People who are getting married have always known that weddings are expensive. Though the wedding day itself is joyous and means the start of a new chapter, the expenses for venues, meals, clothes, and photos may keep you up at night.
Even with saving money together as a couple for the special day, with the recent increase in wedding costs, weddings have become very expensive.
Many couples are starting to realize that they may be able to save money by planning their wedding themselves. Starting by creating a budget, there are many ways to save on a wedding, and by doing some research and considering different options, couples can find what works best for them.
Creative Ways to Save Money on a Wedding
When planning a wedding, there are many ways to have a beautiful wedding on a budget. The best way to save money is by choosing a smaller wedding.
You can still have a beautiful ceremony and reception, and you won’t have to spend as much money on food or flowers.
Another way to save money on your wedding is to choose an affordable venue. There are plenty of venues in your area that offer great deals on weddings.
Wedding planning can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
Cost of Wedding by State in the United States
|State Name||Wedding Cost||Wedding Cost Ranking From Highest to Lowest|
|North Dakota & South Dakota||$24,200||28|
Here are 21 ideas on how you can save money on a wedding. A wedding is a knot you can tie without breaking your bank.
1. Decide Your Priorities Up Front
The single best way to save money on a wedding is to make sure you and your fiancée are on the same page. Sit down together and draw up a list of the most important parts of the entire wedding day.
If you find out that both you and your bride-to-be don’t view the location and environment of the wedding dinner as a major priority, you can consider less expensive avenues as this is often the biggest expense.
The 2021 national average cost of a wedding in the United States is $28,000.
If one or both of you rank photography in your top five biggest “wants,” you will know that is an area to spend more money on.
2. Trim the Guest List
One of the easiest ways to save money is by inviting fewer people. This may seem impossible, especially since you probably want to shout the joy of your special day from the rooftops. Still, fewer guests can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run.
Try limiting which guests can have a plus-one, and be more stringent about which extended family members or coworkers simply have to get an invitation.
3. Find Alternative Options for the Wedding Dress
Let’s get this out of the way right up front: if there’s anything you don’t want to go cheap on, it’s the dress. Most women have looked forward to choosing their wedding gowns since they were little girls, and you don’t want to spoil that just to save a few bucks.
With that being said, it is possible for your fiancée to find her ideal dress without using a traditional bridal store. She may be able to fall in love with a dress that has been worn only once before, such as one found through wedding consignment stores or websites like Amazon’s Wedding Dress Collection.
If your bride still wants to try a bridal store, encourage her to consider buying a sample gown instead of one made-to-order.
Also be on the lookout for trunk shows at local outlets, which provide opportunities for customers to survey fashion merchandise that may be available at a discounted rate.
4. Accessorize with Heirlooms and Elbow Grease
It may sound nice for your fiancée to enhance the beauty of her perfect dress with a fancy crystal necklace or diamond bracelet, but these items, while gorgeous, shouldn’t have to break the bank.
Ask around in your family to see if any mothers, aunts, or grandmothers have an heirloom they would like to loan to the bride. Many women would be honored by such an opportunity to be involved. For yourself, ask around if you would like to borrow a high-quality Rolex or even some nice cufflinks.
As for the rest of the wedding party, a bit of hard work can go a long way toward easing the strain on your pocketbook. Bouquets for the bridesmaids can be handmade by anyone who can learn how to fold paper flowers. Boutonnieres for the groomsmen can likewise be DIY items, or they can be replaced outright with pocket squares if boutonnieres aren’t one of your non-negotiables.
5. Pick a Less Common Day for the Event
Everyone wants to have a Saturday wedding, but weddings on Fridays or Sundays can be just as meaningful.
Between your ceremony and your venue, choosing a less-trafficked day can save you thousands of dollars.
6. E-Save the Date
It’s still traditional to send a physical invitation to your guests, but you can save a couple of hundred bucks by emailing your save-the-dates.
If you shudder at the idea of tracking down an email address for your Aunt Myrtle, you can announce the date and location via social media instead.
7. Invite by Postcard
Wedding invitations are essential, but envelopes may not be. If you send out invitations on postcards, you’ll spend less on stamps, and you won’t even have to get envelopes.
