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Money Saving Wedding Tips

Updated on January 24, 2020
linfcor profile image

Online wedding planner for over 10 years. My goal has been to show everyone the best way to plan their wedding without breaking the bank !

Getting Started Saving Money On Your Wedding

Weddings are certainly one of the most important events in your life. Every girl dreams about her fairy tale wedding. But once you start actually planning your special event, reality sets in. After all weddings can be pricey. They can start at $25,000 and up, depending on where you live and the services you want.

Starting your wedding off in debt for a one day event, does not seem practical. After all, who wants to start their new lives in debt? Even if your parents have saved for your special day, or are in the position to foot the bill, you have to ask yourselves, would the money spent be better placed elsewhere?

So the first step in saving your money is to decide what your priorities are ! Decide what the most important elements of your wedding are. Those are the parts that you want to spend the most amount of money on. Then you will feel better cutting some costs on the rest.

Have your wedding on a Friday night or a Sunday afternoon and you will save big ! Think about off season weddings and your savings could be in the thousands
Have your wedding on a Friday night or a Sunday afternoon and you will save big ! Think about off season weddings and your savings could be in the thousands

Never Pay Full Price On Your Wedding

Here comes the bride and so do the barrage of costs for products and services.Weddings are a high budget averaging between $10, 000 and up. Imagine paying $25,000 or more (literally the price of a car) for a four hour event !

There are ways to keep your costs down and even keep your budget at $5,000 or less.You can keep the cost of your wedding within reasonable limits. We are going to show you how.

First Rule-Never pay full price for anything ! Everything can and should be bought on sale ! Here are our best ideas for supplying your wedding at far less than cost !

Second Rule- Always negotiate for services whenever you can ! It always pays to ask ! Most venues and service people have some room for price negotiation, but will only offer if you ask

Let's get Started !

Booking your reception venue two years in advance will guarantee the date that you want and will guard against rising prices !

How I Saved Thousands On My Wedding

A Real Wedding Story

On May 6th, 2011 I married my soul mate. We knew we wanted a special day to celebrate our union. For us, it was about having our family and friends sharing this special moment with us. We had a full course buffet, a candy bar, a DJ and of course a wedding cake, Our theme was a beach theme. I actually did with the help of some of my friends all the flowers, centerpieces, all the escort favor-place settings, our DVD gifts to our guests and of course our now famous candy bar. We had so much fun. Every step of the way we saved money ! You can have the party of your life without breaking the bank !

Here is how we saved:

  1. We had the wedding and the reception at the same location. That saved us a lot of extra rental fees. We negotiated a good price for the ceremony area. And because we were at the same location as the reception, we omitted having a limo.
  2. Our disc jockey played for both the ceremony and the reception...We saved a lot of extra money
  3. Provided our own ceremony music. We gave the dj our music and then carried an extra copy just in case
  4. Omitted a ceremony soloist. Instead had one of our grandchildren who played the flute record a selection for us. That was very significant for us.
  5. We made our centerpieces and favors. They were very personal and reflected who we are
  6. Brought in the extras, like the candy for our candy bar and the chocolate covered strawberries
  7. Only had the photographer do a DVD package. We had full rights to all the photos and could make and post as many as we wanted
  8. Did all the flowers in silk. Making them ourselves saved a lot of money and they were as good as the real ones. We did the bridal and the wedding party bouquets as well as the flowers for the groom and his party.
  9. Took the per plate package for our buffet. In the bridal package we chose, everything was included. It included a complete meal, a wedding toast, beverage and the serving the cake. Always speak to your venue about options.

Omit the engraved invites and go with printed ones. you will cut the cost of your invites by half

Start With The Guest List

Think of every person on your guest list as a cost. Because in actuality, they are !

If you want a big dream wedding, and you have a huge budget, then I say go for it. But if you are like most of us, you have a budget that you need to stick to as close as possible.

If your parents are paying for the wedding, things can get a little sticky and tricky when it comes to the guest list. Sometimes, parents feel that since they are paying for the event, they have control of the whole event. And that often includes the guest list.

