How We Saved A Fortune On Our Fabulous Wedding

If you’re new around here, you might not know that Mr. MMM and I got hitched just a few years ago. You also might not know that we had a fabulous wedding on a shoestring budget. When we met, we were both well-established in our careers and managing our money like normal people manage their money. Basically, we had debt and weren’t prioritizing our money. That all changed after joining forces and realizing we weren’t recent college grads anymore. Womp womp.

Budget Wedding | How To Save Money On Wedding | Weddings On A Budget | Shoestring Budget Wedding | Frugal Wedding | Frugal Honeymoon | How To Save Money On A Honeymoon via @MadMoneyMonster

And because of that realization, we wanted to be as financially-savvy as possible when it came to spending money on our wedding. After all, we didn’t have wealthy parents that were offering to bankroll it for us.

So, if you’re recently engaged or thinking about getting married, check out how we optimized our money and saved a fortune on our fabulous wedding.

Oh, and if you’re not aware of this, we got married in an underground cavern in late October. We wanted to be unique but still classy. Read on to see just how we pulled it off!

The Rings

When it came to our wedding rings, we both liked titanium. Not only does it have a nice look, it’s not that expensive compared to the alternatives.

Mr. MMM went for a black titanium ring that I ordered off the internet for a couple hundred bucks. I was even able to have our wedding date engraved on the inside.

My ring is a simple titanium ring with a few different colored bands that we had made by a local artisan. In comparison to some of the big box stores, we got a steal. All total, we spent very little on our rings.

When it comes to rings, you could easily spend way less than we did. Consider asking family members, in particular mothers and grandmothers, if they have any rings with special meanings that they would like to pass down. It’s a great way to spend absolutely nothing on rings and have a family heirloom. Everyone wins.

 Titanium Warning: It’s very difficult to cut through titanium, so if you have a physical job where you could easily hurt your ring finger, you might want to opt for a different type of ring that could be cut off in an emergency. As for us, our jobs aren’t physical so we’re taking our chances. 🙂

The Dress

I ended up saving a TON of money on my wedding dress by ordering it online from overseas. Of course, I had been browsing Pinterest like crazy and finding gorgeous gowns by high-end designers.

When I found one I fell in love with I checked it out and was aghast at the price tag attached to it. It was somewhere in the ballpark of $5,000. Needless to say, I wasn’t about to spend that much money on a wedding dress, so I opted to roll the dice with a knock-off.

Now, I am well aware that it really is hit or miss when you decide to trust your wedding dress to someone overseas telling you they can make you the designer gown for a fraction of the cost. Fortunately for me, it worked out. I ended up paying around $500 for my dress. Granted, it wasn’t exactly like the designer gown, but it looked pretty darn close and it was well made.

What about alterations? No need. By ordering a corset back with a short front and a long train I completely eliminated the need to have anything altered.

The Invitations

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to find the perfect invitations with matching colors in your theme. Believe me, I was going down that rabbit hole at a pretty quick pace until Mr. MMM pulled me back to the surface.

After discussing our invitations and how much we wanted to spend on our wedding, we decided we were going to make our own invitations. We used a simple program like Photoshop and were absolutely thrilled with the results.

We purchased our envelopes from Amazon and used a gel pen to write the recipients’ names and addresses in cursive. No pre-printed labels here.

The final touch was using a genuine wax seal with a raven. It was late October, after all.

The Venue

The steps leading down to the cavern.

There are no two ways about it, if you opt for a traditional venue you’re going to pay traditional venue prices. When we started planning our wedding we wanted to have a rustic barn wedding, complete with a horse-drawn carriage. Well, after checking out some of the local barns we quickly realized that option was off the table. One barn we visited wanted $12,000 just to turn the lights on. No, thank you.

After our initial dreams were crushed, we started brainstorming what we could do that would suit our personalities and make for a memorable wedding. We turned to Google. And Google delivered. I think we searched for something generic like unique wedding venues. Almost instantly we had a plethora of pages to peruse in search of a perfect venue that wouldn’t break our bank.

We ended up booking a local cavern that doesn’t typically do weddings. It was perfect. Because they didn’t typically do weddings, they didn’t have an outrageous price tag. In fact, they had to figure out what to charge us since our reception was the very first one they ever had in the cavern. It certainly wasn’t free, but it certainly wasn’t $12,000 either. The total cost for our venue was right around $2,500.

But, remember, you can get venues for free if you’re on a super short shoestring budget. Do you know anyone with a nice property that would be willing to let you use it for your event? It’s a lot to ask of someone, but if that someone is a close relative or friend, you probably have a good shot at getting a yes. Just make sure you have EVERYTHING covered so that you don’t end up trashing their place, and your relationship.

The Decorations

Our reception area.

