Ways to Save Money on a Wedding

by on October 24, 2011

Most people are shocked when they find out how much their dream wedding will cost.  In some parts of country, a standard wedding can cost $50,000, and an extravagant wedding can cost more than double that.  How does it all get out of control?  We’re guessing because of all the emotions involved.  Most women dream about being a bride since they were a few years old.  When it comes time to start planning their own wedding, they don’t want to skimp on anything.  In fact, they want everything to be perfect.

We’re pretty sure that you can still have a great wedding and lower the costs substantially if you follow some of these tips on how to save money on your wedding.

Plan Your Wedding During a Lower Cost Time of Year

Planning a Spring or Summer wedding is typically the most expensive time, and rates are much higher for everything including airfare, hotels, flowers, bands and the rental of your wedding and reception locations.  You can save a lot of money on your wedding by just planning it during an off-peak season.

Don’t Overspend on Your Wedding Dress

Wedding dresses can cost thousands of dollars.  Here are some tips on how to save on your wedding dress.  The first option is to rent a dress.  This is perhaps the biggest way to save.  A second option would be to borrow a dress from a friend or relative, or even use your mother’s or grandmothers (if they still have it).  Another way to lower dress costs is to look for sample dresses or clearance dresses and then have them altered to fit.  Remember, you only wear the dress for one day.  Is it really worth several hundred dollars per hour?

Save Money by Having an Outdoor Wedding

Consider having your wedding outdoors.  Either at a home or at a public or private park.  Although you’ll need to pay for chair, table and tent rentals (and some other costs), it will be much cheaper than renting a traditional wedding hall.

Be Selective With Your Guest List

Some of your wedding costs are fixed, but most of them depend on the number of people that attend.  If you lower your guest count, you will lower your food, flower, cake, equipment rental, and bar expenses.  While it would be nice to invite everyone you know, you don’t have much time to talk to everyone, so the fewer people the more intimate it will be.  Find some rule of thumb to base your invitations on, like whether or not you’ve seen the potential guest in the last year, or whether you believe they will be a friend 5 years from now.  Also, don’t let your parents dictate your wedding list.  If you want to keep the wedding small, tell each parent to keep the number of guests they invite to a specific number.

Be Creative With Your Food

There are some simple ways to reduce your food costs.  The best way is to run it like a potluck.  This doesn’t work for most weddings, so you need to get creative with the food.  One example is to use lower cost meats like chicken and then dress them up with exotic sauces or flavors.  Another, is to limit the choices so that everyone gets the same plate.  Have the plate include a meat and some seafood.  That way the chef doesn’t have to have a lot of extra food ready for people that change their mind, and they only have to prepare one type of meal.

Compromise at the Bar

Bar expenses can be the largest expense of some weddings.  After all, many serve champagne, wine, beer and an open bar.  You can go simple and just serve wine for guests with champagne for the wedding party.  If you don’t want to skimp but need to save money, consider stocking the bar with a signature drink or two in order to save money.  For example, have a small list of available drinks such as gin and tonic or rum and coke.  That way the bar will only have to stock a few types of liquor and people will still have a choice.  You can also consider having an open bar that guests pay for their drinks and offering beer for free.

Hire a DJ instead of a Band

Bands are expensive, employ many individuals and often offer limited variety of music.  A DJ is much less expensive and offers a variety of music that can be adjusted during the wedding based on how people react.

Consider Buying a Homemade Cake

Wedding cakes are expensive.  Consider finding someone from word of mouth or on craigslist that makes wedding cakes from home, or as a part time job.  We’ve met people that make beautiful cakes for a fraction of the cost, and are happy to have your business. You can also
order cakes online in some areas for a better deal saving you time and money.

Simplify Your Flowers and Bouquets

Flowers are another large wedding expense.  While the flowers are a big part of the florist expense, the labor is an even larger expense.  To cut down on costs try to decrease the labor.  You can have fewer woven bouquets, stick to only one or two flowers, use local flowers, or even make the corsages yourself.

Save on Photography and Videography

Our parents had a wedding album with dozens of pictures.  Do you really need 1,000 pictures of your wedding?  Find a photographer that has decent rates and don’t buy the top tier packages.  Also, you could consider hiring a photography student from a local college or find an amateur photographer from craigslist.  To add to these photos, you could give each family that attends your wedding a self addressed stamped envelope with a blank DVD and ask them to load all of the pictures and videos they took from your wedding onto the disk and send it to you.  The same can be true of a videographer.  You could ask some friends and family to pass your camcorder around so that you get lots of video and you don’t need to pay for it.  After all, I don’t know anyone that has watched their wedding videos more than a few times.

