Weddings can be daunting just because of the sheer cost. It’s not like brides-to-be are used to the prices that are thrown at them once they start with the planning process so it can get overwhelming. Vendors like to guilt-trip you into needing certain things because it’s your big day, once in a life, your princess event. But don’t let that get to you!
The majority of people I know, myself included, have planned weddings on tiny budgets, so it’s very possible to get everything you want without compromising much on the quality and the ideas you have in mind. It is exhausting, let that be known, but it’s more than just feasible!
Here’s how we did it:
1. If you can, try to have the wedding out of the typical wedding season of the summer. By just telling people that our wedding was at the end of September, the prices really went down on venue rental and even flowers and the dress! Crazy, I know!
2. When it comes to venue selection, always argue for the better package. We saved a lot because our venue offered us everything we needed. We only needed to get the florist and the photographer which saved us a lot on time and money! They had a deal with several caterers (they also took care of the wedding cake) so we got to choose who to work with while not having to worry about the DJ and the light and other things.
3. Rent the dress- saves you almost half the money and you don’t have to worry about storage later on after the big day!
4. I’ve found that flowers can be expensive, especially if you’re picky about the kind you want. I let my florist take charge of the types he included, and only told him what colors I wanted (and that I wanted tulips in my bouquet). I guess it also saves a lot if your venue is naturally beautiful so you don’t need much to transform it. You can also go for non-flower modes of decoration.
5. Speaking of non-flower decor, you’ll be astounded by how much you can find at wholesale stores (bil jemle) or places like Karout. I was amazed and so many of our decor came from these places.
6.Ask around A LOT. It’s tiring and time-consuming but it’s the best way to go to make sure you’re not being scammed by the vendors (They like to play on the fact that we brides-to-be do not have any prior experience with wedding planning). If you ask around and do your research, you can negotiate a better deal.
7. If it’s not a big deal, not having alcohol at the wedding helps a lot with the ultimate cost. Apparently, a lot of manpower is involved other than the price of the actual product so that elevates the cost. We were able to bring in more food because we went with an alcohol-free wedding.
8. I really wanted an international set dinner but this is the most expensive of them all! The cheapest is Lebanese set dinner with the mezza already set up on the table, but you can always get an international buffet with the classical selections and some live stations like we did.
9. It goes without saying that having a smaller number of invitees cuts down on cost. Less food and drink, less space, less flowers, less favors, etc… But I heard that some venues will strike up a deal with you if you have big numbers. It truly depends so you have to ask and bargain like I said above. What I loved about our venue was that it’s made up of several spaces, so we rented the smallest one and still got 3/4th of the whole venue. The large space where they typically do weddings was used to take photos before the people arrived. So we didn’t compromise at all on having the place we wanted.
10. DIY isn’t always a cheap option as the internet has you believing. We tried to do table numbers ourselves but we never got close to the result we wanted. But if you have people who can do you favors (like friends who are photographers or designers or even a DJ), try to call them in. I actually had my bridesmaids be my hostesses instead of hiring someone to direct people to their places. It ended up being a fun experience for them and they were happy to do it (or so they told me).
11. You’ll go over budget at some point when you least expect it. For us, it was the cost of printing the wedding invitations that went overboard but there wasn’t much we could do at this point- it was the very last thing left for the wedding. We just had to accept it and move on.