We live in an incredible time. A simple Google search or 20 minutes with a YouTube video can teach you so many skills that were harder to acquire 20 years ago. This can be awesome when you want to learn how to change a flat tire on your own, but it can be easy to get in over your head.

Considering how incredibly expensive weddings are, it’s no surprise that lots of brides look for ways to cut corners on their budgets.

If you happen to be a skilled seamstress and you can save some money by doing your own dress alterations, that’s one thing. But if you’ve never touched a sewing needle in your life, chances are you’re not going to learn flawless sewing techniques from watching a short YouTube video. And you’re wedding dress probably isn’t the best way to practice.

Here’s some stories from several wedding professionals about people who went too cheap in planning their wedding, as well as some smarter alternatives for saving a few dollars.

Officiant

From Alan Katz of Great Officiants:

“The couple wanted to save money so they hired an officiant from Craigslist. The planner could never get a return call from the officiant but was assured by the couple he would show up. 30 minutes after the ceremony start time, a guy shows up in a wrinkled shirt and mussed up hair proclaiming he was the officiant. It was too late to delay any more so the ceremony started. The officiant called them the wrong names, dropped the rings, and lost his place in the script. To top it off, he pronounced them a couple and before they could kiss told them to walk down the aisle.”

A smarter alternative:

Use someone you know. Ask around among friends and family to see if any are already ordained to perform marriages, you might be surprised.

If that fails and you still want to go the DIY officiant route, ask a friend who you know would be a confident public speaker. Make sure you go through the entire ceremony with them and approve it. Practice the whole thing with your officiant well before your wedding, so you feel confident that they know what they’re doing. If you find they don’t, at least you have time to schedule a different officiant.

Your friend or family member can get ordained for free at the Universal Life Church in just a few seconds.

Keep in mind that Pennsylvania and Virginia do not allow online ordinations.

Hair Stylist

From Jennifer Trotter of Lip Service Makeup:

“The stylist they’d originally hired was super cheap… she was someone’s cousin’s aunt, worked at a small town hair salon, and agreed to do hair for about half of the going rate. As the day wore on, each bridesmaid and mom arrived in my chair with a horrible hair-do and a worried look on her face. One girl’s hair was truly unbelievable… she had long, shiny, thick hair. The stylist (I use that term very loosely) had curled her hair using no product and cheap tools, so the curls were already falling 15 minutes later. She then parted her hair in the middle and created two small braids on either side that hung straight down. A perfect style if you’re eight years old and on your way to school! Completely inappropriate for a grown 25 year old woman, and definitely all wrong for a formal wedding. Everything reached a boiling point when the bride hated her hair so much that she dashed to the bathroom in tears!

Luckily, one of the wedding guests was a pro stylist and had brought her entire hair kit. One by one, each girl went down the hall to get her entire style redone. With hair fixed appropriately and flawless makeup, the day was eventually saved, but not without considerable stress and drama! Instead of laughing, talking, eating, listening to music, and sharing memories with her bridal party as they got ready, everyone was tense and anxious. All this just to get a cheaper price on hair, which didn’t even happen because they had to pay the second stylist!”

A smarter alternative:

If you’re keeping your wedding hair simple, consider taking a hair styling class months in advance and learn how to confidently do it yourself. The hair styling class will cost a fraction of the price and you’ll know how to do it forever.

If that’s more work than you want, you can still cut down on the overall price by going to the salon instead of having the salon come to you. Just schedule appointments at your local hairstylist and make it the first stop of the day.

From Randi Fracassi of Poppy Lane Events:

“There’s a really popular trend of purchasing bridesmaids’ gowns online rather than going into a store. I was assisting a budget bride in finding sequin bridesmaids gowns for less than $100 per bridesmaid (these usually run from $250 up). Against all advice and recommendations, she decided to order through a foreign dress maker that replicates gowns at a lower cost (and, you guessed it, a lower quality). When the dresses came they were practically transparent as there was no lining to the gown. The bride ended up having her bridesmaids repurchase gowns that ultimately were not what she envisioned (rather than sequin sheath dresses, they purchased a traditional long chiffon dress).”

A smarter alternative:

Pick a color you’d like your bridesmaids to wear and then let them pick the dress. That gives them a wide variety of price points to pick from—some may even have a dress already in their closet.

If you want to be really merciful, pick black as the color and use the flowers to pop in your desired colors.

Summary

It’s really easy to spend a small fortune on a wedding. It makes sense to find places to cut your budget, but make sure you make the right choices, not just the cheap ones!

If a deal seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Read More

  • How To Save Money While Planning A Fabulous Wedding
  • How Much Does An Average Wedding Cost?