Let’s face it, weddings are expensive affairs. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on this “once-in-a-lifetime” event. Here, TWN couples that have paved the way share their top saving tips to help you stay within budget, all while having a most memorable day.
#01 Look Past The Wedding Label
Wedding gown, wedding flowers, wedding shoes… and the list goes on. When anything is marked with the word ‘wedding’, its price doubles. Try searching – white dress, rustic flower bouquet, white heels, etc. They are essentially the same thing with a different price tag. Take a cue from this TWN bride who bought her dress off the rack, online. You’d never know this dress was from ASOS if she did not spill the beans.
#02 Ditch Traditional Invites
Source: A Modern & Elegant at Seven Terraces Hotel, Penang
Replace traditional invites with e-invitations. Not only do you get to reduce cost here, you would be able to streamline how the RSVPs are coming through and organised them on a spreadsheet. For whatever reasons, we’d say as many as 30-50% off these physical invites don’t make it out to their intend receivers in the end. If you love the look and feel of paper, print only a few and get your photographer to take pictures of them to include in your album.
#03 Reduce printing
Replace physical programmes with digital ones. Display QR codes for your guests at the registration desk which they can assess via their phones to reveal your e-programme. Again, if you’re into card stocks and stationary, print a few programmes, menu, and seating cards for the maid table; get them photographed to keep as momentos.
#04 Repurpose Your Props
It probably took your decorator a longer time to set up your decor than the time it took for you to complete your ceremony. Why not repurpose the floral installations for your reception? Talk to your decorator about this, choose a design that can easily be moved to be repurposed as decor on stage or a backdrop for photos.
#05 Repurpose the Space
Source: An Exquisite Cross Cultural Wedding at EQ Kuala Lumpur
Not only do you get to concentrate your funds to decorating one area, you also get to save on staffing. See how The Conservatory at EQ Kuala Lumpur was purposed for the Akad Nikah, Chinese Tea Ceremony and reception for this glamorous white wedding.
#06 Skip the live band
A good live band bring about good vibes. However, truth be told most of your guest would be occupied with mingling and eating and may not even notice them. To get your guests moods going, start a playlist on Spotify of ‘feel good’ songs and play it over the PA system instead.
#07 Enlist Your Friends
‘Almost everything was DIY because we wanted the freedom to personalise our day while saving costs. This included the wedding invitations, wedding programmes, guest favours, reception table décor pieces, flower arrangements, bridesmaids’ bouquets and boutonnieres. It was fun doing DIY together, but we also had amazing people to help us out.’ – Edna
#08 Alternative Venues
Expect higher rental fees for venues that are marketed for weddings. If you have the time, source out less popular venues. ‘We wanted a garden wedding but knew that we didn’t want our guests to ‘suffer’ in the Malaysian heat. The Swiss Garden gave us the option of having an outdoor feel wedding venue with a roof to block out the sun, and the wooden planks and greenery also helped with our spring theme.’ – Leona
#09 DIY Your Cake
We dare say not all brides can cook, let alone bake. To this we say- approach with caution, however if you’re an expert baker, plus you have delegated all other task and have nothing else to do, why not!
#10 Trim Your Guest List
While this may seem completely improbable for you, it is actually not impossible. It might be worth taking the time to seriously consider the strength and closeness of your relationship with each and every guest prior to inviting everyone you know. Your current budget and future self will thank you.
Learn more: How To Trim Your Wedding Guest List
#11 Marry In The Off-Season
Choosing a less popular month or date means better availability and also more attractive rates (not to mention more vendor options). If you are not expected to adhere to cultural taboos, this tip is for you.
#12 Consider Non-Saturday
Saturday is the most popular and therefore the most expensive. A growing trend is to go off peak by getting married on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon, the same applies for weekdays. However, expect more decline invitations especially from guests who need to travel or have young children.
#13 Lunch Reception?
Dive straight in to a lunch reception right after your morning ceremony. Not only will you save on an extra catering expense, a wedding brunch or luncheon usually costs less than a dinner banquet. A lunch reception also allows you to reduce your alcohol bill.
#14 Throw a Buffet
Source: A Casual Garden Party Wedding at Glasshouse Seputeh
Buffets are usually cheaper as staffing cost is reduced and perfect for intimate weddings as it sets a more laidback vibes and encourages guests to mingle. “I wanted a simple but elegant wedding. I chose Glasshouse at Seputeh because I liked the garden feel of the place, and it matched my theme easily. I’ve always wanted a simple wedding so I chose white and green as the colours. Instead of the usual traditional wedding dinners where there are many courses, my husband and I opted for a free and easy wedding dinner where you could come and leave at any time you want. Dinner was served buffet style with an open bar. It was more like a party than a sit-down wedding dinner.” – Tina
#15 Rewards, Rewards, Rewards
Most hotels have a guest loyalty programme. So if you are planning to have your wedding or banquet at a hotel, try to make the booking during their rewards promotions period (typically once or twice a year). These promotions might offer additional points for every ringgit spent or “buy 10 tables and get 1 free”, etc. Leverage the extra points by converting them into a honeymoon stay in the same hotel chain at a destination of your choice.
