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Ways to Cut Costs When Planning a Wedding Yourself

Updated on January 12, 2011

Are you planning a wedding and doing it on your own without the help of a wedding planner?  Wedding planners can be great - they not only help you plan your wedding, but can get a lot of the work done for you, and they have valuable connections within the wedding industry.  However, because their jobs are so extensive, they can be pricey, which means that not everyone can afford to hire a professional.  If you're planning a wedding on your own, and doing it on a budget, you might consider some of the following ideas that could save you money.

Recruit friends to help with your wedding plans

If you're planning your wedding on your own without the help of a professional, consider recruiting help from friends, especially the wedding party.  When you ask a friend to be a bridesmaid or groomsman, it is implied that they will be there to help you with whatever you need, but if you need a lot of help, tell them that from the beginning.  Ask if they would be willing to do specific tasks for you and be available if and when you need them (within reason of course).  You might also consider asking other friends, as well as family members to help out.  Many people would be happy to help a good friend plan their special day, and honored to be asked not only for help but ideas as well.

Do you have a friend who's a baker and could make your wedding cake?
Do you have a friend who's a baker and could make your wedding cake? | Source

See if you can cash in some favors with friends

If you have good friends who have careers related to the wedding industry - make-up artists, hair stylists, photographers, bakers, florists, etc. - see if you can work out a deal with them.  You can't always expect a friend to do things for free or even at a really reduced price - after all, they do have to make a living - but there are some friends who would likely be willing to either give you great deals or lend you their services for free as their wedding gift to you.

For example, if you have a friend who does hair and make-up, see if he or she will come to your "base of operations" (wherever you're getting ready for the wedding) the morning of the wedding and do your hair and make-up, and maybe even do the same for your attendants.  Not only does it save you the cost of an expensive professional, it saves the travel time for you, which can be a huge source of stress the day of the wedding.

Get creative to save money on your wedding

Are you creative? If you are, or you have friends who are, you could save a ton of money on things like flowers, centerpieces and guest favors. Real flowers are the preference of most brides, but have you considered artificial flowers? I know the very thought makes some people cringe, but there are some truly beautiful real-looking artificial flowers out there. Take the time to look in a craft or hobby store like Michael's where they have a large selection of artificial flowers and there's usually someone around who could help and maybe even make suggestions for the bouquets. Flowers are expensive and they die quickly, but an artificial bouquet is something you and your attendants can have forever as a lovely keepsake from your wedding.

Try using artificial flowers for your wedding bouquet - they're beautiful, inexpensive, and they won't die
Try using artificial flowers for your wedding bouquet - they're beautiful, inexpensive, and they won't die | Source

When my brother and sister-in-law got married, we made the bouquets ourselves out of artificial pink and white roses, tied together with ribbon, with a sparkly butterfly accent adorning the bouquet for each of the bridesmaids, as well as two bouquets for the bride - one for her to keep and one to use in the bouquet toss at the reception. We also made the flower girl's basket and filled it with artificial rose petals. Four years later, I still have my bouquet in a place of honor in my living room and my sister-in-law has hers with her framed wedding photos.

Have a brainstorming session with your friends to come up with ideas for guest favors and centerpieces. See if anyone has a creative talent that could be turned into creating beautiful, inexpensive centerpieces, or unique and memorable favors. You could search online for ideas - there are brides who blog and write articles about how they did their weddings for cheap, along with sites that list ideas for homemade wedding favors. You could also try sites where you can buy wedding favors and see if they spark some ideas for things you can duplicate and make yourself for less money.

Save money on the invitations

Invitations are an important part of any wedding, and you want them to look nice, but they can cost a small fortune.  The truth is, many people just throw them out anyway, so with that in mind, why not try to save money on invitations by choosing inexpensive ones or making them yourself.  You can buy kits at stationary stores, or computer software programs to make them and print them yourself.  Handmade invitations are a great idea for smaller weddings; if you've recruited friends who are willing to do anything for you to help with your wedding, see if they would help you create invitations.  You can make an example to show them what you want, then have them working on the others, addressing envelopes, etc.  This sounds like a really tedious task, but the money it saves is worth the effort.  You could even make a night of it and invite your whole wedding party over, have drinks and snacks, listen to music, and have a reward at the end, like a movie or dinner out.  The more people you have working on them, the less work for each individual person, and the faster it goes.

To use another personal example, for my brother and sister-in-law's wedding, they had beautiful, inexpensive invitations and one of the bridesmaids and I addressed and stamped all the envelopes, had a few glasses of wine, blasted some music, talked and laughed and we had so much fun it didn't really seem like work.  We also broke up the time by taking short breaks to give one of the groomsmen dancing lessons in my brother's kitchen.

