We’ve been planning our wedding for over a year now and have found lots of ways to make an inexpensive wedding look expensive. Here are some tips:
Buying secondhand items is always cheaper than buying them new, and is even sometimes cheaper than renting them! By scouring Craigslist, ebay, and your own local shops, you can save tons of money. Often you can buy a very good quality used item for less than you could purchase a new poor quality item. Some items to consider: wedding gown, veil, tiara, purse, bridesmaids dresses, favors, centerpieces, candles, ring pillow, wedding rings, lights, serving pieces, cake knife set, etc. One wedding gown I saw for sale on Craigslist was a custom design by a world-renowned designer, and included an original signed sketch of the gown! It was selling for about the same price as a new gown from David’s Bridal. Plus, many secondhand items are actually new: sometimes the bride just changed her mind before the wedding.
Spend on the Details, Skimp on the Big Stuff
People notice and remember the special little details of your wedding, and coordinated details make a wedding look more expensive than it was. For example, instead of renting expensive coordinated napkins, you could rent basic white napkins (or even use plain paper napkins) and make napkin rings out of inexpensive plastic pearls. Or you could spend an afternoon folding the napkins into a shape that matches the theme of your wedding.
It’s a waste to spend money on something you will only use once. For each item, consider if you can find a way to resell or reuse it after the wedding. For our reception, we purchased pretty photo frames to display the table numbers. After the wedding, we’ll place our photo inside and give them as gifts to our families. We also purchased Japanese lanterns to decorate the reception. We’ll list them for sale online after the wedding to recoup the cost.
Coupons and Discounts
Always ask your vendors what specials or coupons they are currently offering. Vendors almost always give away coupons during bridal expos. Attend these (free) events and you can save hundreds on each of your vendors.
Negotiate Like A Pro
Always, always, always negotiate the price. There are lots of books on negotiating at the library, and usually you can get a better price just by asking for it.
Get a Damage Discount
Be on the lookout for slightly damaged goods that are easy to repair. Shops will usually give you a 10% discount on slightly damaged goods if you ask fro a damage discount. Just be sure you really can repair the item inexpensively, or that the damage is unnoticeable.
No Impulse Purchases
Purchase nothing – NOTHING – on impulse. Always get a price quote in writing, then take 24 hours to mull it over. Take the time to compare prices, check that the item will absolutely fit in with your wedding and that you are allowed to use it (some churches prohibit confetti, for example), and that it is absolutely what you want.