Your best wedding deals – that you paid for? Excluding Food.?

by DIY wedding planner on August 31, 2012


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I want to know how/what your best deals were when you were/are planning your wedding. Don’t include someone donating stuff for free or as your gift.
I have to pay for every part of my wedding and want to know the tricks/tips that decreased the costs of stuff.
So far, I bought DIY 200 invites $120, Cheap Gown $219 (including alterations, jacket & purse), Shoes $30, 200 Favors $150. We are not videotaping the wedding, only hiring a photographer ($900).
Can you haggle with the DJ or Florist?
We are not skimping on the reception food/beverages which is the bulk of our spending, but I want to do everything else as cost-effective as possible.
So – aside from freebies – how are you pulling it off?

FYI – Wedding is 10/31/2009. Inviting 200, expecting 150 – 175 to show. We found a phenomenal reception venue at a great price for our area. We want everything to be nice, but not costly.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

fizzy stuff August 31, 2012 at 5:27 am

1. My dress was 700 (dress budget was 4k so this was a great find!)
2. We had a lot of family and out of town guests so instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner, we had a pizza party. It was relaxed, and good fun for the kids as well.
3. I dont have good ideas for flowers and stuff, so I told the florist to do “whatever” for the centrepieces – you would think she would have ran with it and charged us a fortune, but they were only 50 per table! The OTHER flowers were a small fortune however :)
4. We didnt use a limo. Its not our style.

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kandmsnapshots August 31, 2012 at 6:08 am

Go to a floral wholesale shop to get your flowers, you can usually walk away with all your flowers for less then $100, only catch is you have to arrange them your self.

We got 250 thank you cards for $8 from an Ollies store. If you have an ipod, you can load songs on to that and have them played in the order you want for free, so that would save you the cost of a dj.

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Jay's Girl August 31, 2012 at 6:37 am

I paid $2.48 each for the vases that will be used in the centerpieces. I got them at Walmart. Couldn’t pass up a good deal.

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Chiricana August 31, 2012 at 7:25 am

I am going through a wholesale florist, which is saving huge bucks because she buys directly from the growers.

Since your wedding is on halloween, you can probably make SUPER cute centerpieces with pumpkins like this

http://flickr.com/photos/alasam/2071941952/

and add a candle or two. Making centerpices that don’t include elaborate flower designs also save big buckaroos!

How fun! Good luck and enjoy your planning!!

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jeannielunchbox August 31, 2012 at 8:22 am

I did my own flowers, with the help of my maid of honor, sister in law and mother. It was fun and inexpensive. We bought orchids and put them as centerpieces, calla lilies for the bouquets and a single orchid as the boutonierres. It was pretty simple too. We paid $500 for flowers, and a florist would have charged well over $2000 for all of the flowers.

I have links to pictures, but for whatever reason, yahoo won’t let me post them.

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Soon2BMrsGupta August 31, 2012 at 9:11 am

I haggle with everyone about everything.

Ok so I love to talk about deals, because I love finding them.

1. First off our venue is normally 625 a head, well this one is just good luck. But out of dumb luck I got it for 170. They had a cancellation the day I got in and would have had to be penalized if the slot wasn’t filled by the end of that business day, I was ecstatic still am.

2. I frequently scout going out of business sales I have found 2 deals from doing this. One was a going out of business gift store. I found swarvorski crystal flowers for our centerpiece that are normally 200 dollars a piece. I bought about 300 flowers and got them for 4,000 total. Instead of 40,000. And at a beauty store I found full size philopshy which are normally 20 dollars a bottle for 4 dollars for favors for our Hindu wedding.

3. I haggled our photographer down from 7000, to 5,000 and I got an extra photographer for the day.

4. my invite people tried charging me an extra 1,000 after the fact I got so aggravated I actually got them to knock down the original price 2,000.

