There’s possibly nothing more exciting–or more daunting– than your wedding day. Soon after John and I were engaged, I felt completely overwhelmed with the choices and the possibilities. With finding and choosing a venue. And, oh yeah, John was deployed. So that was a fun twist to wedding planning.
But all kidding aside, cost was important to me. We didn’t want to take advantage of my parents or John’s parents. We didn’t want to strap ourselves down with wedding debt as we began our life together. And we wanted to make sure that our wedding day was how we wanted it.
Here are seven ways we saved money and budgeted for our big day:
Create a budget
If you want to know how to save for your wedding and reception, you’ve absolutely got to create a budget. Be complete, objective, and reasonable with your budget– don’t budget centerpieces at $5 a piece if you can’t actually make them for that. Make sure that you factor in any funds that will come from other sources that aren’t you, too.
Make a plan
I’m a checklist-maker and a planner, so I love this tool from Sun Trust. Basically, you just plug in how much you need to save and how long you have to save it and gives you a monthly goal as well as other resources to help make sound financial planning decisions.
Splitting your savings into smaller milestones is so much more palatable and manageable… and it gives benchmarks so you know if you’ll be able to meet your financial goal, or if you’ll have to scale back.
Prioritize like a boss
My dress was really important to me, not because I had to be a princess or find the perfect dress, but because I just really liked the one I put on. It was a tiny bit over my original budget, so I had to make a decision: spend more than I could afford, prioritize and cut back on other things, or ditch the dress.
I decided to prioritize and cut back on other things that weren’t really important to us. And to be honest, now I can’t even remember what those things were!
Think outside the box
Many times, you can get the same or similar desired effect by swapping out or changing a few things. Case in point: we saved almost $200 by shopping for wedding decor at IKEA rather than traditional craft stores.
DIY what you can
We DIYed a bunch of things for a fraction of the cost it would have taken to buy them like bridesmaids’ gifts, rice bags, aisle decor, our cake table decor, and our ceremony bulletins. I knew my limits though, no wedding cake Pinterest fails for me!
Find savings in person and online
By digging around and asking questions, I was able to find savings that added up substantially. For instance, if buying in bulk, Michaels offers a discount on certain items. They also offer a coupon about once a week or so that is 40-50% off. (Yes, I was totally that person who–along with other family members–bought one hurricane glass every week with a 40% off coupon.) We also found ways to save on our save the dates and our thank you notes by shopping online with Ebates.
Use your military affiliation
Believe or not, John and I actually found that some of our vendors offered military discounts. It doesn’t hurt to ask and it might save you a little bit of cash. If you’re planning on having your wedding near a military installation, consider using it for your venue. Many bases have beautiful reception halls, officers clubs, and beaches available for events… and most come with a price tag that is much less than their civilian counterparts.
If you’re currently planning for your wedding, or if you’ve already had it, what advice would you offer? I can’t wait to hear all about it!
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you. They know we all live for the sunny days and want to you help you live yours. yoursunnyday.com
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.