Updated 02/01/24

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How to Have The Wedding of Your Dreams and Not Blow Your Budget

How to get the most out of your wedding budget

Wedding planning is stressful enough without thinking about budget, add finances into the equation and it’s enough to send a girl over the edge! Below are my top three tips to staying within your wedding budget, regardless of what that budget is.

1 – Identify The Most Important Things

Pick the top two or three most important aspects of your wedding and book them first. If an incredible photographer is something you can’t live without, find that professional first and add them to your budget. Maybe it’s the venue or the open bar that will make your day perfect – select those items at the beginning of your planning. Once those really priority items are identified, you’ll know how much you have left over to spend and can, perhaps, compromise on the other details now that you know the really important stuff is taken care of.

2 – Embrace your Inner Hunter/Gatherer

There is nothing wrong with searching dollar stores, bargain bins and novelty shops for the items you want for your wedding. It’s amazing what sort of centrepiece decorations can be created out of a dollar store vase! And who knows what sort of gems you’ll find in the department store clearance rack – not bad stuff, just potentially mis-matched sizes, outdated branding on your favourite products or seasonal sell-offs. Thrift shops, vintage shops and other antique-related stores often have incredible items at low prices. Of course, you can’t go wrong purchasing pre-loved, gently used clothing and decor from other people, using online sites like Wedding Recycle (insert shameless plug here!), Kijiji or even eBay.

3 – Nothing wrong with a little DIY

Gone are the days when Do-It-Yourself really meant doing it yourself. With YouTube, Pinterest, basic Google and a huge variety of books and magazines, inspiration and instruction is everywhere. And if you’re not confident in your skills, invite your friends and family to participate! A girl’s night in with your bridal party or a bonding experience with your fiancé, sharing the excitement…and sometimes pain…of the creative experience can often be an adventure in itself.

Staying within your budget is totally possible, regardless if your budget is $5000 or $50,000. Be practical, ask for help and dedicate a balanced amount of time and creativity to planning your dream day.

Whether you’re planning a themed event or a more simple colour coordinated wedding day, the cost of decorations for your Big Day can quickly add up.

4 – Share with another couple

Talk to your venue about who could be getting married before or after you – maybe they’d like to share decorations with you? Or maybe just the cost of set-up and take down when it comes to lighting or ceiling decoration.  No one says your wedding decor has to be exactly the same as the other couple, but if you’re paying someone to hang lights and sheeting from the ceiling of your venue, maybe the couple after you could make use of it and pay for the removal of that decor?  Or, if you’re getting married in a church and have pillars, candleholders and/or floral arrangements at the head of the aisle, maybe the couple before or after you could take advantage of those items as well purchasing some of the items to share with you as well.  You can still add you own personal touches with different coloured candles or accent flowers but the cost could be shared on those more utilitarian items.

5 – Assemble Them Yourself

So often, the cost to assemble a centrepiece is the bulk of the purchase price – why do you think IKEA furniture costs so little!  Absolutely, you’re paying for the expertise, precision and professionalism when someone else assembles it for you but if your centerpiece is more of a simple and gorgeous design, you may consider buying the various pieces and assembling it yourself. Consider a bunch of peonies in a mason jar tied with a raffia ribbon ?  Maybe inexpensive glass vases with beach stones, shells and water, with a floating candle on top?  Gorgeous and creative ideas you can assemble yourself.

6 – Create it, Bake it or Preserve it

What about combing your centerpiece into a decorative statement for your reception table as well as the placecards and party favours for your guests? We’ve seen some couples preserve their summer farm market bounty into beautiful little jars of jam, complete with guests names on little tags, along with encouragement to the guests that the jars go home with them at the end of the day.  Or picture frames with photos of the Bride and/or Groom posing with guests – a great way to decorate the place settings while specifying where the guests should sit. You could also bake your Grandmother’s famous chocolate chip cookies, fill personalized bags adorned with your guests name, your names and the date of your wedding.

Saving money on your wedding will definitely take some creativity, an openness to make some compromises and take a little extra time…but staying within your budget while creating your perfect day, will totally be worth it.

Weddings and flowers go hand-in-hand…an easy, if expensive way, to add colour and freshness to your day. There are many ways to save money on your flowers, from buying in bulk, to adding more greenery and choosing blooms that are in season. Then after the wedding, you can donate them to a retirement home or the hospital!

7. Add more greenery

It’s the flowers themselves that add the cost to your bouquet, table arrangements and other decor. But adding more greenery can fill in your arrangement, negating the need for additional blooms while still providing the gorgeous decor and pops of colour you’re looking for. Think of salal, with it’s big green leaves that are also sturdy and keep their form, or ferns, which are plentiful and can really add dimension into your bouquet. Alternatively, your filler doesn’t have to be green…think about white baby’s breath or even soft pussy willows to round out your decor.

2. Buy in Bulk

Floral designers are experts in creating eye-catching, gorgeous displays and arrangements for your big day. But if you’re looking for a lower cost alternative, creating your own bouquets and other floral decor can be a DIY experience as well. Look for opportunities to buy in bulk – Costco offers this option as do other wholesale florists. YouTube or a simple Google search will turn up videos on creating your perfect bouquet…all it takes is some time and a little confidence to be creative!

3. Choose Blooms Wisely

You may have a specific type of flower in mind for your bridal bouquet, something that perfectly matches your theme or your bridesmaid dresses. But if you’re on a floral budget, be open to other types of flowers, those that are in bloom during the season of your wedding, maybe even in complimentary colours instead of the same colour. Consider tulips or daffodils in the spring, hydrangeas in summer or even roses after Valentines Day. Your floral expert can make recommendations based on any overstocks they may have or what they know to be available from their suppliers.

We all have a budget, whether it’s $5,000 or $50,000 and saving some money on your flowers is a good way to stretch that budget even further. Gorgeous flowers complemented by lush greenery will make your Big Day that more spectacular. After the wedding, consider donating your flowers to retirement homes in your community or perhaps even the local hospital. (check out Repeat Roses and Rebloom, both organizations that coordinate drop-off). There are many residents and patients that will so appreciate your thoughtfulness and your flowers can bring joy and sunshine to others long after your marriage has started.