10 Smart and Effective Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

Updated August 10, 2020 by Kyle
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As we approach the most popular time of year to hold nuptials I thought it was fitting to use this frugal hack post to talk about some of the easiest ways to save money on a upcoming wedding. But these tips aren’t from me specifically because I just pretty much showed up in a monkey suit and said “I do.” But I have gotten several emails from folks looking for tips on how to save on weddings and I assume that is why you found this article. So…here are some tips from folks that know a hell of a lot more about the subject than me.

10 Down & Dirty Money Saving Tips for Weddings

What Day to Get Married

This one is simple. Get married any day but Saturday and keep a bunch of your own money in your pocket. You can easily save 20-30% by getting married on a Sunday afternoon or Friday evening.

Also, if you are the infancy stages of planning your wedding consider bypassing the prime wedding season and do something in autumn. You’re going to find that everything will be cheaper, not just the venue. (Source: Real Simple Magazine)

Call on Talented Friends

Consider using a friend who is also an ordained minister to perform the wedding ceremony. We all know one right? Make sure they are witty, yet professional. Also, if you have friends who are talented musicians consider hiring them to play at the reception. You can save significant money by hitting up your talented friend pool. (Source: Lifehacker.com)

Save BIG on Booze

You have a couple options when it comes to saving money on alcohol. Instead of offering a full bar, save a bundle by only offering beer, wine, and champagne. Also, the recent trend of offering “Signature” cocktails is a really cool idea.

Essentially you have a few signature drinks that use the same liquor. For example, if you only have to buy vodka for your signature drinks you can save a lot on the bar tab.  (Source: Real Simple Magazine)

How To Score a Wedding Dress Bargain

Recently there was a lot of Internet buzz over the $99 wedding dress from H&M. Ladies overwhelmingly said they would wear a $99 dress that was fashionable. If you can’t find such a deal check out something called a Sample Sale which is when a dress designer tries to unload a bunch of old inventory for pennies on the dollar.

Do a Google search for sample sales in your area and see what you can find. I think you’ll be surprised with the amazing savings, often up to 80% off the original dress price.

Wedding Cake Deals

Go low and save. The taller the cake the more labor and the higher the costs. Consider a small cake for the reception and a big ol’ sheet cake for all your guests. Also, use real lace or ribbon around the cake and avoid the pipping costs…which are HUGE.  (Source: Real Simple Magazine)

Need a Smaller Guest List?

“Quick tips for whittling your guest list: Omit children and coworkers (making cuts categorically is less likely to cause rifts); and when it comes to couples, invite spouses, fiances, and live-ins only.”  (Source: Martha Stewart Weddings)

Save on Hotel Rooms

“Do a little detective work to find the best rate on hotel rooms for your guests. Many people reserve a block of rooms thinking they’re getting a special rate, but they’re just ensuring that rooms will be available, says Goldberg. Check out several discount travel websites to score a deal.”  (Source: Bridal Guide)

Save Big on Flowers

Consider making your own centerpieces, if not for the actual wedding, then perhaps for the rehearsal dinner. Use seasonal flowers as they are readily available and cost friendly. Are you familiar with cascading bouquets and centerpieces? Avoid them at all costs as they are very labor intensive and expensive.  (Source: Real Simple Magazine)

How to Get a Photographer on the Cheap

Pick your photo package carefully. Do you really need the 750 picture package when the 350 might work? Talk to friends (with similar spending habits) who have recently been wed and pick their brains on what package they chose.

Also, I have a friend who was on a major wedding budget and used a photography student from our local college to shoot their wedding. The photos came out absolutely amazing, and at half the price. Be sure to ask for references and a portfolio so you know exactly what you are getting.

Make Your Own Favors

When my wife and got hitched over 15 years ago we made Jordan Almonds and tasty Italian cookies and handed them out as favors to our guests. They were a huge hit!

Not only were they affordable but they added a really cool personal touch as the cookie recipe was a family favorite from my wife’s Italian side of the family.

Ask the Reader: I realize there have been books written on this subject and my tips are only the tip of the iceberg. Let me know what tip you used successfully to save money on your wedding day.

By Kyle James

Photo credit to Amy.

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DC @ Young Adult Money

I really dislike Sunday weddings but I understand why people do them – it’s way cheaper! I still think Saturday is the best day to have a wedding and is worth the extra expense. I think for photographers it’s best to go with someone who isn’t brand new but isn’t super established yet. I think there is little difference between a $1,000 photographer and a $5,000 photographer. One may have more experience, but with how far camera technology has come there is no reason to go with someone who is 5x as expensive.

