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Budgeting Tips for Your Second Wedding

Updated on October 15, 2018
Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.

Here we are on our wedding day, with my dress bought with a coupon, my husband in his own suit!
Here we are on our wedding day, with my dress bought with a coupon, my husband in his own suit!

Are you planning a second wedding and want to save as much money as possible, but still make it a beautiful day? I got married for the second time in August of 2010 and had trouble trying to find ways to save money. So I have devised a list of what worked for us. I hope you find it helpful.

The Date: If you don't have any special day in mind, picking a day in the wedding or tourist off-season works well for saving money. In Connecticut, many venues will give you a break if you get married in November, January, February or March, except on Valentine's Day of course. Business is usually slow during these colder Winter months, so venues are glad for the business. Think about where you live and what season of the year is slower regarding tourists or business. Ask venues if they have an off-season discount.

Day and Time: Some venues will also give you a break if you have your wedding on a weeknight. A lunch or brunch wedding is also cheaper than a dinnertime wedding.

The Venue: Do you want a "do it yourself" wedding, where you and your family set up a hall with decorations and have relatives bring food? Or do you want to have a backyard barbecue, or rent a pavilion in a park and bring hot dogs, hamburgers, and picnic food? Or just rent the hall of the church you are being married in.

These are some simple ideas that will save money. I have been to some very nice weddings outside under a pavilion which was good sense in the case of rain. I was very stressed when it came time to plan our wedding as I had three teens a full-time job, a part-time job, and a fiance, all of whom required my attention. Because I wanted as little stress as possible, we booked the reception at a restaurant. It served delicious food, included the cake and tablecloths in the price, and had a gazebo on the site that we used for the ceremony. We were very relieved that everything would be all in one place so our elderly relatives wouldn't get lost driving to a separate reception hall, or have trouble making a long walk from the parking lot to the entrance.

The restaurant even provided a wedding planner and bartender, and they gave recommendations for D.J.s and bands. I checked prices with at least 15 reception halls/restaurants in the area, and the prices at this restaurant were the best. We were extremely pleased with the results, and everyone raved about the food. It IS possible to find a less expensive venue if you look hard enough.

Food: Again, having a brunch or lunch wedding is a less expensive way to go than dinner. Or hors-d'oeuvres and wine or champagne are great for an evening wedding that starts at 7:00 p.m. or later. Give them cake at the end of the night, and your guests will go home happy. Or you can cook, or just have friends and relatives bring food, especially to a picnic or church hall reception.

The Dress: Do you want an actual wedding gown, a wedding dress, or a pretty dress that you can wear again? Once you decide that, you will be better able to figure out where to find your dress. If you want the wedding gown in all it's glory, try second-hand stores which often have used gowns at discounted prices. They have already been cleaned, and you can look through the racks yourself.

Then there are the discount gowns at bridal stores that may have been last season and are offered at quite a markdown. Some cities have stores that allow you to rent a wedding will probably only use it one day anyway if it's a true gown. Look in the yellow pages in your phone book and see what they have listed. If you want a wedding dress, head again to the markdown section of bridal stores, and don't forget to look in the mother of the bride section, or shop at stores that sell cruise wear. Most cruise lines still have formal nights, and you may find the perfect dress there, at a much lower price than an official wedding gown or dress. Not having a train, or just having a sweep train cuts down on the cost as well. A pretty dress can be found at any store that offers cruise wear or prom gowns, depending on your age and the look you want. I found some nice dresses online at Dillard's but eventually bought my wedding dress for $199 at David's Bridal online. It had to be shipped to me so that I couldn't try it on ahead of time, but they were willing to reimburse me if I didn't like it and shipped it back. I had watched this dress for awhile on the site, and while I liked it, I wasn't too sure if I wanted to buy a dress I hadn't tried on yet.

Five weeks before the wedding I ordered the dress. Before ordering it, I had looked at four stores and spent countless hours online, reading reviews of dress after dress. I decided it was worth the chance to order it. I have never been so happily surprised in my life. It fit almost perfectly, and I LOVED it!!! To top it off, there was a coupon offered online for $10 off if I purchased the dress within a certain three days...that was the deciding factor for me! So I really bought it for $ shipping and handling.

His Clothes: Depending on the style of the wedding, if it's not formal, he can wear a suit or sports coat and tie he already has. Or if it's an outside or beach wedding, a nice shirt and Khakis will suffice. Some men wear shorts and a Hawaiian shirt.

