When Jean Philippe and I decided to get married this April, we knew it would be on a budget. While our saving tricks may not be applicable to everyone (seeing as we did elope) there are some easy ways to save that will work whether you’re eloping or not!
GET YOUR DRESS OFF THE RACK
The day we decided we would elope, I headed straight for David’s Bridal! While David’s Bridal does carry sample dresses that you can then order—I only tried on off the rack dresses (aka ready to wear). Designer bridal salons won’t sell you their sample dresses because the quality is not as good, seeing it has been sitting in the store for some time—instead you’ll try on a sample dress and place your order, then receiving your dress around 7 months later. David’s Bridal, on the other hand, carries a lot of ready to wear dresses, so you can walk out the store with your dress the day you purchase it. They also have a $99 wedding dress sale a few times a year, and they allow you to take pictures (unlike a lot of designer bridal salons). My experience at David’s Bridal was really great, overall! The sales associate was much more laid back than associates I had interacted with at bridal salons in the past. Because she was helping out other brides at the same time, she wasn’t on top of me trying to convince me to buy. She was there when I needed help with buttons or getting zipped up, but overall I was free to shop on my own. David’s Bridal may not be the “designer” experience but I found a dress I loved for a price I felt good about.
DO YOUR OWN HAIR AND MAKEUP
Having a professional come do my hair and makeup would have been around $200-$400! So, instead I decided to teach myself and practice before the big day. I set up an appointment with my regular hair stylist in Davis, and she taught me how to do a simple side up do. I then played around with makeup products until I found something I was really happy with. This alleviated a lot of stress for the wedding day, since I already knew what I was doing and I didn’t have to worry about being on time for an appointment or hosting someone to take care of the hair and makeup for me! Instead, I was able to get ready in the hotel room with my husband, which was a lot more relaxing.
SAVE ON FLOWERS
When researching bridal bouquets, it seemed each florist I contacted in the San Francisco area charged at least $200 for a bridal bouquet! Truth be told, I’m really a novice when it comes to flowers. I normally buy them from Safeway, so I decided to look there for wedding flowers! It turns out Safeway has a whole wedding flower line and their prices are much more reasonable. My bouquet was $40 and JP’s boutonniere was only $14! We placed our order about a month before the wedding and then picked the flowers up in Davis, a day before our wedding. The flowers held up great–Safeway packaged them carefully and our hotel allowed us to store the flowers in their fridge.
HOTWIRE YOUR HOTEL
Hotwire has Hot Rate hotel deals, which means you will know the price, area and star rating of your hotel–but you won’t know the actual name until you pay for it. By doing this, you’re able to get a great hotel for a fraction of the price. JP and I chose a 4 star hotel in Union Square and ended up getting Hotel Zelos for a great price! Plus, when we arrived and they noticed my bridal garment bag and our flowers, they upgraded us to a suite as a nice gesture. (Most hotels will probably upgrade you if you’re getting married and if they care about good customer service!)
RESEARCH RING PRICES
Jean Philippe found my engagement ring at a little independent jeweler in Bordeaux! But, for our wedding bands, we didn’t have the same sort of access to cute French jewelers. We looked around at some options when JP visited in January but didn’t find anything that we were in love with or that really fit our price range. When we decided to elope, we realized we would have to plan everything while being away from each other–including the selection of wedding bands! We decided to go with Blue Nile–they’re an online company and they sell high-quality pieces that are 20-40% below retail prices. Plus, they have a great return policy if you’re not happy with your purchase!
FINALLY, IF YOU’RE GOING TO SPEND ON ANYTHING, INVEST IN A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER
If you have a good photographer–they can really make you look good, no matter what! It’s all about lighting and angles people! So, if you’re going to splurge on anything, I would say find a photographer you really love and trust.
So, those are a few of my tips! Hope it helps!