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How to Decrease Wedding Costs

Updated on February 20, 2013

I was able to organize a wedding for under $5,000 including the groom's wedding band. There are lots of ways to save money and keep the priority on the special occasion.

Date & Time

Saturday evenings are the most expensive date and time to get married because that is when everyone gets married. Get married on a different day of the week and save substantial dough. Or, have your wedding at 10am with a luncheon to follow rather than a late night reception. This option will also be less costly. You could also choose an "off season" month to get married. Most people get married between May and October. However, if you choose to get married in another month, like November, you can save thousands.

Gazebo | Source

Wedding Location

Think outside the box. Is there a location that you have access to that will not cost much or anything at all? Can you use your home church for free? Is there a beautiful park that will allow you to have your wedding there for very little money. The wedding I organized what in a beautiful gazebo on the side of a lake. The cost was only $25 to rent the gazebo. Think outside of the box and get creative to save money on your wedding location.

Outdoor Wedding Chairs
Outdoor Wedding Chairs | Source


Can you wear your mother's dress or the wedding dress of someone else that is special to you? There are also many beautiful options at stores like David's Bridal that can be purchased for $99. Shop around until you find the right dress at the right price.


Are there decorations that you can do yourself? Does a friend or family member have a knack for decorating? Below is a video on how to make pew bows yourself. They are beautiful and can be used in multiple ways, not just as bows for chairs or pews.

How to Make Pew Bows


Make wedding flowers in advance for you and your bridesmaids out of silk flowers. See below video tutorial for instructions.

How to Make Wedding Flowers


Photographers are one of the largest expenses for a wedding. Is there a semi-professional photographer that you know that you take pictures at a fraction of the price? Or is there someone that is looking to break into the business that will do your wedding for free just to include it in his or her portfolio?

Wedding Photographers
Wedding Photographers | Source

Reception Location

My sister has a beautiful house so we used her big back yard for the reception and had a big white tent set up with tables and chairs underneath. Now that my parents have a farm, we could have a wedding or reception out doors at the farm. Think about the locations available to you that you could use for free or little cost.



Be creative with your food and drinks. Don't go overboard on portion sizes. Depending on what time the wedding and reception are you could choose to go with appetizers instead of a full meal. Also, you can use foods that are in season to save money.

Guest List

Everyone you and your parents have ever met do not need to be invited. Pair the guest list down to those closets to you and that can eliminate a lot of cost.

How to Save Money on your Wedding

Winter Wedding Cake
Winter Wedding Cake | Source

Wedding Cake

Do you know someone that bakes wedding cakes? If so, you could ask them to bake your wedding cake as their wedding present to you. Or, do you know someone that makes beautiful cupcakes? They could make you a cupcake tower instead of a traditional wedding cake.

Another option would be to have a pretty wedding cake that is only three tiers or so. Make it a smaller cake and then actually serve your guests from a sheet cake.

Cupcake Tower
Cupcake Tower | Source


Everyone loves an open bar. You can have an open bar but limit what is served and how much is served. For instance, you can make available a couple selections of beer, wine and soda and maybe a signature drink or two. Anything else can be purchased for a fee.


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    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image

      Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks vibesites!

    • vibesites profile image

      vibesites 4 years ago from United States

      Great, fun and beautiful ideas! I agree with the cupcake thing. The bride and groom won't be bothered to use a cake cutter, they would just share one cupcake for a bite. :)

      And also the photographer. Hire someone who is a pure photography hobbyist. Sure enough he or she won't be charging too much, or might be just happy for meal rewards in a reception. Really great ideas, Kimberly! A budget-friendly wedding that will be grand on precious moments and lasting memories. Voted up and useful, awesome, beautiful. :)

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image

      Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

      I agree ambercita04! I know it is hard to put in perspective when you are in that situation.

    • ambercita04 profile image

      Amber 4 years ago from Winter Park

      Relatives can be really pushy - I had those (in-laws) who thought I needed to have a huge reception to feed everyone a lavish dinner because they were coming in from out of state. Sometimes you just have to put your foot down and say no especially if those same people aren't offering to pay for anything. The wedding is supposed to be a day to commemorate the joining of two people who love each other. Those two people ask others to come to rejoice with them. It shouldn't be about how big or small someone makes it. And it shouldn't break your bank account, put you into debt, or bring about fights. I think people get materialistic and forget that.

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image

      Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

      Impressive ambercita04! I have been to some lovely and fun weddings that did not cost a lot. I think people stress out about the wedding being a certain way for other people. But really, do you really want to deal with $25,000 in debt for one day? It doesn't make sense to be when a great wedding can be had for $3 - $5,000 with a little ingenuity!

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image

      Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks hawaiianodysseus!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      As a father of a beautiful daughter, this hub is worth bookmarking for future reference. Job well done, Kimberly! Thanks for sharing!



    • ambercita04 profile image

      Amber 4 years ago from Winter Park

      When I got married, my wedding cost me and my family under $3000. We made our own decorations for the church, I had a friend make my cake and inventations, had a light reception with just cake, punch, and finger food at the church who provided the wedding planner, pastor, and counseling (which lowered the cost of the marriage certificate you get at the court house). Display plates and bowls used to hold the food being served we borrowed from friends and family. My biggest cost was the photographer, my dress, and flowers. I was told to pick the top three things that are important to you and spend money on that. The other stuff be frugile with.

      But this is a great Hub! Thanks!