Having a large wedding like we did can get expensive, but there were some little things we did that helped us save some money. Here are 12 ways Andrew and I saved money during while planning our wedding.
1. Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card.
We got the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card right after we got engaged (so we can earn points for spending money) and I can’t stress enough how amazing this credit card is. The first year is free (then $95/year) and we got 50,000 bonus points just for opening our card up, adding a second name to the account, and spending money. This card gives double points on travel and restaurants. This meant that we earned lots of points for most transactions we had for our wedding. We earned points from our rehearsal dinner, our venue rental fees, florist, and even restaurant gift certificates that we purchased as thank you gifts for those who helped us with our wedding. With this card, you’re able to convert points into frequent flyer miles (1:1) to numerous airlines, which basically means free flights. We were able to get round trip tickets for Andrew’s pastor and his wife from Philadelphia to come to our wedding and for our videographer from Orange County to Oakland. The bonus points that we earned from what we spent on for this wedding also helped us get to Edinburgh last September for about $150 each. We’ve been traveling a lot this past year and this card is seriously best. There are no foreign transaction fees! If you are planning on getting this awesome card, let me know so I can “refer” you and get more bonus points (so we can visit home).
Instead of printing and sending out Save-the-Dates, we sent our Save-the-Dates out via email through Paperless Post. Many of my friends have used it for invitations and save-the-dates so I just followed suit and sent out save-the-dates through the internet. I love their simple designs and ways you’re able to customize it. The best part is that many of their designs are free!
3. Use GoogleForms for RSVPs.
First, we used wix.com to create our wedding website. There are a lot of free wedding websites out there and some that require you to pay a fee, but I chose wix because it was free and I was able to customize more items. I liked that I was able to add live google maps of our ceremony and reception locations and even place an online RSVP page through google forms on the website. Online RSVPs are the way to go. You’ll still get people who don’t RSVP, but at least it only takes them 2 minutes to RSVP rather than giving envelopes, placing a stamp on it, and remembering to drop it off at the post office. With google forms, you can customize and allow different types of responses on your form. This is what our wedding website looked like: http://andrewandchelsea.wix.com/wedding and this what our RSVP google form looked like.
4. Go to Walmart.
We purchased a lot of our wedding stuff from Walmart. Thank you cards, beer, decoration, and mason jars were all cheaper at Walmart compared to Bevmo, Costco, Michaels, Amazon, and Target. Walmart is seriously the place to get stuff. The Walmarts that I went to also had a a wedding section selling the same items as Michaels and Target, but much cheaper. Also, you can return stuff at Walmart. So if you bought too much alcohol, you can return if it wasn’t opened.
5. Print your own invitations.
We printed our own invitations. Most people would discourage this due to the stress of it all, but I actually enjoyed printing, cutting, and organizing the invitations. I saved a lot of money doing this. At the time, I was working in an office so I was actually able to print most of my invitations at work.😉 It also helped that my good friend (and bridesmaid) to design our invitations. I asked her to do something simple and she put this together.
6. Use Michaels coupons.
For the paper and envelopes, I used those 40% or 50% off coupons from the newspaper ads or by downloading a coupon on my phone. I don’t believe I should ever pay full price for anything at Michaels. If you have a smart phone, downloading a coupon should be a habit whenever you walk into the store.
7. Pick a venue that doesn’t require decorations.
Andrew and I wanted our wedding to be simple. Of course a wedding with lots of people can never truly be simple, but we tried to keep the amount of DIY decorations and bringing outside vendors in to a minimum.The church we chose was so large and grand that I felt that decoration would’ve taken away from the beauty of it. The Scottish Rite is a beautiful building itself with the ornate ceiling. We did end up getting chivari chairs and uplighting, but I spent no time or money on any other decorations.
8. Recycle clothes.
We wore items we already had in our closet. Andrew wore his brother’s tie, a suit he bought on sale in Korea, and shoes that he wore many times before. My shoes were previously used for Genny’s wedding and my cheongsam was my mom’s.
9. Don’t give out programs.
We decided to put all of the information for ceremony on a board instead of buying expensive paper and printing things. Instead I got this gray foam board and a white paint marker. We borrowed the stands from CCHS (perks of being the principal’s daughter-in-law!)
10. Use baby’s breath for flowers.
We used baby’s breath for our table centerpieces. I wanted live flowers for our centerpieces and baby’s breath is generally cheaper than other live plants. I was actually surprised how well it turned out.
11. Reuse the flowers.
We reused flowers from the ceremony for the reception. Reuse flowers from ceremony for the reception. This was a trick I learned from my time at the Fairmont. I used my bridesmaids bouquets to a bit of color to our cake table.
This works sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t. Most of the time, prices are non-negotiable, but some vendors are able to match prices or include a special service for free. Or, sometimes, your friend or family might know someone who knows someone. You never know…
There are a lot of articles about how to save money for a wedding out there, but many of the suggestions they gave were not realistic for us so I thought I’d share some practical ways we saved money.