Expert Interview with Jessica Lehry Bishop on Being a Budget-Savvy Bride for Mint

There's no better way to learn your intended's perspective on personal finance than planning a wedding together - especially if you're working with a small budget, says Jessica Bishop, founder and editor of

Not only is it a great lesson in communication, shared goals, and prioritizing, but you'll also escape starting your life together with a pile of debt.

"Starting out your marriage by working together as a team to avoid overspending will ensure you begin your life together on great financial footing," Jessica says. "I just think that's SO important!"

To help you get started planning your frugal wedding, we checked in with Jessica to get some of her favorite tips on saving money on everything from venues to food to the dress. Read on:

Can you tell us the story behind The Budget Savvy Bride? When and why did you start your site?

I started my site in 2008, a mere two weeks after my fiancé popped the question. I did it mainly for myself, to keep track of my inspiration and ideas for our wedding. This was in the pre-Pinterest days, after all! I was planning my wedding and on a tight budget due to the downturn of the economy around that time, and I just wasn't finding many resources out there for brides on small budgets. Over time, me sharing my story turned into a resource that was attracting other brides who were in a similar situation, and the site has just grown organically from there!

How do you think planning a budget-friendly wedding ties into planning a socially conscious wedding? What are some of your favorite examples of couples who have done both?

I think that being budget friendly can definitely tie into being socially conscious - when you think about it, both are about using your resources wisely and not being wasteful. Many of the budget weddings we feature are also eco-friendly and socially responsible. Whether it's using eco-friendly biodegradable cutlery rather than plastic forks, or choosing conflict-free or lab-created diamonds, I see many of our couples choosing to work with vendors who are more socially conscious.

What advice do you have for negotiating prices with vendors?

I personally didn't negotiate with my vendors, and it can sometimes be a sticky situation. Most vendors have set their prices for a reason, and if you can't afford their biggest package with the biggest price tag, it's somewhat rude to ask them to reduce the price.

One thing I would recommend is telling a vendor your budget upfront and asking if they offer anything within your budget, or if they'd consider offering a reduced package to fit the reduced price. For example, hiring a photographer to cover four hours rather than eight - you can still get a great photographer but for much less money. I think approaching it from that perspective and being considerate and respectful of the vendor's time and talent is best!

What were some of your go-to tools or resources for hunting down budget-friendly items for your wedding?

The Budget Savvy Bride actually has a page full of wedding resources for just about any item you could think of wanting to purchase for your wedding, so I definitely recommend checking that out! We're constantly adding new shops and resources.

I also recommend you Google EVERYTHING. I'm pretty savvy, so I was always doing research online. I never bought anything without looking for it cheaper elsewhere, and I used a coupon for everything possible! I also used sites like Ebates to get cash back on my purchases!

What have been the most interesting or creative ways you've heard of a bride and groom saving money on their wedding?

I really love the trend of hiring a foodtruck to cater a wedding! It's such a fun and creative way to spend a little less and adds a fun and unique experience for your guests.

What's one of your favorite ideas you've come across for saving money on...

...Venues: Choose an off-peak month to get married, or a mid-week day to save on the venue cost.

...Food: Hire a local restaurant rather than a traditional wedding caterer.

...Dresses: Shop sample sales or browse sites like or even rent your dress from!

...Flowers: DIY them! So many great resources for flowers, including or even your local farmer's market.

...Decorations: Again, DIY projects! Scour thrift stores and raid your pantry for jars and vases you can upcycle into wedding decor!

...Entertainment: An iPod DJ is a great way to cut costs.

...Photographer/Videographer: Ask for an a la carte package with a disc of images or raw footage - worry about the fancy wedding album later!

...Favors: Skip 'em, or DIY something homemade and edible. Keep it simple!

Are there any items or costs you would suggest brides feel OK splurging (or spending more) on?

Photography, for sure. At the end of the day, it's all you'll have left!

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