  I like to mix it with my hands because I have yet to find a spoon that mixes cream cheese well (and my hand mixer can’t handle it).  Add onion, pimento, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice.  Mix well and chill.  Shape into ball.  I like to serve it with Wheat Thins because they are sturdy enough to dip into a cold cheese ball without breaking–but you can serve it with whatever crackers you like.  Some people like to finish their cheese ball by rolling it in chopped nuts or sprinkling it with bacon or chives.


Framed | Adding A Gallery Wall

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If you’ve taken our house tour you may have noticed there are very few pictures hanging on the walls.  It’s been driving me crazy but I just hadn’t gotten around to finding frames, pictures that fit and getting them hung.  But this past weekend I dug out the frames we used at the apartment.  Some were painted gray, some I had started spray painting white and some were still black.

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Before I headed to the garage to give them a fresh coat of paint I traced them with leftover brown wrapping paper from Christmas.  Several times I’ve tried to hang pictures and ended up making unnecessary holes in the wall.  This time I decided to take Young House Love’s advice and arrange paper on the wall first.  Another handy thing about using paper is that I could write on it what picture I wanted in each frame and the size I needed to order.

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Next, I headed out to the garage to give them a fresh coat of paint.  Last summer I tried spray painting them.  Even though spray paint is great for preventing drips, I didn’t like the “chalky” finish it gave the frames.  Instead of buying new glossy spray paint, and battling the elements, I decided to use leftover white trim paint we already had in the garage.

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The only “bad” thing about my well thought out plan is that the frames I had weren’t average sizes.  When I bought them from Goodwill some had prints or drawings in them–instead of pictures.  When they were hanging at the apartment I cut an oversized map to fit each frame.  But when I started trying to figure out what size prints to order, most of the frames would need custom mats.  I wasn’t willing to fork over the money for custom mats and I was too invested to not finish.  To get the wall finished I decided to borrow the frames from Noah’s nursery.  With the exception of one frames, they were still hanging empty and I figured a 4-month old wouldn’t mind anyway.  :)

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I knew I wanted to have as many family pictures on the wall as possible.  At our wedding reception, I asked our moms to find pictures of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents on their wedding days (or as close as they could find).  We hung them on a piece of twine over the gift table with a tag that had their wedding date.

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I added one of our wedding pictures, pictures of us with our families, an old-fashioned picture we had taken on our honeymoon, and some of Noah to the mix.  I’m loving our new gallery wall and getting to display some of our favorite pictures.