How To Save Money on Your Wedding

Your Dream Wedding

Have you discovered that your dream wedding is financially out of reach? There are many ways you can incorporate your dreams into your special day even if you are working with a smaller budget . I will start with general ideas on saving money on this big day, and then move to specific choices in picking a date, location, flowers, invitations rings and transportation.

General Cost Cutting Ideas

Getting organized: Being organized is the number one way to say money. Buy a wedding organizer (or ask for it as an engagement gift) or set up a filing system to keep track of all receipts, contracts, and estimates. Having all of your paper work organized will help you when the time comes to make those big decisions, and to follow up and confirm services when necessary. Keep a master list of phone numbers. If you are using a computer to help you, check out theknot.com for free worksheets and tabulators.

Consider the size of your guest list: Obviously the larger your guest list, the more expensive your event will be. You can consider excluding children, not allowing teenagers to bring uninvited guests, or having a less formal reception to cut the costs per person. Keep in mind that for every guest there is more than just the cost of the meal. More guests will increase the cost of wedding favors, invitations and flowers (more tables of people means more centerpieces). Consider cutting people from the list who you know you will never see again, and people you don’t know well. Encourage your parents and fiancé’s parents to do the same.

Consider the size of your wedding party: Every one who participates in your wedding party will be spending a lot of their own money. It is a good idea to take this into consideration when asking someone to be in the wedding party. Consider scaling down the number of your attendants. You won’t have as many people to feed at the rehearsal dinner, as many gifts to buy your attendants or as many limousine expenses on the day of the wedding. You will also save a lot of time in organizing fittings, and following up to make sure they have handles everything they need to have prepared for the your big day.

Go to a wedding show. This will give you a good idea of what is available to you in your area and allow you to collect brochures, business cards and free samples. This may also enable you to see a few bands or DJ’s and get prices on their services, saving you time.

Bride saying I do.
Bride saying I do.
Wedding rings.
Wedding rings.

Choosing a Date

Saturday night galas are still the most popular, and therefore the most expensive. If your dream location is out of your range for a Saturday night, consider scheduling the event on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon to save on the cost per person, as much as $50-$100 per person, in some areas.

Also consider the season. Many brides don’t want to compromise on this, and that’s okay, but holding your event during an unpopular wedding month is a way to save money with out sacrificing quality. You many even find that you get better service from vendors in the less popular season.

Time of Day

Some facilities may charge a different price according to the time of day, so an earlier wedding may cost a little less. The earlier in the day, traditionally, the less formal the event is considered. An elegant luncheon can be beautifully done and cost thousands less than a dinner event. An earlier celebration can also limit the alcohol consumption, or you may simply offer champagne.

The Location

Start early and book early. This is the best way to ensure the best price.

Note: If you are planning a rush wedding (less than two months to the date) there is a great opportunity to save and negotiate because they will be anxious to book the date.

Evaluate the additional costs of every particular location. Is ample parking available or will your guests have to pay for parking? Will you have to rent tables, linens, and chairs?

Invitations

Invitations should match the formality of your wedding, so don’t choose a different style just to save money. Finding a good price on invitations will require you to comparison shop. Don’t order too many extras. Ten should be enough to cover any mistakes.

  • Get small or regular sized invitations. They will cost less and may save money on postage.
  • Choose thermographed rather than engraved. You will still get the style and look with out the additional cost. Thermographed can be as much as 50% less.
  • Be sure that they can be returned if the printer makes any mistakes.
  • Make your own on your computer, if you have a flair for design.

Rings

Start by looking in magazines and catalogs to get an idea of the styles you like. Take the time to educate yourself on quality and terms used to describe diamonds. Your rings are an investment, so choose carefully and be sure to have them appraised and insured.
  • Jewelry stores in the mall are probably not your best bet for saving money. Go to the diamond district in your city for the best prices.
  • Use an heirloom ring, or reset an heirloom gem in a setting of your choice.
  • Check out antique stores for good prices on more eclectic styles.
  • Ask a jewelry design student or local artisan to design and craft your rings.
  • For a really tight budget, choose something simple or go for silver instead of gold or platinum.
  • Check on engraving and sizing policies before purchasing your rings. Some retailers will include it for free.

Bridal bouquet.
Bridal bouquet.

Flowers

This is one place where a bride really shouldn’t sacrifice style for price. You can create many beautiful looks with flowers that are in season to save money. Look through magazines to get ideas and try to decide what you want before you start shopping. Tell the floral designer what you are looking for and what your are willing to spend up front, so they know what you have to work with and can make suggestions on how to get the look you want for less.