A good rule of thumb once you have become engaged, is to sit down and decide on your budget. Know where all the funds from your wedding are coming from. If you as a couple are paying for the wedding, you have a lot more leverage on the guest list.

Of course, before you start creating your guest list, you need to select the venue. You will need to know the cost for the meal or refreshments. This is often priced per plate. Sometimes there are added fees like cake service or bar service, that all has to be figured out. you will also need to know how many people the venue will seat.

Once you know how many people you can afford within your budget, you can start to work on your guest list.

As you consider your guest list, always assume that everyone that you invite will show up ! Over inviting is never a good idea ! One trick is to send invites to folks who are going to need to travel 6 months in advance. That way they have time to make travel arrangements in advance. That way if they are unable to attend, you may have a few extra seats that you can still use.

How To Save Money On Your Guest List

  • Make it an "adults only " affair. Children are the same price in most cases (check with your venue)
  • Do not invite co workers unless they are friends outside
  • When it comes to couples on your list, keep it simple. Invite only spouses, fiancees and live ins

Think About Your Local Thrift Store

Wedding supplies @ Goodwill-You Bet

Think about your local thrifty store to shop for your wedding décor and more ! First thing to look for is any vases that you may need, especially if you are doing retro wedding. You might also find cake stands, candles, and more. I found all the containers for my candy bar @ $1.00 a piece. I found candles and shells that went all over in my décor. There are lots of things like baskets and sometimes craft items. Think about your wedding and shop at your local thrift store to save

Save Money On Your DIY Wedding Projects No matter what the project is, you need to use coupons ! I did all my wedding flowers, favors, centerpieces , escort cards and DVDs. I never paid full retail for anything. Use Michael's coupons, AC Moore, Joann's and more. I saved hundred's of dollars with my coupons ! You can find them online and in your newspaper

Personalized Wedding Invitations - A Low Cost Alternative

Your wedding Invitations can be one of the most costly item on your stationary needs list. But you can really find some great low cost ideas out there.

You could spend $200 or more on your invites, but we say why would you? Here are some of my favorite money saving ideas for invitations

  • Your local craft store has invite kits in multiple themes. They are economical.
  • Buy single sheet simple wedding invites. You will save money on postage and printing
  • Buy invite kits that you can print on your computer. They are themed and all you have to do is add the wording. Most kits come with invites, envelopes and return responses
  • Do DIY Invites. You can save money by making your own invites. All you need to add is some images and you are good to go. Special envelopes for your invites can be purchased
  • Buy "forever stamps" That way of the price of mailing goes up, you will have saved money
  • Check out your local print store-Many of them will print your invites at a good price.
  • Try looking at your local office supply store. They often have invite sets and stationary. They often have printing services so make sure to see what they have to offer
  • Do email save the dates and save the time and expense
  • Make your own menu cards, escort cards, and wedding favor packaging.

Skip the envelope liner on your invitations ! They will be lighter to mail ans will cost you a lot less money !

Do It Yourself And Save Big !

Omit the wedding program ! It is just an extra cost. If you feel you must have them, print them yourself and save over having them printed. Check out your local office supply store. They will probably have the nice paper that you need.

Wedding Accessories

Beverly Clark Wedding Romance Collection Wedding Kit with Guest Book, Pen, Ring Pillow, Flower Girl Basket and Garter Set, Ivory
Beverly Clark Wedding Romance Collection Wedding Kit with Guest Book, Pen, Ring Pillow, Flower Girl Basket and Garter Set, Ivory
When you are buying wedding accessories, it is always cost efficient to buy as many as you can as a set in a theme that matches your decor. Consider a simple set . You can always add your own flowers, ribbons and other additions.

