Debt free wedding, can I get an AMEN?!
It’s truly a blessing to conclude your big day with NO DEBT! Being on the receiving end of that blessing is completely up to you and your spouse to be! No pressure! In reality, I DO, (< Get it, see what I did there? LOL) know and understand the pressure from family and friends when it comes to opinions on the way everything will look come wedding day. And let’s not forget to mention all the emotion around who will and will not be there, that’s a big one. Your parents and extended families have their own guest-list, and your darling friends have ideas and suggestions that if mismanaged will leave you in a dysfunctional relationship with your Benjamins baby! Through it all, it’s important to stay true to your finances as a couple in order to to set yourself up for success after the fabulous day – because it WILL be fabulous.
One thing I’m slowly admitting to myself is that I’m kind of frugal guys! No, seriously. After being married for a year I’m coming to see that my husband’s money saving addiction is rubbing off on me (Which isn’t a bad thing)! I have my LATTE budget lol and my blog budget, then outside of that I don’t really want much else. As a blogger, it may look like money is spent frivolously, but It’s quite the opposite in my case. I will shop around till’ the lights go out for deals, I’ll buy a Groupon for ERTHANG – We just bought one for a restaurant the other day, and we budget like crazy so we can put some away towards our bigger goals! This was no different during our wedding last year. I was able to cut major costs and I’d love to share them with you! Keep in mind that these suggestions are just my own. So Let’s take a look at what I did!
- Venue: Tabaret Hall, Ottawa U
I told you I shop around right! When we were wedding planning I looked at and called just about everywhere that a reception could possibly happen in the city. I quickly realized that banquet halls probably wasn’t going to be our place, which to some brides may sound crazy! Everyone has their wedding reception at a banquet hall right? Not necessarily 😉 Many university campuses, churches, organizations/businesses have AMAZING party spaces for rent that will cost you a fraction of the cost. Some cater and some don’t. In my case, I intentionally wanted a place that didn’t cater so I could shop around for the food too! I decided to use a University campuses grand hall because it was 1/2 the price of any Banquet Hall I looked into AND this place was stunning! I went to the university I got married at so I was already familiar with the space. It had the character I was looking for and once I got light of the price – I was like YEAH, we’ll take her!
2. Large photos (Signing tables, easels, reception space ETC.)
Most brides like some type of photography of them self and their boo displayed at the wedding. We had a couple on signing tables and a large poster sized pictures on an easel at the door of the ceremony space and reception. I took a couple of pictures from hubby and I’s engagement session and threw them on my USB stick and made my way to Staples to blow em up. DUH Staples, I thought to myself – Where else do you do that kind of thing? I got there and asked about how much it’d cost and the lady at the counter hit me with a ridiculous price of around $70 to blow the photo up to the size I wanted. I left.
I went home and started thinking about how to make this work for the low low. Then a lawn sign randomly came to my head. Just wait – let me explain! There are a lot of lawn signs where my mom lives when it comes to elections. They’ve always been very clear; they show a photo and the words to elect whoever is running. I went online and started Googling the price for those signs and low and behold VISTA PRINT had them at prices that your living room couch change could probably manage. Even better they had large poster sizes that I could design myself. It was perfect! I uploaded to picture to the VISTA PRINT site and and placed my order. I was kinda nervous, I can’t lie because I didn’t know if it’d work out. Would it be too pixelated? Would the colours look ok? All that jazz. BUT it came out fine and I was able to save 1/4 the price of the $70 blowup from Staples. Bless you Staples!
*This photo is blurry for photography reasons*
3. DSY (Do Something Yourself!)
Some people hate making stuff, but if you don’t hate it make anything that makes sense for you to make (Mouthful!). I did my menus, ceremony programs, cake stand, bride and groom signs, reserved seat signs, and photography prints to name some. I like making stuff though (Check out the DIYS I’ve done on this blog when you’re done here!) and like saving money more. Identify whatever you’d be ok with if it wasn’t perfect, buy the materials, and take a swing at it. Here’s the DIY cake stand tutorial I used.
4. Get a decorator for your Reception, have friends and family do the Ceremony space!
This worked like a charm for me, but depending on your situation you’ll have to access if this ones for you! You’ll need people to rely on, and about 5-10 of them depending on the size of the room. My case is a little different because the family friend of mine who took the lead on decorating the space is in the event industry. I bought the materials myself for the ceremony space, rented chair covers and let my aunts and family friends know exactly what I had in mind. One tip is to look for a venue that doesn’t need much decor and let the room itself do the talking. I made sure to take the ladies who would be decorating the ceremony space to the venue a couple of times before the rehearsal to make sure we were all on the same page. I also rented the room the night before the wedding to give them time get everything done at their own pace. It was all still cheaper than if I got the company that did the reception decor to also do the ceremony space!
5. Floral: Make your own bridesmaid bouquets and boutonnieres
This one was a hard one for me to commit to! I knew the flowers wouldn’t be to the standard I wanted, but I decided to go for it because I knew they’d die shortly after the wedding. As long as you are ok with imperfect, opt for a hack to save money! I ordered bulk flowers from Costco, timed them to arrive 2 days before the wedding and assembled them with my girls once they got here. I researched all that had to do with flower maintenance before they got here and didn’t run into any trouble with withering, thank God. I also made sure to choose flowers that had a longer lifespan. Initially, I wanted all the bridesmaids to have roses in a different hue from the ones I’d have, but after some research I knew they may not last until wedding day. I delivered them to my hotel room the night before the wedding in 2 large buckets of water and it was smooth sailing from there.
This is a risk however, and I understand that. I was reading some of the reviews on the Costco site of people who’s flowers had never come in, which would have sucked. I calculated my risks – and took it. If you do decide to do this, make sure to have a backup plan. Mine was a local florist who I’d call if the bulk flowers didn’t come in on the day they were supposed to arrive. I knew if it didn’t work out I’d end up paying for flowers twice, but the cost saving potential outweighed my fear in the end.
This one is random, but I realized early on that no one would see my shoes because my dress was so long. I love shoes, so I’m like what can I do? I didn’t want to spend and arm and a leg and have no one see the beauties on my feet. So, I went to the Nine West outlet in Toronto – Click the link for similar shoes to what I wore! I was looking for comfort first, I didn’t want uncomfortable shoes to ruin my wedding day lol. I got a great deal on some cute, tiny heeled shoes! I normally would never wear a heel as low as it was, but ladies – consider your comfort and remember that they’ll really only be seen during the shoe game (lol) and in pictures when you are getting ready.
7. Find someone to make your veil
This was a must for me! I left the dress store after I purchased it and wondered what was going on, when I saw the price of those veils. I always try to think practically about everything. I am never going to wear this again, was the theme of my online searches for veils. When that came dry, I knew I’d have to take it to be made. I bought the tulle, go some lace trim similar to the one on my dress and voila – my $60 veil was born. I’m so happy I did this, I don’t even know where it is today!
Thats all I’ve got ladies. Hope this helped someone. If you are in the Ottawa area and are looking for a list of the vendors I used, drop me a line and I’d be happy to send that to you! Let me know if you want some more money saving tips and I’ll do a part 2. I’ve got way more, but wanted to consider the length of the post! Thanks as always for reading, until next time!