Before approaching the topic of wedding hacks of any kind, you might want to discuss your negotiables and non-negotiables with your partner. Think about all the weddings you've both attended, and pick out which ones you liked and didn't like from those ceremonies. Was there a decor or program decision that made you double-take with delighted surprise? Did you see anything you thought you would forego when your own big day came? It would help to recognize the aspects of your wedding that have to go a certain traditional direction, and which ones are up for reinvention and some nifty tweaking.
Your wedding, your say. But that said, a special day set aside to celebrate your love most definitely doesn't have to be expensive to be meaningful. Read on for hacks on how to keep your intimate wedding creatively cost-efficient!
1. Get creative with the table decors and souvenirs.
If you and your partner plan on giving out wedding souvenirs, it may be a good idea to use them as your table decor as well. No one ever said no to objects that multitask! A good rule of thumb is to pick out souvenirs based on cost, practicality, and novelty. Are they moderately inexpensive? How will they figure into the lives of your guests when the party's over? Do they creatively complement and enhance your overall motif?
A cute idea: If your motif is rustic, earthy, and nature-centric, you may opt to decorate the tables with coffee beans in jars, beautiful fruits, and lush vegetables. Supply your guests with tastefully-designed reusable bags so they can go "shopping" for the goodies when your special day comes to a close. This is affordable, aesthetically pleasing, and easily incorporated into the program as a final activity. For a poetic touch, you can tag the goods with witty, positive handwritten notes so guests can "harvest" the sentiments they'd like to take with them. This might work best with a smaller group of guests!
2. Consider using an alternative to real flowers.
After the wedding, you might end up with kilos and kilos of wilted flowers with no other apparent purpose. That said, rethink the volume of flowers that will be shipped in for your wedding. If you're a minimalist, you can opt to lessen them, replace them altogether with greenery or potted plants, or use paper flowers instead! If you're not into the traditional flower bouquet, you can look into other options here.
3. Pick which parts of the bridal outfit will be brand new, and which will be thrifted.
If you own an heirloom that'll perfectly grace your neck or wrist as you walk down the aisle, you probably won't need to splurge on designer jewelry. If you're inclined to purchase Louboutins for your big day, you could balance out the expenses by bagging your wedding dress from Lazada. If you're fully committed to the ukay life and think it would be cool to wear a preloved, storied dress, go for it. In 2018, travel blogger/photographer Kimi Juan-Caja tied the knot in a dress that she bought from a department store. So yup, it's possible!
4. Do away with all printouts.
If you're not into sending physical invitations and printing out fancy program cards, you could get away with a downloadable poster, emailed to your guests beforehand. Save for your guests who are into scrapbooking, the trash bin might just be the permanent holder for the majority of printed programs when the reception is over. You can print a small stack of copies in case people want memorabilia, but foregoing the printing will save you money and paper!
5. If you have skilled close friends, ask for wedding help and not wedding gifts.
You probably have several close, lifelong friends who sing, host, mix music, or have trusted wedding coordinators within their networks. Or, maybe you have a sister who's a photographer, and a cousin who designs venues for milestone events. Given you have warm, unbreakable relationships with these people, they'll likely be very happy to help you in cost-cutting, and, more importantly, in working toward your dream wedding day with a team you can depend on. It won't hurt to reach out to them. When the wedding's over, you can arrange to get them each a token of gratitude. Again, if doesn't have to be expensive to be special.
6. Go unconventional for the prenup photoshoot.
Cut costs by going for a DIY prenup shoot, if you want to have one at all. In cases of extreme frugality, you could go for a series of mirror selfies of you and your partner, taken in places that are meaningful to your journey as a couple. You could tap a friend to photograph you with a film camera (or even an Instax) for a charmingly lowkey yet aesthetic series of images. Or better yet, invest in a tripod and shoot everything yourself! Design an idiosyncratic set. Put on quirky outfits. You can have a lot of fun and spend only a pocketful!
7. Think about what you need to buy and what you could rent.
Aside from the draperies, vases, furniture, linens, and kitchenware that are commonly rented for wedding ceremonies, there might be other things you could opt to rent—or even borrow—in lieu of adding to your already-extensive inventory of wedding-related purchases. For one, you could rent your bridesmaids' attire. Purchasing several tailor-made dresses might be a weighty expenditure, considering that those dresses might not be worn again after your wedding. This is especially true if you've picked a unique cut and color that is unlikely to match the motifs of subsequent formal events your bridesmaids will attend.
Again, your wedding, your rules. Ultimately, your wedding marks the beginning of your marriage; the wedding day isn't a standalone affair done for its own sake, or for the sake of anyone outside of you and your partner, for that matter. You can celebrate it any way you want, whether that means having a Crazy Rich Asians-style extravaganza, or a small, hushed, and hearty gathering. Happy planning!