Weddings are supposed to be the happiest day of your life, but they can also be one of the most expensive. The average cost of a wedding in the US is $33,900, according to a recent survey. That’s a lot of money to spend on one day, especially if you have other financial goals and priorities. But don’t worry, you don’t have to break the bank to have a beautiful and meaningful wedding. In this article, Viva Wedding Photography will show you how to save money on a wedding with some practical and creative tips.
Easy Ways to Plan a Wedding on a Budget
1. Hire a wedding planner or a day-of coordinator
You may be considering not hiring a coordinator to save money, but believe us… hiring a planner is the top-notch option if you want to have a wedding on a budget. Time is money, and hiring an experienced coordinator will allow you to delegate all the minor details, relieving you of unnecessary stress. Additionally, they can leverage their extensive network and expertise in the wedding industry to secure the most advantageous deals and savings for you.
2. Limit the guest list
The number of guests at a given location might affect how to save on wedding costs; 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. In that way, Moody estimates you may save $1,000 by inviting ten fewer wedding guests to your small wedding party.
Therefore, although narrowing your list to just 20 may seem unrealistic, reducing it from 300 to 150 can still make a significant difference in transforming the overwhelming task into a more manageable one. In many cases, hosting a small and intimate gathering requires less money and effort. Additionally, it offers the valuable advantage of allowing you to spend more quality time with the close group of guests you have invited.
3. Seek an off-peak wedding season
Who says throwing weddings in June has more fun? The wedding off-season normally falls from November to March. If you’re on a budget, hosting your big day during this timeframe will give you the most value for your money. Consider holding your event in December, and you may be amazed at how much your venue will reduce the standard rental charge. Just make sure you have a backup plan in case of bad weather!
>>> Recommend reading: How Much Is The Accurate Average Price Of A Wedding In 2023?
4. Say “no” to Saturdays
Saturday is widely regarded as the most popular day of the week for weddings, which consequently makes it the most expensive. So, one of the best ways to save on a wedding is choosing a non-weekend day. Additionally, it would be beneficial to inquire about any available dates that your desired wedding venue may have yet to be booked.
5. Compare prices and wedding services
After deciding the services you need, asking around for rates and getting approximate estimates is the best next step in planning a wedding on a budget. Seek advice from a wedding planner or talk to friends and family who have just married. Get offers from some service providers. Then, choose the ones that provide the best bang for your buck.
While comparing prices, be sure you know exactly what each offer covers. While some wedding venues provide tables, chairs, linens, and sometimes even sound systems at no extra expense, others may not provide these necessities without an additional fee or require that you rent them.
6. Negotiate if necessary
Negotiating slowly and politely, if necessary, is one of the best ways to save on a wedding. It is advised against bargaining with a professional who has already set their service fee. New suppliers sometimes have more reasonable rates than experienced companies.
We suggest talking with a wedding planner, who will better understand what is practical and where you may save costs. It’s better to look 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.
7. 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).
8. Skip hair & makeup artists
Instead of paying for expensive beauty salons, 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.) Or, with plenty of DIY tutorials available online, you can do it all on your own.
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.
9. Consolidate all in a single location
Don’t succumb to pressure from other people or the expectations of family, friends, social media, or budget estimates. By throwing it all in one place, you won’t need to worry about the logistics and additional expenses of transporting everyone from the ceremony site to the reception.
10. Choose a non-traditional venue
Country clubs and fancy hotels are certainly fantastic, but they are not the sole options available to you! A restaurant, a brewery, or a vacation house, all of these places are potential locations for a wedding on a budget. Choosing a venue that is not typically associated with weddings can help you save money while also adding a distinctive touch to your special day.
Ensure that the venue can accommodate the expected number of guests, and remember to consider the rental fees for additional necessities like tents, lighting, or portable restrooms if required.
11. Look into suburban venues
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.
12. Think twice before choosing a backyard wedding
While it may seem like hosting a backyard wedding is a cheap wedding idea due to the absence of rental fees, it is often more expensive than booking a traditional wedding venue. You will need to bring various items such as tents, generators, portable toilets, and even a portable food prep station. Keep in mind that the cost of all these items can accumulate rapidly. To ensure the best experience, it is recommended to reserve an all-inclusive venue that provides a wide range of services on-site.
13. Set up a lounge for less
How to save on weddings with the lounge? 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
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 for the suburbs
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
If you want to have small kids at your nuptials, you might wonder how to save money on your wedding with their attendance. Based on our experience, you should enquire with the caterer about the possibility of receiving a meal discount for the children in attendance. Caterers often reduce costs 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 of “how to save money on a wedding” 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
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.
