Wedding Budget Guide: 9 Tips and Tricks to Help You Save Money

From: Summer 2016 edition

Contrary to your dreams, the first step in planning a wedding isn’t choosing a wedding gown. It’s the dollar-defining moment of setting a budget. Whether you are personally financing the wedding or have family pitching in, there are a few tips and tricks that can shave dollars off the final bill. First, know that skipping a wedding planner can end up being a costly decision. Not only do planners have deals with vendors (from invitations to rental companies), but they are pros at negotiating. And rest easy: Having a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. Los Angeles’ Kristeen LaBrot Events took on Sarah and Vu’s striking 160-guest wedding with a budget of less than $40,000—including the bride’s dress and rings. Not a design detail was missed in this vibrant navy and peach outdoor wedding at Villa del Sol d’Oro in Sierra Madre.

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Photography by: Laura Izumikawa

Tips & Tricks from Kristeen LaBrot Events

1. Have a friend perform your ceremony. It’s free to be ordained through the Universal Life Church.

2. A venue’s rental packages are typically less expensive than sourcing your own. If you can’t live without farm tables and fancy place settings, consolidate your rentals to one vendor. The delivery fees for rentals can be as high as $1,000, so having multiple deliveries adds up. LaBrot recommends holding off on rental agreements until your design plan is set.

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Photography by: Laura Izumikawa

3. Don’t serve cake for your entire guest count. A lot of people don’t eat sweets, and some guests may have already left before the cake is cut.

4. Don’t have a Champagne toast; let guests toast with the drink they have in hand. You’ll save on the cost of the liquor and the rental of Champagne glasses.

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Photography by: Kimberlee Miller

5. Beware of doing it yourself. Often the materials are expensive and the project is time consuming. Look online at Etsy or ask your planner to help source a different option. Remember, your time as a bride is valuable!

6. Consider buying your wedding gown from a reseller such as PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com or Glamour Closet. They carry samples in beautiful condition, and often the gowns are from brides who bought another dress and couldn’t return their first purchase.

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Photography by: Kimberlee Miller

7. Keep an eye out for coupon codes and deals on websites like Gilt. Your planner may be able to get you additional discounts on invitations and other products.

8. Be open to using seasonal flowers. Peonies and ranunculus are beautiful, but they have a short season and are pricey when out of season. Cabbage roses have a similar look and longer window of availability.

california_wedding_decor

Photography by: Kimberlee Miller

9. Add personal details that have an impact, like Sarah and Vu’s love-story place cards at each guest’s seat.