From flowers to the venue to the dress, there are always areas where couples can save. No one knows this more than someone who sees hundreds of weddings a year—a wedding venue owner.
Here Avo Petrossian, owner of Blush in Los Angeles, reveals nine budget-friendly wedding tips he’s heard from recent weddings.
Take Advantage of Non-Profit Bridal Salons
Non-profit bridal salons may not be extremely well known, but boy are they helpful. You can get a gorgeous, only-worn-once designer wedding dress for a fraction of the cost that they would be new.
“Our first bride of the summer got her dream dress in a non-profit bridal salon,” says Petrossian. “It looked brand-new, and she looked stunning.”
Most big cities will have a non-profit bridal salon, such as The Brides Project in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Brides for a Cause in Portland, Oregon, and The Bridal Garden in New York City. And not only can you get a discounted gown, these non-profits give back to charities. Make sure to check around for non-profits near you.
Tackle the Invites Yourself
A great way to save some cash is on save-the-dates and invitations. Couples can do it pretty easy themselves—it just takes a little time. Most people know at least one person who can use Photoshop (if they don’t know it themselves), and you can always pull out the “this can be your wedding gift to us” card if you can find someone to make a printable PSD for you.
“Our couples make their own invites all the time,” confirms Petrossian. “They love it because it saves money and they also have more creative control over how the invites look.”
Check Out Local Photography Students
This goes for videography, too. Just because they are young and inexperienced doesn’t mean that they’ll do a bad job. Find students who are eager to build up their portfolio, and they will do it for nearly nothing—if not nothing at all.
Just make sure it’s not their very first wedding. They need to have done at least a couple, and make sure you can still look at some of their work. You should also go over a list of shots that you will definitely want so that they’re fully aware of what they can’t miss.
“Our last wedding, the couple had two cinematography students filming and two photography students taking photos,” Petrossian says. “The four of them did it for the use of the photos in the portfolios and a beer each.”
Honeyfund, Honeyfund, Honeyfund
“The last couple who got married in our venue went the Honeyfund route,” says Petrossian. “If you pretty much already have everything you need, rather than wedding gifts, consider setting up a Honeyfund account. If people want to give for your wedding, they can contribute to your Honeyfund and it may even be enough to help cover the entire wedding costs. Technically it’s supposed to be for the honeymoon, but couples can use the money for whatever they want.”
Select an All-Inclusive Venue
If you choose a wedding venue where you can hold your ceremony and the reception, chances are you’ll just have to pay one price, instead of a lot of separate costs for tables, chairs, a caterer, a bar, and sound equipment.
“Having everything in one place does save the bride and groom a lot of money,” says Petrossian.
Give it Up for Amazon
One of our recent brides wore a stunning wedding gown that she got for $200 on Amazon,” says Petrossian. “She took it to her seamstress for a few alterations, and that was about $30. So her dress, total, was about $250 with shipping. Quite a difference from the usual $3,000 that dresses typically cost.”
Choose a Non-Traditional Date
This is probably one of the most well-known money-saving wedding tips, but it bears repeating because it can knock thousands off your venue fee. Go with an off-month, off-day date, like a weekday in September. Yes, it may be a little inconvenient for your guests, but they will understand that you’re trying to save money to begin your lives together. It can almost save you half the fee.
Get Married on Family Property
“This one is cheating a bit, because it’s a tip from one of the bridesmaids, not the bride,” says Petrossian. “She said that she and her husband got married on family property rather than renting out a place and ended up saving lots of money, and enjoyed having her wedding in a meaningful place. She also mentioned that they got their alcohol and appetizers from Costco.”
Make Your Own Bouquets
“A bride we had last month had the most beautiful flowers,” Petrossian says, “And when we complimented them, she said she and her bridesmaids made the bouquets themselves to save money. She bought bulk amounts of her favorite flowers, then held a ‘wine night with the girls’ where they sat and made their own bouquets. They were gorgeous.”