Budget Friendly Suggestions for Smart Wedding Planning

I have broken a very sacred vow to my husband. "Thou shall not show my face on your website." For that I am sorry, but I am trying to make a point. You see this charming pedicab that so whimsically whisked us away after our ceremony? It didn't exactly go down like that.

Our reception was located directly across the street from the ceremony, which proved convenient for our guests, but didn't do much for the romantic exit I envisioned. Problem solved! A sweet little pedicab would pedal up to the ceremony and the newlyweds would step in as our onlookers bid us adieu before touring the streets of Savannah. 

The reality was, by law, the pedicab was restricted from the ceremony site and we were forced to meet it on a side street. We did tour Savannah, but our only onlookers were random strangers shouting, "Hey! I think those people just got married!" and my cousin Steve who must have strayed from the group. Also, did I mention that my dress got caught in the wheels and was then subjected to a fury of Shout Wipes during the cocktail hour? 

We did capture this lovely photo that you can now find on our abuela's bookshelf so it wasn't a total loss. But it was a cost I could have eliminated had I taken the time to research what this line item would entail. 

I asked some married friends what wedding costs they regretted. Here are their responses and a few suggestions on how to spend smartly so you don't have to skimp.

Invitations

I know what you're thinking..."But I found the perfect invitation suite with the most beautiful envelope liner." Put the envelope down. If you're looking to save, invitations are an easy first step without sacrificing quality.

Etsy is the mother ship of reasonably priced paper products. You can shop hundreds of vendors that can handle digital printing, calligraphy and even letterpress! If you're requesting something custom, position it as a package deal and see if the vendor can supply the full suite and more so you can negotiate better price points. (Think save the dates, envelope addressing, menus, reception cards, signage, thank you notes, etc.). Honest Paper Shop is just one vendor offering drool inducing invitation suites starting at less than $1/piece. 

 Wedding Invitation Suite in 'Monstera Gold & Pink' - Tropical, Palm; Photo by Honest Paper Shop via Etsy  

Wedding Invitation Suite in 'Monstera Gold & Pink' - Tropical, Palm; Photo by Honest Paper Shop via Etsy  

Think carefully about what you really need to print.  Are Save the Dates really necessary? Are e-vites an option? Do you need to include an RSVP card or can you collect responses online? Conserving paper is always in style and there are many tools at your disposal to keep your carbon footprint low and your wallet thick. Appy Couple allows guests to conveniently RSVP via their free app with the purchase of a wedding website for $39. 

Finally, DIY is the simplest (although most labor-intensive) way to save big when it comes to invitations. What are you paying for when you outsource your invitations? Someone's time. Allocate your budget to a high-quality paper, buy a template online and print those bad boys at home (or at a local print shop). Your hands might get a little inky, but your budget will be nice and trim. Pinterest has infinite DIY resources for home-made invites. 

Shoes

Loubs, Choos and Manolos...oh my! You can't wait for your photographer to capture that winning shot of your engagement ring resting ever so delicately on the spike of your designer heel.

Wedding shoes can be one very expensive (and painful) detail that virtually no-one ever sees. So why spend so much when you're going to toss your heels off as soon as you hit the dance floor?

Kate Spade's shoe collection features an eclectic mix of elegant, fun and affordable fashions. Try her classic jackie heels in ivory, sela heels in gold or the Keds for Kate Spade New York glitter sneakers for a casual "something blue."  Styles range from $80-$350 and will give your blush pink pedicure that photo ready look.

 Sela wedding heels in gold glitter; Photo by Kate Spade New York 

Sela wedding heels in gold glitter; Photo by Kate Spade New York 

If you just can't shake the designer bug, try consignment shops like TheRealReal, where you can find slightly broken in designer duds like the navy suede Prada T-strap pump for only $175.  

Bridesmaid Gifts

I'm not saying to be selfish and that it's all about you (isn't it though?). I'm saying don't spend a dime on any gift your bridesmaid has no use for. Seriously, how many satin robes can one person own? Or monogrammed makeup cases? Give her something personal that means something to your relationship like a framed photo or something she can wear on (and after) the wedding day. These Dee Drop Earrings from Kendra Scott won't break the bank at $39.97 and can be customized in seven different colors. 

 Dee Earring bridesmaid gift in white pearl; Photo by Kendra Scott 

Dee Earring bridesmaid gift in white pearl; Photo by Kendra Scott 

Favors 

Trust me. Your friends do not want a keychain with your monogram. If the favor even leaves the wedding venue, it's sure to be thrown out minutes after. What do people like to take home? Sweets! Consider a dessert or candy bar instead of a traditional wedding cake (another sometimes unnecessary expense). Give your guests the opportunity to box up a treat and take it to go. You can even throw your monogram on the packaging!

 Pecan praline wedding favors by Savannah Candy Kitchen 

Pecan praline wedding favors by Savannah Candy Kitchen 

 

Videographer

Today, most people are equipped with the most basic video skills to keep their Instagram Stories on point. It's pretty easy to source a professional videographer who can capture the gist of what your day is about. Reach out to local art schools to see if any students might want to build their portfolios. Or download WeddingMix, an app that edits your guests' photos and video footage into a professional trailer.  Pricing starts at $99 for the basic package/app download and goes up to around $850 for a high-definition camera and GoPro rental.