  • Look for a moderate level supplier. Don’t go to a fancy specialty bridal florist with elevated prices.
  • If your family has a florist that you know is dependable, go to them.
  • Comparison shop in different parts of town.
  • Find a new-to-the business designer. They are usually lacking in experience, but not talent, and will give you their best effort and prices to get your business.
  • Order flowers that are in season. Prices go up dramatically when blooms have to be shipped in for your event.
  • Some inexpensive flowers that look great in any arrangement are Gerber daisies, tulips and bright colored zinnias.
  • Consider ordering miniature versions of your favorite flowers, for a fraction of the cost.
  • Corsages can be small. Most women (mother or the bride / groom) would prefer a smaller corsage that won’t overwhelm their carefully picked attire.
  • Send someone from the wedding party to pick up the flowers, if possible, to save on the delivery charge.

Quick Tips for Saving on Transportation

  • White limousines will cost you more than black.
  • Consider just getting transportation for yourselves, not the entire wedding party and family.

  • Choose a regular, not a stretch limousine for the two of you.
  • Prices will vary widely, so be sure to comparison shop.
  • Have your parents or someone from your wedding party drive you to and from the airport for the honeymoon instead of a car service.

Wedding photographer.
Wedding photographer.

The Photographer and Videographer



These two professionals are an essential and expensive part of your wedding. Your goal should be to get a fair price for excellent service, because skimping here will leave you with regrets later.



  • Ask friends and family for referrals.
  • Hire a photographer with experience and be sure to check their credentials and portfolio of wedding work.
  • It will cost less to hire a photographer for the ceremony and start of the reception only. Many will be paid by the hour, so having them for the length of the reception may be costly. You can include disposable cameras at each table for guests to take pictures.
  • Ask for your proofs to be delivered on disk, rather than printed. You will still be able to see them clearly, but you won’t have to spend extra on the full set of proof prints.
  • Skip the photographer’s expensive editing fees.
  • Comparison shop for the videographer and photographer, for quality, price and a package that you are happy with.
  • You can save several hundred dollars by choosing not to have the raw footage video of your wedding edited.
  • Skip the option of having multiple cameras placed throughout the event.




There are many more ways to save money on your wedding and still have a beautiful day. Set your priorities and stick to them. If something is important for you to have, find a different place to cut back on spending. Wedding planning can be stressful and demanding or your time and financial resources. Keep in mind the more important aspect of this entire event: the love and the marriage that will follow.

See Best Wedding Days for more tips and advice on planning your wedding.



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Comments 33 comments

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Wow Amy Jane! Phenomenal job. A super looking Hub and packed with great information. I didn't know that black limos were cheaper than white, but makes sense! :-)


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks so much, Steph - it's one of those topics I could go on and on about!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Good luck in the contest today!!


Lissie profile image

Lissie 8 years ago from New Zealand

Nice hub! Never got married myself but apparently in Australia if you say "wedding" as in "how much to hire your band for a ..." or a want a "... cake" the price doubles - say celebration instead - get the quote then admit its a wedding - I mean costs a band no mre to play for a band or a 21st Venues are particularly bad at this apparently


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks, Steph!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi Lissie, thanks for reading and commenting. I guess brides get "taken" universally!


Sylvia Page profile image

Sylvia Page 8 years ago from Malabe

Amy Jane you have certainly gone into giving out a great deal of useful information. Thank you! I am passing this on to my neice a soon to be bride if you don't mind.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thank you so much Sylvia!


Sasha88 profile image

Sasha88 8 years ago

With reality shows like "My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding" and "Rich Bride, Poor Bride" it's kind of refreshing to know that you can still have an awesome wedding without having to sign your life away to the bank =) My best friend is actually getting married in May and I will definitely pass the link to this Hub over to her. I'm sure she'll find your links quite helpful. Thanks for the great hub!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi Sahsa, thanks so much! I think it is completely possible to have a gorgeous wedding for way less than the average bride spends (around $25,000). You just have to decide where you want to cut costs and what is really important. i can't stand those bratty brides on those reality shows! They are so unwilling to compromise :)


Matt Ellsworth 8 years ago

Thanks for the great tips. We are planning our wedding now - and this has helped. We have done several of these things - especially limiting the guest list.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Glad I could help, Matt! Best of luck with the planning!


C.J. profile image

C.J. 8 years ago from Wisconsin

You have a lot of great tips in here. And Lissie is certainly correct. If you say "wedding cake", the cost is 3 times what it is then if you say "2 cakes decorated the same!"

If you're looking for a very inexpensive, easy, stress-free wedding, try a bed and breakfast. At our bed and breakfast we will do small weddings (15 guest limit) with one week notice for under $1,000. So you can have a very nice wedding with a very small budget!

Thanks again for the great advice!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi C.J.! i agree, a bed and breakfast is a wonderful option (I may have to add that to the article)! My husband and I were married at a charming New England inn, and it was beautiful, and comfortable for our guests. Our guest list was larger than I wanted, so we didn't save too much there :)

Thanks for reading and commenting!