5. I got a deal from ordering the grooms cake and regular cake from the same bakery

6. I bargained my flower lady down 3,000 just out of pure persistence.

7. Because I choose to use an independent cake designer I didn’t need the one the hotel provided. They tried saying they could only give me 900 I said it was quoted at 2000 on the list they had given me with the contract (which I read very very carefully) so I got monogrammed napkins, water bottles, chocolate covered strawberries, venetician desert tray, and monogrammed coasters, and an extra ice sculture comped by the hotel.
EVERYONE CAN BE HAGGLED WITH. Their mark up for their products are so inflated they will still make money and they want to make money just remember that.

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Jo-Jo August 31, 2012 at 9:37 am

We got a great deal on our DJ just because he was very young and was just starting out, he had played school dances and things like that and he had professional equipment. We didn’t need much out of him aside from playing some music and making a couple of announcements. He turned out great and only cost us $400 for like 5 1/2 hours, that’s $1100 less than the cheapest DJ I could find. So check with schools around your area and see who does their dances and you may be able to find a good bargain. Hope that helps.

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qwertystar August 31, 2012 at 9:41 am

Good work so far! I recommend that you negotiate with vendors. Our DJ gave us a discount because he often works at the facility we’re having the wedding at, so he knows the set-up, the rules, the staff, everything. It’s an easier job for him than a venue he doesn’t know, so he was willing to cut the price by about 10%.

I got my dress for $98, alterations for $45, and am making my veil for less than $20 worth of materials. My porcelain-rose tiara was $18. 100 invitations and thank-you cards cost us about $50 to make. The centerpieces are about $8 each to make. My bouquet will be about $75, my maid of honor’s $35, boutonnieres for $8 each and corsages for $10 each, at a small florist shop (the venue manager suggested I check prices at the floral department of local grocery stores, but the independent florist was a little cheaper, and the shop is right in the building where we live). Instead of a cake, we’re having cupcakes, at $1 apiece (two different flavors, filled, buttercream icing and flower decoration on each).

However, I think our best deal was the photographer. We didn’t want the trendy photojournalistic style, and I certainly didn’t want to be followed around all day having pictures taken as I gaze out the window and look wistfully at my shoes. So, we hired a professional photographer who specializes in corporate event photography (she’s done a few weddings, so we know her work is good). Her rates are much lower than wedding photographers’. We hired her for just a few hours at about half the cost of the wedding outfits’.

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D_ August 31, 2012 at 10:40 am

We didn’t hire a florist. We got the flowers done at Albertson’s. They had a florist who put all the flower arrangements and bouquets together for just a small fee over the cost of the flowers. She did a good job. Some people had to pick them up the morning of the wedding and put them in the chapel. We spent very little on the flowers and it was only a little extra work to go pick them up.

Use candles as centerpieces. They are cheap and do not require that you try to arrange your own flowers.

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Bride to Be 5-16-08! August 31, 2012 at 10:46 am

Tuxes for $65 includes everything – including any tux, vest, tie, shoes, everything….

I went around a local bridal show and had the tux places (unknowingly) participate in a bidding war against eachother….I ended up with an employee discount at Tuxedo Junction (PA)…a friend got their tuxes there for $148….

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Lydia August 31, 2012 at 11:08 am

My shoes – they were leather flats, slingbacks, and were less than $20. I know it’s a little thing…
For the ceremony, brother in law took pictures – and they were wonderful. We only had professional portraits done at a studio.
Our wedding was for 200 as well. Gosh, I think our favors were $20, and I had tulle and ribbon left over.
We were members of our church, so had to make no payment. We had three priests concelebrate, and none would accept payment as one was my new brother in law, and the other two were family friends.
We didn’t skimp on the food for the dinner and also had a full open bar. However, for late lunch we brought in coldcuts, buns, pickles, cheeses, etc. and family members contributed dainties for this.
We hosted the gift opening at my mom’s house, so no rental cost involved, and we provided a lovely lunch.
A cousin and a friend of the family each videotaped the ceremony, and some of the reception, so we just had these two combined.
Good luck to you!

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