How to Save Money on a Wedding? – 51 Tips to Fit your Budget

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Weddings are a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of love but can also be costly. Thankfully, there are several options for cutting costs without compromising the elegance or specialness of the occasion.

Scroll down this article from Viva Wedding Photography to find out how to save money on a wedding that doesn’t have to mean skimping on the ceremony or reception memories.

How to plan a wedding on a budget

1. Start by making a budget

Start by conversing about money with your spouse, and then make sure you’re both on the same page about this primary goal and all other goals you have as a couple. According to one financial advisor, keeping a joint budget spreadsheet that details the couple’s income, household bills, and savings may be a fantastic method to dive into the couple’s budget.

You’ll have a better idea of how much you can afford to spend on a wedding and how much of a priority certain costs are after you take an in-depth look at your resources and long-term plans.

How to Save Money on a Wedding?
How to Save Money on a Wedding? (Image: Brides)

Around half of the engaged couples, says the BBB, pay more for their wedding than planned. As a result, a wedding needs advanced wedding planning and saving like any other significant financial undertaking. Thus, establishing a budget should precede sending out invitations.

2. Consider replacing pros

Instead of paying for expensive beauty salons or lavish premade decorations, save money by enlisting the help of a creative friend. (And tipping isn’t as big of an issue when it’s among friends as it is when it’s a hairdresser.)

3. Look into suburban venues

intimate destination wedding - ways to save money
Choose the destination wedding to save money (Image: Joshua Harrison Photography)

The location of the ceremony is significant for more than simply aesthetic reasons. Prices will be higher, and competition for venues and other services will be increasingly fierce in large cities.

4. Trim the guest list

The number of guests at a given location might affect the price, and some caterers even charge by the person. Deborah Moody, executive director of the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants, says the guest list affects all costs.

Moody points out that decreasing your guest list by ten people could eliminate at least one table, saving money on the ten unused wedding ceremony chairs, ten unused guest tables, ten unused party favors, and one unused centerpiece. And in that way, Moody estimates you may save $1,000 by inviting ten fewer wedding guests to your small wedding party.

5. Seek an off-peak wedding season

ways to save money - off-peak wedding season
Save money on off-peak wedding season (Image: The Budget Savvy Bride)

The cost of a wedding in the summer is likely higher than in the winter. Off-season months, including January and February, provide more affordable prices for ceremony venues, reception halls, and photographers.

6. Skip Saturdays

A large percentage of weddings take place on Saturdays, and because of this, prices tend to be higher on that wedding date. Unless it falls on a really busy holiday, you might save money by having your wedding or other special events during the week or on a Sunday.

7. Compare prices and wedding services

After deciding the services you need, asking around for rates and getting approximate estimates is the best next step. Seek advice from a wedding planner or talk to friends and family who have just married.  Get offers from a number of service providers. Then, choose the ones that provide the most value for your money.

While comparing prices, be sure you know exactly what each offer covers. The wedding venue may provide tables, chairs, linens, and sometimes even sound systems at no extra expense. Several venues will not provide these necessities without an additional fee or require that you rent them.

8. Negotiate if necessary

Negotiate slowly and politely if you discover that it’s necessary. It is advised against bargaining with a professional who has already set their service fee. She also notes that new suppliers sometimes have more reasonable rates than experienced companies.

Moody suggests talking with a wedding planner, who will better understand what is practical and where you may save costs. She recommends looking for a venue that can host both the wedding and the reception since this will likely result in a price reduction.

Your rates may be lowered independently, too. Think about requesting that suppliers reduce the number of extras offered in their packages.

Viva Wedding Photography tips

You might have the photographer come in for only a few hours instead of the whole day, or you could ask the caterer if they can serve visitors just one or two drinks instead of an open bar.

9. Host it all in one place

How to Save Money on a Wedding - all inclusive venue
All events in one wedding place (Image: Happy Wedding App)

Don’t succumb to pressure from other people or the expectations of family, friends, social media, or budget estimates. Your wedding budget should align with your income and long-term financial goals.

10. DIY Wedding Decor

You’ve certainly heard this from well-intentioned family members and friends: “DIYing saves you money!” Indeed, it is true in certain situations! DIY projects may save money in the long run, but the cost of materials may mount up quickly.

Think about how much time and effort you’ll put in and how much stress you could put yourself under if you tackle too many DIY tasks simultaneously. If you’re really into making things, DIY some of your wedding decorations, but hire out the rest.

