Do-it-yourself weddings save money for what matters most


It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. According to, a wedding planning site, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. for 2014 is $28,671. Additionally, nearly 50 percent of all couples end up spending more on their wedding day than they originally budgeted for.

K-State alumni Tyler Hilburn and Michelle Busch-Hilburn tied the knot on Nov. 8. Being aware of the costs associated with the celebration, the couple enlisted family members and friends to save on several otherwise costly expenses.

“We really did everything you can think of ourselves,” Busch-Hilburn said.

The couple, friends and family came together to make the wedding happen. A family friend got ordained to perform the ceremony, another did the photography and the bridal party created the decorations.

“We really saved a lot of money by using things we already had,” Busch-Hilburn said.

Here are some ways you too can save money on your special day with these Do-it-yourself projects.

Bouquets for the bride, bridesmaids

According to, the average bridal bouquet costs $108, Busch-Hilburn spent a total of $380 on a total of six bouquets, including her own bridal bouquet and one to throw. Busch-Hilburn bought flowers individually for $370, then decorated them herself.

“I bought ribbon and burlap for wrapping for $10,” Busch-Hilburn said.

In addition to making the bouquets, Busch-Hilburn’s mom helped her arrange and tie the bouquets for the ceremony.

Busch-Hilburn saved hundreds of dollars on multiple bouquets by purchasing the flowers and creating her own design.


For their decorations, the Busch-Hilburn wedding party worked on pumpkin centerpieces after the rehearsal dinner to keep them fresh for the following morning.

“(We spent) $66” Busch-Hilburn said. “$55 for the pumpkins, (they) were half price after Halloween, (and) I bought 25 and utensils for $5.”

Having the wedding party carve the pumpkins not only saved the couple money on various decorations, but also created time for friends together and allow those who did not know each other to meet.

Wedding invites, programs

Wedding invites can cost a lot. According to, wedding invitations cost between $381-$441 on average. Busch-Hilburn found even higher demands for printing invitations and programs ranging up to $600. The newlyweds worked together to create their own invites and programs.

“(We bought) a downloadable wedding invite template on Etsy for $10,” Busch-Hilburnsaid said.

The invitations were printed for a few cents a page using her own design.

Busch-Hilburn also saved money designing the order of the ceremony herself and creating a program that matched the invites. The total paper and printing costs for the 120 invites and 50 programs was $43.

DJ vs. playlist

Getting a DJ for the wedding can be one of the most expensive costs of a reception. The most expensive DJs, according to, cost an average of $715- $849. In most cases, the DJ plays about 16 to 17 songs an hour. Busch-Hilburn opted to replace the cost with a music playlist instead.

“(We) hooked up old speakers to Tyler’s truck for (the) reception” Busch-Hilburn said. Their personal playlist featured all of the couple’s favorite songs.

Having a playlist of songs saved the couple up to $715 instead of paying for a DJ who might not have played the songs they wanted. Buying songs on iTunes costs $1.99 for the average song with older ones costing $.99. Plus, the couple used songs they already owned.

In the end Tyler and Michelle Hilburn saved over $15,000 with the help of their friends and family.

“Saving on the little things allowed me to an (expensive) dress, high-quality barbecue for the reception and plenty of wine and beer,” Busch-Hillburn said. “(We also got) nice gifts for our family and wedding party.”

By doing a lot of the wedding projects with help from friends and family, Busch-Hillburn was able to have the wedding she wanted without having to break the bank.

Jamie Teixeira is a senior in English.

Jamie Teixeira
My name is Jamie Teixeira and I am a senior English and journalism with a minor in Leadership. I am the president of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, a tutor at the K-State Writing Center,and a member of the K-State Tap Dance Ensemble. My future plans are to become an editor or publisher of children's literature. Outside of school I love to read and cuddle with my kitten, Bert.