Cake tasting = fun. Dress shopping = fun. Crafting your dream reception playlist = fun. Wedding = fun times twelve. But while you’re getting ready for your Best. Day. Ever, inevitably a concern or two about budget may arise. But hey, fear not. A) it’s totally normal, and B) Yes, budgeting and reallocating funds can be a bummer and quite the lackluster task in your wedding to-do list, but there are nearly endless ways you can have your cake and eat it for free, too. Read on for some of our top tips for scoring free swag for your wedding from wedding and savings experts.
Photo Credit: Red Letter Days
1. Snag a free suite
#Suitelife, giddy on up! “If you have a lot of guests staying in a particular hotel, ask for a suite for you to stay in on your wedding night,” advises Jeanette Pavini, Coupons.com Savings Expert, who offers additional tips on their wedding blog. “Most hotels will give you a complimentary room if you are securing a certain number of rooms for guests!” Hotel for your wedding night? Check. Nuptials-night romance? Check plus.
2. Stuff your welcome bag with awesome goodies
You’ve pinned away for months now dreaming up your ideal bundle o’ treats for your guests. Ever thought of this genius idea? “Welcome bag content can range from wine to water to maps. Why not visit your local chamber of commerce to receive a few complimentary contents such as a concierge magazine that will guide your guests on local restaurants and attractions?” offers Lydia Redmond, director of weddings at Ritz-Carlton, Naples in Naples, Florida. From vouchers to postcards, you may be surprised at all the neat and locally-fitting gifts they can offer!
3. Upgrade your invites
Between calligraphy dreamin’ and reply card draftin’, consider this: “Printed invitations are one of those costs that can add a lot to your budget,” states Pavini. “Ask the printer for a complimentary upgrade of paper. Many times they will do this for you, especially if your total order is significant.” Now, back to that creativity brainstorming sesh…
4. Get the future hubs a free tux
Real talk: Your “Mr.” probably hasn’t been clipping photos of his ideal tux since, oh, age fourteen. “Many tuxedo rental companies will provide a complimentary tux for the groom with multiple paid tuxedo rentals for the groomsmen/bridal party,” suggests Redmond. Talk to various menswear providers to see which best match your needs.
5 Reach out to your local college’s music program
“Check with your local college music department or music school to ask students to play for your ceremony,” says Pavini. “Many advanced students will do this for the experience and exposure (although you should tip them) and some will play at a deeply-reduced cost.”
6. Lean on your friends
The Bill Withers song tells you to do so, and you know you’d do the same in a heartbeat (if you haven’t already!) for you gals on their big day as well. “Weddings are the appropriate time to call in favors from friends. Do you have a friend that is a talented carpenter? Have you had your eye on that beautiful wooden bench for your ceremony, but can’t quite fit it into your budget? Call upon your friend’s expertise to create this for you,” suggests Redmond. “This will provide a customized piece made especially for the two of you, and bragging rights for your friend.”
7. Score a comped honeymoon
Dream on, you say? Dream up, we reply! If you’re getting married at a hotel chain, inquire about any honeymoon specials — The Ritz-Carlton, for example, will treat you to a “honeymoon on us” experience, which includes a stay any one of the 55 Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts in the U.S., Caribbean or Mexico. Based on how much you spend, the hotel will give you a complimentary 3, 5 or 7-night honeymoon with airfare credit. To score a dream vacay of your own like this, simply inquire with the venue when booking your wedding about honeymoon specials. Even if they don’t market the special, you may be pleasantly surprised with swoonworthy bespoke options available to you.
8. Do all your paper products with one vendor
Not only will this save you the headache of dealing with extra vendors, but it can also give your wallet a big-time break. “Paper products, such as save the dates, formal invitations, place cards, menu cards and thank you notes, can add up fast. Combining these services with one vendor will give you the opportunity to receive the best possible value and your outcome of these important details will be seamless with a common theme running throughout,” shares Redmond.
9. Ask about the venue’s preferred vendor list’s waiting list
Yes, you read that right. “Getting on a venue’s preferred vendor list is priceless for caterers and this can be a big money saving negotiating strategy for you!” exclaims Pavini. “Here’s how it works: Most venues have certain caters that they work with. Caterers get on this list by having someone hire them to do an event or wedding at the facility. Ask the venue if there are any caterers wanting to get onto this list. Most of the time these caterers will offer you rock-bottom prices and in turn they are now able to be put on the preferred vendors list.” This sneaky strategy can save you upwards of hundreds, even thousands of dollars for your wedding.
10. Book free glam squad services
“When planning your trial hair and makeup appointments, inquire with your glam team if they can give you a credit towards the wedding day if you secure their services for the entire wedding party,” suggests Redmond. Since trial hair and makeup runs can set you back a few hundred dollars (or more!), try shooting your engagement photos the same day while you’re all gussied up.