A buffet or family-style meal is generally more affordable compared to a formal, plated dinner. Everyone serves themselves, which eliminates the need for costly table service. You can also maintain a casual atmosphere by ordering from a nearby BBQ joint or a lively food truck! To further cut costs, have guests bring a dish to share as part of a potluck.
20. Have a simple menu
While fancy preparations and premium ingredients/meat cuts like lobster and filet mignon are delectable, they can also come with a hefty price tag. So, regarding “How to save money on weddings?”, it is advisable to prioritize simplicity and emphasize the use of seasonal ingredients. Your caterer can provide valuable guidance to ensure that your choices align with this approach, ultimately helping you maintain affordability.
How to Save Money on Wedding Flowers and Decor?
21. Take advantage of a naturally beautiful venue
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
Create centerpieces with fresh fruit for an organic take on natural floral arrangements. One suggestion on “how to save on weddings” 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
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
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
A gigantic flower, like a hydrangea, will seem fuller and cover more area with the same number of stems. And rather than purchasing fresh flowers for the reception, you may reuse the ones from the ceremony.
27. Consider decorations without flowers
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 mindfully
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, you might want to use inexpensive linens for the guest tables and save the fancy ones for the cake and escort card table. Or, you can upgrade the napkins and forgo the costly tablecloths.
29. DIY wedding decor
You’ve certainly heard this from well-intentioned family members and friends: “DIYing saves you money!”, especially when you’re about throwing a wedding on a budget. 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.
Therefore, 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.
>>> Recommend reading: Stunning Wedding Flowers on a Budget: Tips and Ideas In 2023
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.
30. 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.
31. Keep the decor simple
The fancier your cake decorations, the higher the price tag will be. So, when selecting add-ons, opt for simple and minimal details that won’t significantly increase the price. Instead of lavish decorations with sugar flowers, gold leaf, or hand-painted details, ask the baker to adorn just the outer edges of the layers.
32. 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.
33. Get a naked cake
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?
34. Select E-vites
The fancy printing wedding planning processes like letterpress, engraving, or foil stamping may add visual appeal but come at a high cost. If you’re on a tight budget, digital invitation is the way to go on how to save money on your wedding.
35. Avoid oversized invitations
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.
36. 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.
37. Direct your guests to the 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.
38. 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.
39. Grab a few pens
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.
40. Start shopping as soon as possible
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.
41. Keep an eye out for trunk shows and sample sales
One way to save on a wedding when shopping is to do some research beforehand. 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.
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.
42. Choose a minimalist wedding gown
The more beading, embroidery, or other details a gown has, the more expensive it is likely to be. Hence, opt for a minimalist style to save money, and if you feel like it lacks a certain flair, enhance it with accessories such as a sash, headpiece, brooch, or jewelry.
43. Rent attire for pre-wedding events
New clothes for all the wedding-related festivities might be expensive and unnecessary. You may consider renting them for your events, such as your bridal party, engagement party, or rehearsal dinner.
44. Rent formalwear from the same store
Another way of planning a wedding on a budget is to encourage all the groomsmen to rent their suits or tuxedos from the same place. This often results in the groom’s tuxedo being provided free of charge.
How to Save Money on Wedding Photography and Videography?
45. Book associates
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.
46. Set a limit time for filming
There is another cheap wedding idea when looking for someone to record your big day. You should hire a photographer and videographer for your wedding, but only for the ceremony and a predetermined period of time at the reception.
47. Get the services of a local photographer and videographer
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.
48. Choose 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?
49. Recruit grad school musicians
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.
50. Hire a small band
The smaller the band, the fewer people and the amount of equipment you will need to pay for. While it may not always be feasible, reducing the number of instruments and vocalists in your band from 12 to eight or even six can be a simple method to cut costs on live music.
51. Hire for more than one service
It would be a good idea to “how to save money planning a wedding” 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. Here’s how to keep costs down on transportation.
52. Choose a limo alternative
Consider choosing a six-person town car instead of renting an extravagant stretch limousine for your special day. While the bells and whistles can certainly add excitement, your primary focus should be on safely and punctually reaching your ceremony.
53. 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.
>>> Read more:
- The Ultimate Last-minute Wedding Checklist For Perfect Planning
- Explore The Answer To Who Traditionally Pays For The Wedding
- Who Pays For The Honeymoon? A Guide To Navigate The Expenses
As you can see, there are many ways to stay within your budget and still have a dreamy and unforgettable day. You just need to be creative, flexible, and smart about your choices. By following the tips on how to save money on a wedding in this article from Viva Wedding Photography, you can save thousands of dollars without compromising on quality or style. A wedding is not a competition or a show, but a celebration of your commitment and happiness. So, just focus on what matters most to you and your partner. After all, it’s your day, and you deserve to enjoy it to the fullest!