The best part is that postcards can look just as gorgeous as traditional invitations.
8. Prepare Your Own Invitations
It may seem tempting to outsource the wrist-aching work of assembling and addressing hundreds of invitations, but you should resist that urge.
Set aside a few nights or afternoons to work with your fiancée, and pull in any friends or family with good penmanship. Together, you can handle the work and save a bundle on stationery costs.
9. Find Alternative Outlets for Décor
Borrow table decorations, centerpieces, or other décor items from friends, especially those who have recently married.
If no one in your circle has suitable items, troll Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for great deals on décor.
10. Have a Homemade Rehearsal Dinner
Catering for your reception is expected to be professionally done, but who said anything about dinner for the night before? You can save hundreds on meal costs by hosting your rehearsal dinner at the home of a close friend or family member.
Homemade dinner ideas vary, but pasta is a popular yet affordable option. You could also rent a large griddle and serve a classic breakfast-for-dinner meal! No one is likely to complain about a non-catered meal if it consists of bacon, eggs, and mountains of flapjacks.
11. Sharing Wedding Programs Menu Sheet
For your ceremony, consider printing one wedding program per couple or family instead of one for every single individual.
Even if printing your programs only costs a couple of dollars per unit, cutting the cost of a budget item in half is nothing to sneeze at.
12. A Menu for the Whole Table
Similarly, each person at the reception doesn’t need their own individual menu.
Set up one menu at the center of each table, and everyone can decide which entrée to select without costing you an arm and a leg on paper.
13. Check Out Excess Floral Inventory
Find a florist who is willing to offload excess inventory at a reduced rate, if not give it away outright.
You may not want to obtain all of your flowers this way, but it could be enough to offset the rest of your floral costs.
14. Repurpose Your Ceremony Flowers
In many cases, flowers from the ceremony can be reused for the reception.
You’ll be in good shape if you can ask for some family members to help move the flowers after the wedding party has left the ceremony.
15. Consider a Dry Bar at the Reception
It’s no secret that an open bar can eat into a soon-to-be-married couple’s wedding budget faster than a heavyweight downing a pint of beer.
The “nuclear option” is to host a dry wedding reception.
Soda pop should keep most people content and less likely to get too wild on the dance floor.
If you’re worried about enough of your guests’ rioting at the thought of a completely dry reception, try limiting your open bar to the pre-dinner cocktail hour, which will be enough time for the thirstiest invitees to find a drink without draining your wallet dry.
16. Try a Two-Tiered Cake
I know that every wedding show known to man depicts wedding cakes with enough tiers to rival the Empire State Building, but trust me, you can have a memorable cake that doesn’t cost the price of a New York skyscraper.
Speaking from experience, I can say that a two-tiered cake will look nearly as good in pictures and in person as a more elaborate dessert, will taste just as delicious, and will cost a whole lot less to design, construct, and deliver.
17. Serve Sheet Cakes
Even if your official wedding cake is professionally made, that still leaves the cake you’ll be serving your hundreds of guests.
Check out your local grocery store for affordable sheet cakes that can be decorated with frosting flowers or enhanced with store-bought decorations.
18. Let Them Eat A Different Kind of Sweet
While you’re at it, why not consider a different kind of sweet? There’s no law saying that just because the two of you cut a cake you have to serve your guests the same dessert!
Pie, brownies, or even ice cream are all great for the sweet tooth and potentially cheaper than a traditional cake.
19. Find Fun, Affordable Favors
Websites like Etsy are treasure troves for unique, high-quality items that can serve as unforgettable favors for your wedding party.
Keep your eyes open for affordable deals that you can buy in bulk.
20. Find a Newcomer Photographer
The benefit of an up-and-comer is that he or she may be just as talented as a more established photographer while charging reduced rates to match the smaller reputation.
Search social media for new photographers whose work you respect.
21. Don’t Hire Your Photographer for the Entire Day
It’s customary to hire a photographer or videographer for an entire day, which can be up to 14 hours.
Instead, schedule your wedding ceremony and reception so that you only need your photographer for between 8-10 hours.
After all, you probably don’t need a professional photog on hand for the end of the reception.
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