Wedding budget

LIve healthy on your wedding budget

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

The terms “wedding planning” and “budgeting” go together like two peas in a pod. If there’s ever a time in your life when it actually seems easy to tighten the purse strings your engagement is it. After all, your dream wedding is a huge reward for those months of penny pinching.

But keeping an eye on the bottom line shouldn’t mean cutting out expenses that actually matter. If you haven’t left room in your wedding budget for health and fitness, it might be time to look again.

What Not To Do To Save Money For Your Wedding

Skipping personal training sessions and downgrading your grocery list may seem like smart cost-cutting techniques in the short term, but you have to think about the bigger picture. Investing in your health and fitness will not only ensure that you look and feel fantastic on your wedding day, it will also help to reduce the (more expensive) costs of getting sick.

Of course that doesn’t mean shelling out thousands on expensive gym memberships, or only buying organic food. But it does mean finding the healthy middle ground between eating dinner at that famous vegan restaurant and buying something from McDonalds.

Fortunately you can save money and still maintain that healthy honeymoon-ready body with these 8 simple hacks.

How To Live Healthy On A Wedding Budget

Cook more at home

1. Cook More At Home

A super simple way to save money is by cooking more at home. Not only is eating out expensive (you’re not only paying for the food, but also the service, the atmosphere, and the convenience) it can also pack loads of hidden calories into your meal. Restaurants want to serve food that you can’t get enough of, which usually translates as fat, sugar, and salt.

The easy way to get started cooking at home is to choose a few simple recipes that you can make ahead of time. Having food already prepared makes it easy to commit to healthy eating, and leaves you more time for fun with your fiancé.

2. Buy Non-Trendy Foods

To save money in the grocery store you need to be strategic (and rather boring). Make a list of the essentials and be willing to swap your go-to ingredients for those on special. Most importantly, you need to waltz right on past the trendy new “superfoods” section and stick to purchasing classic and cheap (but still super) foods such as vegetables, fruits, meat, and grains.

You only have to look at photos from our grandparent’s generation to notice that almost everyone was slim and healthy — and they didn’t even have spirulina or goji berries! What?! Buying unpackaged foods in their most natural state is a win for your body and your bank account.

3. Follow the Dirty Dozen – Clean Fifteen

No, I’m not talking about your wedding night! Cheeky! The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen are two lists created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that outlines which foods have the highest amount of pesticide residue (the Dirty Dozen) and the lowest (the Clean Fifteen).

If it’s on the Dirty Dozen, you should buy it organic, or don’t buy it at all. If it’s a Clean Fifteen food you can save your dollars and choose conventional.

Eating foods that are high in chemical residue can create inflammation in the body that might lead to allergies, illness and weight gain. It’s a pretty simple switch to make, but if organic isn’t in your budget all you have to do is choose a different food. Here’s the list for your convenience:

The Dirty Dozen (plus)

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Snap peas (imported)
  • Potatoes
  • (Additional items that cause concern are hot peppers and blueberries)

The Clean 15

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe (domestic)
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet potatoes

Cut your alcohol consumption

4. Cut your alcohol consumption in half

Drinking less alcohol means half the calories and half the cost. You might choose to have certain alcohol free nights during the week, or reduce the size of your pour when having a drink.

In addition to being a source of empty calories, alcohol is a diuretic, which can cause dehydration and water weight gain. Too much alcohol at night also affects sleep quality, and there’s nothing like a hangover to make poor food and fitness choices the next day.

Instead try sipping on low sugar kombucha, infused waters, or make a spritzer with half white wine and half club soda.

5. Walk more than you drive

Getting in shape isn’t rocket science, but it does take consistent, daily action. 10,000 steps a day is the baseline for good health and fitness, but reaching that goal isn’t as easy as you might think. A simple way to get more movement into your day is to walk more than you drive. This burns calories, saves fuel costs and is a terrific way to gently tone the muscles in your lower body.

Start by choosing to walk more often to complete errands. If you do drive, park further away from the store and get in those extra steps that way.

Find community workout classes

6. Find community workout classes

Many studios schedule lower-priced classes during off-peak hours, often called “community class”. Rather than paying a whopping $25 per session for hot yoga after work, you can join in the lunchtime flow for $8.

Other ideas for free-fitness include joining a Meetup group, or checking out local athletic-wear stores, such as Nike, Lululemon and Athleta, which often hold free classes on the weekend.

7. Make date night active

Instead of heading to the movies for date night (hello, expensive tickets and unhealthy popcorn) choose to do something active with your fiancé. You could practice your first dance, play frisbee in the park, or get your friends together for an evening sports match followed by a pot-luck.

