At time of publication, Michael and I are getting ready to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. Years later, I still remember small details of our day. The special words my dad whispered to me just before he walked me down the aisle. The look on Mike’s face when he saw me for the first time. The disaster with the sparklers as we left the party! However, when the smoked cleared (literally!!), we were left with each other. Friends and family left. The wedding vendors collected their checks and the party was over. Done. Finished. Wrapped Up.
This is where a lot of couples emotional and nostalgic because let’s face it: there was a lot of time, energy, planning and money that went into entertaining those you love the most for a four to five hour event. But why get sad; the best is yet to come – the HONEYMOON!
Have you noticed that a growing percentage of couples do not take this opportunity to get away with their new spouse? Were you one of those couples? I get it – you just spent a lot of money on wedding and you probably have to get back to work in order to make more money!
(A lack of) Time and money are deciding factors when taking a honeymoon, but aren’t these usually the biggest factors when planning a trip? It’s really nothing new.
I’m not a wedding planner or remotely close to qualifying as a financial guru. But I do know this: Michael and I planned and paid for 90% of our wedding and 100% of our honeymoon. (Well, if I’m honest, it was not 100% – but I’ll touch on that in Part 3 of this series.) We worked hard and saved harder and prioritized a honeymoon. It was our gift to each other and a trip that was non-negotiable; it was the way we wanted to start our life together.
The purpose of this post is to help you (OK, mostly the bride) decrease your wedding budget so that you can increase your honeymoon budget! I put together a list of 10 ways Michael and I kept our budget down while we planned and paid for our wedding.
This might be a good place to mention that we went on an 11 day international honeymoon to Belize and Peru one day after tying the knot? Yes, these ideas work!
1.Keep your guest list to the absolute bare minimum. This is the single most handy tip for keeping costs down – bar none.
2. Create your own stationery (invitations, programs, etc.) instead of having custom paper goods designed. You can save even more by creating an E-vite and bypassing the cost of postage.
3. Floral arrangements can cost an arm and a leg. Instead, buy flowers from a wholesaler and create your own bouquets, boutonnieres and center pieces (flowers or otherwise). You can make this into something really fun! I made a day out of it and had friends and family over, popped a bottle of wine, and had a great time while saving lots of money.
4. Our wedding was on a Friday afternoon and my brother and his wife got hitched on a Thursday. Who says the wedding has to be on Saturday? Besides, you can save some serious coin on everything from catering to your band to the venue itself!
5. Come to think of it, why do you even have to get married Get married at night? Save even more money by holding your nuptials at an “off time.” A morning ceremony and mid-day round of mimosas at brunch sound pretty good to me!
6. Skip the super expensive spa day before the wedding and have a DIY spa day with your friends instead. Pinterest will be your best friend on this one.
7. Find a local beauty school and have the students do your hair and make-up for your big day. Only the advanced students are allowed to do this type of appointment (in most schools). Just double check with the individual institution; I’m definitely not suggesting you let yourself be glammed up by a rookie for your big day!
8. Choose a buffet, over plated meals, as they are usually cheaper and people can choose their portion size. You know what I’m talking about! Ladies, we typically have too much food while guys, you always want seconds. Just let people choose how much they want instead, and save yourself a little cash in the process.
In Lima, Peru during our 11-day, international honeymoon.
9. Negotiate prices with your vendors; you won’t know if you don’t ask. This is also another reason to have your wedding at an off time or on an off day as you have way more negotiating power.
10. I love the “Something borrowed, something blue, something old, something new” tradition, but why not let your “somethings” be your accessories, instead of buying new. Brides, you know you are going to want accessories on your big day, so why not save a little coin. You can even double dip and wear a great pair of blue pumps you already have (old and blue) or borrow a friend’s sapphire earrings (borrowed and blue). No matter the combinations, don’t fall victim to those little extras that up to a big total.
Many people often say “If I had to do it all over again, I’d go to Town Hall!” With the cost of a wedding these days, it’s no wonder more people don’t. That being said, I would not trade the memories we made with our closest family and friends on our BIG DAY for anything!
Michael and I just prioritized a honeymoon from the very beginning and sacrificed the small things which in turn made a big increase in our honeymoon budget.