Save Money On Your Wedding Cake You can buy a very nice cake at most local supermarkets. Many of them will deliver and set up for you. No matter where you get your cake, you can save hundreds ! Order a smaller tiered cake for show ! Have a sheet cake in the kitchen of your vendor. It should have the same icing and filling as your main cake. Doing this will cost you a lot less and your guests will never know

Have bigger tables so that you need fewer centerpieces
Have bigger tables so that you need fewer centerpieces

Use the Same Ideas For Fresh Or Silk Flowers

Use houseplants and foliage both in your wedding ceremony and your reception venue. You will save a lot of money. They can be grown or purchased ahead of time
Use houseplants and foliage both in your wedding ceremony and your reception venue. You will save a lot of money. They can be grown or purchased ahead of time

Save on Your Wedding Flowers

The cost of flowers is a large part of your wedding budget. A bridal bouquet alone can cost $750 or above. You really need to think out what part of your budget you want to devote to flowers. There are a few ways that you can start saving money on your flowers.

Bridal Bouquet- The size and the type of flowers will determine the cost of your bouquet. If you opt for a large cascading bouquet with roses or other high end flowers, you cab expect a large hunk of your floral budget just on this one item. Stick with a smaller rounder bouquet in flowers of your colors in less expensive flowers. Roses cost a fortune, so if you are not picky, opt for a less expensive flower. If you opt for larger flowers, you will need less of them, so your cost will be more reasonable.

Bridemaids Bouquets Instead of a full bouquet, have them carry an arm bouquet which would consist of several flowers, ribbons and filler. Or perhaps a wrist corsage rather than carrying flowers would wok just as well.

Centerpieces-Instead of floral centerpieces, think about using potted plants that can be decorated and given to guests or planted in your garden after the wedding

If you are using silk, watch for sales ! If you know the season that your event will be in plan ahead and buy them when they are on sale.

Use more greenery instead of flowers !

Make whatever you can and save $$$$$$$$$ ! I saved hundreds of dollars by making all the flowers for the bridal party, the centerpieces and display pieces. I used silk flowers that I got on sale and used coupons for ~

Using Foliage And House Plants Instead Of Flowers

There is a great deal to be said about using foliage and plants instead of flower arrangements at your wedding ceremony and reception. they are much less cost than fresh flowers, will last longer and better. They can be used and grown long after the wedding.

You can save even more by growing your own plants from cuttings ahead of time. Or if you have a family member with a green thumb, borrow some plants from them.

Plants are available in your local box store nursery. Buy them small and let them grow to the right size by your wedding day.

For The Ceremony

  • Rather than carrying flowers, you can carry a bouquet of greenery with a single flower in the center. It can be wrapped in a lovely bow
  • Instead of flower arrangements at the ceremony, consider using plants and greenery instead

For The Reception

  • Consider creating a greenery arch. This would be a lovely frame where you can do your ceremony. You could also use it as a place for your guests to have pictures taken. It could also be used as an entrance to your wedding reception;
  • Use trails of greenery across the tables at your reception.
  • Use plants as a centerpiece instead of flowers. They can be decorated with foil or tulle. Fill in the space around the plant with green moss.
  • Hanging baskets can be used to create a sense of outdoors and gardens. This is an especially nice way to soften a rustic or barn setting.
  • Create a green wreath to welcome your guests on the door of your reception area.

Borrow what you can ! You need something old anyway, so borrow a veil or anything that you may never use again. things like jewelry, cake stands, candle holders, vases decorations can all be repurposed and used over and over again

Save On Your Wedding Favors

Making your wedding favors is really the perfect way to save money and make something that your guests will enjoy. Think about plants, seeds or seedlings. Think about seasonal fruits, homemade jams, cookies and soaps that you can make. These personal touches will add a lot of joy to your wedding

Remember, that you can always add color and value to your wedding favors by packaging them in tulle rounds or bouquets with a nice touch of ribbon.

Check Out The Dollar Store I found the vases the were my centerpieces for a dollar a piece. I also found my bubbles that I decorated for the event. Depending on your area, you can find all sorts of wedding décor, favor ideas , and more that will save you a lot of money

Save Money On Your Wedding Venue !