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

We're planning our wedding at the moment and I told my fiance that the best way to save money on the wedding is to invite just immediate family. He didn't buy it. :P He feels obligated to invite his battalion of relatives and multiple sets of friends. I, being more of an introvert, am admittedly dreading the event. Wish I could be invisible! Hehe. :P


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi Susan, I completely understand how you are feeling! My ideal wedding would have been with 10 or so guests, but we ended up with over 100. I am not all that social myself, and did escape the crowd a few times by going to the bridal room (make sure you have a private space you can escape to, if even for a few moments of peace) :) Our reception and ceremony was all at the same place, so that kept it a little shorter (less time to deal with the crowd)!

Your finance just wants everyone there to celebrate with you both, so it is a really sweet gesture!


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 8 years ago from DC Metro Area

Amy- great hub! I thought I had already commented on here, but I guess I forgot to submit it the other day or something...

Anyway Susan you're right- the BEST way to save money is to cut down on the number of people attending the wedding. This will cut costs exponentially, as ten less guests = ten less dinner plates, ten less seats needed at the wedding, ten less people to photograph (makes photographer cheaper) and so on.

Maybe you could pass this on to your husband? Of course Amy's right- it's a sweet gesture, but speaking from experience, sometimes guys are known to have dollar signs in their eyes! Those are my thoughts...and good luck with your wedding!


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Thanks, Amy. Fortunately, Princeton agreed to a civil "no-ceremony" wedding with just immediate family and then a wedding party with the relatives and friends afterwards, so I won't be wearing a wedding gown or "walking down the aisle" for all to scrutinize (Halleluiah, there is a God! :P).

But can you imagine? We agreed on 150 guests; his guest list alone goes way beyond 150 people! He gets a headache trying to decide which of his relatives / friends to cut from his list! Haha! :D


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Thanks, Pete! I've already tried that approach though, and he still wants to invite them all. :P It doesn't help that majority of his friends and even my sister says that they made a "profit" on the wedding gifts since most of our relatives (old school Chinese in their 60's - 90's) don't go out and buy gifts but instead give cash. Being old school Chinese, they also have these set notions on things and expect us to conform. I definitely do not fit into their mold nor do I wish to do so. So, waaaah! :P Hehe.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi Pete, thanks for reading and commenting! Your expertise is always welcome here :)

Susan, I am glad you are at least getting a little bit of what you want! I think the hardest part of planning a wedding is having to conform to what your family wants and expects. Many brides would do the entire event differently if it was completely up to them!

I hope you are planning a honeymoon, your way, somewhere quiet and secluded!


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Yes, the compromising part needs a bit of practice, especially since Princeton and I have opposite personalities. :P Thanks, Amy.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

It can take some time to work out, but it will become a very natural part of your relationship after a while! Best of luck with your plans :)


Lady LaShonda profile image

Lady LaShonda 7 years ago from Atlantic City, New Jersey

Wonderful hub. I have to say it sounds like you need to start your own wedding consultant biz if you don't have one already. However, since I am new to the wedding biz, please check out my hub http://www.hubpages.com/hub/Wedding-Packages. You'll find another link there that will take you to my site. Go to that site for planning dream weddings and tell me what you think about my packages. Thank you so very much.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks for the info, Lady LaShonda! I don't think the wedding biz is for me, but I sure love to write about it! Thanks for reading!


teamworkradio profile image

teamworkradio 7 years ago

Great Job Amy lots of great info in your hub


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks so much - hope it was helpful!


Lady LaShonda profile image

Lady LaShonda 6 years ago from Atlantic City, New Jersey

Amy,

If you know anyone who wants to elope to Atlantic City, I have a package designed just for them. Visit http://hubpages.com/relationships/Atlantic-City-De... for all the details..

Thank you so very much.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 6 years ago from Connecticut Author

Sure thing Lady Lashonda! Good luck. :)


sjames4444 profile image

sjames4444 6 years ago

Great hub. Every couple planning a wedding should read this.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 6 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks! There are so many ways a couple can save money on their wedding. I think this is a great start! :)


cmaree 5 years ago

Thanks for the useful information. I'll keep these things in mind while I'm planning :)


AllSuretyBonds profile image

AllSuretyBonds 5 years ago

Planning a wedding can be very stressful. I find myself waiting till the last minute to do things. This has been great advice for me to read. It makes sense if you book things on a Friday night it would be cheaper. I also never thought to look up flowers that are in season. I will have to check that out. Thanks for the Hub.


AshtynA profile image

AshtynA 5 years ago

Great article and it is full of useful tips. I can honestly say that it is giving me some ideas. My parents are helping with the budget but there are a few things that I am responsible for. For example, his tungsten ring. I know the internet is full of options, but I have had a wonderful experience with http://www.savorystone.com/Discount-Tungsten-Carbi... which is the discount page for this site.

Thanks for the ideas!!

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