While your wedding day will likely be one of the biggest moments of your life, it doesn’t have to come attached with an equally large price tag. With just a little advance planning, DIY spirit and creativity, you can plan a beautiful and budget-friendly wedding. Here are our top 10 to-dos for planning your I-dos, starting with items that should be planned the furthest out.
Order your wedding invitations online and you’ll save money without having to skimp on looks or quality. With hundreds of designs to choose from, it’s easy to find a style and color scheme that perfectly expresses your personality, from traditional to modern and illustrated to photographic. Consider browsing design options before you choose your colors; you might find yourself inspired by a style you fall in love with. Ready to step it up a notch? Set the tone for your nuptials with matching engagement announcements, thank-you cards and other fine stationery items.
2. Wedding rings
Your wedding band might end up being the only piece of jewelry you wear every day for the rest of your life, so don’t compromise on finding the right one for you. When considering bands, think about other jewelry you wear. Do you tend to wear silver or gold? If you don’t wear an engagement ring, consider adding some sparkle to your left hand by choosing a band accented with diamonds or semi-precious stones. Think, too, about how important it is to you that your spouse’s band matches yours. If lightweight durability is important to you, choose a titanium band. You can also customize your bands with engraving either on the inside or outside of the rings. Finally, keep in mind what your wedding ring will look like when you add an anniversary band to it. With so many styles to choose from, you’re sure to find one that’s as unique as your love.
3. Wedding cake
Skip the fancy, high-priced bakeries. Enjoying a beautiful, delicious and affordable dessert is a piece of you-know-what when you know where to go. Visit the bakery in select Walmart stores to browse our extensive selection of wedding cake options. While there, speak with a cake expert who can help you design and customize the right choice for you, whether it’s a classic tiered cake or a collection of adorable cupcakes.
Raise a glass to your nuptials without racking up a massive bill. Check to see if your wedding reception venue will allow you to bring your own beverages, like juices, sodas and alcohol. If you plan far enough in advance, you can potentially save even more by buying larger quantities of beverages to cover both your wedding and related festivities like your engagement party and bridal shower.
5. Floral arrangements
Choose beautiful, realistic-looking artificial flowers in place of costly fresh floral arrangements for your wedding and reception decor. They’ll look vibrant for years as opposed to days and aren’t seasonal, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not your favorite bloom is available. Use taller centerpieces on a focal point like the buffet but stick to shorter arrangements at guest tables so people can see and talk over them easily. Go for artificial succulents in small pots for a more casual wedding, hydrangeas for a clean and classic look and orchids for a very elegant affair.
Create a sense of time and place by using decorations and accents in your wedding colors. Affordable and lightweight hanging paper lanterns, pom-poms and rosettes are ideal for filling large areas and marking focal points like the buffet and head table. Wrap and hang sheer gossamer to quickly transform pillars, tables and chairs as well as create backgrounds. For evening ambiance, add a bit of twinkle with string lights in a variety of styles.
7. Wedding favors
Give guests a bit of marital magic to take home with them in the form of wedding favors. For a sweet little treat, start by choosing one or several types of hard candy. Jordan almonds and jelly beans work especially well and come in a range of fun colors. Have several yards of tulle fabric ready to go. The amount of tulle you need will depend on the number of guests attending, you’ll want to create one favor per person. Choose fabric in white or one or more of your wedding colors. Carefully cut it into 8″ x 8″ or larger squares. Place several candies in the center and gather the fabric over them so they make a shape that’s roughly round. Then tie a pretty ribbon around the fabric just above the candies. Gently pull apart the tulle above the ribbon so it looks nice and full. Place one favor at each guest’s table setting or in a pretty basket on the buffet or gift table.
You don’t have to hire an expensive professional makeup artist to achieve a lovely, photo-ready face. Check out our "wedding looks" slideshow to find a style that suits you as well as our top tips for getting the look. Bonus: When you do your own face, you get to keep all the makeup and have it handy for essential touch-ups throughout your special day. Be sure to have all the necessary makeup brushes as well.
9. Hair and nails
Visit select Walmart stores to have your hair styled and nails done for your big day. And while you’re at it, bring the whole bridal party and make it a fun and relaxing pre-wedding activity. Updo? Blown out straight? Big bouncy curls? With so many choices, it’s important to schedule a trial run of your wedding hairstyle. As for nails, traditionally they’re kept neutral in soft pinks or tones that closely match your skin. But if color is your thing, don’t be afraid to go for a vivid shade. Adornments like rhinestones can look lovely too.
10. Wedding photos
Celebrate your special day every day with photo prints and custom photo books that are easy to create and order online. These books make wonderful keepsakes for you, as well as thoughtful thank-you gifts for close family, friends and the bridal party. Finally, remember to choose a beautiful wedding picture frame to display your special memory.
Beyond the budget bride basics
These tips are our favorite, tried-and-true ways to save money whether your wedding will be a big, small, elaborate or simple event. As you plan, remember to use your creativity to rethink every aspect of your wedding so that you can both create the memories you want and save money.