Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Guest Post: 10 Ways to Save Money On Your Wedding

In honor of my parents 38th Wedding Anniversary (December 7), I am featuring an article on ways to save money on your wedding from Weddings By Jon'ette.

Jon’ette is a wedding and special event planner based in California. She serves the entire state, but often takes the show on the road. While she loves the value of her website, she finds that people often want more information about a photo, basic etiquette tips and how to take what they see and incorporate it into their own wedding celebration!

Jon'ette writes:

The ways to save money throughout the planning of your wedding are countless. The following list obviously doesn’t contain all of them, but there’s enough to get you started and most importantly, get you thinking.

1. Host your ceremony and reception at the same location. This goes beyond venues decreasing or removing ceremony costs all together if you have your reception in the same place. By having everything at one site, you remove the need for reception and direction cards (with your invitations), transportation for yourself, your bridal party and/or your guests, extra travel fees for certain wedding vendors (photographers and makeup artists are notorious for this) and fees for your florist to transfer flowers from one site to the next…for starters.

2. Celebrate on Friday or Sunday. Saturday nights are by far the most costly day and time of the week to get married. Choosing a Friday or Sunday will cut your site rental fees and food & beverage minimums considerably. Fridays work well for intimate gatherings with close friends and family. They also work well if you’re planning a large scale cocktail party vs. a traditional sit down dinner. A 7:30pm ceremony followed by heavy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and dancing makes for a fabulous Friday night affair. Sundays are perfect for holiday weekends, but also work well on any other Sunday of the year. Start the ceremony a bit earlier, if possible, and the rest of the night will fall into place as if it were a Saturday but without the hefty price tag.

3. Serve a specialty cocktail during the cocktail hour. This works well if your guests are not big drinkers. If you know that your guests are party animals, you should probably move to #4. The average person will consume 2 drinks per hour for the first 2 hours of an event, starting with the cocktail reception. Beverage packages start at $20.00(or more)/person per hour! Depending on your venue, cocktails can be $7.00 – $15.00 each (or more). If your guests don’t consume 2 alcoholic beverages in one night let alone one hour, you’ll come out on top if you choose a specific cocktail to be served for the first hour and have them bill you on consumption. That means you will only pay for the drinks that were ordered.

4. Get married in the off season. Selecting a date between November – March automatically decreases all rental fees and minimums at many venues.

5. Edible centerpieces. Skip floral centerpieces and give your guests something they can truly enjoy. 2-3 tier cakes, cupcake towers, candy displays, etc. can all be less expensive alternatives to grand floral arrangements. This would also remove the need for a large cake that no one will eat. I once did a wedding at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel and we had miniature cakes (sitting on discount cake stands from Target) on every table with dessert plates atop a silver serving tray that I found for $5.00 each at Goodwill. No asking the DJ to announce that guests may take flowers home. No extra fees for the florist to return at the end of the night to pickup the vases or your having to return them to their studio the day after your wedding.

6. 2-in-1 Escort Cards and Favors. This is one of my favorite things to do, not only to cut costs, but to avoid clutter. Instead of buying escort cards (place cards/seating assignments) and displaying them on one table that will need an extra rented linen, then putting favors with a note attached on yet another table with another beautiful linen, combine them. One table, one linen, all favors with the guests’ names and table assignments attached. Guests bring enough stuff with them. They don’t like to walk here and walk there to pick up this item and that item.

7. Utilize what’s free. Another one of my favorite things to do is to place escort cards on round tables (I’ll explain why at another time). It’s nice to put a large floral arrangement in the center of the table. However, if that’s not in your budget, utilize something already at the venue. Is there a beautiful sculpture or do they always have gorgeous flowers on site? Ask if you may use them as is. Don’t get picky; they’re helping you.

Something else that’s often overlooked are hotel shuttles. If you’ve created a room block, the hotel might agree to shuttle guests back and forth to an off-site wedding. Thus, no transportation expense. It never hurts to ask.

8. Share with other brides. There are a few ways to do this. One of the most popular things for brides to share are the flowers. Ask your site/catering manager if there’s another bride getting married on your wedding date, right before or immediately following your celebration. If so, ask him/her to find out if there’s interest on the other end. If yes, sit down and discuss flowers with the bride. If the two of you can come to an agreement, split the cost down the middle and let them [the flowers] sit there all day for both events.

Forums, such as The Knot, allow brides in specific regions to communicate with one another about their wedding details. You’d be surprised by how many people have the same ideas as you. Shoes, jewelry, signage, decorations, linens, supplies, etc. Reach out to those brides and ask if they’d be interested in sharing materials and costs with you or selling items to you after their wedding for far less than they originally paid. If they were going to discard the items or never use them again, they might be glad to recoup some of the money they thought they’d never get back.

9. Buy a pre-owned gown. This definitely isn’t for everyone. However, if you can’t fathom spending hundreds (probably thousands) of dollars on a dress you will wear one time and have no desire to keep it forever, then this is the perfect option. Sites such as Pre Owned Wedding Dresses, eBay and Craigslist are great places to start. Again, The Knot community is another place to search for a gown being sold. High end consignment boutiques are great, as well.

10. Enhance basic invitations. Custom wedding invitations are not a laughing matter. They are quite costly. If you’re creative and crafty, a great money saver is to order your invitations online then add your own touches (try Invitation Consultants or Wedding Paper Divas). Fabric and boxes correlating to the color palette were added to this basic invitation at very little cost.

11. Carnations. I’m throwing in one extra because I’d like you all to get on the carnation train with me. I know that carnations get a bad rap because they’re inexpensive flowers, but I still love them. In the proper hands, the most beautiful floral arrangements can be created using carnations. Although their price has increased about 30-40% over the last few years, they are still fairly inexpensive flowers. All aboard!

This post and all images belong to Jon'ette at Weddings By Jon'ette. You can also view Jon'ettes Blog. For more money saving advice, look under "Find a Topic, "Wedding Budget."



  1. 38 years of marriage is a wonderful accomplishment. Congratulations to your parents!

    One of my posts being featured on one of my favorite blogs has made my day. I'm glad you liked it enough to share with your readers.

  2. Perfect timing - my daughter got engaged this past weekend and we are beginning the wedding planning. I emailed her the post so she can read it too. Thanks!


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