Your Wedding: Smart Budgeting

Let’s begin with the good news: your wedding celebration is going to be your best day ever. On the flipside, you may have to cut a few corners to get there, whether it’s editing the floral arrangements or asking someone special to officiate your ceremony.

Before you make any concrete decisions, sit down with your fiancé and work up a budget you both feel comfortable with. Then, when you begin working with your planner and wedding vendors, you will have a better picture about your financial limits.

There are dozens of ways to trim your budget. Here, we rounded up fifteen ways to get you started. Have some helpful tips you would like to share? Let us know in the Comments below.


Stationary by Jolly Edition

Custom wedding stationary designed by Jolly Edition.

   There’s a good reason why companies buy in bulk: the savings. If you’re planning to order all your stationary—save-the-dates, invitations, and thank you notes—from one vendor, you should ask for a discount. To secure your business, most vendors will oblige.


Guest favors

Sweet guest favors can add up. | Photo: Delbarr Moradi Photography

Whittling down the number of guest you invite is one of the best ways to reduce your overall expenses. In addition to catering costs, it means fewer invitations, favors, tables, chairs, florals, and even a smaller cake.


FACT: Saturday is the most popular day of the week to host a wedding, which is why many venues will charge you more to rent the space. If your schedule is flexible, host your “I dos” on another day and you’ll have more money to spend on something equally important—like your honeymoon.


Estancia Culinaria

Venue: Estancia Culinaria | Photo: Starfish Studios

Hosting an off-season wedding in Florida between the months of June and November (“hurrican season”), can save you loads of dough. Check with the venue about special rates, as pricing may depend on availability.

Click here for unusual venue suggestions across the state.


Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Fontainebleau Miami Beach provides a stunning backdrop for your ceremony, reception, and more. | Photo: Jonathan Scott Photography

Staging your ceremony and reception at different sits can add up. Many venues will offer couples an attractive bundle package to keep their business in one spot. It also means not having to pay vendors, like photographers and videographers and their teams, for the time it takes to get from one location to another.

Click here for more Florida venues, perfect for every taste.


Veil by Sibo Designs

Something borrowed: a mantilla veil ($195) from Sibo Designs

Splurge on a designer dress for your “something new” but save some extra cash by borrowing your mother’s wedding veil. Take it to a professional seamstress (get her approval first) and give it a new spin with lace trim or crystal details.

Click here for more “something borroweds.”


Ask a friend to officiate

This couple invited a friend to officiate their wedding at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. | Photo: Focused on Forever

Asking a colleague, close friend, or a family member (preferably someone who enjoys public-speaking) can save you money and will personalize your wedding in a unique way. They will need to become ordained first, but the certification process is quick, free, and can be done online. Check out the Universal Life Church’s website for details.

The Gannon’s nuptials (pictured) were featured in the Spring/Summer issue of Weddings Illustrated. Click here to order a free copy.


Edda´s Cake Designs_07

Wedding cake by Edda’s Cake Designs

When it comes to wedding cakes, you can have your dream dessert and eat it, too. Reduce the hefty price tag by ordering fewer tiers or having 1 or 2 tiers made in fondant-covered Styrofoam. Or choose a traditional design over one with dramatic detailing, metallic dust, or handcrafted florals. Add fresh buds that complement your bouquet or crown it with an elegant cake topper.

Click here for some whimsical cake topper suggestions.


Passed hors d'oeuvres

Photo: Justin DeMutiis Photography

Don’t blow your budget on multiple food courses that will weigh your guests down before the dancing starts. Talk to your cater about limiting courses. For instance, passing hors d’oeuvres (pictured) could be a better cost-saver than a soup or salad starter.


Have a friend with some cool wheels? Ask him if he would, in lieu of a wedding gift, provide the transportation between venues.


Jewelry bouquet by The Ritzy Rose

Made with vintage brooches, lace, rhinestones, and enamel flowers, this glitzy arrangement ($750) from The Ritzy Rose can be crafted with your own jewelry for much less.

Next to an open bar and stellar entertainment, flowers can take a big bite our of your budget. Swap them out for fruits, berries, and herbs; or weave in romantic alternatives, like weathered branches, seashells, ostrich feathers, gilted mirrors, birdcages, and antique details.

Turn your bridal boutique into “something old” with vintage brooches, or walk down the aisle with a single flower, such as a peony or dahlia, pressed between your hands.

Click here for 8 bride favorite florals.


Ashley Rose Photography

Photo: Ashley Rose Photography

Rather than incurring an extra charge for garbage removal, donate your extra food and flowers once your event has ended. Flower recycling charities, such as Petals for a Purpose, will pick up your bouquets and table arrangements free of charge. Florals will be rearranged then delivered to hospitals, nursing homes, and shelters.

Many caterers will deliver untouched food to local charities or rescue programs in the area. Or contact a food bank, like Feeding South Florida or Second Harvest, and schedule comestibles picked up.


Set up a free registry and allow guests to pick (and help pay for) all areas of your honeymoon, including: airline tickets, hotel stays, spa treatments, excursions, meals, and more. Check out Honeyfund or Wanderable and get started today.

Need ideas? Click here for six romantic honeymoon escapes.


Christian Louboutin pumps

Christian Louboutin’s “So Kate” pumps ($745; available at Neiman Marcus) are perfect for every occasion.

Don’t pay a high price for stilettos you’ll want to kick off before the reception starts. Splurge on a pair you’ll wear well after you’ve said “I do.”

Click here for 10 bridal shoes you’re sure to love.


Venue: Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Weddings are sprinkled with “extra charges,” so be sure you’re aware of them or you could go over-budget. Before you sign a venue contract, be sure that setup and breakdown costs are included in the labor charge. If you’re planning to have your flower girl sprinkle rose petals, berries, or seeds, consider the impact of staining. You may be responsible for the dry-cleaning the runner or flooring if it gets stained or damaged.

Additional costs (garbage removal, using the freight elevator, parking or valet, and other day-of charges) can quickly add up, if you’re not careful. Check your contracts carefully to ensure everything on it should be there.


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