Consider a Destination Wedding

You can save money by having a destination wedding because fewer people will come if they have to travel.  Also, if you do it on a beach or other setting, it can be more casual, which can make it even less expensive.  The downside of this is that it is often harder to find a location and all of the services (cake, flowers, justice of the peace, etc.) in a non-familiar location.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Best reception venues in perth May 29, 2012 at 12:11 am

I am hardly with you all tips but wedding dress is the all for the bride and might be she is not comfortable in her mother’s or grandmother dress, and to take a wedding dress on rent is also not a good idea because if she wear her own purchasing dress than she can remember her wedding time in future by wearing it.


Varvara November 26, 2012 at 6:37 am

Thanks for sharing this interesting blog with us.My pleasure to being here on your blog..I wanna come back here for new post from your site…!


Marquee Hire in Surrey December 7, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Thank you for writing and sharing this informative article. You are apparently very knowledgeable in this area and I have found this to be interesting and intelligent reading. Good job.


Nia April 26, 2013 at 1:31 am

Interesting information. very useful tips to save money. I think you have great knowledge about that because if someone follows your tip he will definitely save money. Weeding is the very important moment in life where people normally doesn’t think about money but if they follow your idea’s like DJ instead of band etc. I am sure they can save money and can be successful financial planner too.
Thanks for the good ideas.


Richard Tripp May 24, 2013 at 6:06 pm

I also wanted to point out an outdoor wedding is almost always more expensive than a indoor wedding not sure where you are getting that info tents alone can be as high as 5000.00 with nothing in them?


Chris S May 28, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Having a wedding in a tent isn’t an outdoor wedding. That is where you could have a reception, but no one wants a wedding in a tent.
Chris S recently posted..How to Break Bad Spending HabitsMy Profile


Vasiliki Karakatsanidis July 16, 2013 at 9:57 am

Thank you Chris for your informative articles on ways to save money.
I absolutely agree with you that a wedding in a tent isn’t really the most wonderful thing to do .
But I would love to share something.A cousin of mine had her wedding out in beautiful park
and it was some experience for all of us that attended the wedding.There was a huge tent where the reception was held and the way it was set up looked fantastic.
It took 2years for my cousin to organize everything without spending a lot of money.She searched ,got disappointed at times but didn’t give up.She used all offers,discounts she could find and along with all these the cash back reward cards from very popular stores that we all know.She accumulated money that she received from all her purchases without fees,credit cards and other attachments and saved a lot that she used it for her wedding!
I would follow her example:By saving from my purchases, I will put the money aside for my son’s wedding because by then I think I can accomplish it.
It’s up to us to unleash our hidden economic power!
Vasiliki Karakatsanidis recently posted..Best Cash Rewards CardsMy Profile


Richard October 16, 2013 at 2:41 am

Chris please let me quote you “Although you’ll need to pay for chair, table and tent rentals (and some other costs), it will be much cheaper than renting a traditional wedding hall”
If you didn’t mean a tent wedding why did you write this in the above paragraph. And I have Been to many tent wedding that were to die for but again they are very expencive to put together. Unless you meant to go have a cook out and we all know no one wants a cookout wedding?


Richard October 16, 2013 at 2:48 am

I was not saying this didn’t have a lot of great tip I just didn’t agree with the outdoor part as being cheaper way to go I have been in the catering and wedding planning business for over 25 years and have never seen a cheap outdoor weddings or reception the costs of all the rentals and hidden costs add up to much more than your typical wedding venue that most people don’t realize..


Laura July 18, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Great post. I bookmarked it for future reference. Weddings don’t have to break the bank. Really super tips! Thanks!!


Christophel T August 9, 2013 at 4:14 am

I think hiring a photobooth service can save you a lot on printing images. By the way, some wedding halls are good for bargains making some of them less expensive than outdoor weddings.


Rags S October 21, 2013 at 1:38 am

An excellent read that would be great for anyone getting married as it’s often a stressful time as far as finances go with the marquee hire, caterer, entertainment, furniture etc. costs stacking up for a young couple.


Engagement rings December 10, 2013 at 2:15 am

Nice ideas for a low budget wedding. But what I think is that wedding day is always a special day in everyone’s life so it needs to be grand and memorable. I would be ready to spend a little more on my wedding. 🙂


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