Frugal Ideas for a Beautiful but Inexpensive Wedding!

by StAnn 46 Replies latest jw friends

  • AuntBee

    My daughter got married in October, and one thing that saved people a lot was that the bridesmaids bought their own dresses. She just told them what color to buy. Groomsmen bought their own pants and shirts (matching colors), and vests/ties were rented. I think this is an idea that's catching on, rather than spending hundreds, or asking others to, on ridiculous dresses they'll never wear again. -- WE found cute stuff for favors, those boxes of going away bubbles, etc, at the DOLLAR store; i kid you not! :) Good luck. Personally i love smaller weddings, that aren't huge productions or displays of wealth. Where family and freinds help, i think it was really special.

  • Scully

    Maybe they could get married on an off-peak day of the week (ie, not Saturday)? That way if you need to book a venue, there won't be as much competition for dates (and the venues won't be able to capitalize on the fact that they can charge more because of demand, the way they do for Saturdays). It can also make for better room rates for people coming in from out of town.

    You can make your own wine (lots of brew-your-own places around here) and put a label on the bottle with the bride and groom's name and date of wedding as a wedding favor.

    Take a cake decorating course (Michaels offers them regularly) and do the wedding cake yourself. You can personalize it any way you like when you're in control. (You can also see the kinds of disasters that happen when you trust so-called "professionals" at

    You might be able to get a second-hand wedding dress - or have one made by someone who has some skills as a seamstress.

    For the catering, try an up-and-coming local business. They probably won't have a fully booked schedule and may be a bit more flexible on price. Dinners are always more expensive than lunches or cocktails. You could have a separate dinner for the bridal party and immediate family members only, and a separate reception/dance afterward for everyone.

    If I may be so bold, what will the bride's family be paying for? I know times have changed, but traditionally the bride's family covers the dinner/ reception, her dress, the venue for the wedding, the cake, and the vast majority of the expenses. The groom's family covers the rehearsal dinner (which is for the bridal party, the officiant and immediate family members only). The bridesmaids and groomsmen cover their attire (including hair and makeup and manicures/pedicures), travel and lodging expenses. The groom pays for the rings, his attire, the honeymoon suite.

    Oh, and for the iPod - great idea - he'd just need to create a Wedding playlist for the songs they want to include.

  • Jadeen

    I found my dress on Ebay- it's not overly formal so I can wear it for occasions also. Plus it was under $100!

    I told my bridesmaids to pick out any dress that they wanted to wear, it just had to be in a certain color group.

    A friend of mine worked at a printing company, so she gave me her employee discount plus an early order discount.

    She also bought a bunch of decorations from her company store that were very inexpensive!

    If the wedding is in the early afternoon, you can just serve cake and coffee.

  • StAnn

    Oh, way, these suggestions are great!

    Re: who pays for what, the bride is a change of life baby. She was a sweet surprise. Her parents are rather elderly and on a fixed income and simply can't afford much. My husband and I are paying for most of it and my son and his bride-to-be are saving up for it also. My son has already bought the rings. My ex-husband, i.e., my son's father, is a JW elder and my son is DF'd. Don't know what if anything Daddy will be contributing. I suspect very little. I'm going to try to guilt him into at least doing an ice sculpture, which he can do secretly and not get in trouble with the elders.

    My husband and I don't have a lot of money. We have two handicapped children, so I'm a full-time stay at home mom and we live on one income. Thus, we can only contribute $5K for the wedding. But I think that, with proper planning, we can do a really nice wedding for that amount. Then any money my son and his bride set aside can be used for the honeymoon.

    I've made 100+ wedding cakes in my time so I'm definitely making the groom's cake. A friend of the bride has already volunteered to make the wedding cake. If she backs out, my best friend has volunteered to make the wedding cake and I'll help her.

    Right now, a lot is up in the air. They can't agree on colors (he wants lime green, she wants red and black.) Also, she is Korean and wants some Asian influences to the wedding. The music will be Motown. So how can we do a Motown Asian wedding?

    Also, they want to invite everybody, from 150-200 people. Getting them to be realistic about costs is difficult right now. I love Jadeen's idea of having it in the early afternoon so we can just serve cake and coffee.

    Keep the ideas coming. I'm going to print them out and have a sit-down with my son and daughter-in-love and see what I can get them to agree to.

    You guys are a big help!


  • Lozhasleft

    We're going to a budget one next year which will be a BBQ afternoon which I think is a good idea. A friend of the Bride is going to do the BBQ at the venue and they are self catering salad bowls etc.

    Loz x

  • StAnn

    Loz, great idea. Hadn't thought of that.


  • NiceDream

    A friend of mine getting married is having raspberry and lime green for her colours and it looks amazing. Very summery colours. The bridesmaids are wearing simple black dresses, and her Mom made raspberry sashes for the dresses. The men are wearing a lime green striped tie.

    To cut costs at my wedding we bought all the food ourselves and had some friends help make it. We BBQ'd satays and chicken for dinner. And we bottled our own wine and bought a keg of beer for the bar.

    You can make your own center pieces with dollar store vases, floating candles, and those glass rocks things.

    I'm not sure if they want an outside wedding, but maybe hanging lanterns (like the ones from Ikea) could add an Asian flair to the wedding without having too many themes?

  • Quandry

    Maybe they could have the wedding at your house. The money could be used to update your yard, paint, etc. Killing two birds with one stone. Outside tents could be used, and catering with two main items for the meal.

    Remembet the movie, Father of the Bride?

  • StAnn

    Quandry, my yard isn't big enough for the 150-200 guests they want to invite. And my son says NO OUTDOOR WEDDINGS because he's seen too many disasters, i.e., rain and wind and mud.

    Last year, we spent $25K on new siding for the house, custom made wrought iron handrails, new privacy fence, etc., so the yard is actually quite nice at the moment. I got to tease my next door neighbor that now my house was the nicest on the block! Before the updates, his was the nicest. he he he I am competitive.

    NiceDream, I think the raspberry and lime green is excellent. Raspberry is a kind of red and with a lot of black mixed in, it should be able to satisfy them both. Thank you for that tip!!!!

    Did I tell you guys that she's Korean? Her parents don't speak English and I don't speak Korean so this is going to be fun. She was born just a couple of years after they moved here from Korea. There is a strong Korean community in Dayton, so they never felt the need to learn English. Tracy speaks English and Korean, of course, so she has to do all of the translating.


  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Let's see 200 people at $20.00 a plate for a sit down dinner that doesn't include any beverages or alcohol or taxes. There goes the budget.

    They just might have to be more reasonable. An early wedding and an afternoon reception would be cheaper. A Friday night or even Sunday would be a better deal.

    Found out what Korean traditions there are that are important. Some of those might cut down on costs - you can hope at least.

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