Exercise boosts those feel-good endorphins, which can make you feel more connected — and even more in love — with your partner.

Put your gym membership on hold and try an at-home workout program

Is your current gym routine helping you reach your pre-wedding fitness goals? Or are you wasting time (and money) just walking on the treadmill? Having a structured workout program is key to getting great results in less time, and there are many great workout programs that you can do at home.

Help finance your honeymoon with a honeymoon registry from Honeyfund.

Bio: Jennifer Dene is passionate about helping busy women transform their lives through simple nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle advice. She empowers women to prioritize self-care and adopt a vibrant, healthy relationship around food and fitness. She is a writer, speaker, celebrity Pilates instructor, personal trainer and health coach and blogs at

Download your free 7 day wedding workout program from Mind Body Bride here: (

You can connect with Jennifer via email ( or socially at:

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Unexpected wedding costs

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

Our team of California wedding planners create custom wedding budgets for all different types of weddings. One of the first things we do when planning a wedding with our couples is to establish a realistic budget that covers all costs so that we don’t have to worry about surprise expenses popping up.  Couples that start to spend without knowing all costs or having a realistic idea of pricing often end up over budget and in debt come wedding day.

Don’t Overlook These 10 Unexpected Wedding Expenses

Since we don’t expect all couples to be experienced wedding planners and know all the costs to anticipate, here are 10 unexpected wedding expenses that you can be prepared for.

Tax and Service Charge

This tiny fine print on your venue catering contract that can add an additional 20-32% to your anticipated cost of venue, food and beverage.  When requesting a price quote from your caterer, be sure to factor in tax and service charge to the actual cost.

Hosted bar

Extra Hours of Hosted Bar

Many catering packages include 1-4 hours of hosted bar, but that typically isn’t enough to cover the whole reception.  If you do not want your guests to start paying for their drinks at some point during the evening, then request a price quote for additional hours of hosted bar.


Some venues require liability insurance to cover any potential damages by you or your guests.  Although not too expensive, this still is an additional cost.

Guest Parking

If you are hosting your reception at a hotel or resort, valet parking is typically an extra cost not always mentioned up front.  Expect to pay $7-$20 per guest vehicle for guests attending the reception that are not staying overnight at the hotel.

Bridal hairstyles

Hair and Makeup for Bridesmaids

If you expect bridesmaids to have their hair and makeup professionally done, then you might need to pay for it.  Not all ladies can afford this extra expense, so if you are going to require it then you might have to consider paying for it.

Hair and Makeup Preview

Have your artist try different looks ahead of time to decide how you will look on wedding day and save the unnecessary stress of experimenting (and possibly breaking down in tears) on your big day.

Rehearsal Dinner

Although tradition dictates the groom’s parents pay for the rehearsal dinner, sometimes they cannot afford to, or the couple is footing the bill for everything.  This can range from an intimate casual dinner to another large wedding event, so take time to discuss what you want and who is paying for it.

Wedding bus


Have you considered how you are going to get you and your whole bridal party from the getting ready site to the ceremony, then to special photo shoot locations, then to the reception, and then back to everyone’s accommodations at the end of the night?  Whether you need a small town car or shuttle for 35 people, factor in a chunk of money for this.

Vendor Meals

Vendors that are working for the entire reception (and possibly the whole day) need to take a meal break.  Because you don’t want your photographer leaving your wedding for an hour to go find a hot meal, most vendors should have vendor meals included in their contract requirements.  This is ordered through your caterer and is less expensive than a guest meal.


Most vendor contracts don’t include gratuity.  Although not required, it is good to consider tips for vendors that have provided wonderful service.  You do not need to pay 20% of each vendor contract, but can consider a flat amount for each vendor.

There you have it!  Hopefully you will not encounter any surprise expenses, although we have known parents to keep adding to the guest list and those impulse buy moments of “I just gotta have this for my wedding!”  Creating a realistic budget ahead of time and sticking to it will allow you to start your marriage off successfully without a bunch of credit card debt.

Happy Budgeting!

Help finance your honeymoon with a Honeyfund wedding registry.

Bio:  Katherine Hoggard is the Owner of Events by Katherine in Irvine, California.  She has been planning weddings since 2009, and has a team of 8 wonderful wedding planners that collaborate together to create beautiful and fun weddings.  Her favorite moments are watching couples enjoy all the details come together on their wedding day.  She loves dancing, self-employment, and milkshakes. See more at

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