Money Savers for a Larger Budget?

by DIY wedding planner on February 9, 2012

My wedding budget is about $18,000, which I understand is a lot of money. But, we are going all out with the food and reception. We will be hosting 130 guests and it’s going to cost about $11,000 for the venue, food, bar and all that stuff.

That only leaves us with $7,000 left. We have to hire a photographer, DJ, get flowers, buy my dress, get the tuxes, the rings, the stationary, pay the church and so one with just that.

I want to save money in with the invitations, programs, centerpieces, favors and decor. However, I’m having a difficult time figuring out how do to it.

There are tons of DIY ideas online. But, I feel so many are geared to wedding that are under $10,000 or for more simple weddings. We are paying nearly $85 per person for food. I don’t want my invitations looking like they cost 50 cents.

So, what are some DIY ideas for a higher budget wedding. I don’t want to serve this amazing food, but then make everything else look like it came from the dollar store.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Suz123 February 9, 2012 at 5:21 am
all_smiles February 9, 2012 at 6:14 am

First of all $18,000 for a wedding this day and age is not that expensive. It’s slightly above average, with average being $12-15k. You can still have a beautiful wedding on that amount of money, but from what you’ve written, you are going to need a few more thousand to have exactly what you want……. But here are a couple of ways to save….. One way to save and not have it look tacky however is in the flowers. Depending on where you get married, the scene may be dynamic enough not to have to cover it heaviliy in flowers. If marrying in a church and your wedding is near the holidays, problem solved. It’s usually already decorated wonderfully. Also, don’t put flowers or bows on the ends of the pews, it always looks tacky and overdone no matter what the cost. Invitations always look best and most elegant when left simple. Black, silver or gold lettering on white or ecru heavy paper looks perfect. On there are several “on-line” wedding vendors that print invitations at about half the price of a local, speciality store. You should be able to send out 130-150 inivtations for around $350 – $400 and have it look great. Don’t forgot to have a professional calligrapher address them though. Nothing says “cheap-o” faster than plain handwritten, or even worse, lables on formal wedding invitations. One place that I would NOT go for “budget” is photography. That is your memory-maker, invest well. A good photographer will run about $2800 – $3500 for about 4-5 hours of following you around prior to ceremony, during ceremony and part of the reception. That usually does not include photographs however. Usually a standard “story book” comes with their fee, then you have to order the rest a la’ carte. As for your dress, hate to sound cliche’ but opt for David’s Bridal. You can get a quality dress there sometimes for as low as $500.00. Tuxes: The groom pays for his, the rest of the wedding party is usually responbile for their own, same as bridesmaid dresses. Wedding favors can be simple as well. I personally think these are cute., if you don’t like them, there are several others on that site. Best of luck, your day will be great no matter what. However, if you are running into a cash crunch for your extras, consider cutting your food down to $75 or $80 per person. That could help you out a lot and still make for an awesome reception.


phantom_of_valkyrie February 9, 2012 at 6:55 am

Here are some great ones. Collect the Michael’s coupons each week and buy every item with the coupon. Get things out of season. For example, I got candles in a glass jar at Michael’s for 25 cents each for my favors. They were island scents (Mango, Pineapple, Ocean, Margarita) and they were clearance. I went to every Michael’s in the area and bought them all.

An idea for the centerpieces. I did mine myself. I used glads since they are multiple bloom per stem so it’s getting more flowers. I ordered them from Sam’s Club. They have great prices and arrived in florist boxes. I arranged them in the vases myself. They were bright colors and looked great.

I ordered my invites from Invitations By Dawn. I bought the invites that are about $1 each b/c they are just going in the trash anyway. They were gorgeous. And I had so many people that the idea of printing them out myself was NOT an option. I did print the programs out myself. I just used MS Word and the church had a line art drawing of the church. I picked up a pack of cardstock paper so that they looked very nice.

Use your tossing bouquet for your cake topper. That will save you from having to pay the florist another bouquet.

Spend the money on your photographer. Those are memories you will have forever. Look around for the best price but make sure you really like that style. I saved a lot on the DJ and cake by finding someone new in the business. It took me a long time to figure out all the songs I wanted to play, but he had OTS Software on a laptop and files of songs he could chose between. That also saved me from having a DJ that had to announce himself over and over and play those dumb games.

You can make a lot of your own decor choices. What kind of theme are you going with and I can give you more suggestions? I also used pictures to decorate. I bought some artwork to put around the place to give it more of a tropical feel.

I have lots of suggestions once I know more about your wedding. There are lots of things you can borrow or buy from brides in your area. After a bride uses her vases, who really needs 20 vases? And a vase doesn’t look “used” once you’ve put flowers in it once so it could easily save you 50%.

Just look for things on sale. Your wedding sounds very similar to mine as far as budget and goals. Good luck and definitely write me with any questions!


luck2bsarah February 9, 2012 at 7:37 am

If I were you I would check out Ann’s Bridal Bargains. I know that you were looking for some DYI but these have cheaper invitations and programs but some do not look cheap. Here is the link and I hope it helps. Congrats and Best of Luck!


Jess ?Happy to Be Mrs. G? February 9, 2012 at 8:04 am

For the invitations, go to Hallmark and look through the invitation books. They have invitations for all price ranges. I ordered mine through there and they were beautiful, classic invitations and they weren’t too pricey.

We didn’t do programs. I didn’t really think we needed them. My advice would be that if you have extra money, order them. If not, no one will notice if they aren’t there.

For the DJ, ask around. Can someone whose had a party recently, recommend someone to you? We used the same DJ we used at our engagement party. So we knew he was awesome. Plus, the price wasn’t bad at all (for around here). He charged $900.

For the centerpieces and flowers, ask your venue if they recommend a florist. You will most likely get a discount that way. That’s what we did for our wedding. They may also recommend a photographer to you. Ask your venue for a list of vendors.

The photographer will be pricey. Ours was fantastic but expensive. My only advice would be to shop around and see who has the best deal.

Best wishes!


Arn February 9, 2012 at 8:38 am

We did our own centerpieces, tall, wide glass with a floating candle inside, wrapped in matching tulle and rose petals on the table.
I’ve been to a few weddings were balloons were used and they looked very nice. The trick is to not overdo it. You can even have flowers and balloons together as decorations, it’ll save you some $$$.
As far as guest favors, I like edible ones. You can find some not too expensive here:


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