Party Like a Filipino on your Wedding Day (without breaking the bank) – 10 Money Saving Tips for the Budget Bride
Filipinos love to celebrate life events with lively parties and festivals. With food, music, dancing, and plenty of family and friends, you can’t go wrong! Whether you’re going the traditional route with Filipino cultural customs or opting for a modern non traditional wedding, get ready for fun times ahead – even if you’re on a budget!
Nowadays it seems like weddings are becoming more and more expensive. Even just hosting a simple wedding can add up. However, if you know how to be savvy about your budget, you won’t have to sacrifice the good stuff just to keep costs down.
Now that my own wedding planning days are behind me (hello married life!) here are a few tips I used to save money without sacrificing the fun.
Disclosure Statement: This post may contain some affiliate links. However, as always, all opinions are my own and I am definitely happy to share the great vendors I found! Read full blog disclosure statement here.
1. Family and friends love to help out
People love the chance to help out and be a part of the festivities and preparations. This is definitely a Filipino thing, and happens in many other cultures as well – all family members help out or contribute to the preparations. So definitely take advantage of the love and support around you. If you know someone who loves baking, arranging flowers, or making crafts, this is their chance to shine!
One of our friends that likes to bake made us this beautiful wedding cake! I displayed the cake on a rustic wooden platter I found online.
2. Dollar store deals
The dollar stores usually have low quality items, but there are a few surprises as well. Glass items like vases, candle holders, cups, and plates are all decent quality. I found these trendy water carafes at the dollar store for $1 whereas at other stores they were charging $6-10.
Dollar stores are also great for disposable clear plastic food dishes like platters, bowls, sauce dishes, etc. This worked great for me as it fit my budget and if they got lost during the night or broke, it didn’t matter.
3. Bargain shopping
For dresses, off the rack is where it’s at. I thought that dress shopping was going to be a nightmare. According to “dress experts” I had started shopping too late at five months prior to the wedding. Five months! Many dresses take up to six months just to have the dress ordered and delivered (seems a bit ridiculous to me), not to mention time for getting it altered (because every dress will need to be altered – I swear they do that on purpose).
But I went to a local boutique shop in San Diego called Poppy and Rose Bridal and found a beautiful Sincerity dress off the rack that I could take home that day. I was thrilled! The owner even worked with me on my budget and didn’t try to sell me dresses that were out of my range. She made the experience actually fun and not overwhelming at all.
For shoes, I spent a few months browsing options online and looking in the department stores. I ended up finding Kate Spade shoes on sale for just under $60 (they were originally around $200-300) which was really unexpected, but I loved them! If you have the time, do some bargain shopping and you’ll find some great deals – you may even spend significantly less than I did.
I just checked and the Kate Spade Medina shoes I bought are now currently at $150, so be sure give yourself plenty of time to watch for price drops or spot the best deal with the style you love.
Sweet Veil and Hair Accessories
Also, I found a veil for only $13 on Amazon (score!) which is probably just as much as I’d spend on making one from tulle and a hair clip (which is what I was originally planning on doing). I had seen some veils at a discounted bridal store and they were going for like $100+ and they looked the same as mine. Seriously, unless you have a specific reason to spend $100+ on a veil, shop around. I also found some cute hair accessories too for just a couple bucks!
4. Always get a coupon for michael’s craft store
Michael’s craft store has a ton of ready-made craft items and supplies for weddings. You can get lost in the aisles of cute trendy items they have there. You could leave spending more of your budget than you anticipated. But if you use their coupons you can often save 40%. If you don’t have a paper coupon, just google “Michaels coupon” on your phone and the link will come up to get any coupons for your local store. They always have either a 40% off one item or a 40% off the entire purchase.
5. Skip the traditions or typical wedding decorations you don’t care about
The church we got married in was already very beautiful. WIth colorful stained glass windows, murals painted on the walls, and different sacred decor, there was really no need to deck out the church with decorations. Instead I just had a few vases of flowers near the altar that my mom arranged.
Flowers are a huge expense at weddings. When I thought about all the beautiful flowers that would go to waste after the wedding I decided to do pots of succulents instead for the reception table centerpieces. They worked really well for a San Diego summer wedding, they were cute and trendy, and I was able to give them to friends as gifts. I bought each 4” flower pot for $.70 each and painted them. Each succulent plant was only $4-5 (at North Park Nursery in San Diego), so basically each “flower centerpiece” costs the same as one flower stem at a florist.