The only decorations we had were votive candles in mason jars, carved pumpkins as centerpieces, and linens in our wedding colors. The cavern provided the rest. We were surrounded by natural beauty with built-in mood lighting.

Basically, if you choose the right venue, you won’t have to do too much in terms of dressing it up.

If you’re thinking about a church wedding, consider a wedding date around a major holiday. That way, you can leverage the already decorated church.

Outdoor weddings are also super popular and require little in the way of decorations. Just pick a nice location and you’re all set.

The Cake

I found a beautiful cake on Pinterest and I speedily took a picture of that cake to a local bakery. They were able to recreate the cake for about $200. To cut down on cost, our baker suggested we add an additional sheet cake on the side of our tiered cake. That way we could feed everyone the same cake but not have to have a huge tiered cake for every single piece.

Another way to save money on your cake is to not tell the bakery it’s a wedding cake. Oftentimes, there’s an automatic upcharge for wedding cakes. Avoid the additional fee by just ordering a tiered cake for a party. We tried this in the beginning but we weren’t able to contain our excitement, so we spilled the beans. 🙂

The Food & Alcohol

Our food was off-the-hook delicious. We opted for a BBQ buffet by one of the area’s best. Fortunately, they weren’t known as one of the area’s best at that point. I was lucky enough to try their food at my best friend’s wedding a year beforehand. Ironically, that was also the very first wedding they ever catered. So I snatched them up and had them cater my wedding in the cavern. Again, this wasn’t free. We still paid about $2,000, but it was delicious and worth it!

We had plenty of alcohol at our wedding. There were two beers on tap, spiked hot chocolate, and plenty of wine. Lucky for us, the beer was provided as a wedding gift by a few of my friends. Everything was self-serve to help keep expenses down. No one complained.

The Music

We were fortunate to know an extremely talented musician with his own band. Again, to keep expenses down, we didn’t hire the whole band; we just hired the frontman. I sent him a song I really loved and he played it on an acoustic guitar and sang as I came down the staircase in the cavern. He also played as guests arrived and outside by the fire during cocktail hour.

After the food was devoured and it was time to cut a rug, we went with an iTunes playlist. Not my ideal, but nobody seemed to care.

All told, we paid $400 for the music at our wedding.

The Photographer

We hired a photographer that had done work for Mr. MMM in the past on various projects. He was really talented and also had quite a few weddings under his belt. Total cost = $1,000.

But again, if you know someone that is willing to take pictures for you that you trust, go for it. You might know someone that is willing to do it for you as a wedding gift.

The Flowers

The only flowers we had at our wedding were the flowers in my minimalist bouquet. I carried a tiny bouquet with 3 roses, 3 calla lilies, and a few twigs.

Obviously, this isn’t going to be acceptable for everyone, so just like everything else, shop around.

Other articles you might enjoy: 

The Officiant

Mad Money Cat - fabulous wedding

Mad Money Cat was not in attendance. #singleforlife

Our officiant was one of my very best friends. He was eloquent and the perfect fit for our unique wedding. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to officially officiate, so we had to pay an officiant to make us legal immediately after we said I Do. This only cost us about $200 if memory serves me correctly.

The Total

The total for our wedding ended up being less than $10,000. That might sound like a lot to some people, but we did have the money saved and were able to pay everything with cash.

And there you have it, a list of areas we optimized to save as much money as possible on our fabulous wedding. So if you’re planning a wedding in the not-too-distant-future, I highly recommend shopping around for EVERYTHING. The last thing you want is to start your marriage with a huge debt load from the ceremony.

What are your thoughts? Are you planning a budget wedding?

Budget Wedding | How To Save Money On Wedding | Weddings On A Budget | Shoestring Budget Wedding | Frugal Wedding | Frugal Honeymoon | How To Save Money On A Honeymoon via @MadMoneyMonster


6 comments… add one
  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early Feb 16, 2018, 12:56 pm

    I’m seriously jealous of the cavern wedding idea! As an environmental scientist and geology/geography nerd, this is basically the coolest thing ever.

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 18, 2018, 6:59 am

      Hahaha…thanks. We loved it!

  • Jennie Feb 8, 2018, 6:46 pm

    Wonderful suggestions! Thank you! By the way, did you get married at Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown PA? The caverns look so familiar…I live near Hershey! Lol

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 12, 2018, 7:29 am

      You might be onto something there. 😉

  • LizzyI Feb 5, 2018, 12:14 pm

    Your wedding sounds lovely!! I have two daughters, both in their early twenties, and one has a serious boyfriend. I am gathering all the info I can find concerning weddings.

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 5, 2018, 6:53 pm

      Definitely get as much information and do as much research as possible before committing money to anything. Good luck with your daughters!

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