We will be celebrating our wedding this year and I would like to ask you for your tips and tricks to optimize the expenses related to the different expense posts.
I don’t want to have the most frugal wedding possible, but I do want the money that is allocated to be invested in a smart way. With that in mind, I thought the location as well as food/drink were the posts to not skimp on. We would like to organize the wedding ourselves and not use the services of a wedding planner.
Do you have any tips/feedback on what to look out for, or any good ideas to share (for example for sending out announcements, thank you cards, etc)?
I didn’t find any topic about this, so I took the liberty to create one with the idea of sharing tips & tricks as well as possible good plans.
I have no experience but I’ve hear some stories. If your location is set in stone, you probably want to have dinner/lunch near, so you can’t go abroad, correct? One thing you should probably do is to check if the restaurant will allow you to take care of the drinks. I’ve heard several people organizing their reception in a place where you can bring your own wine. I don’t know if restaurants do this for picky drinkers or to allow people to save a bit, but some of my friends did exactly that. The usual bottle of wine cost 3-5x more in a restaurant than in a shop. If you also are an expert you can even go hunting for your perfect wine in Italy/France and buy it there. I know for sure a shop in Italy that allow you to buy big quantities of wine and import it slowly.
If you want to save up, you should organise the city mall ceremony, the cocktail drinks and reception in the same day and place. I have done it in 2 days and 3 venues and it adds costs a lot
However, we did arrange the table ornements for 18 tables, 180 persons. I had a florist doing the decoration of the main entrance, the arch for the vow and a main decoration above our tables. We bought the flowers wholesale and have her girlfriends helping to dress the table decoration. We also collecting the flower pot for each tables.
You could also prepare your invitee gifts by packing it yourselves with your wife.
A little saving is also to send electronic invitations rather than to print and send them by mail post.
Sometimes saying no could save you some money. I was ok to give an higher budget to the photographer but say no to the cameraman my wife wanted to record the journey.
My wife bought her dress but renting it could be a big saver.
We did not cut on food and even had the cake ordered and delivered by a pastry chef.
We ordered all drinks through the cater in extra quantity as we could return all none open bottles without extra costs.
Enjoy this preparation !
We spend the double of our projected budget but definitely worth it.
We had my aunt doing the wedding-pictures with her good hooby camera.
If that is also good enough for you guys, you can save a ton of money.
One point about the wedding planner:
While the preparation can certainly be done without a planner, have someone like your groomsman that’s responsable for the whole wedding ceremony (like telling guests when to move etc.) on the day itself. You and your futur wife will be too busy to handle all that.
A colleague of mine married in a very small ceremony at a beach in Hawaii - and stayed there for their honeymoon.
While this will obviously increase more in travel costs for the guests attending. But it should definitely make you get away with inviting much less people. I haven’t done the math - but depending your numbers, it may very well beat having to wine and dine a couple of dozen at home.
And if you tell them it has been a lifelong dream of yours or something to get married at your location, people will likely not hold a grudge against you or consider you cheap.
number of guests: biggest cost. Think carefully whom you care to have. You can also have some people at aperitif and less at lunch /dinner, this is common in France
final confirmation of guests: we had 2-3 people not showing up at last minute - cost incurred for us
invite cards: there are some companies that can organize from online - easier and cheaper. Else, as others suggested online invitation even better. Or hybrid: for friends online and for older and family by post
flowers: cost a ton. Avoid flower’s arches. Avoid as much as you can. None care, none will remember. You can save by having some different thing on tables rather than expensive floors. Or mustachian way, if you have a weeding coordinator you could ask if flowers can be reutlised from the event and placed on the tablea
suit: just buy a good one that can be reused at work. Perhaps get third piece and a nice wedding shirt that you won’t use again but at least you will reuse the suit
table marriage: get it online
wedding gift: these are common in some countries. Waste of money in my view
drinks: we bought champagne from France separately and provided to the catering company
good photographer: pics are forever
food and location: did on lake como. People always tell me how amazing location was and how good food was
2-3 course Menu. People enjoy most aperitif. Dinner should be short as people get bored to stay sat long time. Shorter and lower number of courses for dinner also cost you less
music: live music is always a plus
inexpensive gadget: build your own photo booth: get a Polaroid and buy online some cheap glasses, hats and wigs
babysitter: it’s nice for people that are bringing kids
wedding day coordinator: you are there to enjoy and not to escort and push people, having a wedding coordinator on the day is small but rewarding investment (e.g. escorting people, giving rice’s cones to throw rice after ceremony, etc, - idea from wedding planner
wedding planner was great to organize but also to provide connections for music, boat ride and many other things at accessible prices
Other things I have seen at weddings that depend on people’s taste:
magician and mentalist
boat trip organized for all guests
Just few things that came to mind. If you have more specific questions, pls ask.
My number one tip that saved us a lot of money, think hard about who you really want to attend the wedding.
We were “only” 25 people incl. the photographer and us. Only the closest family and our very best friends and their partners were invited. I don’t get how people invite some aunt and their whole family that they see max. once every year at the mandatory christmas dinner. They are not part of my everyday life, so why should they be part of my wedding.
To each his own, and our approach may certainly sound selfish, but in the end of the day, it was our wedding.
A colleague of mine attended a wedding of some friends. The couple asked all the guests to not offer them usual gifts like cutlery or toaster (The Office reference ) but only some Rento scratching money coupon.
With 70+ guests multiplied by 10+ coupons, guess what? They won, 10’000.- per month for 20 years…
we paid 2’700.- for a very good, popular photographer (6.5 hrs, no album). I don’t think that’s to uncommon, 1k seems very cheap to me. Don’t cheap out on the photos, that’s the one thing you’ll keep from the wedding (apart from the rings and your partner )
We spent CHF ~54 per Apéro guest, and CHF ~200 per Dinner guest (including location fees), these are the most expensive positions. We decided to limit the numbers of guests (80 apéro, 40 dinner) but went for nice locations.
Surprisingly expensive to me were a DJ for 1’600.- and flower decoration for 1’200.-
For those already married: what is your experience with gifts? At the weddings I was, there was always a online wishbook (eg a new table for 1200 divided in 12 parts à 100 CHF) where you gift money and not the item itself.
When choosing the amount to offer the couple I always try to estimate how much my consumption might cost. Usually we end up offering 130-180CHF per Person (when invited for dinner).
We did something similar with our marriage. The tour operator did split the tour in small pieces and our guests could choose if they wanted to gift us an overnight at a certain location, a dinner, a day trip and so on
I second this. Of course it is personal choice but a good photographer will probably be more expensive. We did pay ca. 2.5k 16 years ago. It was from Italy but I think in this field prices are not that far.
We just straight up asked for money to help pay for the honeymoon trip (with some description of what we are going to do, etc.). I just wrote down our IBAN on the wedding website asking the guests to send a wire. Some also just gave us a card/envelope with cash in it.
Most couples who are close friends gifted around 200-300 CHF, apéro guests usually 100.- per couple.