Brides to be, you are in for a treat! I’m looking back on all the super savvy DIY and frugal wedding decisions I made for my big day back in 2011. This post will dive into the best budget friendly wedding tips that kept my total out of pocket to just $1100!
Why go Frugal?
For me marriage, is really about blending families and building a future together. With the future in mind, making wise financial decisions from the start, is very important.
I didn’t want myself or my parents to shell out tons of money for one day, but I still wanted a special wedding. I made the decision to go frugal and get creative to save.
While you might not want to be as frugal as me with your wedding, these tips will definitely help you save big. You’ll need to roll up your DIY sleeves, learn what you can do without or do for less and how to beg (or just ask), borrow and deal!
What I did Myself
Best Budget Friendly Wedding Tips for Decorations & Centerpieces
I loved putting together my own decorations. Here are some of the decisions that helped me save:
- Pick a simple color scheme (I chose black and white with a pop of color)
- Find the same, or similar vases from thrift stores for centerpieces
- Use photos as decorations
- Peruse the Dollar Store for smart finds like picture frames and faux flowers
Decorations are super subjective and there are a million possibilities you can create for your perfect wedding decor. Have fun with it and don’t let this part stress you out. (And, if you are feeling stressed, here are some helpful tips to keep you sane!) I’ll walk you through how I put together my centerpieces for an idea of where to start:
I found several matching glass vases at a thrift store that I used for my centerpieces and purchased some really inexpensive black pebbles form the Dollar Store. I, then, found some teal candles from Pier 1. Finding the right color teal was the hardest part of my decoration strategy. These were probably one of the most expensive components because I could not find them anywhere else in that color! I also went to Hobby Lobby and found some affordable plates, napkins and black and white ribbon. I think the result turned out pretty great, and I didn’t break the bank!
Best Budget Friendly Wedding Tips for Cake!
This was a fun DIY and one of my favorite best budget friendly wedding tips. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to bake a fabulous wedding cake without something going wrong, so I went with a Scotcharoo Rice Krispie cake!
The recipe is so simple and you can do as may tiers and layers as you want. Its also incredibly easy to decorate because you can stick pins right into it. It doesn’t need a ton of prep time and it doesn’t get much cheaper than Rice Krispies. It’s also really unexpected. (Just make sure you don’t refrigerate it or you will have a tough time cutting into it! Trust me!)
Best Budget Friendly Wedding Tips for Hair & Makeup
I’ve never had my hair or makeup professionally done, and I probably never will. I do a pretty good job on my own, and my mother has been doing my hair for years. She woke up with me that morning and put my hair together for me. It was a good bonding moment, and of course, she’s free.
Keep your hair and makeup simple. Look like yourself, but just an elevated version. You might spend a little more to get some higher quality makeup for the occasion and invest some time in some youtube tutorials, but you really don’t have to spend a lot of money to look and feel great on your wedding day.
Best Budget Friendly Bridesmaid Dress Hack
Okay, so I didn’t actually make my bridesmaids dresses, but I did save a lot with a simple idea. I asked each lovely lady to wear their own black and white clothes! This is another reason for keeping a simple color scheme.
I didn’t have to buy a bunch of dresses my bridesmaids were probably only going to wear once or have to worry about fittings and alterations. It’s a no-brainer, time and money saver!
(Keep reading until the end! My very last best budget friendly wedding tips section has a great tip for tying these bridesmaids looks together even more)!
What I “Begged” and got for Free
Best Budget Friendly Wedding Tips Venue Advice
This is generally a BIG ticket item for most people’s weddings. Luckily, I wasn’t too picky about my venue and I had a lot of resources at my disposal. A few options that got thrown around were family member’s backyards, my Aunt’s church building and a couple family members’ garages, actually. I happen to have some family with really, really nice garages for some reason. Like, why is your garage better than my actual house?
We settled on my Aunt’s church building which is pretty typical of Utah weddings. It’s free and comes stocked with all the serving vessels and utensils you could need for large gatherings.
