I’m just back from my wedding in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Like you, I understand how expensive it can be to run a wedding, especially in one of the most expensive states in the country. I’m going to give you some handy tips on how you can save thousands of dollars on your wedding like I did with mine.

How I Saved Thousands of Dollars on my Wedding

Negotiating at the Venue

The venue is one of the biggest expenses you’ll have to deal with. Here it’s best to shop around first. Don’t settle on your first choice because otherwise, you’re at the mercy of whatever they want to charge.

Yes, you can negotiate with them, but this is hard if you are having a wedding in peak season. Why would they discount a wedding venue in peak season when they can easily find someone else who wants the spot?

My top tip for negotiating on venues is to keep a cool head and be willing to walk away.

The Flowers, the Napkins, and the Other Stuff

I don’t really care about things like flowers, fancy tablecloths, and napkins, but my mother does, so here I was trying to figure out how to save money on all these things. It’s hard because you can’t cut down on the quality. You have to be willing to invest in something presentable.

I found the best way was to shop around online. Look outside the local area to offer yourself more choices. The Internet is great for this. See what’s selling in other states and check what the shipping costs are. When it comes to California, sometimes it’s easier to buy in bulk from out of state than to pay here.

The Photographer

Honestly, I would not have paid this a second thought if it were not for my husband. This is the person you have to book as soon as you are engaged. Most photographers have their schedules fully booked up a year in advance. If you miss the boat, you are stuck with some college boy who really does not know what he is doing.

I booked Cameron Mackey a local Rancho Cucamonga Photographer in advance and asked him to only take pictures of the ceremony and the first part of the reception. These are the money shots. Anything after the first hour really isn’t worth paying for. In addition, frankly, I just want to relax without worrying about a guy with a camera.

The Dress

It’s easy to lose your emergency fund over a wedding dress. I was open to discussing how we could possibly save money on the dress. We are only going to use it once before throwing it in the back of a wardrobe, so here are some options we came up with:

Buy a dress from last season. Unless you’re in Italy, the chances are your family don’t follow the latest fashions down to the season.
Remodel an old dress. We considered remodelling my mother’s dress, but I wasn’t open to the idea. We know this could have saved us a chunk of money, though.
Shop out of season. This is the option we finally went with. Shopping in winter for a dress is perfect because all the stores have almost no business. Discounts are everywhere.
Weddings are always going to be expensive, but it’s a special day so even I’m willing to spend a little more than I normally would. On the other hand, I think you have to be willing to think outside the box if you want to save money. I did just that and I’m proud to say I saved thousands of dollars in one of the most expensive states in the country.