The biggest tip to saving money at your reception is to have it any day but a Saturday. I know that people are traveling , but venues want to book on other days as well. So ask them what their rates are and then ask about another day other than a Saturday. see if there is a cost difference. Also think off peak season. That will save you a bunch of dollars.

Also think off season ! June through August are the busiest seasons. Around holidays can be pricey too ! Book on an off season, and you will save big !

Cut the guest list- If the price tag is getting too high, think about cutting the guest list. While this can cause a little family grief, it will save you money, since most venues charge by the head.

Do not limit yourself to an evening wedding ! Breakfast weddings and tea receptions can save you a lot ! Think out of the box and save big !

Omit The Champagne Toast

Many of your guests will not drink it and a few will just take a polite sip. Instead, have some available at your bar. You can still have a toast or two. People will toast with whatever they are drinking

Save On Bar Service

One of the biggest costs of your wedding will be your liquor bill. I am big on having my guests pay for their drinks through the entire wedding reception, but there are ways to save on the costs of alcohol

1. Omit the pre reception open bar. Instead of open bar for an hour before the reception, while you are taking pictures ect,, have wine and beer available. Or have a custom cocktail served instead.

2. Limit your bar service to wine, beer and soda. That will save you lots of cash.

3. Serve only lower and middle priced liquors rather than top shelf liquor. If you offer your guests the top end that's what they will drink

4. Serve spiked punches instead of mixed drinks

5. Have your bar open for a specified amount of time. After that time guests will be responsible for the cost f any additional drinks

You can always opt not to have a champagne toast

Finally, if you are going to have a cash bar, advise the guests in advance

Omit the wedding menu. It is just an extra item on your tables and are most often just thrown away. If you do want menus on the table consider just one per table. Or print a larger menu for the entrance of your wedding venue.

Save On Photographers

Another large cost in your wedding budget is the photography. It can cost thousands of dollars.The sky is the limit when it comes to photography and videos. Is this is important to you, then consider how much of your budget you want to spend on your wedding pictures. But if you are looking to save money on this item, here are a few suggestions.

  1. Book In Advance- Many photographers offer discounts if you book early. So as soon as you have your date and location, you will want to get busy deciding on the photographer for your event. If you get your contract asap, you may avoid the chance that he/she will raise their rates.
  2. Go To A Digital Package -Basically you are purchasing the rights to your photos. Often they are given to you on a disc. You have the right to print as many pictures as you want. You can send them online to family members. You can view them anytime you want ! Make sure in your contract that you own the copyright to your images.
  3. Book The Photographer For Less Time- We omitted the pre-ceremony pictures and had her do the pictures from the ceremony through the main events of the reception. Had great pictures and saved a god amount of our budget.
  4. Get Multiple Quotes- Look at more than one photography service and get quotes before signing a contract.
  5. Look For Custom Packages- They will often save you money. Then stick to the plan, Don't make emotional decisions
  6. Stay Local When You Can- Often photographers will add millage costs if they have to travel. If they don't show that cost, it will often be added to your final cost.
  7. If you are doing photographer prints, order the smaller prints to save costs. Avoid ordering the large wall prints. Instead order a group of smaller prints and create a collage.
  8. Ditch the fancy photographer albums. They can often run $500 or more. You can create your own wedding album at a much lower cost. Or have the photos created into a book online,
  9. Don't order a proof book. They can often cost $100 or more depending on how many pictures there are. You can generally review the pictures online.

Instead Of Wedding Cake, Serve Your Favorite Dessert

Cut the cake and save lots of money ! Wedding cakes can cost from $350 on up, depending on the style and size. Instead serve your favorite dessert with your coffee service, If you still want to be able to cut your cake, have a one tiered cake made just for the two of you.

Use Freebies Wherever You Can !

Beyond Pinterest, there are so many freebies to help you plan your wedding with veryt little muss or fuss. Why pay for something when you do not have to? Saving money where you can, enables you to use your budget for the fun stuff.

© 2011 Linda F Correa


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