Date: December 16, 2022
Getting married is an exciting time in your life, but it is often at a time when you've just got your dream job or bought your first home. It is important to have your dream day, while still staying money conscious. Some items for your wedding are non-negotiable dreams, and that is okay! I remember for my wedding; I had many dreams, but I could not afford them with other items we required. Therefore, I created a list of how I could save some money and cut costs in order to get my dream day. By doing this, I was able to have the exact photographer I wanted, and even add a firework budget! To find out what I did and suggest to all of my clients, please see below. 1. Finding the Right Venue When trying to find your venue, the first two things to figure out are your theme, and what season you would like. If you want a rustic wedding in the wintertime, then having it in a regular uninsulated barn probably won't work. The next suggestion I would make is to keep the venue in your budget or know what wedding items you would get rid of if your dream venue is a bit too much. When I was planning my own wedding, I went to a beautiful barn venue that my fiancée and I fell in love with, however, it was way out of our budget. Instead, we got creative and tried to find a venue that had a barn, even if the ceremony or reception could not be inside. We were just happy to have photos of us with the barn in the background. The most important tip you should always remember when planning your wedding and looking at venues is to get a quote! Make sure you ask the venue for a full formal quote, so you are able to see the costs broken down and if there are any hidden fees. Before putting any money down, always get a quote for the venue, and the food (if it is included). One of the worst things to experience with a wedding is falling in love with your venue, receiving a proposed quote for the venue cost only, paying the deposit, and then finding out the food is way out of budget. This is why it is so important to ask the correct questions and receive the venue/food quote on paper!
Important questions to ask when on a site visit are.....
What is your venue capacity?
What are your minimum attendance numbers?
Does it come with catering?
What items will we have to rent? linens? dinner ware? Chafing dishes? chairs/tables?
What time is the last call?
Do we have to clean up the night of the wedding? or can we clean up the next day?
Do you have a No Shots Policy? (Although this may not seem important, a lot of venues have a no shot policy)
Are we allowed to have candles?
Is there a bridal suite?
How much is the deposit? Is it refundable?
Is there a payment schedule?
2. Catering Food is a very exciting part of planning a wedding. You get to do tastings, create a menu, and try food you may not have had before. However, it can be one of the most expensive aspects of your wedding. When finding a catering service, try to find one that includes all dinnerware, linens, drinks, and items you may need to rent. This will cut your rental costs and create space in your budget to go all out with the food! Another solution to lower your catering costs, is to do a potluck style wedding. On the invitations include a note stating that you do not want gifts, and instead will be happy with a prepared dish for dinner. I personally did this for my wedding and it saved me $10,000.00 CAD. To keep the potluck organized first send out the save the dates and include the information on the back. This way your guests will be able to prepare some ideas and know not to spend the money on a gift. On the save the date, also mention that you will be providing each guest with a food category. By assigning guests with each food category, it prevents duplicates, or people only bringing dessert, as that is often the easiest item to bring. Then on the invitations provide each guest with the food category and ask for them to send back what they will be making, including all ingredients. By obtaining a list of ingredients you will be able to make labels, and allergy warnings (use Canva or Avery Labels to design). The labels will also allow guests to know where to put their items upon arrival, so they do not need to bug the bride and groom right before the ceremony. You will also know what everyone is bringing and can ask people to change items if you have too many people bringing meat balls for instance. If you use this method, always have a backup idea!! For my wedding we provided all drinks, a prepared brisket, potatoes, and a salad, but knew if our guests did not bring their food items, we would just order pizza. Additionally, always double check with your venue that this idea works for them. Some venues have preferred caterers and may oppose the potluck spirit! The potluck method works great for cutting costs and allows for each guest to try multiple types of food through the night! *Tip for guests travelling from over 2 hours away, have them provide a dessert as those are generally the easiest to bring.* Below is a photo of the back of my weddings Save The Dates:
3. DJ, Band or MC A big argument between couples is the Band vs DJ conflict. However, what if I told you there was a third option! Although this may come to you as a surprise, putting on a Bluetooth speaker and having the best man & maid of honour MC has become a huge trend. For those who are able to have access to sound, and lighting equipment (from a church, rental company or friend), or who just have a really great Bluetooth speaker this is a perfect option! Create a playlist that you add songs to throughout the year and create a list of songs you absolutely must hear throughout the night. I suggest making the list of songs in order of what you want to hear, and make a note as to why (i.e., first dance, father-daughter). Be sure to approach your best man, maid of honor or both with this idea to see if they agree to it. Then just connect your Bluetooth to that special playlist you made through the year and wait for the MC to announce all of the important songs you selected and made note of on the list.
4. Rentals Many do not realize how many items you can rent for your wedding! If your venue does not supply the items, then renting is the way to go. Find a reputable company in your area that is not too far from the venue. Try to use the same company for all the rental items you require, to avoid additional delivery fees. If the items are small like decor, charger plates, dinnerware or linens ask the rental company if you can pick them up and drop them off. Lots of companies even have decor items like, dessert carts, barrel bars, donut/champagne walls, mirrors, seating charts, arbours, signs and more! I was very lucky for my wedding rentals, as we had a trailer to pick up/drop off the tables, and chairs. Then at the same time we loaded all of the charger plates, and linens into the truck. 5. Florals Another large cost for weddings is florals. If you have fairly simple floral requirements, then a great option is to DIY! There are many courses, workshops and YouTube videos available on the internet that can teach you how to create floral arrangements. The money that is saved from doing this technique can be quite substantial if you plan on flowers for centerpieces, bridal party bouquets/boutonnieres/corsages, Arbours, and more. Instead, find a reputable company that provides floral workshops (some even provide flowers for the lesson). 6. Invitations As much as calligraphy can be beautiful, it is another area where you can save some money! The website I would suggest using is Canva. On the site, you can select icons, different templates, photos, text styles and more! Then when you place an order with them, the packaging firmly secures the product and as an added bonus has a pretty design around the box. Or, save your designs virtually. Canva provides an option to save your design as a PNG, JPEG, PDF, MP4, and more. It truly is a great way to DIY your own invitations and save more money! 7. Dresses & Tuxedos What you wear on your wedding day is super important, but even with your outfits there's ways to save! When you are getting your tuxedos check if there are rentals! To rent a Tux is way more cost effective than buying brand new. Another method you could try is secondhand tuxedos. In the GTA there are a few formal dress wear rental stores that are great for men and women! Dresses do not have to be new either, they can be second hand. A lot of the time secondhand wedding dresses have not even been worn. The bride probably bought her dress and either ended up changing her style, eloping, postponing or not going through with the wedding. Therefore, do not fear the used wedding dress, as it is still fairly new! Bridesmaid dresses can usually be found at consignment stores, or on Facebook Marketplace. This option may require all the bridesmaids to wear a different colour, but if that's not an option there are a lot of great sales that pop up throughout the year. Bridal stores will do large sales at the end of the season to prepare for new stock. Always check the clearance on the websites. Or create a budget with your bridal party so they all spend around the same amount.