If you’re recently engaged and the thought of dropping a couple thousand dollars on a wedding dress coupled with spending prolonged time with your mom/bff/soon-to-be mother-in-law perusing bridal salons is giving you high-level anxiety, time to chill TF out. The internet—and our favorite retailers to buy, like, T-shirts from—have come to our rescue and come out with a bunch of affordable wedding dresses that are still v chic.
Gone are the days of sitting in Kleinfeld’s and pretending to be totally OK with dropping $5k on a gown that will divide everyone in your wedding party. Seriously, do yourself a favor and at least peruse the online offerings from spots you already know, trust, and don’t have to guess your size for. You didn’t know these 5 retailers made affordable wedding dresses, which is why you’re so lucky to have me as a friend and confidant.
You have to poke around a bit, but H&M does offer some pretty cute and affordable wedding dresses if you search and categorize dresses by long and white. There are high-necked lace numbers for under $300, bridal separates, and this slinky, sexy satin dress that’s ideal for a beachy wedding. Plus, they have some decent basics to fill your suitcase with after you decide married life isn’t for you and you need to start a new life on an island with some cats. Just saying.
2. Anthropologie – BHLDN
Boho betches know that Anthropologie has an entire line dedicated to weddings, BHLDN. Dresses range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars and come in tons of styles from “I don’t care and I’m gonna rock this tiny lace see-through thing” to “I need a glam gown that looks like I spent $10k”. The best part is that BHLDN stores are an actual thing, so if you’re not into ordering your wedding dress online, you can trek to one of those locations and try it on IRL with or without your entourage.
3. Free People
The favorite for festival wear and Coachella hats actually makes some very summer and beach-worthy dresses for those of you that enjoy camping and not combing your hair. You can channel Princess Jasmine in this revealing number (and piss off your mom) or channel your inner gypsy in the Canyon Moon dress—probably while reading Tarot cards!
Yup. The retro-vibe clothing line offers a lot of tea-length and full-length dresses that are perfect for a super casual wedding where you don’t feel like dropping more than $500 on something you’re only going to wear for eight hours of your entire life. If you aren’t into wearing one of these for a wedding, they make a great rehearsal dinner or shower dress, too. Prices range from $65 for those on sale to around $350, so you can still afford a 10 hour open bar so, #priorities.
If you haven’t heard of this before, prepare to blow all your money on this wonder. Prices range from about $20-$550 when you sort by wedding stuff, and the options are jaw-dropping. Art Deco style fringe dresses and pink-tinged bridal lace dresses are all amazing finds from this retailer, and many of them are lower than $200. There are also tons of bridal shoes, hair accessories, and other wedding sh*t you didn’t realize you needed! Praise be.
Images: Melody Jacob / Unsplash; ASOS; Modcloth; Free People; Anthropologie, H&M
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Weddings are expensive AF no matter how you cut it. In addition to cutting costs for things so you can spend your money on important things like a house and a baller honeymoon, nixing things that your guests don’t care about is a smart move. Whether it’s programs or a certain type of dessert, don’t waste your Dad’s hard-earned money on things that literally no one will remember. Free booze, good food, and a dress that doesn’t look like it belongs to a cat weirdo are what matters.
Pass. We mentioned it here, but programs get forgotten, thrown out, or just generally ignored. If you’re really v concerned that people won’t know which version of “All Creatures of our God and King” to sing as the Offertory hymn during your 10-hour Catholic Mass, go ahead and write it on a chalkboard in the front. It’ll be a lot cheaper and grandma will be able to see the font.
By the time guests are on their way out of a wedding, they’re more concerned with either a) finding the next bar, or b) finding a suitable bush to throw up in. They’re not looking for a table with favors. Face it—most wedding favors are pretty forgettable and/or tacky. If you want to really give your guests a gift, offer a midnight snack like a pretzel, hot dog, or schedule a food truck to show up as the party winds down.
3. Types Of Flowers
Ask any former bridesmaid what kind of flowers she carried at any given wedding and she literally will not remember. Ask any wedding guest what kinds of flowers were used as centerpieces at any given wedding they’ve attended. No one will know. Flowers are def important for “fluffing” a space and adding color, but don’t feel the need to go balls to the wall and order perfectly pink hydrangeas out of season because the color is the only thing that will work. Set a budget and stick to it. Guests don’t care and won’t remember. Sh*t, go to the grocery store and get your own.
No one goes to a wedding for the cake. Oftentimes, wedding cake gets a bad rep anyway for being dry, bland, vanilla, and generally not that amazing compared to the free booze that the bartender is dishing out. Grabbing an Oreo ice cream cake is going to be just as sufficient for those cute shoving-cake-in-each-other’s-faces pics as a $1,000 four-layer French whipped meringue and sponge cake. At my wedding, we had a guest (who happened to be a baker) make our tiny perfect-for-smashing cake and it was just big enough for the two of us (which we loved cause we’re both v bad at sharing). Then we fed everyone else cookies, brownies, pies, and mousse. Win, win.
