Saving Money for a Wedding - Budgeting Tips

A Beautiful Wedding on a Budget

My daughter-in-law and son recently got married and their wedding was both beautiful - and inexpensive. They saved money for their wedding using some savvy budgeting tips and creative negotiating.

Negotiating you say? How do you "negotiate" a wedding?

You enlist the help of your family and friends, and trust me, between those people you would be surprised how much money you will save on your wedding. Family and friends love to help plan weddings and will probably be more than happy to help you find ways to save on wedding expenses.

A good example of this is me. When my son came to me and told me they were getting married but didn't want a "big" wedding, my wheels began turning. My son explained that they wanted something nice to remember but didn't want to break the bank.

I was not only excited that they were getting married but happy to help them figure out some ways to have a nice wedding on a budget. Being a barter savvy and creative mom, I was able to come in with some great wedding ideas and act as sort of an assistant "wedding planner" - only I was helping plan their wedding on a shoestring budget. My kids did not want or expect "lavish" - all they wanted was a memorable wedding day. They had decided they wanted to save their money for other things in the future (good thing, they had my newest granddaughter 9 nine months after the wedding day!)

(It helps to have kids that don't expect the moon on that special day - if you've got moon expecting kids these tips may not be as well received)

So how did we pull off such a beautiful wedding for under $500?

Outdoor weddings, especially by the ocean, can be quite spectacular. Getting married outside can help you save alot of money on your wedding day!
Outdoor weddings, especially by the ocean, can be quite spectacular. Getting married outside can help you save alot of money on your wedding day! | Source

Tips for Saving Money on a Wedding

Tip #1: Save money for your wedding by getting married outside.

By getting married in the great outdoors, out go the church fees, use fees and any other fees associated with having a wedding indoors. My son got married in Monterey, right at cliff-side overlooking the ocean. The background was absolutely one of the most stunning places I have ever witnessed a wedding at. Although church weddings are beautiful, so is getting married with the sound of waves crashing in the background, birds flying overhead and the blue ocean lapping up against the cliffs!

Total cost of the spectacular ocean setting? A big whopping $0 !


Tip #2: Consider bartering services for wedding items such as flowers, food, cakes, invitations or other needed wedding items.

We all know that these items can cost big bucks so think about it...maybe you can do some creative bartering with the florist down the street. What skills do you have to offer in exchange for some beautiful wedding bouquets? I bartered my writing skills to get all the flowers for my sons wedding - the brides bouquet, my granddaughters bouquet, 2 mom corsages along with the boutonnieres for the best man, groom, grandmother, grandfather and father. The flowers came out way better than I ever expected. Just what my daughter-in-law had dreamed of and I was quite happy to oblige!

Total cost for the all the wedding flowers? $ 20 (just my time involved writing a little bit for the floral designer and a little to her for the materials)

My daughter-in-laws wedding bouquet was done by bartering with an up and coming floral designer. The flowers were beautiful and my daughter-in-law loved them. My grand daughters bouquet matched her mothers - it was just a smaller version
My daughter-in-laws wedding bouquet was done by bartering with an up and coming floral designer. The flowers were beautiful and my daughter-in-law loved them. My grand daughters bouquet matched her mothers - it was just a smaller version | Source
El Toritos on the Monterey wharf is where my son and daughter-in-law had their wedding reception, It was fun, joyous and full of laughter (and the food was very very good!)
El Toritos on the Monterey wharf is where my son and daughter-in-law had their wedding reception, It was fun, joyous and full of laughter (and the food was very very good!) | Source

The Wedding Feast on a Budget

OK so now that I have your creative juices flowing on how to save money for your wedding - how about thinking a little differently about that dog-gone expensive food for the special day?

Tip #3: Forget the food (not really, we all know WE have to have food at the wedding feast!)

All kidding aside tip number #3 is to have the "reception" at a restaurant. Just make sure the restaurant knows this ahead of time! My daughter-in-law and son love Mexican food so guess where they had their reception? El Toritos on the wharf in Monterey! And once again what type of scenery did we have...blue ocean as we looked out the windows of our tables!

Total cost to bride and groom? Another big $0 !

Guests paid for their own food and drink and we provided a little bubbly for the occasion. Everyone was happy, dinner was good and the price was good on everyone's pocketbook.

