WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: Saving on wedding costs

Posted June 21, 2012


Wedding season is upon us but you don't have to break the bank to be joined in wedded bliss. Here are some thoughts on having a frugal wedding. Please share your ideas as well!

* Have a morning or afternoon wedding to save on the cost of a more formal dinner meal and the more expensive evening wedding hall rental. If you can swing a weekday evening wedding, the costs go down even more. Saturday evening events are usually the most expensive when it comes to venue rental.

* Get creative on the venue including looking for a location in a nearby town that may be less expensive. For instance, we have a large family event in August. We are using a venue in Clayton because the rental is much less than similar venues in Cary and Raleigh.

* Borrow or rent a dress or buy a used dress at a consignment store. Why spend a month's mortgage payment on a dress that you will only wear once?

* Don't serve alcohol and your costs will drop significantly. For the event I am hosting in August, we are serving tea, soda, coffee and water. The caterer is letting me get the sodas and they will serve them.

* Do your own hair, makeup, wedding favors and centerpieces. If you have family or friends who can help, don't be afraid to ask for their assistance. Your cousin who has a knack for decorating might be the perfect person to help with creating frugal centerpieces. For our August event, I am using vases from a friend who just hosted her daughter's wedding and buying them for about 20% of the retail cost. I'll use them again when we have another similar function in 2 years and then sell them to someone else.

* Play CD's instead of hiring a live band. Have a friend DJ the party with music you have selected.

* Have a smaller wedding cake and then a less expensive sheet cake in back to serve from. That's what we are doing for our August event.

* Don't invite everyone you have ever known since the day you were born. Keeping the guest list under control will keep costs much more reasonable.

* Keep it simple and have fun!

What other ideas do you have for a frugal wedding or other large event?


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  • sunandsea Jun 25, 2012

    tinapowell.....I have my list together, of wedding stuff to sell, and will email to you tonight, after work. Some examples are: for 48" round cake table, I have 108" round white satin Tablecloth (to the floor) & 90" round satin eggplant/purple that I used as an overlay tablecloth.....$15 for both.
    55 satin-white universal chair covers....$95
    15 78" round Eggplant/purple polyester tablecloths....$65
    15 120" round ivory/off white polyester tablecloths.....$100
    more items I'll list later, in my email.......thanks.....Kathy

  • Oxymoron02 Jun 24, 2012

    DIY, baby! My sister was invaluable at my wedding.

    She works for the Marriott, and one of her larger duties is event planning. She's also more vain than I. She helped my Mom, a formerly licensed hairdresser, with all the ladies hair. She also did a LARGE amount of decoration and planning.

    Our hall had a bar, and people were welcome to get a mixed drink. We spent about $100 on some local wines from a winery (fun day trip with my Mom and Sis), and an assortment of beers because, with the economy, there were people I knew couldn't afford a cold one and the drive (we got married in SC, several guests from Raleigh).

  • sunandsea Jun 22, 2012

    tinapowell....just now saw your note. Yes, this weekend I will work on gathering all the information and hopefully email to you by Monday, 6-25. Thanks so much......Kathy

  • ladyjuliet1998 Jun 22, 2012

    My husband and I own a catering company in Cary, NC. We have two venues on campus at St. Michael's Catholic Church off High House Rd or we can do off-premise catering at your location. Our menus are online at

    also my two cents on flowers, the Raleigh Farmer's Markets has beautiful floral arrangements for affordable prices. That is where I get all my flowers for Mother's Day and birthdays

  • tinapowell Jun 22, 2012

    Sorry sunandsea, i can't see this morning! Thanks in advance!

  • tinapowell Jun 22, 2012

    Hey sand and sea. My neice is getting married in September and is using purple and orange. Could you email me a list of what you have with the prices, and maybe some pics? Also the number of tablecloths with sizes, etc. My email is Thanks a bunch!

  • Americanpatriot Jun 22, 2012

    My plans for a VERY cheap wedding:
    1. get married in the park at noon on a tuesday.
    2. invite only close family and very close friends
    3. no bridal party
    4. small reception of punch, cake and party foods ( in the same park).
    5. Use silk flowers for the bride/ groom and parents.
    6. Have a friend get officiated online and perform the ceremony. 7. Honeymoon at the lake. 8. Use all the money that would have gone towards a huge stupid fancy wedding to buy a house!


  • hollyh515 Jun 21, 2012

    One place to look for dresses is Bridal Mart in Burlington. I got my dress for under $500. I wanted a unique dress, so I was willing to pay up to $500 but not any more than that. The staff were wonderful!! I would highly recommend this.

  • southern by choice Jun 21, 2012

    I found my daughter's wedding gown at the Salvation Army. We only paid 100 for it and it was gorgeous. Full train, beading and petticoat. Absolutely beautiful.

  • KLW Jun 21, 2012

    Well one reason why I chose to use silk flowers was to be able to still keep the bouquets later as momentos, not have to worry about real flowers wilting that day, etc. There's no need to criticize...everyone has their preference, and many people commented that our flowers looked so real. I have some on my desk at work and people are always stopping at my desk to smell them.