Most brides already have an idea of what they want their dream wedding to be like; that doesn’t mean the special day has to break the budget to be absolutely perfect. No matter where you plan to get married, what kind of dress you have your eye on, or how many people you plan to invite—there are some great deals to be had on everything from your wedding dress and food to entertainment and even the wedding venue.
Since every bride and wedding is truly unique, each of these wedding budget tips may not work for everyone’s special day. However, every engaged couple can certainly use some of these money-saving tips to help them stay within budget for their wedding. These are 25 of the best wedding planning tips to help you keep your wedding budget in check when you walk down the aisle and say I do!
25 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
Make a Guest List and Stick to It
Knowing the exact number of invited wedding guests is crucial for staying on budget throughout your wedding planning. Not only is this number a key factor in determining the ceremony and reception in all price negotiations, but it will also determine the ceremony and reception capacity, which is important for choosing a wedding venue as well as a menu.
Prioritize Your Spending
Determining what is important to you and your soon-to-be spouse. What is a must when it comes to wedding planning and spending. Make a list of “must haves” like the designer dress you’ve been dreaming of or your favorite local caterer who makes all the best dishes. Also make a list of things to “include if your budget allows.” This will give you a clear picture of how to best budget your money so everything that is important to you is included in your special day.
For the best prices and vendor offerings, do more than shop around for the best prices and services, negotiate once you have pricing. Brides and grooms need to be sure to include florists, photographers, wedding venue, and entertainment when getting quotes for wedding vendors.
Use Virtual Wedding Planning Services
Wedding websites like The Knot or Wedding Wire can serve as virtual wedding planners and will help you in a variety of different ways. From creating a free wedding website and helping you manage your guest list, to setting up your gift registry, and tons of other wedding-related ideas. These websites offer helpful tips, tools, and services for your wedding.
Plan for an Off-Season Wedding for Best Rates
The most popular times for weddings are in the spring and fall. Choosing an off-season date for your ceremony can save money and ease wedding venue and services booking issues.
DIY Design and Decor to Save
Look online and on TV to find do-it-yourself decor and design ideas for your wedding. These bridal television shows and wedding websites offer stylish and inexpensive design ideas for inspiration for making your own table decorations, centerpieces, guestbook, name cards, and more to help you stay on budget.
Re-purpose and Reuse
Save big when you reuse the items purchased or rented for your ceremony, including flowers, candles, lanterns, and signs. Enlist your bridesmaid or someone you can count on at the wedding to make sure these items get moved into and reused in your reception space after the ceremony for decorations, which will keep costs down while still making your reception look amazing.
Signature Bar Beverage for the Win
You can save on liquor costs by serving a custom or signature drink at the wedding reception instead of offering guests a full open bar. Not only will it add a special theme to your event, but buying the ingredients for your signature drink versus those needed for a variety of drinks can really save a lot of money in your wedding budget.
Book an All-Inclusive Venue
One of the best budget-friendly solutions for your wedding is to book a venue that can host your entire event. If you have your ceremony and reception in a wedding venue that owns the equipment, tables, and decor to meet your needs, you will save you a lot of extra money that would have been spent on rental fees for these items from multiple vendors. In addition, you save money on limo rides for yourselves as well as your bridesmaid and best man, since you will not need transportation from the ceremony to the reception!
Hire Up-and-Coming Talent
Be creative when it comes to entertainment options for your wedding. Contact local colleges and universities for string quartets or a violinist to perform at your ceremony. Also consider hiring a popular local band that you love, which may be much more affordable than an A-list band.
Choose a Day Besides Saturday
Just like choosing to have your wedding in the off season, choosing any other day besides Saturday typically offers a huge savings. Since most people want to get married on Saturday, you will most likely not only find a better price, but also better availability of dates to choose from for your special day.
Use In-Season Flowers
When choosing flowers for the bouquets or wedding venue decor, select those that are readily available during the season of your wedding. Choosing in-season budget-friendly blooms can definitely help keep your wedding budget under control, as flowers can be quite pricey—especially those that are not in season and might need to be special ordered.
