I hate the ‘B’ word too….


Original image // tinywaterblog.com

There, I said it. It is the word that most couples despise but learn to live by… probably out of necessity. Weddings are expensive and there is no easy way around it. The market is hot and it books up fast; unfortunately that comes at a price. I take the route of honesty in this industry and all kidding aside navigating the wedding waters can be frustrating, confusing, and sometimes you just feel like you are getting {screwed} over… There is a silver lining and it doesn’t have to be that way!

Here are my Do’s and Don’ts for slashing the budget:

3 areas in which you can save some big bucks:

1. Venue:

Venue is very important because it sets the tone for your wedding but there are a few ways to save.

{a} Rent a house– rent a large house, cabin, or someone’s backyard to host your wedding. You can rent entire properties for a weekend and spent about $500. You can also rent for the week and supply rooms for your guests to stay in. Check out this site for some ideas.

{b}  Have your wedding in the ‘off’ season or during the week. This can save you hundreds of dollars and help you avoid some of the required additional expenses that the venue may require. For example, when booking a banquet room at a downtown hotel on a weekend, it is not uncommon for the hotel to require you to book the honeymoon suite and a set amount of additional rooms {if not the entire corridor to ‘reduce noise’}

{c}. Check out some lesser known venues: Barns, Coffee Shops, Small Old-School Theaters, Art Galleries, or even Lofts that photographers work out of! Scour craigslist, make some cold calls, and do some good ole’ footwork and explore the neighborhoods you like. You never know who would be thrilled to pocket a few extra hundred bucks for renting out their space!

2. Cake

Cake is great and it is a tradition that has been around for a long time… but it can be expensive and many people don’t even like cake.


{a} If you do want cake then order a small cake for the cake table and sheet cake for the guests. The average wedding cake slice goes for about $6-$8 a slice {a slice/ guest} For 200 guests you are looking at about $1200 on the low side. Sheet cake will run you about $150-200 for a large sheet and will feed about 80 people. Solution: purchase a small cake that feeds about 30 you will pay $150 and for 2 sheet cakes you will pay $400- bringing you to a total of approximately $550, saving yourself $650! Throw some fresh flowers on top of your cake and you can completely forgo the fee for decoration.

{b} Dessert table! You can buy local desserts and have them out on a table, pre-cut and allow guests to get dessert if they want. Check out your local bakeries, pie shops, cupcake shops, and farmer’s markets to find some great alternatives. You can also ask some of your favorite friends and family members if they would like to help and supply one dessert item each. Place their names next to the desserts and make some cute little recipe cards that guests can take home with them… maybe even supply some to-go boxes after everyone has made their rounds. It serves double duty as dessert and a take-away!

{c} Set up a ‘social’ bar… You can do ice cream, smores, or late night snacks. Everything is pre-bought and simply set up. No baking or sourcing needed. Offer different toppings or options and style it in cute containers and you will be good to go with little money spent and it will be a fun alternative to the wedding cake!

3. Decor:

Decor is very important to make your wedding feel like {you} so don’t skimp on this. A little detail goes a long way!

{a} Use your wedding planner as a resource! They will tell you when to rent, buy, or straight up pass on it. There are so many new vintage rental companies that offer great deals on rare finds and it is just a quick google away. Also, sometimes it makes sense to just buy the items you need them sell them when you are finished. There are a host of websites where brides can swap, shop, and bargain on wedding decor items.

{b} I say this {very cautiously} — DIY. I love DIY as much as the next girl and it can be a HUGE money saver… sometimes! The thing about DIY that gets brides into a rut is the lack of time and hands. Items that need to be made should be planned out first and never never never left until the last 2 months of planning!!!! However, when done correctly and with helping hands it can make a world of difference. Use your wedding planner as a resource in this too, she will also be able to kindly tell you that your DIY list that is 20 projects long just isn’t do-able… and she can help you narrow down your list and figure out where to source some of the ideas for the same price, look, and feel.

{c} Look for decor items that serve 2 purposes! Make centerpieces that are takeaways, Have a wishing tree that also serves as a guest book, or pick a prime spot in your venue that could use decor and use it as a photo backdrop.

 3 things to NEVER bargain on:

1. Photography

Having excellent photos of your wedding day is sooooo important! I know it is frustrating to look at the price tag for a photographer but hiring your friend who owns a camera for a couple hundred bucks is going to lead to big disappointments! A seasoned photographer will be organized on your wedding day and have an action plan for every photo that needs to be taken and when the best light is to do that, they usually have a second shooter, and they take care of ALL of the editing. Advice: If you go to a major studio that employs many photographers (which I advise against, but if you must…) make sure to look at the portfolio of the person that will be shooting your wedding. Many studios will have the ‘Main’ photographer that ‘trains’ other photographers. His photos are not a good representation of the quality of work if he sends someone else to shoot your wedding.

2. Flowers


So many brides have been told recently that farmer’s market flowers are the way to go… This is NOT true. Yes they look pretty from afar but the shelf life goes by fast, we are talking hours! With in hours the flowers are losing petals, going limp, and starting to brown. I did a wedding 2 summers ago and I begged the bride to pass on the Seattle Pike Place Market flowers but she insisted that she loved the look. The flowers went downhill from the moment we cut the stems. It killed me that by the time the reception was starting I was having to quickly pull the dead flowers out of the centerpieces. If you really really want to save money on your flowers reach out to your wedding planner. Most wedding planners have access to the wholesale flower market {most big cities have one} and they can get your flowers for 3/4 of the price. Another option is to have your florist ‘bunch’ like flowers. This means there is little arranging and the focus is on a few key flowers.

3. You guessed it– The wedding planner.

A wedding planner is such a huge time, money, and sanity saver. They double duty as a no-detail-missed superhero and neutral voice to help you tell your mother-in-law, ‘No’ in a kind and respectful way. With this said, wedding planning and especially day of coordination is very stressful and there are many details that can not be missed. I would advise against having a friend with no experience step in- they will need to manage vendors, cues, time line, set-up and clean-up along with 100 other things. Also, many venues offer a venue coordinator, this is not the same as a wedding planner or day of coordinator. The scope of what they will assist with is very narrow. Hiring a planner pays for it’s self and will be the one expense you will not regret.

I hope some of these tips help you in planning for your big day!



About sayyesevents

I am a lover of all things pretty, a strong drink, a long talk, a stack of magazines, a hard crossword, an early morning walk, a big challenge, and a cozy snuggling with my daughter.
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One Response to I hate the ‘B’ word too….

  1. Marquita says:

    “I hate the B word too. | Say Yes Events” ended up being really compelling and insightful!
    In todays world honestly, that is hard to accomplish. Regards, Regan

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