11. Provide some wiggle space in your budget plan

According to the Real Wedding Study, over half of the couples said they went over their wedding budget. That’s why it’s smart to set aside five percent of your entire budget for things like unexpected (like taxes or additional decorations) or impulse buys (like shoes).

How to Save Money on Your Wedding Venue

One of the most expensive parts of a wedding is the venue, where the events will take place (the typical couple spends $10,700 on the destination alone). If you follow these suggestions, you should have no trouble choosing a wedding venue that fits your budget.

12. Reconsider the at-home wedding

At-home dream wedding to cut down on wedding expenses
Traditional venues to cut down the wedding budget (Image: The Knot)

While a backyard wedding may seem like a cost-effective option for a wedding (no rental charge! ), it’s more expensive than a more conventional location. Costs can soon pile up if you need to bring in tents, generators, temporary toilets, and a portable kitchen.

Finding a venue that provides a variety of amenities in-house may be a time saver. So do your best to book such a venue.

13. Set Up a Lounge for Less

Instead of renting everything to be transported in and set up, ask your venue if you can borrow couches, chairs, or tables to create a lounge-like setting for your cocktail hour.

How to Save Money on Wedding Catering

14. Forgot Top-Shelf Liquor

No need to serve high-end wedding liquor - ways to save money
No need to serve high-end wedding liquor (Image: Tasting Table)

You don’t have to serve Bombay Sapphire to please your gin-loving guests. You may save anywhere from $1 to $4 on a typical drink and up to $25 on premium liquors like scotch and bourbon.

15. Only Serve Bubbly at the Bar

If you want to save $10 per guest, you could skip the champagne toast and make sparkling wine available at the bar.

16. Source Your Caterer From the Suburbs

Wedding Caterer From the Suburbs to cut costs
Wedding Caterer From the Suburbs (Image: The Urban List)

Suppose you are getting married in a crowded area. In that case, you may consider hiring a caterer in a neighboring suburb who is willing to travel for your wedding since they offer more competitive pricing.

17. Save on Kids’ Meals

Decrease wedding costs with kid's meals
Cut costs with kid’s meals (Image: Martha Stewart)

In the event that you want to have small kids at your wedding, it is recommended that you enquire with the caterer about the possibility of receiving a meal discount for the children in attendance. Caterers often reduce the cost by half or provide an alternative menu with more reasonably priced à la carte options.

18. Get On Board with a Bountiful Buffet

Buffets are a great method to save money by reducing the need for wait staff. You may save between $1,500 and $3,000 per 100 guests when you go for catering instead of a plated dinner, and you usually receive more food for the money.

19. Avoid Hard-to-Prepare Foods

How to Save Money on Wedding Food
Avoid hard-to-make wedding food (Image: Nicole Brown )

Sushi rolls, some dishes from the raw bar, and anything else that calls for a live cooking station are examples of labor-intensive specialty meals that always need additional staff to prepare and serve.

20. Combine Food & Favors

Combine Food and Wedding Favors
Combine Food and Wedding Favors (Image: The Knot)

Instead of handing out late-night food and favors, combine the two by presenting ready-to-eat edible favors, such as milk and cookies or freshly-popped popcorn, waiting for guests as they leave the reception.

How to Save Money on Wedding Flowers and Decor

21. Choose a naturally beautiful venue

How to Save Money on Wedding Decor
Choose a naturally beautiful venue (Image: Insider)

Make sure that the venue of your wedding ceremony is one that has a great deal of natural beauty. Choose a public park, a flower garden, or a church that is already attractively decorated in order to reduce the amount of money you will need to spend on extra decorations.

22. Add Fruit to the Mix

How to Save Money on Wedding Flowers
Mix fruits and flowers (Image: Martha Stewart)

Create centerpieces with fresh fruit for an organic take on natural floral arrangements. One suggestion is to place citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, or apples on a plate and then top the fruit with flower petals. You could even make the fruit seem more glamorous by giving it a gold paint job.

23. Borrow from other newlyweds

To save money on your wedding, see if any of your friends who have just been married would be willing to let you borrow any of their leftover decorations. You can also buy and sell affordable wedding decorations on online marketplace like Craigslist and in online communities like Facebook.

24. Scout out decorations at craft stores

Buy wedding decor from craft stores
Buy wedding decor from craft stores (Image: save-on-crafts)

Go to places like craft shops for wedding decorations, particularly anything that uses electricity. Wedding expert Sharon Naylor, author of “1,001 Ways to Save Money … and Still Have a Dazzling Wedding,” notes that these stores feature more than glue guns and glitter.

