Tips For Planning A Wedding + Where to Budget

Tips For Planning Your Own Wedding + Ways To Budget | Audrey Madison Stowe a fashion and lifestyle blogger

Happy Wednesday my friends! Hope you’re staying healthy out there. I’ve been thinking of everyone during this time. To lift our spirits today, I’ve got a #weddingwednesday post. This week I’m sharing my tips for planning a wedding and also tips on where to budget / save $$$.

When Josh and I sat down with my family to pick a date and ask about budget, my parents had made it clear to us what their budget was, and what they expected us to pitch in for. If you just got engaged, make that your first step! It was nice to have a clear expectation of the budget as well as what we needed to save for.

If you have the budget for a planner, amazing! If you don’t, I’m with you sister!! We didn’t have the budget for one and my mama and I planned the wedding ourselves over a year and 7 months.

If you don’t have a wedding planner, download the wedding wire app! This isn’t sponsored, I just really love that app and my mom and I used it like crazy throughout the whole process. It sets you up with a checklist and truly has everything on there that you would need.

Tips For Planning Your Own Wedding + Ways To Budget | Audrey Madison Stowe a fashion and lifestyle blogger

Tips for Planning:

  • Set a budget
  • Download WeddingWire app
  • Go through your checklist once a week
  • Breathe. Don’t get stressed. Small things don’t matter in the end. (Just remember that!!!)

One of my main tips is to make a top 3 list of non-negotiables as far as what you absolutely want/ will pay for. The two things that were the most expensive outside of our venue, was the alcohol and flowers. An open bar was non-negotiable and having the videographers I wanted was non-negotiable as well. Those were the splurges and everything else we just worked to get the best deal/ most affordable option we could over the planning process.

If you are planning your wedding, all you truly need is just a checklist! You will just be the person doing all of the calls, doing the research, etc. If you’re an organized person, you got this! It was so easy to plan ourselves in my opinion. Just adds more stress (especially in the end) but totally do-able.

I will say, we hired a month-of coordinator who helped us make sure we had everything together and also was the person keeping us on a timeline the day-of the wedding which is extremely helpful and necessary to me. If you are budgeting, find a student who is looking to get into wedding planning! Our month-of was actually someone I knew in college and she works in the wedding industry and wanted to add my wedding to her portfolio so that was amazing. Speaking of budget…. let’s get into budgeting tips!!

Tips For Planning Your Own Wedding + Ways To Budget | Audrey Madison Stowe a fashion and lifestyle blogger

Ways to Budget:

  • Skip a crazy amount of floral
  • Call creative family friends
  • Have a smaller cake and/or don’t do a grooms cake
  • Only do cake and no other sweets
  • Have your wedding on a Friday or Sunday
  • Skip save the dates and other day-of paper (like programs)
  • Don’t do a huge exit with sparklers or a getaway car
  • Don’t pay for photographers and videographers to stay the whole time
  • Do your own flowers and grab flowers from a grocery store (HEB)
  • Hire a student for a month-of coordinator
  • Do buffet-style dinner vs. a plated meal
  • Do your own hair and makeup!
  • Stock your own bar (we used Total Wine!)
  • Skip a bunch of rentals (use as much as you can that the venue offers)
  • Do a DJ instead of a band OR have a friend DJ?
Tips For Planning Your Own Wedding + Ways To Budget | Audrey Madison Stowe a fashion and lifestyle blogger

How I Budgeted:

I could go on and on for days about budgeting and how I budgeted but here’s the main areas WE personally budgeted in.

  • I only paid for my photographer to be there until 8pm. Therefore, we had no exit pictures, not a lot of dancing photos, and we had to cut our cake super early to make sure she got those.
  • WE USED FAMILY & FRIENDS. Our friends did all of my florals! They used HEB flowers so we paid for those (much more affordable) and paid for their time but it was still way less expensive than hiring a large wedding floral company. My mother-in-law is an incredible baker so she made all of our cakes, and truffles for the guests (boom… $0, when our cakes probably would’ve cost us at least $1-2K). I used friends for my photographer and videographer so got a little discount. And my mother in-law works for the catering company we used so we got a family/friend discount there as well.
  • I had my wedding on a FRIDAY. Yes, Saturday is easier, but if people want to be there, they will take off work and be there on a Friday or another day. Our venue cost us almost HALF of what it would have been if we did a Saturday.
  • Got a student discount for our DJ + drummer. Ask ALL vendors if they offer student discounts (if you’re a student in some way, of course). Thankfully, Josh was still a student when we were hiring our vendors so our DJ gave us 20% off!
  • We cut our guest list! This was thankfully easy because our venue only held 200 MAX. Our guest list was around 350 and we cut it and invited 250. Less people is less mouths to feed. About 185 ended up coming thank goodness!
  • Bought all of our own alcohol through Total Wine & More and then just used the catering company staff for bartenders.

I feel like I’m still missing some other ways we budgeted but you get the point! There are so many ways to budget and save money. In the end, weddings are not cheap. But utilize what you can, and be flexible to make it as affordable as you want. Hope this helps with your wedding planning, friends! Thanks so much for stopping by. XO!

Photography by: Laylee Emadi

Check out more from my wedding series here.


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