#16 Making it Work, Twice
Chances are you are not the only wedding at your venue that weekend. If you’re not picky, ask your venue if there is someone getting married the day before, then try to get in touch with the other couples’ decorator and see if you can work something out to repurpose the same props. Perhaps all that is needed is some flowers replaced? That way the decorators don’t have to remove the props they painstakingly setup immediately as well. It’s a win-win for everyone, the environment included.
#17 Something Borrowed
It’s likely that you would know a couple who just got married with all their DIY props, bridal accessories, candles lying around in their new homes waiting to be repurposed. So why not buy (or borrow) these gently used items from them?
#18 Downsize Your Cake
Small cakes are the way to go, a cake doesn’t have to be big to look good. Huge tiered cakes usually makes for waste as most guests are usually stuffed by the time the wedding cake is cut and served anyways.
#19 Choose a Venue that Doesn’t Require Much Decor
Source: A Light Filled, Minimalist Wedding With A Surprise Getaway at Shorea
When your venue is good looking enough, little is needed to dress it up. See how the above wedding took place without a single decor in place other than what was already available in the restaurant.
#20 Book Your Vendors Early
Photographers usually start taking bookings in June for the following year, and many offer early bird booking rates. If you already know exactly which photographer you want, this is your chance to save some money.
#21 Shop Ahead
Designer labels often have sample sales at the end of each season. Follow the labels you like on social media to be in the know. Also, last minute shopping, they often lead to impulse purchase and regret, not to mention, last minute alterations which means more dollars lost.
#21 Take Advantage of The Sales
Shopping for bridesmaid dresses, props, accessories alone? Plan ahead, add to cart and purchase during sale periods. However, if you have your eye on something you really want, skip the sale to avoid regret if it goes out of stock.
#22 Fruits Anyone?
Source: Rustic Backyard Wedding at The Greyhouse
Candles and flowers can rack up a bill, especially if you have many tables to decorate. How about adding potted plants or fruits to the mix. Pick fruits that match the colour palette and you are set.
#23 Family heirloom
Instead of buying new jewellery, complete your bridal look with a family heirloom. Not only do you get to save, you get to add significance to your attire. Choose something that matches your outfit or go for something subtle. “Family being family, they filled in the gaps. My aunt bought some flowers and put them into jars from home. She also ordered a cake from her downstairs neighbour. My grandmother found some old antique hairpins and did my hair on the day.’ – Melissa
#24 Embrace Instax Film
Source: An Outdoor Wedding at Villa Tamarama Uluwatu
Ditch a Photo Booth hire, set up some DIY props and display an Instax camera for your guests to take pictures with. Not only do they look great, they may save you some money. Buy films in bulk online during sale periods for added savings.
#25 Decor That Double As Favors
We’re borrowing this brilliant idea from Clare and Prabin’s wedding where potted herbs and plant centrepieces doubled as wedding favours. Complete the look with hand-written names of your guest on craft cards.
#26 Seek Up & Coming Vendors
Wedding vendors can be expensive, for example some photographers can charge up to a whooping RM15,000 for their service. In this case, cheaper doesn’t always translate to lesser quality. There are some really talented people out there who are newer to the industry, their charges would be much less but the results are no less impressive. Keep your eyes peeled on TWN where we feature beautiful works of vendors who may just fit your budget.
#27 Limit Bar Option
The bill on spirits can rack up pretty quickly in moments of soiree. To appear benevolent, couples may feel the need to provide a healthy variety of drinks. Unless you and your partner love your hooch and drinking is a huge part of your identity as a couple, limiting what you serve can save you money. Instead of an open bar, opt to serve beers only. However, if you’re looking for a more sophisticated libation, serve signature cocktails and avoid top shelf liquor.
#28 Go Without The Bridal Party
The pandemic has highlighted the things that matter and the ones that don’t. Take a cue from Abby & Julo who’s wedding looked no less shabby even without a bridal party, saving them a tonne on matching dresses and suits!
#29 Forgo The Designer Label
As apparent as it may seem, a designer label is nice to have but not necessary. There are plenty on bridal houses, shoe brands, men’s suit boutique out there that will have you looking your best without breaking the bank. If however, you still can’t shake of the desire to get yourself a pair of Louboutins, open up to the idea of buying pre-loved instead.
#30 Relinquish the Pre-Wedding Photoshoot
Take a cue from couple Shaer Nee & Sing Yeen who merged their photoshoot into their actual wedding day. This would be perfect for you if your wedding ceremony and reception are going to take up only half the day. Since everyone is already dressed to the nine and your photographer is at site, why not incorporate your photoshoot into the day as well.