Tell us your budget wedding tips, part II

winners engagement photoThis is Kristen and her fiancé, Wes, the beaming winners of our wedding ticket give-away to last Saturday’s Brooklyn Based wedding fair at the Bell House (which we heard was big fun). To win tickets, we asked readers to submit their best ideas for saving money at their wedding, and Kristin had a bunch:

“Think of all of your friends and friends of friends and see who might be willing/able to pitch in. My best friend does a baking blog, and she’s making my wedding cake. Another friend has a restored classic Mustang, so he’s providing the getaway car. Yet another works at a brewery, and he was able to give us an awesome deal on alcohol.  Cashing in on relationships—without taking advantage—is a great way to save money while making the wedding unique at the same time. “

Yep, ya gotta have friends, and ones with restored classic Mustangs are the best kind. But Kristen isn’t the only Brokelyn bride-to-be with some cheap tricks up her sleeve. Nicola suggested buying all your wine at Trader Joe’s, buying meat in bulk and supplying it to the caterer yourself. Or, trying an ethnic menu. “Think Chinese, West Indian or Indian,” Nicole said. “Often they cook banquet-style meals at a fraction of the price, and you get away from the boring chicken-steak-fish paradigm.”

Lisa Draho at Joshua Zuckerman photography said couples should negotiate, negotiate, negotiate, on photos and everything else:

Photo courtesy of Josh Zuckerman
Photo courtesy of Josh Zuckerman

“While you may not get your top pick, the closer to your wedding date that you hire a photographer—e.g. 6 to 8 weeks in advance or less—the more likely the photographer is to cut  a steep discount because they have a diminishing chance of getting booked.” If you’re getting married during a non-peak time, like Fridays, weekdays and deep winter months, you should also negogiate aggressively, she suggests. (By the way, if you’re looking for a thoroughly non-cheeseball photographer, check out Josh’s site—he’s really good. Love the two guys arguing over the challah.)

Readers and vendors sent us other fun ideas, but we’re saving them for the big list of 25 budget wedding tips that Brokelyn Labs has been cooking up. For some time now, we’ve been polling Brooklyn wedding pros on how to save on dresses, caterers, venues, photographers, party favors, floral arrangements, and so on. We’ve got some pearls, and now we want to hear from real people too. Whether you’re soon-to-be or recently married, committed or otherwise conjoined, lay ’em on us, so that all of Brokelyn can live cheaply ever after.


  1. Getting your flowers from the farmers market! (Or making your own flowers,or forgoing flowers all together!)Hiring a student to do the crafty things you need.

    Also, sites like have tons of great ideas and support for brides doing the non-traditional (and often MUCH less costly) way of things.

  2. For inexpensive Save the Date postcards, go to They are having a sale–100 postcards for free, with small additional charges if you upload your own design or create double-sided cards. I ordered 100 double-sided cards of my own design for less than $23.

  3. bklynbride

    Flowers from the wholesale flower district, get a friend to do them.

    Get a friend to DJ/Ipod DJ/hit up a dude who works in a record store, there are hardly any left now so they can use extra $$$.

    Don’t have mixed drinks – our guests got a choice of beer or wine, no one complained.

    Etsy, etsy, etsy.

  4. Vista Print has EVERYTHING for free at some point — we did ALL of our paper good through them and only had to pay $40 in shipping — for place cards, RSVP cards, thank you cards, 3-page programs, signs throughout the venue, etc…

    Another great thing was we did a photo-sharing card. On each seat was a business card asking people to upload all of the photos they took at the wedding to a snapfish (or whatever site you want…) site so that we got everyone’s digital pictures almost immediately — we had a photographer, but a lot of the pictures we used in our wedding album came from guests. Without a photographer, I think we would have been just as happy.

    Also, I agree with only beer/wine — no one complained.

    And vegetarian! We are vegetarians and hosted a great 4-station dinner with 5 pastas, 5 entrees, 10 salads, and 5 sides — and it took $15 a head off of the catering bill! That was a $3,000 savings! And no one complained!

  5. Javier Hernandez

    My wife and I decided to get married in city hall which was super affordable and we decided to have our reception at a friends studio apartment that was supper huge! So we lucked out with that. I purchased beautiful white rose for a dollar each @ a local store in Brighton Beach in comparison to 2-3 dollars each! For food I went to my local favorite restaurant and they hooked up 40 of my guest for about $400 dollars! The only thing that I really I know I needed was great photography. So a good friend told me about and they were the coolest people and gave me sick price. In all the day was great and I am super glad that I didn’t spend 1000’s of dollars.
    Great blog by the way!

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