The wedding of your dreams doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, vendors and suppliers regularly offer discounts—and not just to professional wedding planners. After all, negotiation is the basis of a good marriage, so why not start practicing even before you say “I do”?
Just like a wedding dress, these 10 tips on how to save money on your wedding are not one size fits all, but you’re sure to discover at least one way to walk away under budget when you walk down the aisle.
1. Make a guest list—and stick to it.
Be prepared and know the number of guests you are inviting. This number is the key in all negotiations. It will determine the ceremony and reception capacity. Most caterers will negotiate half-price dinners for children and vendors (like the photographer).
2. Prioritize your spending.
Determining what is important to you versus “include if budget permits” is a must. This will help you determine how to budget your money. Is it food or photography? Décor or entertainment? You won’t be tempted to overspend on hors d'oeuvres if you know you’ll have to save for a designer gown.
3. Shop around—and don’t settle.
Begin by making a list of vendors by category of whom you may want to meet with: floral décor specialists, photographers, venues, entertainment, etc. Remember that professional event planners send proposals to multiple vendors for prices. Don’t be afraid to get two quotes from wedding businesses and negotiate what works for your budget.
4. “Employ” a virtual wedding planner.
Consult a wedding website like, The Knot or Wedding Wire. These websites will act as virtual wedding planners and will help you create a free wedding website, manage your guest list, set up your registry, and give you free ideas on just about anything wedding related. They also have reviews from couples on wedding services.
5. Book an “off” time.
Fall and spring weddings tend to have the highest rates. Set a date off-season or even midweek to save a few dollars.
6. DIY it.
Bridal TV shows and wedding publications are great places to identify do-it-yourself décor and design ideas. Two popular décor/design websites are Green Wedding Shoes and Style Me Pretty. These websites can provide DIY inspiration for making your own table décor, centerpieces, guestbook, name cards, and more.
7. Repurpose and reuse.
Make sure that the ceremony items that you purchased or rented such as flowers, candles, lanterns, and signs get moved into and reused in the reception space. The wedding party flowers can also be used as the centerpiece for their table.
8. Toast with a custom beverage.
You can save on liquor costs by serving a custom or signature drink instead of a full bar.
9. Book an all-included venue.
Stay in one place. Going with a ceremony and reception venue that owns the equipment, tables, and décor to meet your needs will save you a lot of rental fees.
10. Hire “budding” talent.
Don’t be afraid to contact local colleges/universities to ask for string quartets or a violinist. They are much more affordable than an A-list band.
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