How to Stick to Your Wedding Budget for Your Hair, Makeup, Cake, Dress, Flowers, and Venue

Updated on February 10, 2018
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Being there, done that, and decided couples need to learn how to ignore others opinions.

Wedding tips for saving money
Wedding tips for saving money | Source

These days planning a wedding is an expensive business. When you start adding up the costs for the venue, the reception, the food, the outfits, the music and the photographer and/or videographer, you can see an endless list of expenses ahead of you.

When you are planning your wedding, don't be surprised if everyone you know has an opinion on your choice of venue, menu, guest list and even the type of ceremony you choose. Some people will have good ideas, but don't forget that this is your wedding day not theirs.

Wedding Costs

Be aware that having a wedding at the weekend will cost more than a wedding held during the weekend.

Also if you have your wedding in the off season you can sometimes get the venue at a cheaper cost and you might also have a better chance of getting it on that date.

Keep Track of Your Budget

Prior to arranging your wedding, you need to create a budget which will keep track of all your expenditures. You can do this with a cashbook and manually keep track of all your expenses you incur or you can use excel on your computer.

If you have a smart phone most of them can now be linked to your Google accounts or One Drive account and you can link your budget across all your devices. It’s a great tool that you can then use when you are out and about doing wedding tasks at different locations. The bonus of using these tools is that you can update wedding estimates at any time.

Items you Need to Budget for When Planning a Wedding

A budget it vitally important for any type of event you are planning. If you have one you can keep track of what you are spending and what you still need to purchase.
A budget it vitally important for any type of event you are planning. If you have one you can keep track of what you are spending and what you still need to purchase. | Source


Sometimes couples have their wedding ceremony in one venue like a church, park or beach and then have their wedding reception in another venue.

This could mean two deposits for both venues to confirm your booking. Different venues will have different booking conditions. Some might look for a deposit to save that date for you or others might look for a percentage of the total fee upfront and then closer to the date, they will expect another portion of the fee or all of it.

If you are having your reception in a different location to your ceremony, then you might have to wait for the final price till the guest numbers are finalized, and the final menu is chosen.

But it really depends on the venue and each will have different terms and conditions so make sure to read the fine print when booking with them. If for some reason you have to postpone your wedding ceremony and reception, you need to find out how much notice is required and find out how much you can get back of what you have paid.

It's unlikely you will get the whole amount back but you might be able to get a percentage of your money back.

Tips on How To Save Money on your Wedding Venue

  • Have the Wedding in your Home

If you don't want to have your wedding at a venue, then why not have the wedding in your own home or in your parents home. If you have the space, time and man power to help pull this off, then this can be a cheaper option for many people. Having a wedding in your home can be a very intimate affair especially if the numbers are small and only family and friends are invited

  • Rent a Hall

If there is a venue in your town like a community hall or a club hall and they rent this out, then this could be a cheaper option than a hotel. Obviously you would need lots of people to help you set up and decorate the venue prior to the wedding and you would most likely have to purchase your own decorations. But don't let that put you off as many times you can decorate the venue to your tastes and as long as you set a budget on how much you plan on spending on decoration, then it can work out cheaper.

  • Keep it Small

One way you can really keep the cost of your wedding down is to just invite your family. Have a small ceremony and reception on the day of your wedding and then when you come home from your honeymoon, have a party or barbecue to celebrate your wedding with all the rest of your family and friends. You can have the party in your local bar, or rent a room in a hotel and have a buffet.

Choosing your Wedding Cake

There are lots of options when it comes to the type of wedding cake you can have on your wedding day. You can have fruit cake, sponge cake, ice cream cake or even a chocolate fudge cake. The choices are endless. It all depends on the type of filling you have.

Stick with the options that are available from the bakery. Remember that if you go outside the menu options that are available, this will likely cost you more as it will have to be made especially for you. Another thing to consider is the size and number of layers for your wedding cake. The more layers you have, the more the cost will rise.

If you don’t stick to the normal wedding cake design, and decide to have a castle, a car or some other version of a wedding cake then this will also increase the price you have budgeted for your cake.

If you stick to the regular wedding cake design which is having round or square layers, the bottom layer of your wedding cake will be the largest and each layer after will decrease in size.

If you have an idea of the number of people attending your wedding, the bakery can advise you on how many slices you will get from each layer. The bigger the layers the more slices you will get out of it.

Usually 8" to 10" is the diameter of the bottom layers. But if you have more guests, you could increase the diameter. Don't forget you will have a second layer or third layer that will be 2" smaller than the bottom one and so on.

So if you have over a hundred guests you will most likely need two layers if you go for a 8" or 10" if you wanted to have leftovers for you and your partner, your parents and your siblings.

Remember to ask the caterers at the reception who will slice your cake to put these portions aside for you to pick up later.

