Planning / Styling

10 ways to save money without DIY


Photography: In Love by Bina Terré

You’ve reached that point where you’re starting to feel a little uncomfortable about the cost of this wedding you’re planning. The initial excitement of getting engaged has worn off slightly, and the reality of handing over a huge chunk of money for a super party is setting in. But guess what? With all the aforementioned wedding planning, you’re even busier than usual! Which means that of course you have plenty of time to learn how to painstakingly craft every detail of your wedding yourself. Invitations? Design and print them home! Centrepieces? You’re creative, you should make them yourself!

The unfortunate truth is that DIY is not always less expensive, and it costs you a lot in time, patience, and sanity. Save yourself the headache and check out these money saving tips that don’t involve DIY. 

01. Greenery instead of flowers

Leaves, moss and branches cost less than flowers, and can be used to enhance your styling concept. On the flowers note, if you are using them, try to choose flowers that are in season. Buying out-of-season flowers will cost you much more than what is in season and readily available. A good florist will work with you and suggest flowers, greenery and other floral elements to suit your styling concept, time of year, and budget.

02. Decorate without flowers

Flowers may not suit your location, styling concept, or they might not be that important to you. If this is the case, consider ditching them altogether. You can create beautifully-styled events without flowers. Think candles, fairy lights, lanterns… the possibilities are endless. Check out this post for more ideas. Try choosing something that reflects you and your partner’s interests. If you love reading, style stacks of pretty books and use them as centrepieces.

03. Consider a different time of day for meal

Feeding a large number of people a sit-down dinner is expensive, no matter how you look at it. Brunch, afternoon tea, or even lunch? Not so much. Ask your preferred venues and caterers about the cost of lunch, morning tea, afternoon tea, or a champagne brunch. You can always take the party elsewhere later on for those who want to kick on, like a nearby hotel or bar. Consider booking this ahead of time if you know that your friends will want to party it up until the wee hours. 

04. Negotiate

A contract or packaged deal can be the start of a conversation, not the be-all and end-all. This tip is not about ripping people off, or not paying people fairly for their services. This is about not paying for things that you don’t really need or want. Don’t need tea and coffee? Ask to have them removed from the overall cost. Don’t need an extra card in your invitation envelope? Ask to have it removed from the package deal for a lower price. The worst they can say is no, and you could end up saving yourself hundreds of dollars without having to lift a finger. While we’re on the topic of contracts, make sure you read them all very carefully before signing. Make sure you know exactly what is included and what is not, and exactly how much you are paying. Payment plans and deposits can sometimes hide the overall figure, so be sure to check that the overall cost is within your budget before signing on the dotted line.

05. Buy your dress from somewhere other than a bridal salon

The internet is a beautiful place, and there are thousands of beautiful dresses out there that are not called “bridal dresses”. Buying your dress from a chain store, second-hand or online supplier will save you many a precious penny. Another great place to look is at bridesmaid dresses – many of these come in white (if that’s your thing), are absolutely stunning, and will cost you much less than a “bridal gown”. Take it to a seamstress to personalise it and make it fit like a glove, then twirl around gleefully in it, feeling like the most savvy bride ever.

06. Trim your guest list

This one is controversial. Should you really cut those friends you haven’t seen in two years from the guest list so that you can afford the band you really want? Well, maybe, if the music really means a lot to you. Weddings are about sacrifice and compromise, and while it might be nice to invite everyone who has ever been special to you in your life, sometimes it’s just not feasible. If having all of those people there is super important to you, then by all means keep them, and make your sacrifices elsewhere! It’s about working out what your priorities are. If there are a few people on your preliminary list that you are inviting out of obligation (to yourself or others), consider cutting them. You might not need a huge guest list for your day to feel special – maybe you don’t like crowds or large parties, and only having 40 of your nearest and dearest is all you need for it to be meaningful.

07. Avoid peak wedding season

Consider having your wedding on a day other than Saturday, and not in peak season. Many venues have great winter deals, or discounts for other days of the week. Ask your venue and suppliers if they offer discounts for Fridays or Sundays (or other weekdays if you don’t mind a mid-week wedding). Many suppliers will charge less for mid-week work, so you could save on flowers, hair, makeup, and catering costs as well as venue.

08. Rent accessories  

Let’s be real, are you ever going to wear a veil again after your wedding day? I’m guessing not. Do you know how much new veils cost to buy? Google it, hyperventilate for a minute at the absurd cost of a pretty, pretty piece of tule, then come back to me. Consider renting your veil from one of those clever people on the internet, and maybe check out their belts, hair pieces and accessories while you’re at it.

09. Limit your bridal party

Having more people in your bridal party opens yourself up to larger costs. A bigger hens/bucks night, more thank you gifts, more flowers, increased hair and makeup costs. Limiting the number of besties you have standing beside you will keep those costs down. Just remember to have a drink and a dance with them later at the party!

10. Pre-wedding events 

The modern wedding has evolved into quite a beast, stretching over multiple days and involving pre- and post-wedding events. Engagement party, bridal shower, hens/bucks night, rehearsal dinner, morning-after brunch. You may be in a position where family members are helping to pick up some (or all) of the bill for these events, but many couples are paying for multiple events themselves. The cost of hosting several wedding-related events certainly adds up quickly, and this is often a cost we forget to budget for early on. Skip the events that aren’t important to you, or keep them low key, so that you can focus more of your budget on the wedding day itself.

What are some of the ways you’re saving money on your wedding? 

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