Dream Wedding on a Modest Budget: How to Save $1000+

February 11, 2017

Planning your wedding is something that many of us think about from a very young age. The visions of that perfect dress, amazing party, and beautiful photographs are almost instantaneous after your partner asks you that monumental question!!! One thing that doesn’t get thought of right away is the dreaded budget. If we could all have amazing weddings on a dime, I personally, would love my job even more (if that’s possible)!!! Imagine photographing the most beautiful details, the most glamorous dresses, and the most unique buildings every weekend!! According to Weddingbells, the average cost of a wedding last year in Canada was $30, 717. Yes, you read that correctly!!!!!

One of the biggest questions that come from brides planning their own wedding is how to cut costs. I’ve dug deep, asked other wedding professionals, and researched to a great length so I can best answer this question. Although there may be many other ways to save a few dollars, these were my favourite!!!! Before I go into ways to save money, I think it’s very important for all brides to remember this one tip.   Pick the top one or two things that you will be disappointed if it doesn’t turns out the way you want. For instance, if your dress and your decor are the most important aspects of your day (other than your significant other of course), then it may be wise to invest a larger part of your budget here and reduce the amount in other areas. If your pictures are the most important, do not find entry level photographer. Invest in your memories and decrease your budget in other areas!! You can still save money and get exactly what you want!!!!!

Here are my top tips in regards to wedding planning!!!!

Durham Region PhotographerVenue: Venues often give reduced rates for midweek, Friday and Sunday weddings. Saturdays are by far the most popular, so if you are able to pick a different day, you can save $1000+. Getting married in the winter months can also save you a lot. Keep an eye out on your favourite venues website. They may offer a Dec-April weekend discount for their off season weeks!

Florals: Choose a florist who is knowledgeable about in season and out of season flowers. If you order peonies in August, you are going to pay a pretty penny. Instead, ask your florist what flowers would match your colour theme AND would be in season during your wedding day. They will work with you to find several flower options for you to choose from.

Photographer: Many planning guides suggest you hire a photographer 8 months from your wedding date. There are many photographers out there, BUT if you have your heart set on one, you most definitely need to contact them before 8 months. Photographers book quickly, often a year or more in advance – especially photographers in high demand. With that being said, many photographers increase their pricing annually. If you can secure your photographer before they change their pricing for the following year, you can often save hundreds.

Durham Region Wedding Photographer, Wedding DressDress: If you’ve had your eye set on a specific style or designer, research who sells that particular dress. If you can find out who sells the designer you are looking for, wait for a trunk show. This is a great way to save 25% or more off of your dress. If you live in the GTA area, a great way to start searching for that perfect dress is to search #torontobridalstore, #torontobridalboutique, etc. Make sure you are searching for places and not tags!!! If you check out their Instagram feed, you can often find out when they are having sales.

Decor: DIY is great, but believe it or not, renting may be a cheaper option!!! There are many great rental stores that offer centerpieces, table decor, seating charts, etc. I was a DIY centerpiece maker and I ended up spending $10/center piece after all was said and done (a simple mason jar with some ribbon and gel beads inside). You can often find beautiful items at some rental stores for that price. With that being said, if you do opt to make your own decor, keep an eye out for sales. Michaels often has a 40% off coupon that you can use. If you start collecting items well before your wedding, you can save a lot by waiting for the deals to be promoted.

Wedding Centerpiece

Cake: I love a fancy cake!!! However, fancy cakes can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If you do want to splurge on a cake, cut the dessert out of your catered meal and eat the cake instead!! A dessert serving can cost up to $5/guest, so if your caterer or venue will agree to a dessert free option, you can save $1000 if you have 200 guests!!! If a cake isn’t important to you, there are some great low cost alternatives (a family member who bakes, Costco, or a faux cake!!!) You may be thinking…who gets a faux cake?? If you want the beauty of an amazing cake and your caterer/venue will not forgo the dessert option, you can rent a cake!!! Seriously…they are beautiful!!!!

Wedding Cake, Susannas Custom Creations

Makeup: There is no question that a bride wants to look flawless on their big day. While a professional makeup artist may not be in the budget for everyone, there are some ways that can help you cut costs associated with a professional. First, plan to book your trial on the day of an event or engagement session. This is like a two-for-one. If you are going to pay for it regardless, you may as well go somewhere nice afterwards!!!! Ask your makeup artist if there are any price reductions based on the size of your bridal party. If 8 girls are getting done, they may offer you an incentive. It never hurts to ask. If you are still unsure if you want to hire a professional, I’d recommend taking a photo of yourself after you’ve done your own makeup and really analyze the results. If you are happy with your own abilities, this may be the best option for you. If not, you may regret not hiring a professional. Professional makeup artists know how to keep your makeup on for the entirety of your day and they know the tricks to not make your face shine in your photos!!!

Hair: I’ve always applauded hair stylists because they have such a talent. A lot of brides spend hours upon hours looking for the perfect hair style and hair stylists are supposed to mimic a look after seeing a photo once. Well done!!!! If you have a hair stylist that you regularly use, I’d recommend asking them how much they would charge for a wedding party. If you are a long-standing client, they may offer you a great price for your wedding hair.

Lavendar Wedding

Wedding favours: I’m not sure how many weddings you’ve been to, but how many wedding favours have you kept throughout the years? The majority of people will likely say none, nilche, nadda- unless it was food of course!!!! Personally, as a thank you from a bride & groom, I’d prefer a heart felt speech or a donation to a personal cause. Skipping over those wedding favours can save $500+ for a 200 person guest list. How crazy is that!!!

I know the list goes on-and-on when you think about costs associated with a wedding, but remember, an expensive wedding is a luxury. Elopements and city hall weddings still celebrate the love and joining of two individuals and they can be lovely. When I hear about or see photos of an intimate elopement, my heart always grows two sizes. They are absolutely beautiful. If a traditional wedding is what you have always dreamed of, then go for it!!! Everyone values things differently and my best advice would be to invest in what truly matters to you and try to cut costs on things you feel you “should” have but don’t really value. One last tip I think is really interesting – Each guest you invite costs roughly $200 to accommodate. If you are able to cut back eight “acquaintances” (the ones who your mother’s cousin told you to invite), you can invest $1600 in another area that adds value or you can keep that to yourself!!!!!!!

Happy wedding planning and I hope you enjoyed these tips!!