Kate

Tips from my daughter’s August wedding:

1. Wedding on a Wednesday. Beautiful venue was available on the waterfront in San Diego for cheap!
2. Wedding venue allowed you to choose your caterer from an approved list. Found one that was very reasonable.
3. Venue allowed you to bring your own alcohol – HUGE savings. Mostly did beer, wine and champagne, plus a couple of signature drinks. Leftovers became ours to take home – after party!!
4. Flowers – found a friend who was just starting her own floral biz – good pricing, and bent over backwards to do a great job.
5. Invites – buy a kit at Michael s or similar store – print your own – again, a HUGE savings. Especially when you can get the kits on sale.
6. Photographer – took $1K off normal price since it was on a Wednesday. Sweet.
7. Bridesmaid dresses – got fancy cocktail dresses on sale at JC Penney – I think that they were only about $35 each. Who needs a fuffy dress that they will never wear again? Got the flower girl dresses same store.
8. Bridal gown – off the rack sample sale. About $300. A few alterations and we were set.
9. Centerpieces – made our own.
10. Bought the book Bridal Bargains” – how to throw a fantastic wedding on a realistic budget – by Denise and Alan Fields. Lots of great tips in there. More than saved the price of the book.

Thanks for your blog – just recently subscribed to your newsletter – good work!

Tara @ Streets Ahead Living

I used an online flower vendor affiliated with ProFlowers for my wedding boutonnieres, corsages, and bouquets. I was able to get sunflowers which are my favorite flower. It was $450 for all of the wedding party and family flowers (in my family, we get corsages and boutonnieres for all immediate family members to wear and I have a large step family). I then made crepe paper flowers in thrift store vases for center pieces.

I actually prefer Sunday weddings to Saturday ones. It enables a guest to fly in on Friday evening or Saturday any time and then fly home on Monday after taking the day off. I feel like you have to take a day off anyways, even if it’s a Saturday wedding so I’d rather have the wedding on Sunday!

Also, with the photographer, I agree with DC in going with an up and coming photographer and make sure you have a good contract. I got my digital pictures in high resolution (with printing rights) for a crazy good deal, roughly $850 for everything. But the photographer was a foreign citizen trying to broaden her portfolio so she could qualify for a self-employed immigration visa so she was so cheaper than most to broaden her client base.

Ania @ Seize the Aisle

Totally about signature cocktails. They are a cool alcohol money saving wedding hack. My favorite part about it is that it doesn’t come across as cheap, it comes across as stylish and part of the wedding theme, yet it limits the alcohol selection and saves a ton of money by reducing over-purchasing.

M.B.

Create a hashtag for your wedding. Have your friends and family upload photos. Some of your favorite wedding photos may just be those candid shots. If you are getting married in a church, consider a December wedding. It will already be decorated for Christmas, which will save you a lot of money from not buying flowers.

May

Fort Worth, TX, Oct. wedding:
1) venue: Got lucky and have extended family who were amazing and let us use their home and land
2) Photographer: Have a friend starting out her own side business. She’s been doing it for years so we felt comfortable with her. Plus I got to invite another friend. Pricing, we did pay her her normal price but she covered her own travel and everything else (she came from VA).
3) Dress: JCpenny’s got a pretty white graduation short dress that I can wear agin. And then ordered, off of Amazon, a fuller detachable long skirt to go over. The dress from JCpenny I tried on and got it in my size, took it home that day, the skirt could be custome ordered to my size, just had to be sure to order it in advance. Tad-a, custom dress for $179!
-Tip highly suggest looking into amazon. It takes a bit of planing ahead of time but they’d have a lot of options, like my detachable skirt wasn’t even under the “bridal” category. Lots of times you can order them customs sized, you just have to call amazon. Call amazon they’ll get you in contact with who makes it. Reassuring, if you get it, hate it, doesn’t fit… you can return it for free as long as it falls with in the 30 days.
4) flowers: we just did babies breath, we did a mixture of live and fake and you couldn’t tell the difference.
-tips: We got ours from HEB (TX store). Sams, and Costco are great places to look into. Flower moxie is great too if you’re looking for a verity of flowers. Etsy is great for premaid silk/fake bouquets.
5) Rentals: we did have to rent tables, chairs & a tent. Stella rentals. We didn’t want to worry bout having to buy the stuff and sell it agin
6) Decorations: because the wedding was outside we didn’t need a lot. We asked anyone who had white Christmas lights if we could borrow them. We bought Shepard’s hooks from Lowe’s or HD and hung signs, pictures, and declared jars on them as ale markers. Centerpieces we made dule purposed, we used growlers my in laws had & refereed to each table by brewery instead of numbers. The growlers we had filled so people could also drink from them. And then hotglued some babies breath to the caps to look like the flowers were coming out. & sprinkled rocks around. We also bought a good bit of plane fabric off of amazon, and just cut it to what we needed. Used it for table clothes & drapery.
-Tip: use amazon for bulk & use things from around your house. Also catch discount Christmas decoration sales.
7) food: we had a local restaurant cater. And my cousin made our cake.
8) drinks: alcohol we had growlers at each table & bought a few bottles of wine. Then we told people they could byob if they wanted. Non alcohol, we had pitchers of water, lemonade and tea.
– tip: in a classy way tell your guests they can byob it takes the stress of providing alcohol that everyone would like off of you & saves you money & guest enjoy having something they like to drink there.
9) music: we made our own playlist and designated a trust worthy family member to be in charge.
10) rings: I actually didn’t get a wedding band, I know it’s not for everyone but I felt my engagement ring was enough & if we really wanted to get something down the line we could. Husbands ring we actually got off Etsy.
-tip: definitely recommend looking at Etsy or local artist. I got him another ring that was from a local artist we met at the farmers market. $30. Just look around

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