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15 Ways to Save Money When Planning a Wedding

15 March 2023

Dollar bills and coins are carefully accounted for to ensure you save money when planning your wedding

A wedding is expensive! Whether you get married at home or choose a venue, hire a wedding planner or organize it all yourself,  planning a wedding can end up costing you quite a bit of money. So, how can you cut costs without sacrificing quality? Here are some ways to reduce the cost of planning a wedding.

1. Stick To the Budget That You Set Up

In order to make sure your big day goes smoothly, you need to plan ahead. And one of the best ways to do so is by setting a realistic budget. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself spending more than you planned, and it may even feel impossible to stay within your budget. 

By establishing a firm budget that you’re happy with, you’ll avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed out by the process. So whether you’re looking to spend $10,000 or $100,000, start early and set a budget that makes sense for your situation.

2. Consider an Off-Peak Date

Weddings generally take place during the summer months. This means that many venues charge higher fees for those dates. If you want to save money on venue fees, you might be able to schedule the wedding during the off season, when the number of events tends to decrease. 

You may also be able to negotiate a discounted rate if you’re willing to make some sacrifices. However, there might be issues with bad weather, so make sure you are prepared for it as it may affect your plans.      

A clipboard with a calendar placed on a desk being used to efficiently plan a wedding

3. Skip Saturday

Weddings typically occur on Saturday, because more people want to attend a wedding on that day than on any other day of the week. Consider scheduling your ceremony on a weekday instead of a weekend if you need to save some money. Venues typically charge higher prices on weekends, and you might not receive any discounts and perks. 

4. Do the Research

Always do your homework and research first before paying for anything. Asking each venue about what’s included in the cost of renting the space can save money. In addition to the obvious costs, there can be a lot of hidden ones. Some venues charge extra fees for things such as cutting cakes or providing rentals. 

There might be a lot of vendors you’ll be asked to tip. Be sure to check what kind of services you are being charged for before signing any contracts.

5. Make Your Guest List Short

In order to make sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck, consider cutting your guest list by half before you start planning. Having fewer people means having more control over the event. Your menu will be less complicated and the number of plates you’ll pay for will be lower; your shopping will be easier; and you’ll get to spend more time with your closest friends and family. Fewer people also means less clean up after the party.

6. Try a Venue That Isn’t Traditional

The most common places to hold weddings are churches, hotels, and private homes. Weddings held in museums are becoming much more popular and can be quite affordable. Venues such as gardens, parks, and even large open areas such as beaches, lakes, or mountains can also work well. If you’re looking for something more intimate, then a restaurant, bar, or brewery may be ideal. 

A wedding reception set-up in an intimate and small venue as a way to reduce the cost of the wedding

7. Reduce Transportation Costs by Having Your Entire Wedding at One Location

If you choose a location that is far away from where most of your guests stay, you’re going to have a lot of extra work involved in getting everyone there. You’ll also have to worry about traffic delays on your big day. 

If you want to save money on your wedding, try to have your ceremony and your reception at the same location. Coordinating both events at the same time will make things easier for you as you won’t have to worry about transporting people from one location to another.

8. Look Out for Sample Sales During a Trunk Show

Shopping at a high-end store during a trunk show can save you hundreds of dollars. Designers offer a variety of services as part of the cost of buying a new dress or suit. These services include free alterations, free customizations, makeup consultations, shoe fittings, manicures and pedis, hairstyling, and more. These additions can be included as part of the final price of the dress or suit.

9. Rent or Borrow

In today’s world, most couples opt to rent their wedding attire. These can be rented cheaply, saving you quite a  bit of  cash. Some couples borrow items from friends and family.   Using family heirlooms as attire or decorations is one way to make your wedding unique while staying within budget. There are many ways you can use wedding heirloom items to create beautiful displays. You can also incorporate them into your outfit as an accessory.

There are several companies that rent out wedding decorations. Thrift stores are another great place to look for wedding decorations. Weddings are becoming less traditional, and more couples are choosing rentals over buying new items. Consider your options before deciding how you’re going to incorporate these pieces into your attire or decorating scheme.

A person holding an heirloom jewelry piece to be used in a wedding

10. Buy Flowers in Bulk and Add Lots of Greens

There are many ways to create a beautiful display using both traditional and unconventional flowers. Save money by purchasing only 3 or 4 varieties of flowers in bulk. Consider using smaller blossoms like dandelions, daisies, sunflowers, roses, and more. Add larger leaves like oak, holly, jade plant, ivy, and more as they provide texture. You might also want to add some greenery, like pampas grass, bamboo, and more. Try mixing and matching to see what works!

11. Instead of Flowers, Use Fruits

Centerpieces should be pretty, but also practical. Fruits are a great choice because you can use them as natural props to hold flowers and other items. Using real fruits makes your centerpiece more realistic. Painting them with gold or silver adds sparkle and gives you a chance to really show off your creativity.

12. Serve a Buffet and Avoid Hard-to-Prepare Foods

A buffet is an efficient way to feed many people. With the right ingredients and organization, you’ll be able to serve a lot more than if you were serving everyone individually. You’ll often get more food for your dollar as well.

Specialty foods, especially those requiring live cooking stations, require more labor than standard menu items. As a result, they always require additional employees and can be more expensive.

13. Cut the Cake Cost by Downsizing

Customize your cake by choosing a different size than the default. Save money by making a smaller cake rather than one large, multiple-tiered cake. 

You can also create a sweet treat wall by making a string of several dozen mini donuts using ribbon, or use mini cakes and pies for your guests rather than serving what is typically stale wedding cake. 

A simple but elegant 3-layer, naked cake with fruits on top is more cost-effective to serve at a wedding

14. Combine Food and Favors

Instead of passing out food and favors separately, combine them by offering ready-to-eat edible favors, like cookies or freshly popped popcorn. Offer guests some snacks that can be mixed into a large bowl, like fresh fruit, pretzels, cheese cubes, or other nibbles. 

Offer up pre-packaged treats for guests to take home. Having them available makes it easier for guests to grab something special before leaving the reception. You might even consider packing up treats like macarons or chocolate-covered strawberries instead of displaying them near the cake stand.

15. Design Your Own Invitation and Go Paperless

You can design your own wedding invitations for significantly less money than you’d pay if you use a professional printing company. Make sure you have plenty of time when it comes to creating your own invites, and remember to ask for help if you need it.

Buy a custom-designed digital template online for your digital invitations. You can choose from thousands of templates, fonts, colors, and layouts. You have the ability to send them via email, text message, social media, or print them yourself and send them via snail mail. Either way, you’ll save money over going with a professionally produced invitation.

A lot goes into planning a wedding, so it makes sense that you should treat your wedding budget as a precious commodity. You don’t want to spend more than necessary, but you also don’t want to skimp on the details that matter. Think about what you’ll need and what you can do well yourself, so you can plan accordingly. Don’t be afraid to ask family members for help when you need it. If you’re going to go all out, you might want to consider hiring a professional planner to make sure everything runs smoothly.


How much is your wedding budget? If you could save money, would you? Send your feedback to [email protected]

a gay couple nearly kissing at their wedding

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