Little advice here - for those that don't want guests to pay for the own food - well then OK, have a potluck or have something catered in. Point being that you don't have to spend $5,000 on food to make people happy, K?

Wedding Cakes and Dresses on a Budget

Tip #4: Scale down on the cake - consider using a grocery store bakery.

One of my favorite cakes comes from our local grocery store down the street. For the kids wedding I ordered a full-size sheet cake, adorned with red roses to match the theme. I had their favorite whipped topping with filling and everyone, I mean everyone, RAVED about the cake. Point being again, why in Gods world would someone want to spend a thousand dollars on a cake that is going to get ravished by the end of the day? Save money on your wedding by getting a yummy cake but one that doesn't bust your pocketbook!

Total cost of cake? Under $50


Tip #5: Buy a non-traditional wedding dress.

Well I do have to say this will not be for everyone. Luckily my daughter in law is a free spirit at heart (she would have fit well back in the 60's) - and she bought a dress from a local department store. It was not a wedding dress, in fact it was a summer halter dress and only came to her knees. By golly though she got what she wanted, it showed off her beautiful legs and the dress looked great against the whole ocean backdrop thing.

Cost of her dress? Under $50. Yup! (oh yeah and BTW it was white - quite cute I have to say)

The bride and groom - in canvas sneakers!

The brides wedding dress cost less than $50, and for comfort the bride and groom wore converse tennis shoes. Quite memorable - and they were comfortable on their wedding day
The brides wedding dress cost less than $50, and for comfort the bride and groom wore converse tennis shoes. Quite memorable - and they were comfortable on their wedding day | Source

The view below where they took their vows

View from where they got married in Monterey, Ca. A popular spot for outdoor weddings.
View from where they got married in Monterey, Ca. A popular spot for outdoor weddings. | Source

More Wedding Saving Tips on the Way!

There are probably a few more tips that I will write in another hub because honestly I have so many from my own weddings that I have enough to write a few more. But hopefully these few tips have given you some food for thought on how to go about saving money for your wedding and also some creative ideas for weddings on a budget. Sure it's your special day but that special day doesn't have to break the bank and put you into debt. In these days, times are hard enough let alone going into debt from a day that is meant to be joyous - and not meant to burden you for years later. Money saved from a budgeted wedding can be better used to put a down payment on a house or for taking a wonderful honeymoon. The more saved on your wedding the more in your pocket and in the pockets of your parents, family and loved ones. And besides, money is not what weddings are supposed to be about anyway, it's about the love...and what better way to express your love for someone than by teaching them the value of what a wedding is really all about - ocean views including good friends, chips and salsa!

And of course, LOVE!

(Dorsi Diaz is a proud mother of 3 and grandmother of 3)

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Comments 11 comments

maciuras profile image

maciuras 5 years ago from Bialystok

Good luck:D Nice hub:)


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@maciuras) TY!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

How lovely! Thanks so much for sharing the great tips! That a lot of them are related to your real experiences makes a huge difference too- we can know that they are tried and true!


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@Simone) Thanks! It was a fun hub to do!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Flag up and useful. Thanks for sharing.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@dallas93444) YW and thanks!


Irene C 5 years ago

Thank for sharing the experience.

Irene of http://corsagesforprom.org/


CASE1WORKER profile image

CASE1WORKER 5 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

I like the tip about guestsd paying for themselves- it is not a bad idea- the cake is also good , Not sure about marrying outdoors- in the UK it would probably rain- I am so glad they had a lovely day - and saved money for the baby


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@CaseWorker) I agree. It is nice if the wedding feast can be supplied, but if not I see no reason why a potluck or other arrangements can't be made. In my mind, the most important thing is that 2 people have decided to make that commitment to each other, and if they are financially strapped that should not cause them not to get married!

Thanks for reading.


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

Thanks for the tips! You sound like my mom, who is excellent when it comes to bartering and negotiating for things most people wouldn't think to try for. Costco is starting to offer options for weddings, like invitations and even honeymoons. I saw the trip I wanted for my honeymoon and it was cheaper through Costco :)


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@Glassvisage) Sounds like your mom and I think alike) Thanks for the tip about Costco. Smart move on their part!

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