We asked real brides to share their best budget-trimming tricks. Here's what they said!
We called a local art college and asked the staff to recommend a photography student for our wedding. The guy we chose had won awards, was eager to please, and charged thousands less than many of the professionals we considered.
—KIRI W., 44, ORLANDO, FL
We got married in a villa in the Dominican Republic. The villa chef prepared the meal—a resort would have charged far more. And since it was a destination bash, the guest list filtered itself. Brilliant!
—MELISSA M., 31, PALO ALTO, CA
Instead of hiring a DJ, we asked five musically inclined friends to do it in shifts. I sent them a list of must-plays and do-not-plays, and the rest was up to them. We used Google Docs so they could submit proposed playlists, and bought inexpensive DJ software to ensure that the music sounded professional. They were a hit—and they totally felt like rock stars!
—SYLVIA D., 35, LOS ANGELES
We did my bouquet, my bridesmaids' bouquets, and all the boutonnieres with flowers I got at Costco—they cost a third of the lowest quote I got from a florist. My mother, aunts, bridesmaids, future mother-in-law, and I all sat around my grandmother's dining-room table and put the flowers together. I saved money, my friends and family bonded, and we have great memories from our afternoon of floral design. With all the DIY instructions available online, it was really easy!
—BAYLEE Y., 28, SANTA MONICA, CA
Instead of buying an expensive wedding cake and floral centerpieces, I bought a bunch of small cakes from the local bakery for about $12 each. They were beautifully decorated with flowers, so we used them as table centerpieces. Since they were all different flavors, everyone had a blast sampling different cakes at different tables and chatting with other guests in the process!
—LESLEY G., 39, SAN FRANCISCO