Consider comfort food.
Brilliant Earth: Roast chicken and mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, delicious sandwiches—many (probably most) people prefer these simple pleasures to pricier delicacies like filet mignon and lobster, so keep that in mind when planning your menu.
Evergreen Bridal: Absolutely – and get creative! I always thought it would be so delicious and fun to have a breakfast-for-dinner buffet; bacon, eggs, benedicts, potatoes…
Serve it family style.
Brilliant Earth: Buffets are the most affordable option, but if you want a seated dinner you can shave some money off the budget by having food served on large platters. You may also waste less food since people will be able to serve themselves only what they’ll eat.
Evergreen Bridal: I have actually never been to a wedding that has done this, so I don’t have much perspective, but seems like a great way to allow your guests to get to know the people at their table and to eliminate the risk of being wasteful with too much food. Since you are buying per table, if someone doesn’t show up, I’m sure the table will handle eating their portion and not let it go to waste.
Invest in a monogram stamp.
Brilliant Earth: To stylishly and affordably personalize wedding details, from invitations to place cards to thank you notes, have a stamp made of your first initials and any other details like the wedding date or a favorite symbol. You can find lots of options for monogram stamps on Etsy.
Evergreen Bridal: I’m not too sure how this saves money (as it isn’t necessary to monogram your whole wedding) but I do agree it’s a great idea. I used mine on not only on the invites, but the bridal shower thank you cards as well as wedding thank you cards. Plus – if it’s just your initials, you can continue use long after the wedding has come and gone (tear).
Serve up a dessert buffet.
Brilliant Earth: A wallet-friendly trend your guests are sure to love: Offering a dessert bar instead of the expected elaborate cake. Ask close friends and relatives to make favorite desserts for the event—think pies, cookies, or an old family recipe of any kind—to add an extra-sweet touch to your sweets course.
Evergreen Bridal: Not only is this wallet friendly, but it is usually preferred by guests. I am sure there are some people who love cake, I mean, who doesn’t love frosting, but for what you pay for those massive cakes, I can’t say I think it’s worth it. We went the mini donut route, but it would be so cute to have a candy bar, mini pies, family desserts handmade by different members of your family, a waffle bar, s’more station, even mini cakes, cupcakes or cake pops. Plus – if you want a cutting of the cake photo, just pick up a little one for you and your new groom!
Pare down the cake.
Brilliant Earth: If you do go with a traditional cake, decorate it with a few flowers from your florist rather than with elaborate designs made of fondant. Labor intensive decoration is what can make wedding cakes so pricey.
Evergreen Bridal: Yes, plus simple is just so much more elegant anyway. Save the crazy cakes for your future children’s bday parties. Lately I have seen such beautiful “unfrosted” wedding cakes – very rustic and probably tastes better than all that plastic-y fondant anyway.
Use DIY paper decorations.
Brilliant Earth: Stylish paper flowers, garlands, table décor and more can be crafted by you (or a crafty pal) and tossed in the recycling bin after the wedding. For ideas, check out this slide show of paper wedding decorations.
Evergreen Bridal : Yes, and no – you don’t want it to look arts and craftsy, but I definitely encourage anyone to make as much as you can yourself – IF, you can do it well. Paper projects can risk looking a little grade-schoolish if you don’t take the time to do it well. So – just make sure you know what you are doing. If you pull it off, I have no doubt your guests will be impressed.
Be your own DJ.
Brilliant Earth: Listen to exactly the songs you like by subscribing to Spotify Premium (just $10 or so per month), creating a free wedding playlist and connecting a laptop to your venue’s sound system—just make sure there is reliable Wifi and ask a music-savvy friend to keep an ear on it.
Evergreen Bridal : No, don’t be your own DJ, bad idea. It’s one thing to pick good music, it’s another to be a DJ. DJ’s are the Emcees of the wedding, keep the event moving, and keep an eye and ear on the vibe of the night, picking the perfect moments to move from cocktail hour music, to dinner tunes and into some bump and grind. One accidental push of shuffle on your Spotify and you are suddenly walking down the aisle to “Turn Down for What?”. Besides that, good DJs usually don’t play thru a whole song, they seamlessly move into the next song, keeping the party going without a lull. They remind you to toss your bouquet, fling the garter, and enjoy your first dance as husband and wife. A great DJ really has control of the night, and you want them to. I wouldn’t cut any corners on this one. However, if money is too tight for a DJ, still don’t do it yourself – ask a friend and family member to be in charge – you should be in charge of nothing that day.
Set up a “selfie” photo booth.
Brilliant Earth: Rather than hiring a professional photo booth company, set up a DIY station filled with cheap fun props and a digital camera or a Polaroid, and instruct guests to snap themselves (you can share the photos online later).
Evergreen Bridal: We did something like this at our wedding. With our homemade fabric fringe backdrop we had a camera set up 50% of the time and had a family member running it, and the rest of the time left it up to the guests to snap iphone photo. However, I do think the photobooths that are available to rent now are so much fun, and what a fun favor for your guests to take home. People love photos of themselves, and it’s something to do throughout the night. But – again, when looking to save money I would say if this is something you can DIY and do it well, then go for it!
Give edible favors.
Brilliant Earth: Instead of shelling out for favors that your guests might never use, give eco-friendly edible favors like small jars of local honey, bags of muffins or scones for the next morning or homemade cookies or truffles they can nibble on the drive home. (You could also skip favors entirely).
Evergreen Bridal: To save money here, I would say just don’t give out a favor. Unless you have something special that you are dying to hand out, leave the Jordan Almonds at home.
Buy your wedding rings online.
Brilliant Earth: Online jewelers can offer lower prices than brick and mortar stores without sacrificing quality, and usually offer a wider variety of rings. At Brilliant Earth we have a huge selection of wedding ring styles for both women and men, including custom wedding bands, matching wedding bands, antique wedding bands and more.
Evergreen Bridal: Now why in the world would you do that? He needs to give that diamond (or whatever stone) a good inspection and be able to examine the ring in real life to ensure the quality. I would steer clear of ordering online – unless they have an incredible return policy and you have it inspected by a jeweler once you receive. Not sure ordering online is necessarily cheaper. If you are looking at spending less on the ring, I would just choose a ring without a large stone, or even a stone at all. A simple band is beautiful! No need for anything flashy unless that is what you want and can afford. Wear the ring for you, and for your hubby, not for other people.
Brilliant Earth: Simply skip wedding features that don’t feel important to you—just because other people have printed menu cards or towering cakes doesn’t mean you should do the same. You’ll save money, slash stress, and your wedding will be even lovelier when you focus your budget and attention on the aspects of the event that you truly value.
Evergreen Bridal: This is the most important of all. You need love, commitment, witnesses and a signed piece of paper to get married. Everything else is extra. Unless you want to, there is no need to follow ANY traditions, you can do whatever you want and still walk away from the night (or afternoon, or morning) married – nothing else is necessary.