10 Tips to Stay on Budget for Your Wedding

Saying “I DO” can be a budget buster.  Here are some tips and hints to save on your celebration:

BrideStLouis is Best for Wedding Planning in St. Louis

  1. Keep the wedding guest list under 100.
  2. Limit the wedding party – keeping it small. This cuts down on the cost of attendant bouquets and gifts to each member in the wedding party.
  3. Consider having the ceremony and reception at the same site – thereby paying only one site fee and possibly fewer total hours. This can also save on transportation costs – no need for a party bus.
  4. Find a venue that allows you to bring your own food.  This blog post lists those that we can recommend:  http://www.bridestlouis.com/venues-that-allow-outside-caterers
  5. Why not an early morning or early afternoon wedding. You can eliminate a lot of alcohol and possibly a band or DJ.
  6. If your event is small and intimate, create your own personal playlist and purchase a blue tooth speaker.
  7. Try “off season” times like December and January. Vendors will usually work with you on a special price as this is a slower time for them.
  8. If you really want a popular month like May, June, September or October go for a Friday or Sunday to save money.
  9. When shopping for your wedding dress, ask about off the rack “inventory” dresses. Many bridal shops have a good selection of discounted, previous year’s styles that are beautiful.
  10. Set up a wedding checking account and make deposits monthly. Use only that money for the wedding allowing you to see what you are spending, and a better way to stay on top of the budget.

Weddings can be beautiful without depleting your bank account and being in debt for years.


Results of the American Wedding Study 2016 – Some Interesting Findings

Wedding Study 2016 presented by BrideStLouis.com

I thought it would be good to share with you the results of the American Wedding Study 2016 published by Conde Nast.  They have been conducting this American Wedding Study for over 20 years.

Their study shows that today’s couples are spending more of their own money to have the wedding they want and they are seeking ideas and inspiration at a greater scale than ever before.  Couples prioritize personalizing their wedding as they are choosing to spend more in details that demonstrate their style.  The average price of “the dress” is now $1517, up from $1380 in 2014.  Couples are scaling back in other areas such as the number of guests – down to 135 from 142 in 2014.

In addition, 73% or paying for or contributing to the cost and since couples are investing their money, they have the freedom to spend it how they want without as much pressure from parents and traditions.  Couples are also taking the honeymoon and mini-moon and sometime putting their own twist on it by inviting family and friends on the vacation for a “buddymoon”.  The practice of including a “man of honor” is also on the rise.

And something we have noticed, couples are not adhering to the traditional “marriage first, children second” timeline.  By the time they marry 33% already have children.

Here are their findings on Key Expenses:

Average Wedding Cost is $26,522.

Average Reception price tag is $11,380.

Engagement Rings $5135

Photography $2099

Video $1533

Reception Music $1508

Wedding Bands $1725

Wedding Cake $417

Additional – the majority of couples set a wedding budget but 35% spend more than intended.  To save money on their dream wedding more couples choose Friday and Sunday dates.

70% use social media (Like BrideStLouis) to find wedding inspiration and their wedding style.

So – what do you think?   Tell us how you are prioritizing your wedding and what is important to you.

Friends, Family & Your Wedding


We all have friends and relatives who are offering to help with your wedding as their gift to you.  There are several areas where a donation of someone’s expertise or talents would not only save you money but would add a meaningful, personal touch to your big day.  Here are some etiquette tips regarding accepting your loved ones’ offer to help:

1.) Be sure they are qualified to do the job well.  If you are not quite sure they can measure up to the job, thank them, and tell them you already have someone helping with that task.

2.) If someone offers to help, tell them you would be happy to accept their services as a wedding gift.

3.) Tell them how much it means to you to have them contributing to make your day special.

4.) Always send a written thank you after the wedding.

The best parts of any wedding celebration are the personal touches added by the bride and groom such as creating and saying your own vows, your decorations and theme, personal photos, and other special items.  Always add your personality and passions to your wedding.

Tip #142 – Washi Tape – Perfect for the DIY Bride


kids-washi-masking-tapeJapanese Washi tape is perfect for the DIY Bride. These masking tapes are made of washi paper so they are semi transparent, have a nice feel and easy to use. Washi tape can be reused since they are removable and repositionable. Lots of colors and styles. With an endless choice of colors and patterns, not to mention the low price tag, Washi tape is the perfect DIY tool to add some flair to anything.

Here are some ideas for easily incorporating Wwashi-three-colorsashi tape into your wedding decor that anyone with a pair of scissors can pull off.


  • Create your own invitations and favor boxes for a personalized and affordable option. Print your invitation wording on cardstock and lay strips of washi tape. Do several strips for a striped look!
  • With a twist of your wrist you can add eye-catching stripes to solid colored paper straws. Simple start the tape slightly above the top of the straw and unroll as you twist the straw. Cut off the extra at the top and bottom to make a clean edge.
  • Take plain cardboard favor boxes and seal them closed by wrapping the washi tape around the box several times. Add a round label with your names and wedding date on the top, or write your names right on the tape with a gold or silver pen.