If you get creative, you really don’t have to spend much!
If you get creative, you really don’t have to spend much
6. Borrow, sell, reuse decorations
Why buy something you won’t use again? I asked some of my family and friends who had been married in the past couple years if they had any decorations I could borrow and they were more than willing to help me out! Not only does it save you money but it’s more environmentally friendly resulting in less stuff that will end up in the landfill.
When I lived in the Philippines, I’d see a lot of decorations and household products made from recycled bottles, paper, even shoes! Just because we live in a society that urges you to always buy new things for a wedding doesn’t mean you have to listen.
For items I did need to purchase, my motto was “don’t buy anything that won’t have a use afterwards” and I tried to stick to that. All the centerpieces and decorations were created so that I could use them as decor for our house. In fact, I used a lot of houseplants and succulents as decor for this specific reason. That way, it’s easier to justify spending money on wedding decor when you know it will have a dual purpose afterwards.
“don’t buy anything that won’t have a use afterwards”
Here are a couple examples where I made decorations from things I had lying around at home. I used recycled old wine bottles as table number holders and just added a new label.
I also painted these cool planter boxes out of old drawers my fiancé found next to a dumpster.
Craigslist is also a great place for buying and selling wedding decor and banquet items. You can make back some cash by selling your wedding decorations to someone else who doesn’t want to make it or pay full price. Everyone wins!
Although it was a lot more work, it was definitely a cost-saver.
I used to think that DIY meant you were making your own decorations. That’s part of it, but for me the biggest DIY projects were coordinating and bringing in our own vendors for the reception. We chose not to go with a hotel or other venue that would traditionally supply the food, drinks, service, etc. We had to go out and hire each one individually and coordinate all the moving parts for that day. Although it was a lot more work, it was definitely a cost-saver.
But if you’re gong this route I would recommend getting a day-of coordinator to keep things moving along while you’re getting ready, taking photos, and trying not to trip as you walk down the aisle. If you’re in the San Diego area, I would highly recommend Kim and Crew. Kimberly was awesome! She was always in a cheerful mood and went above and beyond the responsibilities we had originally agreed on. We couldn’t have survived the day without her!
8. Amazon Prime
I admit that although I have been using Amazon for years, I never thought getting Amazon Prime was worth it. But for wedding prep it was a major help. Not only did I save time by not running around to different stores trying to find the best deal on a product I wanted (remember those shoes and hair accessories deals?!), I could also get what I needed very quickly. And in San Diego, the less I am out there fighting traffic at the congested malls and stores the better.
For prime eligible products, my package came within 2 days, sometimes one. For other non-prime eligible products (sold by sellers other than Amazon), it still came within a week or so. That meant that if I made a last minute decision that I really wanted to go with a different plan for XYZ, I knew I could order something else and be assured that it would arrive in time. And the bonus part was that I didn’t have to carry any of the heavy bulky items home with me – it comes right to my doorstep.
Definitely think about using it if you’re planning for your big day, or any future party planning. You can always try it out with a free 30 day trial too.
9. Fridays and off-season deals
A lot of vendors are willing to offer deals for having your wedding on a Friday or during off-season months (usually late fall to early spring). While we weren’t able to have our wedding during the off-season, we did decide to have it on a Friday.
Our DJ, Eric Starr offered us an awesome Friday discount and we loved his services! If you’re in San Diego, we definitely recommend checking him out. He played all our favorite songs and kept the party going! After all, you want to be able to let loose and dance at your wedding, right?!
10. Resist the urge to impress
Although I am not the personality type to try and impress my guests with a fancy party, I still struggled with this pressure. Pinterest anxiety is a real thing, folks. You can spend hours looking through these fancy wedding photos and get overwhelmed by the number of different ways you can decorate your wedding. Not to mention all the popular trends that make you think you have to include something in your wedding just because everyone on Pinterest is doing it. But guess what, Pinterest photos are often fake shoots with models. Not everyone is doing fancy decorations – most people end up doing something simple, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at Pinterest.
Be yourself and your personality will shine through!
Here is my take, use Pinterest as a tool – get your ideas on a board, narrow them down and choose a few that you like. But don’t keep going back to Pinterest or you will get overwhelmed by new ideas and the pressure to include everything in your wedding. Be yourself and your personality will shine through!
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