25. Stick to in-season blooms

How to Save Money on Wedding Flowers
Get the in-season florals (Image: Hitched)

You may have your heart set on a certain pink flower to complement the bridal bouquets, and bridesmaids’ bouquets, but consider settling for a different hue or kind. Choosing local, in-season flowers might save you money when planning a wedding. Also, local flowers appear, fresher, since they don’t have to travel for days.

26. Get the most out of your flowers

Consider the gigantic flowers
Consider the gigantic wedding flowers (Image: PartySlate)

A gigantic flower, like a hydrangea, will seem fuller and cover more area with the same number of stems. And rather than purchasing new fresh flowers for the reception, you may reuse the ones from the ceremony.

27. Consider the non-floral decor

How to Cut Costs on Wedding Decorations
Non-floral wedding decoration (Image: Hitched)

There’s no need to spend a lot of money on buds if you choose the non-floral items. If flowers aren’t your thing, try incorporating books, seashells, extra candles, family photographs, and other non-traditional items into your celebration.

28. Select linens wisely

There is a wide variety of beautiful table linens to choose from, making it tempting to go all out and buy the most expensive option. Instead of lavishing your guests with costly tablecloths, use them for the cake and the escort card table. And then, replace cheap tablecloths with fancier napkins instead.

How to Save Money on a Wedding Cake

On average, a wedding cake will set you back $500, making it the most costly dessert you’ll ever purchase. Save money on the show-stopping dessert by following these budget tips for the wedding cake.

29. Downsize Your Cake

Instead of spending $50 on a multi-tiered, elaborately decorated cake, you may save money by opting for a smaller display size and supplementing with a dessert bar that makes a big impression or by serving sheet cake, which costs just $4.50 per piece.

30. Embellish Just the Edges

Embellish Just the Edges of Wedding Cakes
Embellish Just the Edges of Wedding Cakes (Image: Wedding Wire)

Do you want your work to be lavishly decorated with sugar flowers, gold leaf, or hand-painted details? Reduce the price by a few hundred dollars by asking the baker to adorn just the outer edges of the layers.

31. DIY Your Dessert Décor

You may save money by making your own decorations and buying a basic buttercream or fondant cake that costs less than $7 per dish. You may make it unique by adding fresh flowers, a customized topper, or a rainbow of fruit.

32. Get Naked

How to Save Money on Wedding Cakes
Naked cakes to save the wedding price (Image: Whimsical Wonderland Weddings)

These days, naked wedding cakes are all the trend and make a stunning accent to an outdoor ceremony. They are also cheap, costing as little as $3 less per person than options like buttercream or fondant. As a result, you may save $300 on a wedding for a hundred guests.

How to Save Money on Wedding Invitations and Stationery

33. Select digital invitations

The fancy printing wedding planning process like letterpress, engraving or foil stamping may add visual appeal but come at a high cost. If you’re on a tight budget, digital printing is the way to go.

34. Avoid oversized invites

How to Save Money on a Wedding Invitation
Get the invitations simple (Image: Minted)

Couples typically overlook the cost of postal when planning their wedding invitation budget. It is best to keep your invites basic with minimal enclosed to save postage costs because of their size, weight, or unusual form.

35. Skip the envelope liner

You may save as much as $1 on each wedding invitation by skipping the envelope liner and using an outer envelope instead. Your guests will love the surprising pop of color when they open the envelope.

36. Direct your guests to your wedding website

One way to save as much as $800 on your invitations is to have a single insert that directs visitors to your wedding website. It includes information on your other events, such as the rehearsal dinner, welcome party, and day-after brunch, as well as logistics, such as transportation and the hotel room block you’ve put up for your guests.

37. Slash your printing fees

Printed materials for the big day may be obtained with the invitations. This includes things like the ceremony program and reception menu. Printing costs may be reduced by cutting down on duplicates and taking care of everything simultaneously.

38. Grab a few pens

How to Save Money on Wedding Invitations
Write your own wedding invitations (Image: Boutique Events)

Postage, stamps, and envelope addressing at a stationery shop may cost up to $7 for each set. If you have good handwriting, you shouldn’t be afraid to make and label your own wedding invitations.

Viva Wedding Photography tips

You may speed things up by asking for the support of close friends and family members, or you can plan to spread the task out across multiple sessions.

How to Save Money on Wedding Attire

You want to look and feel your best on your wedding day, but you also don’t want to break the bank doing it. So choose an outfit that compliments your body and makes you feel confident in your wedding budget.

