I’m a planner and a saver, so planning my wedding a few years ago was the typical mix of exhilarating and stressful when you consider the wedding premium placed on everyday party objects.
The wedding premium is when the price automatically increases just by being classified for a wedding. For instance:
House warming, birthday party, graduation invitations: $0.50 – $1.00 per card
Wedding invitations: $6.00 per card
You get the idea. So here are some tips on how to avoid the wedding premium:
Find a dress you like and order it in white.
This tip came from a friend who posted about it on Facebook, inspiring today’s blog post!
Arrange your own flowers.
I do not possess the talent know as flower arranging, but I have some friends who do, and their wedding flower bouquets and arrangements have been gorgeous! If you have that skill or a close friend with that skill, hit up the local grocery store or Costco to get season flowers a few days before your ceremony and save yourself a ton of money.
Outer envelopes are not necessary.
Have you ever received a wedding invitation and opened it to find another envelope containing the invitation, response card, and response card envelope? Why the double envelope? I actually Googled this when I was engaged, and it allegedly dates back to the Pony Express days (might be an exaggeration) when mail tended to get dirty during transport. To preserve the cleanliness of the invitation, people would use an outer envelope like a rain jacket. Now that we get our mail delivered in climate controlled vehicles to little rainproof boxes, outer envelopes are just extra paper.
If people are going to throw it away, avoid it or look for inexpensive options.
Similar to outer envelopes, I didn’t want to spend a significant money on anything people were going to throw away. The two biggest things that came to mind were invitations and programs. While I might keep them and frame them, my guests won’t, so I didn’t want the paper products to break the bank.
I used Vistaprint for both. They always have coupon codes, and their prices are often below other printing services as well. I used a wedding invitation template and designed my programs myself. It was a lot of trial and error with Microsoft word, but I pulled it off! The programs were my favorite because I used the “rack card” product for programs. This was my greatest hack in terms of spending way less money than was expected since the template for wedding programs were significantly more expensive.
Other options: you can also use emailed invitations which are free and there’s nothing for guests to throw away. If you want to have physical invitations that go in the mail and want them to look nice, consider enlisting the help of a friend with graphic design skills or hiring one on Upwork or another peer to peer network.
Keep an eye on stamp prices.
If you go the route of mailing invitations and include pre-stamped return envelopes, the cost can add up quickly! Luckily the government announces forever stamp price increases well in advance of them taking place, so you can save 2-3 cents per invitation if you buy stamps before the price increase. As the name suggests, they are good forever, and depending on the size of your wedding, you could save over $100.
Decide what you care about.
This is obviously a catch-all, but it can be overwhelming to create an event that lives up to the expectations of all of your guests. Luckily, you don’t have to! You (and the person you’re marrying) and the only one(s) who need to be satisfied with the day.
I struggled with the decision between real dishes and plastic (but the nice-looking plastic that almost convinces you it’s real). The price differential was extreme, not to mention the fact that actual dishes have an additional cleaning fee, run the risk of being broken, etc. I finally decided to go with plastic because if someone was going to judge me negatively as a person based on my cutlery, they weren’t the type of person I would invite/want at my wedding anyway.
There will be things you care about, though, and that’s ok! It’s just important to remember that the only things you actually need to get married are an officiant and someone who also wants to marry you.