How to Save Money on Your Wedding

If you've been following my blog or my life, you probably know two things about me: 1) My wedding is coming up at the end of the month, and 2) I live my life on a VERY tight budget. I hear a lot of "rules" about weddings that make the entire process sound ridiculously expensive. So, I thought I'd share some tips on how to save money when it's time to have your wedding!

Buy Rings from Independent Artists (Not Big Jewelry Stores)

I once heard it said that guys are expected to spend 3 months' paycheck on the engagement ring. (Now, I don't know what you're supposed to do if the girl proposes--like I did--or if you're a same-sex couple...but I guess wedding "rules" and "traditions" don't tend to account for everything...) That sounded obnoxious to me. 
This is my engagement ring.
Blue sapphire in the middle & white on the sides.

After I proposed to Tyler, we shopped for an engagement ring together. We wanted one that would be good quality and sturdy, that would hold up and not bend or scratch, but that did not mean we wanted to spend a lot of money on it. Going to jewelry stores was pretty much pointless, since they just want to talk about the difference between $5,000 and $10,000 diamonds, and we were both recent college graduates with a couple hundred dollars to our name.

So, we went online. I found that Etsy is one of the best places to find rings. We got my engagement ring for $150, and our wedding rings were about $12 each. Yes, $12 (they don't have any stones in them).

In addition to buying from independent artists, you can also buy rings made of less expensive--but still high quality--materials. For example, buy titanium instead of platinum. Titanium is just as strong, if not stronger. It's just not rare at all, which is why it costs almost nothing. And to the average person who doesn't work in the jewelry business, it looks identical.

For my ring, we also got sapphire instead of diamond. Diamonds are ridiculously expensive. Just by forgoing the diamond you're already going to save a ton of money. If you like the appearance of a diamond, white sapphire looks pretty much identical and costs way less.

These are the rings we got for the wedding.
I got polished & Tyler got matte finish.
For the wedding rings themselves, we just got solid titanium bands. They're shiny and pretty and cost about as much as going out for dinner together.

If you're looking for a specific recommendation, I'd suggest the Aladdin's Cave on Etsy. It's run by a guy named Chris in the UK who makes jewelry for really reasonable prices. We paid under $10 for shipping from the UK, and the rings arrived in like a week. It was a really positive experience, and he's always answered our emails if we've had questions.

Adjust the Dress Code

Our dress code is going to be "fun business casual." It took us forever to come up with the wording for that!
These are my shoes!

Basically, we want people to dress nice, but not worry about having to wear anything super fancy or expensive. I'm going to be wearing a gray dress I bought online, and Tyler's going to be wearing a gray blazer. We're planning to get him a purple shirt to match the purple flowers I'm going to put in my hair.

I already had to find a dress that would look good with boots, or flat shoes, because I can't wear heels due to my back problems. I ended up finding these shoes I love! They were about $50, and the dress wasn't much more.

Basically, one of the major themes of this post is, shop around online!

Another fun suggestion is to shop at resale places for your attire. My mom got her wedding dress at a consignment shop for $40. I actually considered wearing her dress, but it's a style that really looks best with heels, which again, I can't wear.

Make the Invitations Yourself

Since I like to draw, instead of paying a graphic designer to make invitations, I made them myself! That way, I got to do a cute and funny design, and the only thing I had to pay for was color printing to mail them out to people. If you don't want to pay for color printing, you can always do an email invitation instead!

Get Friends & Family to Help Out!

We are very lucky to have a lot of talented friends & relatives! But you probably do, too!

For example, my mom spent years of her career as an event planner, meaning she often made the decorations for big events like weddings, bar mitzvahs, and corporate parties. She was SO excited to make all of the decorations for our wedding, and she's doing a fantastic job so far!

Tyler's dad does photography as a hobby, and he takes fantastic pictures! So, instead of paying for a wedding photographer, we asked if he'd be willing to take pictures for us, and he's going to do it!

My brother has a really awesome sounding deep voice, so he's going to make all of our announcements throughout the night. And our friend Aimee got certified online to officiate weddings, so she's going to do our ceremony.

Not only do we save money by not having to hire professionals to do all of these things, but we get to make the wedding all about US and the people we care about, instead of involving lots of people we don't know.

Do as much DIY as you can!

When Tyler and I were in high school, we used to DJ for parties at the local senior center. (Which meant that we put on dances for senior citizens! It was tons of fun!) So, instead of hiring a band or DJ for the wedding, we're making the playlist ourselves, and are going to hook it up to the sound system at our location.

We're also making little Lego people that look like us to put on top of our donut tower (which we're having in place of a cake), and trying to find a Lego-ish dog to represent Chewie.

So, those are my tips for saving money on your wedding! A lot of it comes down to shopping around for the best prices, using independent artists rather than big corporations, shopping online, and doing as much of it yourself as you can!

Let me know if you have any other tips!

Happy Thursday!



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