5. Cocktail Hour Music
This is the part of the program where your guests will pound shots, beer, and wine before heading into what they believe will be a v boring dinner. The soundtrack you provide during this power hour is not something your guests will notice. Sure, your parents may insist you play four to seven Bruce Springsteen songs because, “Sarah, you’re from New Jersey and you’re required by law.” Go ahead—your guests are going to be too busy guzzling appetizer-sized crab cakes and free prosecco to notice that “Glory Days” gets really old after the 50th time.
6. A Choreographed First Dance
Nine out of 10 couples in a survey I made up for this article don’t give a sh*t if the bride and groom can’t dance versus having a 4-minute choreographed dance routine. During the first dance, the guests are urging their bodies to quickly digest the multi-course feast of seafood and antipasti from cocktail hour while counting the minutes until the buffet opens and they can comment on the types of meat offered. No one cares if you spent four consecutive weeks verbally abusing kindly encouraging hubby to perfect his ability to dip you so that you can have the perfect picture. Just get out there and dance. Stop being a snot.
7. A Slideshow Of The Couple
Yawn. No matter how many “ooohs” and “awwws” you think you’ll garner from showing pics from the one-night stand respectable first date or the engagement you knew about and, therefore, had heavily photographed, no one cares. Sure, a photo here and there of the happy couple on tables at cocktail hour or tastefully worked into the reception hall is fine. But having a literal home movie of you two drooling on each other isn’t really necessary.
8. The Bouquet And Garter Toss
Oftentimes, the bouquet and garter toss only serve to up the ante at a boring wedding. You, chances are, are not going to have a boring wedding, so why stop the music for an outdated tradition? The only entertaining part of the bouquet toss is watching your single friends fight each other for a pack of flowers, so if that’s something you want to see, go for it. Bonus points if your maid of honor pushes a child to the floor in an effort to grab it.
Images: Wu Jianxiong, Unsplash; Giphy (3)
Oh god. Here we are again with tips and tricks on how to cut costs on your wedding and have it not be a precursor to your poverty. If you want things in life like the down payment on a house or a honeymoon that isn’t at a cheap resort in Mexico that serves tainted alcohol, you’re going to need to chill on some wedding day stuff. Everything from food to flowers to photographers costs a lot of money, and you need to prioritize where it’s cool to pay a couple thousand and where it’s like, uncool. Maybe none of this applies because Mommy and Daddy are footing the bill, but, like, maybe they aren’t. Or maybe you’ll piss them off so much that you’ll be paying for it yourself.
In any case, here are a few ways to cut costs on your wedding.
1. Chill On Your Dress
Do you honestly need the custom designer Oscar De La Renta dress for your wedding day? Yes, it’d be nice to have, and yes, everyone would be super jealous (especially your cousin who literally always tries to one-up you). However, at the end of it all, is it necessary to spend more than $5k on a dress you’re going to wear once? There are millions of beautiful dresses below the $5k point, many in the $1,000 to $3,000 range. If you NEED the designer dress, check the sale racks or shop sample sizes if you’re #blessed enough to be a size zero or two.
2. Don’t Use A Florist
Flowers are going to kill your budget. All of your flowers are going to die three days or less after your reception. I’ve heard of people quoted $30k on flowers (she wanted an entire altar made of roses, but that’s neither here nor there). Knowing these cold hard facts, go ahead and get your bridal bouquet and potentially bridesmaids bouquets from a florist. But when it comes to decorating cocktail hour serving areas or adorning tables in the reception hall, go for dried arrangements of lavender, baby’s breath, and eucalyptus from your local Michael’s (I know you have a coupon) or mixed floral bouquets from spots like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Grocers have fresh flowers delivered on the reg and will prevent you spending a metric f*ck ton of money on the same effect you’re getting from the florist. If you put gas station roses on a table, chances are your guests will be too drunk to realize you spent $12 instead of $100.
3. Stock Your Own Booze
Although some of us (me) think it’s tacky, soon-to-be-wedded couples sometimes do a “stock the bar” party instead of a bridal or wedding shower. The object is to guilt guests into buying all the booze for your event so that you aren’t forced to pay a couple thousand dollars for an all-night open bar. You could also slowly buy nice bottles of top shelf liquor and use that, depending on the size of the wedding. The moral of the story is that having an open bar with a bartender with top shelf liquor at a venue is often extremely expensive. So, if you’re able to at least stock the bar with your own beer, wine, and liquor to offset some costs, go for it.
4. Limit The Guests
I know your mom is dying to invite your third cousin twice removed, but if you want to count pennies for this shindig, limit the guest list. Every person you invite is going to cost you between $50-100 depending on the size of the wedding. Once you think of everyone as a dollar sign—dollars that could be spent on wine during your honeymoon—you’ll stop feeling so obliged to have them sit through your special day.
