Photos by Pink Penguin Studios

Disclaimer: The photo above does not depict the couples mentioned in this article. It is included solely for illustrative purposes, while certain Reddit threads I discovered online have proven useful.

I was thinking about some great deals we’ve found for our wedding and no one in my world seems as pumped…

So for those who know the ridiculous costs that come with weddings, here are my wedding-deal humble brags! Please share yours too so that I can look for other ways to save!

For us:

  • Photographer is just starting out with weddings and is doing ours at a reduced rate (we are only her second wedding but the first had great pictures)
  • Our photographer has a partner who originally was going to second shoot the wedding to expand her portfolio, little did we know she had been looking at branching into the wedding videography business, so she offered to do our wedding video for $800(!) I think this is where we really lucked out!
  • Venue just opened in July 2022 and was offering reduced rates for the rest of 2022 and all of 2023 (50% off), we also picked an off-season date, which lowered the cost even more (65% off). We looked at probably well over 100 venues online, we contacted probably 30, got quotes from 10. There were some things we refused to compromise on.
  • Working with a local restaurant over a typical caterer. Chef seems more than willing to work with us on cost and told us that he’s not worried about nickel and diming us about every small thing like some caterers do. The restaurant is also doing our dessert, so we are cutting the cost of a cake/cupcakes (quoted at $800)
  • Stumbled on a 50% off sale for a new event rental company and booked our rentals here.
  • Bought a dress off the rack (50% off). It was a sample that had been discontinued.
  • DJ was offering 10% off for 3 months of 2023 and our wedding happened to be during that time.
  • Used wood florals ($700) instead of fresh florals (quoted at $2000) to cut some cost. Also we didn’t think about it until later, but we are getting married in November and fresh flowers would likely die if we had them outside for photographs.

Our venue was an extremely ornate and unusual space dead-center downtown, hosts arts and corporate events all the time, but never hosts weddings.

They therefore don’t come up on wedding venue lists, and also don’t charge wedding venue prices.

It was $4k for a 2-day rental, so we could save money by setting up our own decorations.

It included tables, chairs, sound system, bartender, set-up & tear-down, glassware, valet, up-lighting, linens, lounge furniture, ceremony & reception space, and getting-ready suites, for up to 600 people with no minimum spends.

Instead of Googling “wedding venues”, I just thought about pretty places I’d been before, and reached out to ask about private events.

Found tons of cheaper and more interesting options that way.

I swear I viewed every venue within a specific driving distance in Northern California.

I mean I looked at probably 150 of them.

The one we’re going with is so perfect and gorgeous and special and also will be like $4k total

We booked at a restaurant that has a lovely banquet space. The only cost is the food. There's no venue fee, no fee for having the ceremony on site, no fee for things like linens or cake cutting, etc.

The space has a separate entrance, separate parking lot, a bridal suite, a built-in dance floor, and private bathrooms.

And the dinner menus we had to choose from were $35 and $40 per person. I live in a HCOL state, so I'm celebrating my ass off.

We asked a local mom and pop restaurant if we could rent the place out for our dinner reception. They had done a few holiday parties but never a wedding.

We had a 5 hour restaurant buyout with 2 servers. We had a cocktail hour consisting of boneless wings and charcuterie boards, dinner consisting of chicken parm, pasta, Alfredo, salad, and garlic knots, and beer and wine open bar for 47 people.

Plus 5 pizzas and any leftovers delivered to our house right before they closed (our house is right around the corner from the restaurant) for $2000 including a $500 tip.

They also gave my husband and I a dinner for two gift card as a wedding gift. They set everything up, including the champagne table and allowed me to bring in my own champagne, set up the cookie name tags I made, provided linens and small decorative center pieces, and I could tell they were genuinely excited to be there.

Our guests still rave about the food and they absolutely knocked it out of the park.

Our venue is $750! It's a huge pavilion at the local park. It's secluded and away from the main park, so we won't be out in public.

Plenty of parking, bathrooms, picnic table seating for 225 people (even though we'll have maybe 40 people, hah), electric access.