Wedding cupcakes tower.
Wedding cupcakes tower. | Source
Two tier wedding cake.
Two tier wedding cake. | Source
Three tier weddng cake
Three tier weddng cake | Source
Single wedding cake with cupcakes
Single wedding cake with cupcakes | Source

Tips on How to Save Money on your Wedding Cake

  • Ask a friend or family member who bakes to make it as a gift.and they are willing Wedding cakes are expensive and if you can get someone you know is a great baker to make one, you can be generous and purchase all the ingredients for them. Then all you need to decide on is the type and size of cake you want.
  • Get another person to decorate the cake you have already made. Some people are great at making cakes but have no experience at icing and decorating it. Get a third party like someone at your local bakery who will ice and decorate the wedding cakes. Some bakeries are willing to offer a service to ice and decorate your wedding cake even though they haven't made it. Give them a good time frame to do this service as they will have other orders that are priority. This option can cut the price down significantly and you will have a very professional looking wedding cake on your wedding day.
  • If you don't want a wedding cake, then you could instead have cupcakes or mini desserts. You can buy the desserts in the grocery store. If you didn't want to go to the effort of making cupcakes, you can again buy batches in the grocery store, and decorate them yourself. This option could work out cheaper than a wedding cake. If you know someone who would be able to bake and decorate the cupcakes for you, then you should consider this as an option if you want to save money.

Cream filing.
Cream filing. | Source
Colored wedding cake.
Colored wedding cake. | Source
Slices of chocolate wedding cake.
Slices of chocolate wedding cake. | Source

Wedding Cost

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Choosing your Wedding Dress

Most brides have some kind of idea of what type of wedding dress they will wear on their wedding day. But when the time comes to try them on, your idea of what you originally liked can change.

Depending on your body shape, and what parts of your body you love or hate, you will choose a dress style to complement your figure. Remember you need to choose a dress that complements your body and one that makes you look and feel amazing.

Wedding dresses are very expensive and if you shop around you can find one in your budget. But if you are after a certain style of dress from a specific year, then the prices can vary and you might go outside your budget.


How to Save Money on your Wedding Dress

Wedding dresses vary in price and if you don't have a budget, then you can purchase whatever style of dress you want for whatever price. But if you are trying to stick to a budget, then you need to start researching ways that you can get your dream wedding dress for a lower price.

The key to finding a wedding dress at an affordable price is to shop around a few months in advance of your wedding. Ask your friends and family to keep you updated if a store near them is having a sale on. Be sure to check out websites, online bridal designers, and discount sites to get an idea of what you can get within your budget. Be sure to shop around and set up a google alert for sales in your area or a few hours away from where you live.

However if you really want to have a bridal experience, take a day out and go to a bridal bouquet and try on a selection of wedding dresses. You might be extremely lucky and find something you love for the right price.

  • Mother's Wedding Dress

If you mom or grandmother has a wedding dress and it is tradition to pass the dress down from daughter to daughter, then it can be nice to keep this tradition up. You might just need to alter the dress a little bit to fit you better.

  • Discount Websites

If you are good at shopping online and you stick to websites you can trust, then you never know, you might just find the dress you want on here. A lot of the designers are just as good at producing wedding dresses, but they just don't do it on a large scale. The one good thing about purchasing on here is that you can get a dress that looks just as good as a designer knock off.

  • Second Hand Stores

Some times you can get lucky at second hand stores. Some wedding shops will leave in sample dresses and if you are quick, and know the staff, they can let you know when a dress comes in. But the choice and sizes available are limited and this can impact the choices of dresses available to you.

  • Department Stores

Sometimes you might be surprised to see that many large department stores can also sell wedding dresses. You might have to try on a few before you find the right one that works for you but if you check out what they have online prior to going to the store, it can help you eliminate the ones you really do not like. If you find one you really like, but want to change certain aspects of it, you can later on bring it to a dress maker to alter.

  • Wedding Boutique

Some wedding bouquets have sales at certain times of the year, and if you are lucky you might just find the dress that you are looking for. The prices will have been reduced as they are sample dresses that the store want to sell prior to getting in new stock for this season. So sign up to their newsletter and check out their Facebook page to get alerts on upcoming sales.

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Choosing Flowers for your Bouquet

The theme of your wedding will play a part in the type of flowers you choose for your ceremony and your reception. If you have an indoor wedding, then you might decide on other types of decoration besides flowers.

However if you have a church wedding, then you usually have flowers on the altar, at the end of the seats and as you enter the church. It is really a matter of your own choosing.

If you decide to have flowers that are not in season, then you will see an increase in your budget. So talk to your florist and get their advice on what flowers are available that will fit your budget.

Wedding Bouquets with Fresh Flowers

Wedding bouquet with a variety of pink roses.
Wedding bouquet with a variety of pink roses. | Source
Wedding bouquet with red roses and baby's breath flower flower.
Wedding bouquet with red roses and baby's breath flower flower. | Source
Wedding bouquet with selection of coloured flowers.
Wedding bouquet with selection of coloured flowers. | Source
Wedding bouquet with purple flowers.
Wedding bouquet with purple flowers. | Source
Wedding bouquet with white lillies.
Wedding bouquet with white lillies. | Source
Wedding bouquet with pink roses
Wedding bouquet with pink roses | Source

How to Save Money on your Wedding Flowers

There are lots of different ways you can save money on your flowers. Once you have the wedding theme figured out, then all you need to decide on it the type of flowers you want.