Budget Friendly Invitations & Wedding Favors
My Sister-in-law (to be, at the time), offered to help with invitations and wedding favors, so I didn’t really have to ask. This was a huge money and time saver. If there is someone in your wedding party or family that is willing to contribute in lieu of a wedding gift, take the assistance!
Best Budget Friendly Wedding Tips for Food
My father-in-law let me use his Sam’s Club membership to get food for the reception. At the time, I did not realize that it’s totally normal and trendy in Utah to just do dessert or a candy bar for your wedding reception, or I probably would have gone with something like that.
I’m originally from the South, and we like to eat! I expected everyone to be hungry and willing to eat, so we purchased pre-made pasta and chicken in bulk, along with other traditional, large-crowd sides. People were pleasantly surprised when they actually got dinner. To this day, that’s what people remember most!
If you have a Costco or Sam’s Club Membership, or know someone that does, you can get lots of food for less money than catering. Or, go for a dessert or candy bar!
What I borrowed
Best Borrowed Table Linens and Runners
Lucky for me, I had a former roommate get married right before me, and she still had her table linens. This is actually the initial reason I decided to go with a black and white theme. It happened to be the path of least resistance to getting affordable table decorations (because it was free), but was also really classy and made every other decoration decision so much easier.
If you know someone who was recently married, or someone who does event planning, ask to borrow their linens and runners, or if you can buy them for cheap.
Borrowed Chairs & String Lights
My mom happened to have a friend in the area with an inordinate amount of black folding chairs on hand and some beautiful string lights. These went a long way for setting a great tablescape and lighting ambiance without spending lots of money. Put the word out there to family and friends, and you’ll be surprised what resources come available.
My Aunt not only came through with her church building, but also had several lanterns I used for decorations. I found two, high quality faux potted trees from a thrift store and strung twine between them. Then I pinned pictures on the line with clothespins. Finally, I hung these awesome, borrowed lanterns from the trees. I loved having this as a focal piece and it was incredibly cheap and easy to put together. (You can see these pictured above!)
What I got for a Deal
Best Budget Friendly Wedding Tips, Wedding Dress Hack!
Okay, so this is probably the most unexpected best budget friendly wedding tips idea you’re ever going to find! How much did my wedding dress cost? Only $200! I got super lucky to find this little trick that I’d never heard of before.
I was wedding dress shopping in a little local boutique and couldn’t find anything that looked nice and was affordable. But, then I stumbled upon a simple and elegant, beautiful gown for only $200.
I was confused on the price and thought there was probably a mix up. But, when I asked the store worker, she said that the dress was actually a white bridesmaids dress. Apparently, people could dye this dres to fit their wedding color scheme, which was why it was so cheap. Who knew!
It looked like a wedding dress, it fit me perfectly and only required a little alteration for cap sleeves.
If you can find a white bridesmaids dress that you’re happy with, go for it! It can potentially save you thousands of dollars!
Best Budget Friendly Wedding Tips for Photography
That roommate with the table linens happened to be studying art and was really into photography. I’d been able to see some of her work, and knew she could do a good job even though she wasn’t a professional. She had the right camera for it and the know how, but because she wasn’t running a business, I offered to pay her $120, and she accepted.
I now have lots of other friends who are non-professional photographers or who are just starting out with their businesses. Chances are, you have a good list of people in your life that could help out with this, too!
Best Budget Friendly Wedding tips for Bridesmaids Gifts
Thank goodness for talented roommates. Another former roommate, and friend happened to have an Etsy business, making bows and jewelry. She worked out of our little apartment and I loved her craft. I commissioned her to make matching necklaces for my bridesmaids. This tied their looks together and also served as a gift they could keep! Two birds with one stone!
If you don’t have a friend that makes necklaces, you can easily find affordable matching necklaces that will do the same job. Or, a belt, headband or any other accessory that can pull their looks together and that they’d want to keep.
Your wedding day does not have to be super expensive to be special and memorable. Get creative, put the word out to utilize community and family resources, and cut things that aren’t completely necessary. You’ll be able to have a fabulous, affordable wedding without the stress of too much money spent!
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