Hire a DJ
Hiring a DJ instead of an expensive band can help save your wedding budget. DJs offer a great entertainment value and add tons of fun to the event. You can even create your own play list, which sometimes is not an option with a band that has a certain style of their own.
Close the Bar an Hour Early
Since drinks flow at your discretion, be sure to close the bar an hour before the wedding is over to help control beverage costs. This would be a great time to serve coffee and tea along with wedding cake or other desserts before sending folks on their way for the evening.
Shop Sample Gowns
If you are looking for an amazing wedding gown but don’t really have the budget for an expensive one, consider attending the sample sales at local bridal shops. You may just score a gently used designer wedding dress for half off simply by purchasing a sample gown from your favorite bridal boutique.
Borrow Wedding Day Items
A great way to stay help you stay on budget is to borrow some of your wedding day items from friends and family. Simple moves like borrowing vases for flower arrangements, decorations for the church, or props for wedding photos is such a great idea and can really add up when it comes to saving money on your wedding.
The modern wedding has the potential to go paperless – which can ironically save you tons of paper dollars! Design and create your wedding invitations online and even email them to guests for a huge savings. The same goes for your RSVP cards, which can be responded to online, as well as any inserts you may have included like venue info, accommodation directions, and more. Just imagine the printing and postage fees you will save!
Use a Nontraditional Venue
Choose a wedding venue that lacks the need for massive decorations and opt for a nontraditional venue instead. Consider beautiful outdoor locations, a place that is special to you and your soon-to-be spouse, a local park, the place you met, or even the site of your first kiss. Sometimes these places can make the most amazing venues and cost so much less than traditional ones.
Cut the Wedding Cake Cost
Choosing an extravagant over-the-top wedding cake will definitely blow the budget. While these cakes are absolutely magnificent, selecting a simpler design can be just as beautiful and save you hundreds of dollars. In addition, you may want to consider designing a smaller, less expensive but oh-so-beautiful cake for photos and cutting, then serving guests slices of sheet cake. This option saves money, looks amazing in photos, and the slices taste just as dreamy without the expensive decorations.
Recruit Talented Family and Friends to Help
Use your friends and family wisely when it comes to wedding planning and decor. People who love you are usually more than willing to help make your day special. Perhaps a talented artist friend or bridesmaid can create artwork or custom invitations for your special day, or your restaurant-owning cousin can help ease catering costs. Call in those favors and even accept them as a wedding gift to help stay within your wedding budget.
Serve Only Beer and Wine
Beer and wine are the best options if you want to treat your guests to alcohol but need to stick to your budget. Most guests won’t think this is an issue at all, and you can forego the expensive cost of spirits while still offering a good time for all.
Forego the Passed Apps
There is really no need to pass appetizers around the reception at all where people will eat them limitlessly simply because they are available. Instead, choose plated appetizers or a sit-down dinner to control the amount of the food costs.
Rent Wedding Attire and Decor Instead of Buying New
There is a ton of money to be saved by renting wedding essentials instead of buying them. Brides, men rent their tuxes a majority of the time, so take their lead and rent your wedding dress, too. In addition, consider renting ceremony and reception decorations from candelabras to table cloths to save big and stay within your pre-determined wedding budget.
Limit Your Photographer's Hours
Since most photographers charge by the hour, choose a photographer that is available for you to hire for fewer hours. You may be surprised just how much this will help your budget by reducing their time by just a couple of hours—and you won’t miss a thing!
If you are really looking to save big, consider eloping! Jetting off to a romantic location with just the two of you—or perhaps even a handful of friends and family can save you tons of money that you can use to start your life together, buy a home, or fund whatever joint venture the happy couple may have.
Make Wedding Planning and Event Planning a Career
Do you enjoy planning parties, weddings, or other events? Turn your passion for event planning and management into a career when you earn your bachelor's degree in sports, entertainment and event - management from JWU. For more information, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].