39. Start shopping early

We advise brides-to-be to start looking for their wedding dresses no less than eight months before the big day. If you delay it too late, you may have to pay up to $500 in rush costs or make additional last-minute changes in the range of $100-$300.

40. Look out for sample sales and trunk shows

One way to save costs when shopping is to do some research before. In order to take advantage of special offers like 10% off your gown, 20% off jewelry, or a free veil with gown purchase, it’s a good idea to follow your favorite local bridal salons on social media.

You may save as much as 90% off the retail price when you buy your garment during a sample sale. Even if a sale isn’t happening, don’t hesitate to ask if the boutique has any samples they’re trying to sell.

Look out wedding dresses at sample sales and trunk shows
Look out wedding dresses at sample sales and trunk shows (Image: Bridal Musings)

Most occur before or after Bridal Market, which comes twice a year, in late spring and early autumn. There’s a good chance that some dresses have already been reserved for the next one!

If you buy your dress at a designer trunk show, you may save between $150 and $500 off the retail price. Further savings of $150-$800 may be available if the salon offers free customization, such as altering the neckline, making the dress smaller or larger, or adding a veil.

41. Choose an unadorned wedding gown

How to Save Money on a Wedding Dress
How to Save Money on a Wedding Dress (Image: The Knot & Pinterest)

The more beading, embroidery, or other details a gown has, the more expensive it is likely to be. Hence, minimalist clothing may help you save money; if you feel like you lack something. However, a sash, headpiece, brooch, or jewelry might provide just the right combination.

42. Rent attire for other events

New clothes for all the wedding-related festivities might be expensive. You may consider renting them if you want to save money on clothes for your events, such as your bridal party, engagement party, or rehearsal dinner.

43. Rent formalwear from the same place

Recommend that the groom and his attendants rent their tuxes from the same store since this will typically result in a discount for the groom.

How to Save Money on Wedding Photography and Videography

44. Book an associate

Ask about booking an associate of the photographer. Even if the one you want is already booked, fantastic wedding vendors may be able to suggest someone else who works for them at a cheaper price. They can provide a comparable experience and product at a lower overall cost. This advice is useful not only for the wedding photographer but for all of the service providers.

45. Limit filming time

You should hire a photographer and videographer for your wedding during the ceremony and for a certain number of hours during the reception.

46. Hire a local photographer and videographer

How to Save Money on the Wedding Photographer and Videographer
Find a local photographer and videographer (Image: Amber Garrett Photography)

Some photographers and videographers will charge a premium if they have to travel more than a specified distance to your event. In that way, it’s best to use local photographers and videographers for the wedding.

47. Read packages carefully

If you’re on a tight budget, don’t worry; many photographers and videographers will let you create a customized package by eliminating unnecessary services (such as more filming time or parent albums). They may be purchased and/or printed at a later time if needed.

How to Save Money on Wedding Music

48. Recruit Grad School Musicians

How to Save Money on Wedding Musics
Hire Grad School Musicians (Image: Bienen School of Music)

Hire talented music students in their last year of college to perform at your reception. They might be hired at a far more affordable price than professionals.

49. Hire for more than one service

It would be a good idea to hire a band or a DJ to perform at both the ceremony and the reception. For instance, if you plan on having a band at your reception, you may hire one or two of its members to perform during the ceremony.

How to Save Money on Wedding Transportation

To make sure you and your loved ones get where you need to be on your wedding day, it is recommended that you schedule transportation in advance, despite the fact that doing so will incur additional costs. To keep costs down, a professional transportation company may advise you on which cars would best suit your needs.

50. Choose a limo alternative

How to Save Money on the Wedding Transportation
How to Save Money on the Wedding Transportation (Image: Weddingbee)

For your special day, a six-person town vehicle is better than a stretched limo with all the bells and whistles. Most importantly, you arrive to and depart from the ceremony in one piece and on time, regardless of how much fun the journey could be with all the extra features.

51. Cut Transportation Costs

The cost of a wedding may easily exceed $4,000. Still, if the ceremony and reception can be held in the same place, or at least in close proximity to one another, you can save a lot of money on transportation for your guests and wedding party.

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In conclusion, planning a wedding on a budget requires creativity, flexibility, and careful consideration of your priorities. By following the tips we’ve shared in this article, you can save money without compromising on the things that matter most to you. Remember, your wedding day is about celebrating your love and commitment to each other, and that’s something that no amount of money can buy.

Do not forget to read more tips and tricks from Viva Wedding Photography for the best suggestions about “how to save money on a wedding“!

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