You can choose between real flower paper flowers or silk/artificial flowers.

Each of these have pros and cons and depending on where you purchase them, prices can range from very low to extremely high. So if you don't choose real flower, then you really do need to spend a few months sourcing the alternatives from stores and online.

Most couples will choose real flowers for their bouquet and boutonnieres, but there is no harm in mixing things up and choosing silk/artificial and/or paper flowers for other parts of your reception.

Real Flowers

These can be expensive to purchase. If you go the route of purchasing them from a florist, then shop around to see if you can source them at a good price.

Alternative to Florist

If you don't want to spend a fortune on flowers for your bouquet and centrepieces then you can purchase flowers from a grocery store, farmers market or discount store. You can get seasonal flowers at cheaper prices compared to the florist.

If you go this route, you will want to delegate the task of purchasing enough flowers for your reception and/or ceremony to another person. Also you will need to budget time the day before the wedding for yourself or another person who will decorate the venues with the flowers. Also you will need to purchase vases, containers, plant food for the flowers.

A way to save money if looking for vases or containers for the flowers is to visit second hand stores, garage sales and borrow stuff from your family and friends in the months leading up to your wedding.

Silk/ Artificial Flowers

Silk flowers can be just as pretty as real flowers, but they can be expensive, so you need to shop around.

Sometimes local home stores will sell batches of silk flowers. If you wait till a sale is on you will get them at a considerable discount. There are some websites that will sell wholesale but shop around and keep an eye out for sales to get them as cheap as possible.

Silk flowers can be nice for decorating the venue and for centre pieces as they will last longer than real flower.

Paper Flowers

If you are anyway crafty then this could be a task you could do with your friends and family when you all get together. Making paper flowers or decorations for your ceremony will not suit everybody so before you decide to take the task on, maybe do a trial run to see if its for you.

Also be aware that this will be very time consuming and very labour intensive and will take you away from other duties. But if you are up for the challenge, then it might be just your thing.

Bunch of Tulips made from Paper

Wedding makeup advice.
Wedding makeup advice. | Source

Wedding Hair and Makeup

This is one part of the wedding preparations that the bride, bridesmaids and the mother of bride usually look forward to on the wedding day.

However it can also be quite costly coming in at a couple of hundreds and it will keep adding up if you having a large number of bridesmaids. This can be very expensive as there is a set price for each person in the bridal party getting their hair and makeup done. Also if the hairdresser and make-up artist are travelling a long distance to the wedding venue, they could also charge to a travel fee to get there.

The less people in the bridal party the lower the cost will be but it might not be an option to leave people out. But if you are on a budget, you might not be able to afford this expense. So you need to decide on what you can afford before you start asking people.

How to Save Money on Hair and Makeup

  • Do It Yourself

If you cannot afford to hire a makeup artist and hairdresser for your wedding day, then do your own hair and makeup on your wedding day. If you want advice on techniques and colours, then go visit makeup counters and talk to the girls there and ask them for advise and get makeup samples to try out. Remember you don't change your makeup style on your wedding day, you just emphasise it more to bring out more of your natural beauty.

  • Do Each Others Makeup

If your bridal party is a made up of a small number of people, then on the morning of your wedding you can all meet up in the brides room to help each other with your makeup. Each person usually will have a technique when it comes to applying makeup, but each one can take a different role and this can cut down on the time it takes to get the job done.

  • Get a Friend to Help You

If you have a friend who you know is especially good at hair and makeup why not ask them to do it for you on your wedding day as a wedding present. Not only will the person doing your hair and makeup be someone you trust, but it can be another way to include someone close to you in your wedding.


So once you decide to start planning your wedding you need to:

1. Create a budget

2. Ask for help

3. Be realistic

4. Shop around

While it is important to have the wedding of your dreams, it is also important that you are realistic when it comes to spending. If you have a budget, then try to stick to what you really need, don't go of course when buying.

Be realistic and shop around and do lot of research prior to purchasing anything for your wedding. Ask people for advice and help when planning your wedding especially from those who have already been down that road.

Know what you want and stick to your theme and remember less is more. If you ever feel the need to purchase something always defer to you budget and see if you really do need the item you are looking at for your wedding. If not then it will just be a waste of money.

© 2016 Sp Greaney


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    • sangre profile image

      Sp Greaney 3 weeks ago from Ireland

      @ElizabethDBack. Thank you for passing on that advice. They are very good tips.

    • profile image

      ElizabethDBack 3 weeks ago

      Thank you for sharing such a great article for Wedding Budget as well as the great sheet of Tracking Budget to control the money. Here are some of the tips are not mention that might be helpful for other:

      Get married right at the end of the off-season.

      Don't serve a sit-down dinner.

      Save money on wedding dress with coupon

      Don't offer endless alcohol options.