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3 Ways to Make Your Dream Wedding Budget Friendly

Updated: Jan 14


As a wedding photographer and previously a bride I have seen so many unique ways to get the perfect wedding you want in your budget. These are just a handful of my budget friendly advice I have for you and I will continue to wedding advice to this blog.

Having the perfect wedding doesn't mean you have to go into debt but you also don't have to sacrifice the things that are important to you and your partner. Weddings aren't about the decor, music or even the food. These are all bonuses to the party but the wedding is about two people committing to each other for the rest of their lives. When wedding planning gets stressful and overwhelming just remember this is about your love for each other and its going to be a perfect day no matter what.


1.) Fake Flowers

If you are working with a budget and flowers are not high on your priority list then I highly recommend doing fake flowers. Now for some people this may be something that is very important and that is totally okay but if you are like me and it isn't important to you then fake flowers are the way to go. For me personally I wanted to do fake flowers from day one but everyone I talked to about it said they thought I would regret it. "They won't look as good in photos." is what people would say to me. But looking back at my wedding photos I do not regret going with fake flowers. It allowed me to spend money on something that was more important to me such as photography. When I talked about it with my wedding photographer she was fully on board with fake flowers. She had done them for her wedding and a lot of her sisters/sister in laws also used the bouquets from her wedding. That's when I decided to choose fake.

There are a lot of options when it comes to flowers whether they are fake or real. When I was still considering using real flowers I was looking into online wholesalers. I had planned to order them online and have them shipped to my house just a few days before the wedding, then my wedding party and I would make the bouquets ourselves. Costco, Sam's Club, and Trader Joe's are great alternatives as well. But when it came to fake flowers I had to decide if I wanted to put them together myself or order them pre-made from a site like Etsy.com. Etsy was a life saver while planning my wedding. Most of my wedding decor was made by me, from a thrift store, or from Etsy. I ordered the bouquets for my girls and I from Etsy and they were beautiful. The best part was I didn't have to worry about keeping them alive or worry about them getting damaged.


Another thing I chose to do was not get boutonnieres. This was something that I rarely notice when I go to weddings so I felt like it wouldn't be missed if I didn't get them. It saved me money and nobody even noticed the guys didn't have them.


2.) "Thrifted" Wedding Dress

Since I am a wedding photographer I am always looking for dresses that I can use for photoshoots. One day I am scrolling on Facebook Marketplace and I saw the most beautiful wedding dress for $85 with tags still on. It had only been tried on and never warn so this was a true jack pot. I honestly thought I was going to get scammed but it was the real deal. When I got the dress I decided to try it on, now keep in mind that at this time I was not yet even engaged. The dress fit perfectly and it was everything I wanted in a dress. Even my friends said that they knew it was the one for me when they saw it. It fit my personality and style to a T. So I decided to keep it for myself until Zack popped the question.


A month later while on vacation in Michigan's Upper Peninsula my then boyfriend got down on one knee and proposed to me. It was magical how everything fell into place. I had this amazing dress so it didn't make sense for me to go look for one that was not in my budget. I had never wanted to spend over $100 on a dress anyways (such a small budget, I know, but I had faith I could find the perfect dress what I could afford). Some people told me they were worried about me not having that experience as a bride since I will only get to do it once but I loved my dress so much I never wanted to go dress shopping. So my advice to you before you get a dress is to think long and hard about whether or not that experience is important to you. Because if it is, don't let your budget keep you from that but if its not, then getting a "thrifted" dress could be the best choice for you.



3.) Affordable Alternative to a Wedding Planner

If a wedding planner/coordinator is not in your budget but you don't know where to start I highly recommend finding local Facebook groups for brides. As a photographer I was already on these pages and I have found them extremely helpful. Bride to Bride, area specific Bride/Wedding groups are a free and easy resource for you to find vendors and get peoples raw and honest opinions about those vendors. I found so many vendors this way and I didn't have to spend a dime on a planner. (Not that Planners are not a valuable resource but it was not in my budget.)


Another alternative is sites like The Knot and Zola. These are websites/apps that are made specifically for helping you find the best vendors in the area that you are looking for. Now be aware that most sites like these vendors are required to pay to be advertised on. But from my experience these sites have very honest reviews for vendors on their sites. Again, I am not trying to say that you should not use a planner if you want, they are an amazing source to have but when you are looking to save money, these might be a better option.


When it comes down to it, wedding planning is all about you and your partner and if you have a specific vision for that day then don't let anything get in the way of that. You only get this day once so make it special for you two. It can be hard to plan a wedding in general let alone on a budget. If you have any other Budget Friendly Wedding Advice feel free to comment below! Let me know how helpful this advice was for you as well!


Your Friendly Neighborhood Wedding Photographer,

Nikki Davis

Owner of Nikki Alexis Photography

Photo Credit for all images in this blog post: Rachel B Photography (Located in West Michigan)





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