Your dream wedding is within reach – you just need a few saving strategies to make it happen. You’re engaged and ready to get the planning underway. It’s a fun process, but with the average cost of a wedding upwards of $30,000, trying to figure out how to pay for it can become a major stress factor. Avoid going into debt and feeling super over-welcomed with this guide for bringing your dream wedding to life without compromising your finances. Weddings are after all about the love your new spouse, not about how much or little you spent. Here are 5 wedding saving strategies!

5 SAVING STRATEGIES FOR PULLING OFF YOUR DREAM WEDDING

PRIORITIZE YOUR NEEDS

Together as a couple, decide what is important to you as a couple and then prioritize them. In my wedding budget breakdown, I list out a roadmap of how to allocate your budget. Take this as a jumping off point and then adjust for whats most important to you. For some that might be the dress and attire, for others that might be the decor and a killer venue, or the food and a band. Factor in your long-term goals when deciding how much to spend on your wedding.

SET A BUDGET

Set a realistic budget and stick to it. How much you need to save depends on your anticipated costs of the wedding. Be realistic and give a little cushion for unanticipated wedding costs.
You may need to extend your engagement to give yourself enough time to save to reach your dream wedding goal. A $30,000 wedding requires a monthly savings of $2,500 for 12 months. If your wedding favors or wedding invitations are out of your reach, try to DIY them.

START YOUR WEDDING SAVING STRATEGIES EARLY

As soon as you get engaged, start saving. Even if you’re not ready to start planning. The earlier a couple starts saving for the big day, the more you’ll be able to save. Try using an online savings calculator to reach the target amount.

OPEN A WEDDING FUND ACCOUNT

Open a separate account for you both to use solely on the wedding. If you are paying for things on your credit or debit card, you may forget to log smaller expenses that really do add up.

USE CREDIT WISELY

I get it, you want to benefit by using a credit card to rack up the points. It’s alright to do this, just be sure to pay off the balance off immediately. This is one of the best wedding saving strategies to avoid carrying a balance at all costs. If you’re unable to pay for the charge within the billing cycle, this is a clear sign you are going over budget.

Don’t only rely on your bridesmaids to be on wedding duty. In the basics of being a bridesmaid I breakdown what this entails, but there is still a lot for your families to help with. Members of your family and extended family want to be there for you on your special day too. Weddings are all about the joining of two families, not just marrying your love. There are many ways you can honor your families by incorporating them into your wedding day. By incorporating them into your wedding day, they will feel how much they mean to you on your big day! Here’s very meaningful ways to incorporate them.

HAVE YOUR MOM HOLD YOUR BOUQUET DURING THE CEREMONY

Dads get a lot of recognition from walking you down the aisle, making a speech at the reception and participating in the father daughter dance. Make sure your mom feels involved and have her hold your bouquet during the ceremony. The maid of honor will have her own flowers to hold, so instead of handing your bouquet to her, surprise your mom and hand it to her instead! Another fun alternative is to surprise both your mom and mother in law with their own bouquets.

LET YOUR SIBLINGS HOLD THE RING

If your brother isn’t a groomsmen, have him hold onto your groom’s wedding band. Or if your soon-to-be sister in law isn’t part of your bride squad, let her in on the wedding ceremony fun by having her hold your wedding band. When the officiant asks for the rings, your siblings can bring them up from the front row. Or if they are younger, make them into the flower girl or ring bearer to carry the rings on a wedding pillow.

HAVE YOUR GRANDPARENTS BE YOUR MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE WITNESSES

There is no more beautiful gesture than to ask your grandparents to do the honors of witnessing the signing of your marriage certificate. Even better? Have a special pen engraved for them to keep as a sweet keepsake.

GIVE YOUR IN-LAWS A MOMENT TO SHINE

The parents of the groom need to be recognized too! The parents of the groom don’t often get recognized so make sure they are taken care of, too! Whether you give them a special gift thanking them for raising their son right (so sweet) or even let them do the honor of walking their son down the aisle, make sure they’re part of the magic, too.

HONOR THOSE WHO HAVE PASSED

Even though some of your most nearest and dearest loved ones have passed, you can still celebrate them on your wedding day. Tie your grandmother’s picture around your bouquet with a ribbon. Have your husband wear his father’s favorite tie. Incorporate a special flower in your bouquet or boutonniere to remember a favorite aunt or uncle.

Finding the perfect wedding dress is arguably the most fun part of the wedding planning process. This is the moment when you will truly start to feel like a bride. But it can also be one of the most stressful. Stylists strive to make it a fun and painless experience focused on helping the bride find a dress she feels the most beautiful in and feeling like a bride. Here is the ultimate guide to wedding dress shopping and finding the perfect wedding dress for you!

START EARLY

Having a dress custom made can take six months or more, so you want to start your bridal dress hunt early. Plus your dress really sets the tone for the day and can help determine your dress code and wedding theme. Many brides don’t know what silhouette they want or may change their mind after trying on another one. If you end up getting a ballgown wedding dress, you probably wouldn’t want a beach themed wedding for example. Do your research, and don’t try to find the perfect dress. Try and find the perfect dress for you.

