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Planning an Inexpensive Wedding

Updated on May 2, 2013

10 Simple Wedding Tips to Save Money on Your Big Day

Weddings are expensive! Are you wondering how on earth to plan an inexpensive wedding? Believe me, it's not an overwhelming feat and the results don't have to look cheap! Planning my own wedding was one of the most fun and rewarding things I've ever done! My husband and I didn't spend half as much as any random couple on a "reality tv" wedding show-- but we still spent more than I like to admit on most days. Here are ten ways (in no particular order) to save some money without compromising your big day.

DIY wedding invites are the future!

Homemade wedding invitations made with Love
Homemade wedding invitations made with Love | Source

Make Your Own Wedding Announcements, Invitations, Programs, etc

My husband and I designed and made all of our own wedding invitations, save the dates, and programs-- and we had no idea what we were doing in the beginning! They came out fantastic and our lack of previous experience is truly a testament to how easy it can be. If we could do it, so could you. Check out my tutorial here, How to Create Unique Wedding Invitations. We saved some serious money by doing this on our own but you'd never know because the end result looked like a million bucks.

Let Your Guests be the Caterers

Instead of bringing gifts, ask your guests to bring a dish. Enjoy a potluck style buffet filled with food that everyone is sure to love. Not only does this eliminate the cost of food or a caterer, it also eliminates the need to keep track of which guests want what and how many vegetarian dishes you need. At my wedding, the food was paid for up front and if someone didn't come at the last minute, we still had paid for that food. Avoid that hassle.

Let mother nature be your florist!

my parents walking me down the aisle at my outdoor garden wedding venue
my parents walking me down the aisle at my outdoor garden wedding venue | Source

Skip Pricey Flower Arrangements and Get Married in a Garden

Been there and done that. I can't believe how much money people spend on flower arrangements. I'll never say they aren't beautiful-- it's just a whole lotta money. If you've already budgeted money for a wedding venue and you're open to the idea of getting married outside, consider a garden. Make sure the garden will be in bloom for your wedding date and cross flower arrangements off your list. By getting married in a garden and making our own reception centerpieces, we only spent money on bouquets, boutonnieres, and some rose petals to line the aisle.

Have a Friend or Family Member Officiate

This is perfect for an informal or interfaith wedding. Imagine my surprise to learn that one of my friends was an ordained minister AFTER we had already been married. That certainly would have been less expensive than paying a priest AND a rabbi-- so make sure you ask. A simple post on Facebook could give you an idea. Imagine how lovely your ceremony could be if it was officiated by someone who actually knows you and your fiancé? Like when Joey married Monica and Chandler in Friends!

Homebaked cupcakes made with love-- you can't buy that from a bakery!

homemade red velvet cupcakes
homemade red velvet cupcakes | Source

Have a Friend Make Your Wedding Cake or Cupcakes

Cupcakes are so popular in contemporary society. There are entire shows dedicated to them and they are popping up in weddings everywhere. We all have a friend or family member who loves to bake and could bake the pants off most of the people who win on those cupcake shows-- so do the math. Cupcakes are easy to make in advance and usually easier to transport than an entire wedding cake. People make gorgeous cupcakes on a regular Tuesday as a hobby. Find that friend and make them an offer. They might even do it as a wedding gift!

Have Your Service and/or Reception at Friend's or Family Member's House

Paying for ceremony and reception venues can be expensive-- recession or not. Post on Facebook that you're considering having a backyard or barn reception and ask for recommendations. You might have more offers than you know what to do with. Never underestimate the power of Facebook!

Save some money and say cheese!

my husband and I holding a kiss for our friend and wedding photographer
my husband and I holding a kiss for our friend and wedding photographer | Source

Have a Friend Be your Photographer

You probably already have a friend who has a great artistic eye and an expensive camera. Many people are naturally gifted photographers but you never knew it because they just do it as a hobby. Post on Facebook that you need a photographer. If you don't have a friend who can help out, you'll probably find someone who knows someone. A friend from college took my wedding photos and I couldn't be happier with the end result. It saved us money and it was nice working with someone who knew us and some of our guests.

Use a Friend and an iPod in Place of a DJ

Deejays are great at what they do but imagine how much more personalized your experience could be if a friend did this favor for you. Most venues have the capability of hooking up an iPod or laptop without charging you-- so just ask. We all have that friend who knows their music and is the life of the party. Let them know how honored you would be if they were to DJ your big day.

Special touches that money can't buy!

handmade cootie catcher wedding favors
handmade cootie catcher wedding favors | Source

Make Your Own Wedding Favors

Wedding favors can range anywhere from $1.00 to $4 and up. I was so unhappy when trying to find the perfect favor-- everything seemed like cheesy dollar store afterthoughts. Depending on your confirmed guest list, these prices can make a huge difference and a huge dent in your budget. Consider making your own wedding favors. Pick a project that won't break the bank and make personalized favors that money can't buy. Consider packaging cute envelopes of your favorite flower seeds or supplying your guests with pens and pretty paper to make their own cootie catchers. Inexpensive wedding favors can certainly save your big day!

Make Your Own Bouquets

My oldest sister did this for her day-after-Christmas wedding and they turned out great. This is a fabulous alternative that saves you money but also enables you to use fake versions of flowers that might be otherwise impossible to get your hands on (out of season). Bridal bouquets have been trending towards simple arrangements and "less is more." This makes the whole DIY endeavor even easier because there's little to no need for arranging and creating.


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    • Heather Says profile image

      Heather Rode 5 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

      tillsontitan-- Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed reading. I always love to hear your feedback :)

      Karen Hellier-- Thanks for the feedback and I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures :)

      SmartAndFun-- Thanks for the kind words. You really hit the nail on the head there! Glad you enjoyed reading :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Obviously I wasn't at your wedding but from the photos you provided I would say your tips were a success! In a time when everyone is trying to save money this hub is a perfect guidline for engaged couples. Well done.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 5 years ago from Georgia

      Really great ideas here Heather. I am sure all your guests were impressed with all the personal touches you and your husband had at your wedding. I loved that you included real pics of your wedding as well. Great job. Voted up and useful.

    • SmartAndFun profile image

      SmartAndFun 5 years ago from Texas

      These are great ideas, Heather! True friends (these are the ones we want at our wedding anyway, right?) do not mind pitching in to help, and if everyone does a little then no one has to do too much. It looks like you had a charming, intimate, memorable ceremony that wasn't devoid of anything other than wads of wasted cash. Great hub!