8 Unique Ways You Can Save Money When Planning a Wedding

Last month, I was lucky enough to see two of my favorite people get married in what turned out to be a unique, memorable and extremely personalized wedding

Photo: Unsplash/@meguminachev

Photo: Unsplash/@meguminachev

Last month, I was lucky enough to see two of my favorite people get married in what turned out to be a unique, memorable and extremely personalized wedding. I have known one of the grooms for almost 10 years, and it was a pleasure to see the two men make their vows to each other. The wedding itself was incredibly special, not only because of the great couple getting married but also because of the love shared between everyone who bore witness to the union.

As I danced the night away at my first gay wedding (or, let’s just say, the first non-straight wedding that I’ve attended), I couldn’t help but glance around the room for inspiration for my very own. Just a month before my friends tied the knot, I got engaged to my partner. We had been talking about it for months, and finally decided to make things “official.” Although we are still early in the wedding planning process, there is one thing that I know: We don’t want to spend a ton of money on a wedding, but we do want to make things special. Taking a cue from one of my best friends’ wedding, here are eight things that I learned about saving money from attending a gay wedding:

Think outside the box when it comes to dessert.

Everyone expects the newly married couple to cut into a big ol’ cake at the end of the night, but it’s also true that wedding cakes are one of the biggest expenses that you can expect to spend on your big day. Instead, my friends opted to serve cookies from their favorite bakery. They also surprised guests with an ice cream truck, which stopped by at the end of the night. It was completely unexpected, and completely wonderful. Having warm cookies and cold ice cream at their wedding was completely unique and two desserts that I know meant a lot to them as a couple. Why spend money on cake when you can spend money on something more “you” instead?

wp_*postsYou don’t need to spend a fortune on flowers.

Flowers are gorgeous, and typical at weddings. They’re everywhere, really, from the ceremony to the tables at your reception. But wedding flowers also cost a lot of money, which is why I was glad to see that my friends were able to bypass this expense by instead using some beautiful plastic flowers at the rehearsal dinner and succulents at the reception. Not only did succulents make the table tops a bit more gender neutral for the two grooms, but they were also a unique touch that ended up saving big bucks.

wp_*postsDonations to a good cause are always welcome. 

One of the best things that I’ve seen done at any wedding, really, is when the couple opts to donate money instead of distributing favors. Sure, everyone likes a pretty candle with the date or some pricey Jordan almonds, but that’s not what will make anyone remember how incredible the wedding was. Instead, my friends donated money to an organization that meant a lot to them — and let everyone know as another surprise during the reception. It was an incredibly generous gesture, and one that I am not likely to forget anytime soon.

wp_*postsPrioritize making memories with loved ones.

One of the biggest expenses of having a wedding is always going to be photography and videography. Although I would love to tell you that my friends had a genius way of saving money on this one, I don’t. That is because, instead of cutting corners on this expense, they made it a priority to instead find the best people to capture all of the important memories. The truth is that some wedding expenses are simply worth it, and this is one of them. Knowing that prioritizing is key helps me to not feel guilty about spending money on this one for my own wedding, since these are the photos that will truly last a lifetime.

wp_*postsA good suit always goes a long way.

There’s no two ways about it: A wedding dress is expensive and men are lucky because all they have to do is rent a tux. However, I personally never understood why renting a tux was better than buying one, which is why I was impressed when my friends opted to buy two very special suits for their wedding instead. Although I still have the expense of buying a wedding dress, I’m encouraging my groom to buy himself a suit that he loves. It’ll be something that he can wear long after our wedding to other important occasions. Plus, we can reminisce about our big day whenever he puts it on again.

wp_*postsDon’t be afraid to enlist some help from your guests.

Look, weddings can be overwhelming. I’ve heard countless stories from other brides and grooms who had to run around like madmen and women in the days before their wedding. I’m afraid that there’s no way to truly avoid this. But what you CAN do is not be afraid to ask for help. Although you might feel as if you have enough help from your wedding party, there’s no harm in enlisting some additional help from some select wedding guests. To be honest, I enjoyed coming up to my friend’s wedding a day early to help them dot some last-minute i’s and t’s. It’ll take some stress off of you as a couple and you can even make the whole thing a fun pizza party.

wp_*postsPersonalize your ceremony to what works for YOU.

I’m not planning to get married in a church. In fact, since both me and my groom are atheists, there will be no religion of any sort at our wedding. However, that doesn’t mean that having religion in your wedding is a bad thing. The one thing I learned from my friends is that your ceremony should be unique to who you are as individuals and as a couple. For my friends, that meant sitting everyone in a circle (instead of the traditional left side/right side set-up) and having their best friends officiate the ceremony. You can actually save some money by having your friends ordained and performing the ceremony itself somewhere for free, like a city park or beach (as long as you get the proper permits, of course).

wp_*postsIn the end, just be prepared to enjoy the day.

Let me be honest: My fiancé and I are much more concerned with spending money on our honeymoon than we are on the wedding. For us, starting our married life in debt just isn’t an option, but I also understand why people want lavish, Instagram-worthy weddings. There’s nothing wrong with either, as long as you are comfortable with whatever decision you’re making and can hopefully afford it. But at the end of the day, the only thing you should be worrying about on your wedding day is enjoying it. By this time, you’ve done everything you could to ensure that your friends and family have a good time and that you maybe even save a little bit of money — so stop fretting, stressing or otherwise letting your anxiety get the best of you. Just stand in front of your partner, pledge your love and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

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