KNOW YOUR BUDGET

When breaking down your wedding budget, you will allocate a certain percentage of your overall wedding budget to your dress. Try to stick to this number or you may have to lower your allocation to other of your wedding costs. Wedding guidelines say 8-10% of your overall budget is a good number to go with, but of course you can adjust your wedding budget to whats most important to you. It is YOUR wedding after all! Also make sure you factor in alterations and accessories such as your veil, shoes, jewelry and clutch. These items can add up fast.

THE APPOINTMENT

For your first appointment, go to a salon with a lot of different silhouettes, price points and styles. You may be surprised by what you love and more importantly – what makes you feel like a bride. If you can narrow this down, it’s definitely a success and who knows, you may even find the one! But at least for your next appointment you’ll be able to hone in on what you know you want. Don’t stress and go with your gut – it’s usually spot on. Bring only the guests whose opinions really matter to you. Too many opinions can cloud the decision that’s right for you. And remember, you have the final say! (Pro-tip: wear nude undergarments!).

SIZING & ALTERATIONS

A guide to wedding dress shopping wouldn’t be complete without talking about sizing and alterations! Each designer has very different sizing so it’s important to get measured and size the bride to the designers sizing chart. Then the dress will get fine-tuned to fit perfectly during alterations. The seamstress will pin your dress to give you an idea of how it will look when the alterations are complete. They’ll add cups, fix the hem and/or add a bustle. ALWAYS try on your dress after the last fitting and bring your veil, jewelry and other bridal accessories to ensure you love the completed bridal look.

This adorable couple wanted their faith to be at the forefront of their ceremony and entire wedding day. They used rings at throughout their design to symbolize union. Floral rings served as the backdrop at the altar and lace dream catchers, flower crowns and yummy donuts played into the circular trend. The custom Minted wedding invitations told the duo’s story and incorporated their favorite bible verses.

Savannah Soutas and Cole LaBrant happen to be one of the cutest internet sensation couples and are now officially married! I’m obsessed with the bridesmaids dresses, bride’s makeup and can we talk about the flower girls dress and gladiator shoes? Swoon! And if you love celebrity weddings (and who doesn’t?), check out these ones! What do you love about this wedding?

PHOTOGRAPHER Valorie Darling Photography | WEDDING DRESS Grace Loves Lace | MAKEUP Mac Cosmetics | FLORIST Tre Fiori Floral | WEDDING INVITATIONS Minted | BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES Show Me Your Mumu | FLOWER GIRL DRESS Etsy | FLOWER GIRL SHOES Kenneth Cole | CAKE Laura Maries Cakes

Making sure your guests have proper accommodations can be stressful, especially because you want them staying close to your venue and have affordable rates. Luckily there are strategies to follow to get concessions, block pricing or even a free bridal suite! Here’s my guide to negotiating a hotel room block!

ASK FOR A COURTESY BLOCK

A courtesy block is like a free room block insurance plan – you won’t be on the hook financially for any rooms in your block that don’t get used. Be sure to confirm with your hotels if they can offer a courtesy block and carefully review your contract. While not every hotel will be able to offer courtesy blocks, some hotels are flexible and may be willing to revise their terms.

START WITH 10 ROOMS

With most of your RSVP’s still en route to you, how do you know how many rooms you’ll need? I always recommend starting with the minimum for group rates (10 rooms), so you can best avoid the risk of over committing. You can always increase your block later if it starts to fill up!

REQUEST SHOULDER DATES

I recommend booking rooms on the night of your wedding, and also the night before for close family members and the wedding party who will be attending pre-wedding activities. Aside from these two nights, ask the hotel to include shoulder dates. This means that guests who arrive earlier or depart later can book their entire stay at the group rate (subject to hotel availability), and you won’t be on the hook for these extra nights.

21 DAY CUT OFF

The cutoff date is the official deadline for guests to reserve a room at the group rate. After this date, any remaining rooms will be released by the hotel for general sale and group rates will no longer be eligible.

CONCESSIONS

Getting a discounted group rate is important, but an often overlooked opportunity for savings is asking for concessions, like free wifi or even free room nights. Are you and your fiance planning on staying at the hotel? If so, then let the hotel know and ask for a complimentary room the night of, or a complimentary upgrade at the group rate. And whatever you do, definitely ask for a complimentary amenity for the night of your wedding – maybe you’ll have a bottle of champagne waiting for you at the end of your wedding night! Here’s some other concessions to ask for in order to hook up your guests:

● Complimentary guest room wireless

● Complimentary parking

● Complimentary breakfast

● Bonus reward points for the bride/groom (e. G. SPG points, Hilton Honors points, etc.)

● Complimentary gift bag distribution upon arrival

HOST AN EVENT ONSITE

If you’re planning on hosting any pre-wedding or post-wedding activities (ex. rehearsal dinner, after wedding brunch, etc.), then consider hosting it at the hotel in one of their event spaces or onsite restaurants. You’ll have priority over other groups who are only booking accommodations, and you’ll have more leverage to negotiate a better package all around.

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