Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Five Things You Can Borrow (Instead Of Buy) For Your Wedding

The easiest way to save money on your wedding is to just not spend it. I get it, that sounds pretty ridiculous because there's no such thing as a free wedding. Even the cheapest of weddings requires you to pay for a marriage license. But still, hear me out. If you want to save money, don't spend it. And you can not spend it by borrowing.

Chances are, you're not the first person you know who is getting married. And if you are, there's a good chance you're not the first person to have a reception at the venue of your choice. So borrow from your friends, borrow from your venue, borrow from anyone who is offering because the more you can borrow, the less you have to buy.

Now, there are some things you definitely don't want to borrow, like a wedding dress. Most brides want their very own, one that hasn't already gone through a wedding night. But there are a few things that you can definitely borrow (or at least try to borrow) to save your budget.


Here -- in order of your wedding day, not order of significance -- is my list of five things you can borrow (instead of buy) for your wedding.

Five Things You Can Borrow (Instead Of Buy) For Your Wedding


1. Bridal Accessories

I will never in my life wear a garter belt again. The only reason I wore one this time was so Pete could throw it (and, as you can see in the photo above, so my brother could put it on his girlfriend's leg). I was super lucky that my friend Nicole offered me hers to borrow because I didn't need to spend money on one but I did need something borrowed. Plus, she actually used hers as her something blue (if you look close, you can see the blue in it), so I was able to use it as my something blue also.

I did buy my veil -- which I absolutely loved more than I can explain -- but I also lent it out after my wedding. So I didn't get to save money on that personally, but I did get to save another bride money.

And then, of course, don't forget about bridal jewelry. Many brides will borrow something from their mom or grandmother for their wedding day, so that means you don't have to go out and spend money on jewelry. Plus, you'll feel really special saying I do wearing a piece from your family.

Savings: around $420 ($20 for the garter, around $150 for the veil, and around $250 for a complete set of bridal jewelry)


2. Church decor.

When we met with a florist and were listing out the items we wanted in our package, I mentioned that our church had huge calla lilies on the doors one Easter and I thought they were gorgeous. I asked the florist how much those might be. "Actually," she said, "your church has beautiful white wreaths that it puts out on wedding days. You can probably just ask them for those." When we met with the priest, I asked him and he said that the church puts those out, unless the couple doesn't want them.

Yes, we wanted them. And since these were something the church provided, they were definitely the right size to fit the large church doors. I didn't have to worry about a florist guessing the correct size and being off -- making them either too large or too small for the doors. We didn't have to pay any extra to use these, so we could forget about that expense.

Savings: at least $240 (that's my approximation for what the wreaths may have cost us; your savings will depend on what you can borrow.)

3. Program holders

I could have gone to the dollar store to buy baskets to hold our wedding programs, And that would have cost me two dollars. And in real life, two dollars is basically nothing. But when you're planning a wedding, two dollars saved is huge. So when we were talking to the priest about programs (and he was absolutely set on the fact that we needed them), he said he had matching baskets that we could use to hold our programs.

What's nice is that I actually see these baskets at mass every week. I had never noticed them before, but they catch my eye every week now. And it's just nice to see them and be reminded of our wedding every Sunday. And to be reminded of the couple bucks we saved because the priest mentioned he had them.

Wherever you get married, there's a good chance there has a been a wedding before you. And they probably had programs because most weddings do. So ask your venue if they have a basket you can use to hold them. Chances are they do.

Savings: $2 (plus tax)

wedding programs

4. Centerpieces

We really lucked out in this department.

I wasn't sure what I wanted for centerpieces and Pinterest was letting me down. I knew I wanted something with sand and vases and maybe floating candles. But other than that, I was kind of lost. I knew I didn't want floral centerpieces because one) it wouldn't go with our beach theme and two) floral centerpieces are really expensive.