Flowers: I have long known about the beautiful work that florist shops can do, but I also know that the floral departments in grocery stores do just as well, and usually at about one-half the cost. The flowers at my wedding were so beautiful that people came up to me and commented on them. I didn't dare tell them they were from the local Stop and Shop florist. Some people want to make the bouquets themselves and pick wildflowers or buy bunches of them at the grocery store. Others make their own bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces using dried or silk flowers. If there's a wholesale flower shop or silk flower retailer in your area, ask if they will give you a deal. Or go to the local craft store with coupons for silks. Have your friends and family members bring their coupons too, and reimburse them later for the cost.

Centerpieces: You can check prices for real flowers, but again please check with the floral department at your local grocery store. If you are crafty, you've got it made. Again you can purchase silks at craft stores, with coupons, and make your own centerpieces. And centerpieces don't have to be floral. Depending on the theme of your wedding, you can use glass bowls with seashells, water, and floating candles, (beach theme), a ship's lantern with a candle inside (nautical), any holiday decorations marked down from the previous year's sales for a wedding around a holiday. Think red white and blue flags, table wear, etc. for late May or early July for a patriotic theme, pumpkins, gourds, Fall or Halloween decorations for an October wedding, or lots of Christmas markdowns for a wedding in December. You need to know the date one year in advance to take advantage of holiday markdowns if you are going with a holiday theme.


Although some engaged couples think a limo is a necessity for the wedding party or the couple, it really isn't. Since this isn't your first wedding, and you are older the second time around, youc an drive yourselves to the ceremony site, or have the groom arrive in his car, and the bride can have a good friend drive her, especially if she wants the element of surprise for the groom to see the big dress reveal along with everyone else.

If you are having anyone stand up for you, they can also drive their own cars. If you really want some type of group transportation, think of all of the friends you know with nice cars and ask if they would be willing to drive you and your attendants to the ceremony and reception sites.


Ceremony music: Do you have a friend who plays an instrument...violin, guitar, piano, harp, that might provide pre-wedding and ceremony music as a wedding gift? Or someone who has a beautiful voice and can sing during the ceremony? There's no harm in asking if they will provide music for you. You can offer to pay them, or they may offer it as a wedding gift to you.

Reception Music: D.J.'s are less expensive than bands, and can play anything you want. Many people want a band though so shop around to see if you can get one at a good price, or maybe a group that's just starting out. Some people just prefer to burn their own cd's and have a friend in charge of the music for the reception. And as long as you can find the music on a cd, you are guaranteed to be able to have the first dance song of your choice, rather than wondering if the band knows how to play it, or if they can learn it in time to do it justice!

Favors: Well, it's not written anywhere that you even have to have favors, but they are a nice memento of the day. Some people do choose not to give them to save money.

  • Dollar stores and surplus stores have small silver frames that can double as place card holders for the reception, and then people can take them home and use them as frames.
  • If you can purchase Christmas tree balls and have pretty handwriting, you can write your names and wedding date in silver or gold glitter on the balls and remind people of your wedding every Christmas.
  • The old almonds in netting is always a standard favor, but if you want to change things up, look for coupons on large bags of pre-wrapped Lifesavers, or candy kisses, purchase them and put them in netting. Just make sure not to give candy kisses in a warm climate! Check online sites like Oriental Trading for other ideas.

I hope this helps you plan your second wedding on a budget. And congratulations and best wishes to you and your intended spouse!

Copyright by Karen Hellier, 2012.

Cutting the wedding cake, which was included in the cost of the meal. The decorations on the table were bought for $1.99 per package at the Christmas Tree Shops and added a lot of color to the cake table and the reception tables.
Cutting the wedding cake, which was included in the cost of the meal. The decorations on the table were bought for $1.99 per package at the Christmas Tree Shops and added a lot of color to the cake table and the reception tables.
Bouquet, head piece and boutinniere all from the local Stop and Shop florist!
Bouquet, head piece and boutinniere all from the local Stop and Shop florist! | Source
Floral table centerpieces by the local Stop and Shop florist with battery operated resuable candles from The Christmas Tree Shop.
Floral table centerpieces by the local Stop and Shop florist with battery operated resuable candles from The Christmas Tree Shop. | Source

Here's a YouTube Video chock full of money saving ideas for your wedding! Good luck

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Karen Hellier


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