Have an Inexpensive, Yet Beautiful Wedding and Save $7K

Weddings Ain’t Cheap!

Looking to have an inexpensive, yet beautiful wedding? The average wedding cost in the United States is $26,645. Do you hear me? $26,645! I mean, who has that type of money to spend on a wedding? No, who has that type of money to spend on what, 8 hours? So many people wind up in tons of debt funding a beautiful day that, in many cases, is only a blur. And guess what? No one will remember the $700 centerpieces you had on your table. But your credit card most certainly will!

I will show you how to save $7,000!

How I planned my inexpensive, yet beautiful wedding.

I know it’s an important day. But what if I told you your wedding could be both inexpensive and beautiful at the same time? I’m going to show you how to cut corners and save on a fabulous wedding for the record books! And when I say cut corners, I don’t mean it will look cheap, unorganized, or unprofessional. No honey, we won’t have that. I’m talking classically beautiful for a price you can afford! Note: my wedding was planned for 100 guests.

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My Dress: $150

Average dress cost: $1,281

My savings: $1,131

So many brides spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on a dress and it’s just not worth it! More expensive doesn’t mean more beautiful. There are some gorgeous gems around for a fraction of the price. I made an appointment and walked right into a neighborhood bridal shop and fell in love with a dress off the clearance rack. It was less than $200! Hello Lover! No line, no waiting, no debt!

My Candles (in lieu of flowers): $90

Average flower cost:$2,141

My savings: $2,051

I’m not a big flower girl. I can take them or leave them. So this was an easy corner for me to cut. I decided tea light candles (battery-operated) were just as gorgeous as any flower arrangement! My candlelight wedding had a couple hundred tea-light candles spread across the venue. You can order in bulk from Amazon. The lights were turned down low and the candles glowed in all their glory. It gave a romantic and theatrical touch!

My photography: $24

Average photography cost: $2,440

My savings: $2,416

I know a lot of people don’t want to cut the photography cost. But I had an amateur photographer that did a beautiful job! She needed the practice hours, and I needed the work. So we tag-teamed for a pro-bono duo. We did leave her a generous tip, because that’s the right thing to do. She even took the time to professionally edit the photos and gave us a quality portfolio of 1,200 frames to choose from. We were forever grateful. Yes, photography is important, but not enough to blow an entire budget and throw you deeper into debt. Look below….not a bad shot for an up and coming photographer, huh?

Photo by K. Hawkins

Don’t feel like waiting months for your professional wedding album to come back? Try 3-5 days with Shutterfly. I made my own wedding album from the photo portfolio and I must say, I did a wonderful job! The site has tools to help you group photos together, or you can use the auto-placement feature. Easy Peasy. And with the low price of $24, you can even get several copies made for special family members. Click here for more info.

Related: Advice For A Healthy Marriage: “Always Date Your Spouse”

Print your own materials: $125

Average invitation cost: $443

My savings: $318

We decided that because most of our guests were technologically savvy, we would send out electronic invites in lieu of paper mailings. We did, however, do the tradition print & mail copies for special guests and those without web access. Electronic mailings gave us the flexibility to email save-the-dates, dialog with those that had additional questions, and quickly make updates. We printed the menus, programs, and signage at the nearest Office Depot. No one could tell they weren’t professionally designed!

Photo by K. Hawkins

Ditch the cake for cupcakes: $28

Average cake cost: $466

My savings: $438

Cupcakes are just as yummy and a fraction of the cost! My sister made ours for less than $20. She even got fancy and added faux ring sets on top. We featured a $10, 8-inch cake topper to place on the top tier. We used it for cake-cutting pictures and for us to save and eat later. The guests were amazed by the delicious and expertly designed cupcakes! And I was even more amazed by this cost-saving tactic!

Photo by K. Hawkins

Photo by K. Hawkins

Make your own Centerpieces: $50 ($5 per table)

Average centerpiece cost: $700 total

My savings: $650

You can really get creative here. Remember that random items around your house and The Dollar Store are your best friends! I made quaint centerpieces with used wine bottles, my own wine glasses, $1 vases with floating tea light candles (remember, I had already ordered a ton of these), and faux grapes/foliage from The Dollar Store. This inexpensive set completed my table vineyard. You don’t even have to make every table the same. You can get really creative and design different themes for each centerpiece. Remember, sometimes less is more! It takes creativity, not debt. Each table came in under $5 and I received so many compliments! Your guests will take note of this unique arrangement over an extravagant and costly traditional affair.

Photo by K. Hawkins

HOWEVER. And let me be clear. There are areas I won’t cut corners in:

  1. Wedding planner. Leave this one to the professionals if you want your day to go without a hitch. This unique skill requires experience, patience, and…..brilliance. As the bride, you don’t want to be caught up in logistics. When things go wrong, and they will, you want someone who can expertly put them back together again, without you even knowing. Pay for the perfect flow, it’s one area you want to be great. Note: the average planner charges ~10% of the total wedding expense.
  2. Food. You don’t want mediocre food. People come to EAT! So don’t skimp here. If possible, find a venue that let’s you bring in a great, locally catered cuisine! I spent $1,000 total on the best food around town. My guests talked about the exquisite dishes for several months! Score!
  3. Bar. Have an open bar. Don’t make your guests pay! Most of them are already bringing a gift, it’s the right thing to do. Plus a little bit of liquid courage will have your soul train line poppin all night! Fun had by all. You can, however, cut costs by buying your own liquor pending venue approval. Check into the liability insurance your venue requires your bartender to have, because that can add to your costs.

    Soul Train Line. Photo by K. Hawkins

So how much did we save? Drum roll please…….A whopping $7,004!!! Now get your show on the road and start saving! So the next question is, what do you plan to do with your $7,000 refund? Decisions, decisions!!!

If you know anyone that may need some wedding saving tips, please share this blog!

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I am a career-driven mother of 3 dedicated to the health, spiritual, and emotional well-being of moms.