No vendor restrictions. Alcohol is permitted without any extra fee, though we won't be having any. It's pretty enough that we won't need much in the way of decorations.

The only downside is that we only have 1 day of access, and we have to clean everything up ourselves before we leave.

I'm so excited!!

Bought a $2,000 for $200 at a local store that resells designer dresses that didn’t sell! Even after alterations I paid a total of $500 for my whole dress

My proudest accomplishment is that I got 2 dresses for less than $250.

My ceremony dress was on clearance online from David’s Bridal for $180 with shipping, I was extra lucky because it came in my size and actually doesn’t need alterations.

My reception dress was $60, though it’s just a formal dress rather than specifically being bridal.

I knew from the beginning that the dress wasn’t my priority in the budget but I assumed I’d have to spend more like $500 for a single dress so I’m very pleased.

I feel a little extra having two but I like them for different reasons; my ceremony dress is a lacy vintage ivory with cap sleeves and a tulle mermaid skirt, but the reception dress features the off-shoulder straps and a-line shape I also was drawn to plus it’s black so I get best of both worlds.

I do think I’ve spent more on accessories because I saved on the dresses, but at least the accessories I can wear again.

I got six Birdy Grey bridesmaid dresses for each of my bridesmaids for $20 a piece because I caught a sample sale they had in Vegas!! I was fully prepared to spend $600+ and got the job done for WAY less!

  • My dress was on clearance at $400
  • My jewelry, belt, and veil were from Etsy, and were about $150 total. Shoes $50 from Amazon. It all looked amazing. All Canadian dollars.
  • Got married in February so the venue was a few thousand discounted (and tons of availability to choose from!)
  • All my vendors were available on my dates and willing to throw in some extras because of the Feb date
  • My sister is a graphic designer and did all our invitations, signage, escort cards, etc. and had them printed for cheap at a local printer.
  • Venue was a hotel, and included all tables, chairs, linens, dinnerware, sound system for dj, etc. We spent zero on rentals. We picked a venue whose stock items were cute, so we didn't need chair covers or nicer tablecloths.
  • Got our reception table florals from a bulk flower market that also did events, and arranged all the ceremony and cocktail hour florals myself with Costco florals. Bouquets and bouts were also a Costco package.

Regarding the flowers: I did research and watched some YouTube videos ahead of time and did a small test run, but overall it went great and I had TONS of flowers. Way more than I would have gotten with a regular florist for the same price. I believe I could have done my own centrepieces as well with Costco flowers, but I had a look in mind and wanted garlands with flowers down the long tables, so I got that done for me. Spent just under $2500 CAD (so about $1800 USD) total for both the Costco florals and the reception table arrangements (including delivery and set up) including all the vases and holders, and we were drowning in flowers, with a bunch of extra left over. Most of the florists I contacted wouldn't even sneeze in my direction for less than $3000, with wayyy less product involved.

I was quoted 700$ for a three tiered cake that I would’ve loved for 70 guests, but fucking hell, $700?! I thought that was wack. Instead I got an actual ice cream truck come to our venue instead (no not a kid one, I’ll link it here. ) 500$ for a great photo sesh, a memorable moment, and having everybody happy with a flavor, instead of everyone being stuck with the same cake.

I also couldn’t afford a videographer, they were quoting me $2500+ for it and we just couldn’t swing it. Instead, I hired a “social media content creator” who was just starting out. So she will be recording my special moments (ceremony, first dance, parent dances), and helping make tik tok transition videos in the morning before the wedding. 350$!!

I also made all of my own signage, including table chart, welcome sign, guestbook, hand outs, signature drinks, invites, and save the dates. If I ordered what I wanted on Etsy (which I copied and did myself on Canva), I would’ve spent easily $750+… instead, in all I spent $145!!

I could go on and on with my good finds, like my knock off $900 jimmy choo shoes for $50, my DIY boudoir shoot that would’ve cost $800 was $40, and all my fake eucalyptus and greenery that would’ve cost me majorly but instead grabbed for 5$ on Facebook marketplace…

We 2023 brides don’t mess around, that’s for sure!

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