Be sure to share with us your creative projects.



How to Find the Money for Your Wedding

It’s true, weddings can be expensive!   However, there are ways to still get married and not start married life in deep debt.  I have heard nationwide estimates of $27,000 for the average wedding, but here in the St. Louis area, I find that the average cost is closer to $21,000.

Bridal Couple

Bridal Couple

What if you can’t afford to pay for the wedding yourselves?  Most couples share the expense with both families; after all it’s a celebration for both families.  Talk with your families about who will pay for what and ask them to commit to either a certain dollar amount or pay a particular aspect of the wedding – such as flowers, photography, etc.  Another idea is to encourage friends and guests to gift with cash, as most couples already have the basic necessities of everyday life.

Then, of course, you can spend less for your big day – and it’s really doable.  The easiest way to save is to cut down on the number of invited guests.  Quite honestly, smaller intimate wedding can really be a lot more fun and a lot less stress.  You can still have a beautiful dress, flowers and food –and photography, of course, but as the reception can sometimes be as much as 50% of the total budget, this will have a huge impact and can save you significant money.  BrideStLouis.com offers a free Bridal Planner in the Q&A section, so download that to create your budget.

Renee Joshua of Weddings by Renee

Renee Joshua of Weddings by Renee

And, finally come to our workshop on February 16, 2014 at the Holiday Inn – Route 66.  Renee of Weddings by Renee (www.STLWeddingsbyRenee.com) will be there to speak on “Wedding Planning 101- Where to Begin & How to Create a Budget.”  Her seminar is FREE but invaluable in helping you create a beautiful wedding and stay on budget.  Renee, an experienced Wedding Planner, offers Full Service and Day-Of packages and she is an expert on blending a fabulous wedding within your budget.  Full registration information can be found on the home page of www.BrideStLouis.com, and be sure when you register to select her session for some fabulous advice.

The Ultimate Way to Have a Beautiful Wedding for less than $2000!

Not all weddings have to be expensive and extensive.  Sometimes the best weddings are the smaller, more intimate ones.  Just because you are low on funds, doesn’t mean you can’t get married.  I’ve seen some terrific weddings with less than 10 people!

A Small Wedding Party - Total of 7 including Bride & Groom

A Small Wedding Party – Total of 7 including Bride & Groom

  1. The easiest way to save money on the reception is to limit the guest list.    As you compose your guest list, ask yourself:   “How close is this person to me.  Is it important to share my day with them?”
  2. When you have your guest list, decide on a venue.  There are lots of places that are SUPER affordable.  Generally look to city venues such as St. Charles County’s Quail Ridge Lodge or Blanchette Memorial Hall, Des Peres’ Lodge, etc.  Also, check our Fraternal Halls like the Elks, Knights of Columbus, etc.  And don’t forget restaurants with private rooms depending on the size of your guest lists.  For example, check out Seven Gables in Clayton, where room rentals start at just $200.00!   (But if you are considering a private restaurant, be sure to check out food costs.  That can take them out of the running.)  Also look at alternative days such as Fridays and Sundays as there are usually discounts for those days.  Plus, if you book your wedding close to a holiday, decorations might already be installed for the venue itself.
  3. Buffets and food stations are you best bet.  Smaller, private catering companies can custom create a menu of perhaps appetizers and include budget stretching food items like mostaccioli, chicken pasta, chicken and linguine, etc.  Throw in some fresh fruit and cheese and easy to make dollar sandwiches.  Brunch is a great option for Sunday weddings.
  4. Limit the bar at the reception.  Or, serve only beer and wine.
  5. Skip the Save-the-Date and fancy invitations.  With today’s computer software, it’s easy to custom design a personal invitation and print it yourself.
  6. Order a smaller cake and hide a larger sheet cake in back to cut for guests.
  7. Suits for guys are fine and consider shopping other than at a bridal fashion shop for a dress.  If you do shop at a bridal store, many of them have discounted dresses and clearance sales.
  8. For flowers make your own bouquet.  Wholesalers such as Sams have a nice selection of flowers that you can craft into your own bouquet.  For the wedding party, use some silk greenery for the boutonnieres and for the girls in your wedding party.
  9. Skip the party bus and the limo.
  10. Hire the Photographers for 2 Hours for the ceremony and formals.  (These photos you will have for a lifetime!)
  11. If you have a friend with music skills, they can play or create music tapes to play that day.
  12. Give yourself a hand!  You just created a beautiful wedding without breaking the bank!

BUDGET (For 40 guests):

  • $ 300.00  Venue
  • $   50.00   Invitations:
  • $ 600.00  Food  & Drinks  ($15.00 each)
  • $   75.00   Cake
  • $ 200.00  Dress & Suit
  • $ 200.00  Officiant
  • $ 100.00   Flowers
  • $ 450.00  Photographer

TOTAL:  $1975.00 !!