When we had our tasting at the venue, the on-site coordinator asked me our plan for centerpieces, and I basically paraphrased the above paragraph. She asked me to hold on a moment and came back with the centerpiece in the top photo in this post. She said they host dinners at the venue sometimes and that's what they use for centerpieces, then told me we could use them for free. Perfect. Done. That's our own rock sand in the centerpieces (we got that from the beach behind the house in the Outer Banks where Pete's family stays each summer) and the seashells are ones I collected on the beach down in North Carolina last summer. The portions I added were free (and made them our own) and use from the venue was free. That saved us a ton of money ... and potential aggravation. I mean, if we had bought that for all the tables, we would end up with eleven mirrored plates, thirty three small votive holders, and eleven hurricane glass vases. We absolutely did not need any of that. And yes, most guests do take the centerpieces from weddings, but the majority of our guests traveled from New York to our wedding. They weren't going to be taking these vases in their carry ons, so I was so happy to have gotten to borrow them from the venue.

So before you start buying items for your centerpieces, ask your venue. You might end up with exactly what you wanted for absolutely nothing out of pocket.

Savings: between $50 and $100 per table, on average (ten tables and that's around $500 savings if you go with the low end of floral centerpieces.)


5. Cake Knife & Server

You do not need to bring your own cake knife to your wedding, unless your venue specifies that you do. Chances are the reception venue has had couples cut the cake before and has a knife you can use. Done. Simple. Easy.

We brought our own Reed & Barton bridal set, and it was pretty and great and something I thought would be nice to pass down to our own children one day. It came in a nice padded box and would have kept well for decades until our children -- who do not even exist in our plans right now -- were old enough to get married. We were gifted it so it wasn't something that we spent money on, which was great because the box that the set came in never got returned to us from the venue. So it's something we can pass on, but it's just not as nice. And who knows. Maybe our kids won't even have cakes to cut at the wedding. Is it worth it to buy a cake knife to use for a few photos and then keep in a drawer for decades? No. Just borrow one from the venue. That works just as well.

Savings: about $45

Total savings from these items: at least $1,200 -- and that's my safe, fairly average approximation of things. Imagine how much you could get if you spent that $1,200 elsewhere. Just don't spend it on anything from my list of the five things you can absolutely skip at your wedding or your savings will be in vain.

BRIDAL BABBLE: What else can you borrow instead of buy for your wedding?


  1. Love these Lisa. I actually saved a bunch of money on my own wedding with some of the same tricks. Those centrepieces are beautiful, nice stroke of luck there. :D
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. great post. i always borrowed shoes for special events like prom, so i'll probably do the same for my wedding

  3. great ideas to save money. It definitely adds up borrowing and not buying. I love the centerpieces.

  4. Great post - we still use our cake knife & server every year for our anniversary and during special occasions and holidays!

  5. Those are great suggestions. I borrowed some things from my mother's friend who had lovely things.

    slehan at juno dot com

  6. Great tips, I would definitely borrow a veil or even loan one out, such an exorbitant cost!

  7. Anyway that a bride can save on her wedding is a good thing. It really can add up the costs of a wedding. I like the church already having flowers and the savings in not having to buy flowers is huge. Get a cheap garter. I found one for .50 cents at a yard sale. I would look around at thrift stores and yard sales for cheap items!

  8. Thanks for these great tips on how to save on a wedding. I hadn't even thought of these ideas but have so many of these things available at home. Rosanne rosans4@comcast.net

  9. these are great ideas-we borrowed from a friend who had recently married

    tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

  10. You could borrow someone's nice car to drive or be driven around in.

    Aria H.

  11. There are soon really great tips and tricks here. Thanks for sharing Lisa!

  12. Weddings can be very expensive. Borrowing items is a good idea. Just make sure to return them.

  13. These are some great ideas I would haven't thought of.Thanks for sharing!

  14. My mothers friend wants to borrow my very expensive wedding jewelry?? What should I do???