5. Buy Used
Check out Etsy, Craigslist, weird garage sales, flea markets, etc. for wedding decor like lanterns, tea lights, vases, etc. Chances are, you’re going to find little corner-filling items for a lot cheaper (and in probs fine condition) by perusing used items versus going to a planner and having them source stuff for you.
6. Nix The Programs
You know what costs money? Printing programs. I printed 160 programs for my wedding which hosted a guest list of 150. I still have about 100 said programs laying in a v sad, handwritten book basket in my office. If you want everyone to know the correct Psalm number with which your reading coincides, get a giant, adorable chalkboard, frame it nicely, and have someone with lovely handwriting get to work.
7. Don’t Bother With Favors
Save your money. You just gave these ungrateful plebs an all-you-can-eat buffet and free booze. They don’t need a personalized tea light or Mason jar of local honey that they’ll forget about and leave in their car. It may add up to just a couple hundred bucks, but every little bit counts when you’re trying to buy house wares like that margarita machine, amirite?
8. Go Buffet
When it comes to food, obviously, a plated dinner is nicer, fancier, and classier. However, if you really want two weeks in Corsica after the wedding, opt for a family style meal or buffet which is almost always cheaper (don’t @ me). People can eat as much or as little as they want (less food waste which is like, v planet-friendly), go up as much as they want, and you can have an assortment of mains and sides.
All these tips AND MORE can help you save thousands of dollars on your big, giant, one day party. Remember that when you’re drowning in invites and custom napkin colors and your bridesmaids refusing to wear pink: it’s a big party. What matters is the person waiting for you at the end of the night; the person you can pass out and throw up on this night and every night for the rest of your life.
Images: Anne Edgar / Unsplash; Giphy (3)
Everyone’s always talking about how to cut costs for your wedding, and while it’s important to stick to a budget, there are certainly a few things you should have the green light to splurge on. Just think of it the same way you budget your normal life. Sometimes you have to use someone else’s Hulu account because you need to Uber to walkable destinations multiple times a week. Unless you’re as crafty as Lauren Conrad pretends to be on Instagram, you’ll never be able to DIY an entire wedding and make it actually fun. Here are a few areas of your wedding you really shouldn’t cheap out on.
I mean, if you’re going to spam our Instagram feeds with pictures from your “best day ever” on every Throwback Thursday until we die or an apocalypse wipes out our internet connection, they better be good. Even if a marriage doesn’t last forever, the photos will. Hire someone who knows what they’re doing and can find your angles, and not just your one friend with a DSLR and a mild Instagram following. Plus, everyone knows that in 2018, an event is a total waste if you don’t get good photos, so your entire wedding will be pointless if not documented properly. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.
2. Spray Tans
If you’re planning on getting a spray tan for your wedding, you better steer clear of every automated machine in town. Unless, of course, you have that photo of Ross Geller’s spray tan on your Pinterest board, in which case, I think we have bigger fish to fry. Spend a little more and have some chick with a handheld airbrush tool do it, because her skills are more reliable than your ability to count to three.
Oh, some girl from your high school writes #MUA on all her Instagram captions and is involved in a makeup multilevel marketing scheme? Don’t do it. Your wedding day is not the time to start blindly trusting people you vaguely know. Your wedding is basically just a long day of photographs followed by a long night of drinking with some sporadic crying mixed in, so hire a damn professional who can keep your lewk fresh for the entire event.
A bad invitation will have people talking shit about your wedding long before it even happens. I’m not saying you need to invest in a bunch of handmade silk boxes that doves fly out of, but try to avoid doing these yourself (you don’t want the extra stress, anyway). Look for a stationer with lots of paper options and printing methods, and you’ll be able to get a solid design for less than you think. And for the love of god, don’t even think about handwriting anything.
I know that like, every rom com in history has some joke about altering your body instead of altering the wedding gown, but like… why bother? Unless you’re super into the idea of sweating for the wedding (ew), just find a bomb-ass seamstress that can make your dress fit you perfectly. As a bride, you have enough pressure on you as it is. Don’t make it worse for yourself.
6. Cocktail Hour
If your reception is in a different venue than your ceremony, your guests will prob hate you forever if you don’t feed them well and liquor them up upon their arrival. You also better make sure they have appropriate seating, because everyone will either have uncomfortable shoes on, or like, will be old. There’s nothing worse than a bunch of uncomfortable, grouchy, hungry sober guests, so don’t scrimp when it comes to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
Speaking of uncomfortable shoes… don’t buy them for yourself. It’s okay to get a cheap pair to wear as a guest, but you really won’t want to have your entire honeymoon ruined because your feet are covered in blisters and you can’t wear cute sandals or have your feet in saltwater.
Images: Giphy (3)