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How to Save Money on a Wedding

MoneyWhitney Carlson1 Comment

This has nothing to do with fitness but does have to do with us and our finance philosophy so I'm going to share it! :-) In honor our of nine year anniversary today, I wanted to share some of our wedding details. This also means a lot to me right now because my aunt, who just passed away the day before Thanksgiving, played a huge part in my wedding. She helped me, my mom, sister, and many cousins decorate the entire clubhouse and church.

We were married December 1, 2007, which was the Saturday after Thanksgiving that year. I was very fortunate to have parents who paid for our wedding (No, they didn't give us the $30,000-$40,000 that a typical wedding costs). They actually just gave us a set amount so we could have spent it all, saved it all, or any combination we chose. We decided to save half of it and spend the other half on the wedding. We also decided to get married around Christmas so that we could use the decorations again and also save on decorations since the facility would be decorated for the holidays.

We got married very young, we had both just graduated college, so we didn't have a lot of money. Our honeymoon was to Boone, NC (we drove there, it's about a 4-hour drive). What I'm trying to say is that your wedding and honeymoon do not have to cost a lot of money. The more money spent does not correlate to a better marriage. Don't start your life off with debt from one day or one week at the beginning of your marriage.

Some of what I'm going to share might be crazy to some of you but eh, if you've been reading our blog for awhile you should know I'm slightly different. ;-)

My wedding dress was $300. It was the only dress I tried on. I remember the day, my dad and I were going up to my aunt and uncles lake house and we stopped by this bridal store on the way. They were going out of business and it was already a discount store. The dress was originally $1,500 I believe but it was half off and then marked down to $300 because the store was closing. I just put it on and we bought it. It also didn't need any alternations.

Side note: I worked at a formal salon for almost 10 years that sold many high-end prom, pageant, and wedding dresses. While I loved the expensive dresses (my favorite was $3,600) I couldn't spend that kind of money on something I was going to wear once. I found a jacket from the bridal salon I worked at and bought a cathedral length veil from eBay. I wanted the jacket because I was hoping it would be cold, instead it was like the warmest day ever.

Wedding Dress Detail

The grandmother and grandfather that I was extremely close with passed away before I was even in college but I wanted a part of them there with me. I decided to carry my grandmother's rings and a locket with their picture in it on my bouquet.

Christmas Wedding Bouquet with Locket and Rings | He and She Eat Clean

I'm honestly not sure where I came up with this idea but I wanted a sleigh to hold my cake. One of our family friends who owns a welding business in Atlanta made this for me! I still have it to this day and I put our Christmas tree on it. The cake was three different flavors (for each layer): red velvet, caramel, and vanilla.

Winter Wedding Cake with Sleigh Base | He and She Eat Clean

And, of course, Scott's Cubs cake.

Cubs Groom Cake

I wanted something simple for the church pews. This greenery was real and the small lanterns came from Ikea. My aunt and cousins made the bows and attached everything together.

Winter Wedding Decorations | He and She Eat Clean

As you saw with the picture above of the rings and locket, our flowers were simple red and white roses.

Winter Wedding Flowers | He and She Eat Clean

And of course mistletoe!

Winter Wedding Decoration - Christmas Mistletoe | He and She Eat Clean

I just ordered our programs online somewhere and I'm sure I just chose the least expensive option. Honestly, I'm not too sure they are really even needed.

Christmas Wedding Programs | He and She Eat Clean

I loved this picture of our rings on the paper showing the date.

Wedding Rings on Newspaper from Wedding Date | He and She Eat Clean

The clubhouse had a Christmas tree already but my aunt Doris didn't like it so she had someone go out and buy this massive tree that they then put up and decorated. <3

Christmas Wedding | He and She Eat Clean

Not pictured is the hot chocolate bar we had but we don't have any pictures of it, which makes me sad! This was even before Pinterest was a big thing...I've just always loved hot chocolate, even though it was warm that day.

While we all have different styles and things we think are "non-negotiable" for our wedding day, there are ways that you can save money. You can use all of these or just use a few - either way, you will have more money left for your honeymoon or to use in your new marriage. Not only will these save you money but many of them will also save you a lot of time! When planning a wedding, a lot of small expenses can add up very quickly. Remember, a small leak will sink a great ship. ;-)

How to Save Money on a Wedding

  • Don't think that you HAVE to do anything you don't want to do!

You don't want a wedding cake? Don't have one! You don't want to have an open bar? Don't have one! You don't want to serve a $100 per person dinner? Don't! This is your permission to have the wedding you want, not one that is expected of you. ;-)

  • Skip the "Save the Date".

With the social media time we live in, there's really no need for save the dates to be mailed. Sure, they are cute and realllllly tempting to want to buy but skip it. Not only do you have to purchase the invite but you also have to pay to mail them. If you want to send a save the date, you can do an email invitation. I'm still pretty traditional in the sense that I like mailed invitations but you could even do those via email if that's not something that means a lot to you.

  • No favors.

While they look so cute, favors aren't necessary. Favors usually take a lot of time to put together or if you do buy them, the expense quickly adds up. Scott and I skipped the favors and instead made a donation to charity in honor of the wedding guests. I can't remember exactly which one it was but I think we did veterans and cancer research (since Scott's dad died of cancer).

  • Get married in a slower season or an "off day".

You can often get married for half the price if you choose a Sunday over a Saturday. Also, avoiding peak wedding times will save you a TON of money!

  • Don't have an open bar.

If you don't want alcohol at your wedding, don't have it. We had only beer and wine. That drastically reduced our tab.

  • Don't fall for the small expenses they try to tack on like chair covers.

We were offered chair covers for our reception. While I strongly considered it because it would have looked SO pretty, I couldn't justify the cost. I think it was around $3 per chair which doesn't sound like much but quickly adds up (along with all the other "not very expensive" expenses).

  • Skip the details like toasting flutes, guest books, garter, etc.

I bought our toasting flutes from a consignment store. The bridal salon I used to work in had flutes that started at $75. THAT IS INSANE. Same thing with the guestbook, just get a generic guest book if you even have one. I don't know where ours is and I don't think I ever looked at it. Buy a generic garter. I actually had a Cubs one ordered for ours but somehow it got lost in the commotion and we never found it!

  • You don't have to buy each other gifts.

Your marriage is your gift to each other. You don't need to feel pressured to buy something else to exchange.


These are just things that come to mind but there are a ton of other ways to save! Maybe I'll add to these as I think of more.

I don't even know where our wedding album is. I don't have any idea where the CD of photos is from our wedding. I've never watched our wedding video (I didn't pay for this, a family friend recorded it). I really don't care. Our wedding honestly doesn't matter to me. It's the life we have now that matters.