This entry is from Jenny, a Budget Savvy Bride, to say the least. I still can’t believe that she got her venue for just $100! She gives fabulous advice to from buying your alcohol to accepting favors from friends. I also love how Jenny mentioned borrowing items for your wedding! You may need 20 vases for your centerpieces, but what are you going to do with them after your wedding? Borrowing allows you to give items back that you probably won’t use in the future. Thanks so much for your submission, Jenny! I wish you the best of luck for both your wedding and the contest!
With a pile of debt and an even bigger pile of dreams, my fiancee and I can’t spare the extra cash to have an extravagant wedding. We’re focused on what’s important, we’re calling in favors, we’re negotiating prices, and we’re DIYing! In just a few short months we’ve learned a lot about wedding planning and the art of being thrifty!
 
1. Find a unique venue. The University-run farm where we’re getting married and having the reception hadn’t hosted a wedding before because of their no-alcohol policy. We worked with them to loosen their rules, offered to use our wedding photos for promo materials and scooped up the “non-wedding venue” price of $100! An instant boost of thousands to our budget.
 
2. Accept favors. Family and friends offered to help make the food and serve it during the reception, which is saving us thousands in catering costs. We gratefully accepted. The menu will be the standard “Iowa farm” fare of roast pork, baked beans, an assortment of salads, rolls, and appetizers, which is always a crowd pleaser.
 
3. BYOB. No, we’re not making our guests bring their own alcohol. We’re buying it ourselves (think Trader Joe’s wine, local brews, etc.) and we’re hiring a local college student to serve it. Once again, saving thousands on a potentially astronomical bar bill.
 
4. Exploit your (or your friend’s) talents. Invites are expensive, and I wanted something special, so I wasn’t willing to skimp on a plain white invite. Luckily one of my bridesmaids is an amazing artist and is helping us come up with a DIY design that “paints the picture” of our wedding for hundreds less than a professional design.
 
5. Borrow. My mom is very vocal, so it was no surprise that everyone in my hometown knew about my engagement within a week of Adam popping the question. That came in handy when people started offering items from their storage closets, such as 30+ vases, an instant camera for a DIY photobooth, linens, etc. Now I just need the flowers to fill the vases!
 
My advice to brides-to-be is to focus on what’s important to you, and your fiancee, then spend your money accordingly. Talk to friends/family and let them know your plans; you’ll be surprised at how much they’ll want to help. And, most importantly, don’t run out and buy all the things you think you’ll need now. Wait, look for sales and make sure that fancy aisle runner or gold-plated cake server is really worth it. 

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