Self-funded wedding budget: one couple's lessons learned

February 16 | Guest post by Katie

We got some great ideas for self-funding a wedding, including this response to this post. Here's how reader Katie handled her mostly self-funded wedding budget…)

Self-funded wedding budget: one couple's lessons learned
Money-Mouth Face Emoji Patch from Embroidery Lab

We got married October 2016, and we paid for 90% of the wedding. We have a few self-funded wedding budget tips and examples for making it work when you're on your own budget. The biggest thing I found for saving is networking and negotiating. Ask everyone you know who they know in the DJ/catering/photography/hair/makeup business and go from there. Pro tip: Always ask if you can get a discount for paying cash.

Most importantly for us was picking our "thing" — the one thing you want to splurge on/don't want to have a wedding without. For me, that was the photographer. For my husband, that was the honeymoon. Over half of our budget was spent on those two things. It made it completely rational for us to DIY, cut costs, eliminate extras if we were getting our priority things for the effort.

Where we saved

(Note: everything here is listed in Canadian dollars, so their $10,000 wedding was more like $7500 USD)

Venue: We prettied up a Legion event hall. It was awesome as my father-in-law is a member and it cost us $300 total.

My dress: I bought off the rack and saved a bunch.

Catering: Luckily, we had a couple of local caterers in mind and what we wanted for food was cheap (BBQ). We paid the caterers to bring the hot food and drop it off, with no servers. I hired three local girls through Facebook to man the buffet, clear dishes, etc. I made coleslaw and bought my desserts at Costco.

DJ: Though my aunt paid for most of this as our gift, I negotiated a good price after finding an amazing DJ though friends. Finding vendors through friends can get you a decent discount! I saved the tax plus $100 off of her services because we had a mutual friend.

Flowers: Bought through a connection of mine, I opted for high quality fake flowers. I did all of my flowers for about 25% of what it would have cost me

Decor: My husband made our ceremony backdrop (which doubled as a head table backdrop), and I made our centrepieces. There was minimal decor otherwise.

Hair and Makeup: My sister-in-law did our hair (as our gift) and a co-worker's wife did our makeup for a discounted rate.

Cake: made by a friend as our gift.

Stationery and programs: I made our save-the-dates and invitations on PicMonkey (get organized and utilize their free 30 day trial for extra features to get everything done within a month for free!). I sent the STDs electronically and printed our invitations at Staples (total cost was less than $100).

Thank-you cards: I made them by hand, using wallet-sized photos of us and borrowed rubber stamping supplies. I bought blank cards and scrapbook corners from a craft store (~$75).

Most importantly, we had the support and help of so many family and friends. Our wedding party, family, and friends helped us with construction, setup, tear down, and management of many of the little details. Accept help as it is offered, but make sure there are no strings attached!

Surprise extras (they add up!)

  • I made my headpiece (cost: $15, Savings, probably $75 or more)
  • Wore blue shoes from Wal-Mart
  • My bridesmaids wore black dresses they already owned
  • I used my credit card rewards points to buy anything and everything I could
  • We kept the guest list under 100
  • Homemade favours
  • Free guest book (got a freebie code from Shutterfly by signing up for their email list)
  • Linens off of Amazon
  • We set a budget and bought our rings in February on sale (mine was more than $300 off!)

More self-funded wedding tips:

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  1. As a fellow Canadian with plans to get engaged after finishing grad school, this post gives me hope. Thanks, OP <3

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