Have a small wedding party

Having a large wedding party can be a lot of fun, but it can also add to your expenses (not to mention your stress levels if you have to keep track of everyone).  If you're paying for all your wedding party's expenses, costs can include flowers (bouquets and boutonnieres), dress and tux costs, hair and makeup, bridal party gifts, and transportation (think of the difference in cost between a limo for a few people or a huge bus or Hummer for an large wedding party - the cost is often as enormous as the vehicle).  Having a smaller wedding party can reduce costs in all these areas.  Also, many wedding party members these days pay for their own outfits, so if you want to cut costs further, let your wedding party know from the beginning that they will be expected to pay for their own dresses or tuxes.

If you have a lot of friends and feel bad about not including them in the actual wedding party, you could still include them in some way by asking them if they would like to greet guests as they arrive, do a reading at the wedding, or be a co-MC at the reception.  There are many ways to involve people that don't need to cost you extra money.

Cutting costs at the wedding ceremony

The ceremony is usually the shortest part of the wedding (depending on your religious and ethnic backgrounds).  If you want a very small, private ceremony with only family and your closest friends, you could cut a lot of the ceremony costs and then have a large reception, which you can spend more on, or put the money toward the honeymoon.  For example, if you decided to be married by a justice of the peace, you could eliminate the need for flowers, a ring bearer, flower girl, site decorations, etc.  Even if you were married in a church, you could still cut many of these costs.  A lot of people these days want the actual wedding ceremony to be a private affair, whether they believe that the ceremony should only be for family, or they're uncomfortable with the idea of hundreds of eyes watching them, or they simply want to cut costs.

It is possible to plan a beautiful, inexpensive wedding - just ask my brother and sister-in-law!
It is possible to plan a beautiful, inexpensive wedding - just ask my brother and sister-in-law! | Source

An important point to consider when planning your wedding

However and wherever you decide to cut costs, remember: yes, your wedding is a very important day, but it is only one day of your lives together.  Do you want to start off your lives together by going into debt, which can make your special day not-so-special when you're paying it off for the next several years?  Keep in mind that if you're just starting out, there are still future costs to consider - homes, maybe children, vacations, retirement, among many other things.  Your special day can still be special and beautiful and not cause you to go into debt.

Thank you for reading

Thank you for reading Ways to Cut Costs When Planning a Wedding Yourself.  If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, please vote it up, rate it, and/or leave a comment - you don't have to be a member of HubPages to leave comments. If you'd like to learn more about me and read my other articles here at Hubpages, you can visit my profile page. I love writing for HubPages, and would recommend it to anyone who's interested in writing online. If you'd like to join (it's free to join and a great way to make money online), you can sign up here.


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    • deflowers profile image


      6 years ago from Qingdao

      I think that is a good suggestion.

    • SweetMarie83 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Landry 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you so much, I really appreciate that! People really do go overboard when planning a wedding - I see and hear what some people spend and it's more than most people make in an entire year and it makes me feel ill! There are so many easy ways to cut costs and have a beautiful wedding without going into debt.

    • Treasuresofheaven profile image

      Sima Ballinger 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Congrats on this win! People can go overboard when spending for a wedding. You have given practical money saving ideas. Very nice!

    • SweetMarie83 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Landry 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you and congrats to you! I guess it's true that great minds think alike!

    • Howard S. profile image

      Howard S. 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas, and Asia

      Congrats on your win the same day as mine! I find it interesting that we had many of the same ideas, although we expressed them differently.

    • SweetMarie83 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Landry 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks so much Purple Perl! :-)

    • Purple Perl profile image

      Purple Perl 

      7 years ago from Bangalore,India

      Sure is a hub for bookmarking! Thanks for sharing your tips! Congrats too!

    • SweetMarie83 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Landry 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you so much akirchner, K9 and oceansnsunsets, I really appreciate the comments!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Great hub, Sweet Marie, thank you for sharing your experiences and tips! Congratulations too on winning the random win in the contest, that is awesome!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      7 years ago from Northern, California

      I enjoyed your cost-cutting wedding hub very much. Congrats on your win! I will be looking forward to more of your work in the future. Oh, and of course a huge welcome to HubPages Marie!


    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Great tips and having been there and done that, amen! Congrats on the win!

    • SweetMarie83 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Landry 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Simone! It's much easier than many people think to cut costs for a wedding, and if people are the type who are up for a challenge, they could even make it fun. I appreciate the comment!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      These are excellent ways to cut costs- I'll definitely keep them in mind in the event that I should ever get hitched!

    • SweetMarie83 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Landry 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you for the comment, Susan! I think when you're having a small wedding, it's actually kind of fun to do it yourself - I had a lot of fun helping to plan my brother and sister-in-law's wedding and since I have a small family, I'm sure my own wedding will be small, too. I'm glad reading this brought back good memories for you! :-)

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      People sure can save a ton of money planning their own wedding. My husband and I planned everything ourselves. We had a small wedding 50 people so that cut back on costs immensely. Great hub it brought back good memories. Thanks!


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