Time for a giddy girl moment. I’m a bride-to-be! I’m full tilt into wedding planning.

Now consider that I’m also a couponer and I want the most bang for my bridal buck. And because my last name isn’t Trump, I’m working on something of a budget. That can be stressful.

I haven’t succumbed to one crying fit or bridezilla moment, primarily because I’m using my couponing savvy to make this wedding affordable and fun.

Look for Discounts

Photography: My photographer offered discounts when ordering a package over a la carte services. The package includes a free engagement session, all day shooting, and an album for $3,500. An engagement session on its own is $350. Purchasing the package rather than buying services a la carte saved me $350! She also offered a 15 percent discount for pre-ordering an album, saving an additional $525. Total price of engagement session, album, and all day photography is $2,975. That seems like a steep price, but overall I’ve saved $875. It’s like buying in bridal bulk. I didn’t want to lose out on having professional photos of my wedding day. I know that amount isn’t an option for some brides. Consider asking a friend with photo skills to act as photographer and get candid snaps from guests.

Videography: The videographer offered a 10 percent discount for customers who pay in full, up front. Normally I would recommend brides flee from paying the full amount for any service in advance. But I know this person as a reputable vendor. His services normally cost $1,800. By paying up front, I saved $180! I also have one less bill to pay off as the big day approaches.

How to Double Up

Makeup and Hair: Make the most of services offered to you. I have my free engagement photo session coming up this weekend. I also had planned a makeup trial before hiring a makeup artist for the big day. So I researched services in my area and found spa and salon prices started at $65. But an independent makeup artist charged about $25 for a trial run. So I booked an appointment a couple of hours before the engagement photo session. I ended up saving $40!

Free Lunch: One of the more pleasant tasks of wedding planning is testing menus for the reception dinner. I skipped lunch on the day of my cake tasting, and I was glad I did. Really not the healthiest or best idea for a bride who needs to fit into a dress soon, but it made for a fun and delicious afternoon. Typically lunch out with the future hubs runs about $30.

Free Dinner: Deciding on the menu for the reception should be just as filling and fun. Dress up and treat it as a date night or invite friends or family. We brought both sets of parents, and by asking if 6 people could come, the venue allowed that for no extra charge. We had salad, pasta, beef, chicken, wine, beer and coffee! A typical dinner out like that could run approximately $200! We got it for free, got together with our parents, and got super excited about the big day.

Rent vs. Buy: Consider buying instead of renting. The florist we selected, for example, charges $200 for renting candelabra for the ceremony. My mother found a beautiful set at Pier 1 Imports for $140. Not only is that a savings of $60, it is something we can keep in our home as decor and a memory of our special day—a double use! But if we don’t want to keep it, I could sell it on Ebay or another site for about $70.

Likewise, I wanted to upgrade to a few tall cylinder vases for the centerpieces to add dimension to the room. The upgrades would cost an additional $125 per centerpiece—$50 alone for the rental of each vase! I found beautiful tall vases at the Christmas Tree Shop for about $22. I bought 6, a savings of $168! I cannot wait to position a few around my house and share them with friends and family.

Linen rentals are approximately $18 per day per tablecloth. I found some beautiful ones on Amazon for about $12. Depending on what you are looking for, you may score a deal and have formal tablecloths to last you many holiday gatherings to come!

Roundup of tips:

  • Ask vendors about package deals. It might be possible to score discounts for ordering services in “bridal bulk” or paying up front (to thoroughly vetted vendors).
  • Make the most of hair and makeup trials by scheduling other events for that day, like engagement pictures or a night out on the town!
  •  Eat up! Find out how many people you can bring to tastings, use it as a meal, get dressed up and enjoy the experience.
  • Consider buying over renting.

This has been a guest post by Kristen from Stoughton, MA
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

Wedded to Savings: Double up on Services to Save Down the Aisle