It’s wedding season right now, and my friend is getting married. The happy couple is on a pretty strict budget. Her parents are helping her and her fiancé out a little bit, but weddings are expensive, even with help. They also don’t want to push it with her parents so are trying to control costs where possible. To do this, they are trying to do a lot of things themselves, and as a bridesmaid, she’s enlisted me to help.
I’m pretty crafty so I come up with a lot of ideas of things to do to save money that we can easily (or, as easily as possible) do ourselves. We make it fun by getting together, having some wine, and making it a craft night.
It’s exhausting but worth it, and if you have a good wedding party and a helpful group of friends, you can cut costs by doing some things yourself.
Here’s what we’ve made so far:
After having looked for invitations online for a wedding, they were coming up as $200-$300 (about $2-3/invitation). That’s a lot of money for a piece of paper that is going to end up in the garbage in most households, so we got together to make invitations.
We went to Michaels and bought blank invitations, ribbon, glue, and some other things. We also found a really cute stamp that said “Handmade with Love”. The total for all of the supplies (including some wine) was $150. We had them all done in one evening, and while it took a long time, it was worth it.
Homemade invitations are more personal and they can look very professional, as well. I’d recommend making a couple of dummy invitations prior to starting on the rest, and definitely look up how to do things online; tutorials are your friend!
Especially if you are not looking for anything extravagant, making your own centerpieces can save a lot of money. I would recommend looking at Pinterest for ideas, because that’s where we found our ideas for my friend’s wedding.
There are all sorts of pretty things that you can do with mason jars, wine bottles, and things like that.
There are a lot of tutorials that you can look up and if you can enlist some friends to help with the creation, making your own centerpieces can be a big cost cutter.
Depending on whether you are planning on serving dessert other than the wedding cake, this can be a viable DIY project for weddings.
Many of the weddings I’ve been to have some smaller desserts as well as the cake. There are a lot of things that freeze quite well, such as cupcakes and truffles, so they can be made a little bit ahead of time so there’s not a lot of stress on the big day.
Hair and Makeup
Most brides want their hair and makeup professionally done for their big day, however, this can be pretty expensive and very time consuming. Hair might be harder to do depending on the style you want for your wedding, but makeup can be done yourself, which would save a lot of money.
There are many tutorials on Youtube for wedding makeup, so it’s just a matter of picking the style you want and finding a tutorial or how-to.
It is recommended that you do a couple of trial runs a couple of days prior to the wedding, and look at the makeup job in natural light as well as indoor light.
Having a band or a DJ at your reception isn’t necessary anymore. Prior to the wedding, make a playlist of all the songs you want to play at the reception.
This will save the unnecessary expense of having a band or a DJ, and ensure that you have only the music you want at your reception.
If you need somebody to manage the music all evening, enlist a close friend.
Have you ever been to a DIY wedding? Or did you DIY your own wedding?
We hit 3 of these 5:
The centerpieces we arranged (bowls of water with rocks, flowers, and plastic dinosaurs) were executed not to the specificity of our written directions, but since we weren’t there to oversee, what can you do?
We borrowed sound equipment from our friend’s band to set up a laptop playlist for dancing, which worked out well but dancing wasn’t the main focus of our reception (i.e. not a central dance floor, off in a side room) – if if were, I would probably have hired a professional. Then again, my friend was the designated DJ at another friend’s DIY music wedding and that worked out very well (if you like his specific taste in music, which I do).
I enlisted friends to 1) make our display cake (ones interested in baking and decorating – we actually had a couple volunteers) and 2) bake our sheet cakes that were to be served, using my aunt’s carrot cake recipe that I had grown up with and absolutely loved. This worked out perfectly.
Wow, those are some great ideas. We had our two good friends teach us our dance for our wedding. It was a blast hanging with them and it didn’t cost us a thing.
A number of years ago I helped a friend do all of the food for her wedding. She had 6 bridesmaids and they each agreed to help with food prep. This one decision alone saved thousands of dollars. I did the shopping and the planning and then had a staff of almost 10 (including the bridesmaids) that helped me the week of the wedding with prep and serving. We had fun, the food was wonderful, and no one went into debt!
We just helped my sister in law last year make jam and marmalade as her wedding favours. It was a lot of work but it turned out great and saved a lot money. Plus people loved them. I think the real bonus was getting that extra time to spend with each other while we made the stuff.
My wife and me actually shot-gun got married at a courthouse, but last year we decided for our 10 year anniversay to do a vow renewal ceremony with a reception. We thought it would be a 10 year late celebration! The venue was the most expensive thing we did, for centerpieces we just went without actually, tha place wasn’t really decorated much because it was in this lodge place that already looked awesome on its own. My wife picked a DJ for us and actually I wish we would’ve just made a playlist like you suggested here — the DJ sucked and he cost a lot too! I don’t think my wife even considered getting her hair done or makeup done — and she looked beautiful!
I think this sounds like it was pretty amazing. Remembering why you are celebrating to begin with and focusing on what really matters really helps keep priorities in check which is what you did. You didn’t need to spend tons of money on small details. You just wanted to be with your wife and celebrate the moment.
We haven’t been to a DIY wedding, but we have gone to an event where they had a friend do the music… it didn’t work out very well. He just didn’t gauge the mood of the crowd well and he didn’t really choose appropriate music.
In contrast, we went to a wedding where they hired a professional DJ that was recommended by others, and he was GOOD. People were dancing, the music was appropriate… I think you really need to consider who you choose to manage the music and make sure their tastes are similar to yours.
Thats true. Music can be a big deal if not done right. We hired a DJ for our wedding and he let us pick all of the songs ahead of time. There we no surprises and we had stuff for every age group. It worked out really well. I am sure this same thing could be done with anyone that knows how to DJ, including friends.
Great tips! Pinterest is a great place to turn to for inspiration on specific crafts, I’ve been noticing. A playlist sounds like such a good idea…I’d want a plethora of classic, cheezy songs on there along with stuff I actually liked. :p Hope your friend’s wedding is fantastic!
We had a mix of cheezy and classic and it worked out great. The web is definitely something that can be used as a tool for planning events. There are so many options out there that can be researched.