37 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

Because you deserve that champagne wedding on a beer budget.

An eclectic wedding couple cheers with beer at Reptacular Animals Ranch | How To Save Money on your Wedding

Reptacular Animals Ranch | Kaitie Brainerd Photography

1. Think "off season" for your wedding date.

Who says "Saturday in June" wedding couples have more fun? The wedding off-season typically runs November to March, so if you're on a budget you'll get the most bang for your buck by hosting your big day during this timeframe. Consider having your celebration in December and you may be surprised at how much your venue will shave off the regular rental fee. Just be sure to have a contingency plan in place for inclement weather!

2. Say "sayonara" to Saturday.

Since Saturday is the most popular day of the week for weddings, it's also the most expensive. How about a Sunday morning mimosa brunch wedding? If you can swing it, pick a different day of the week to save some serious cash. You should also inquire about any unbooked dates your desired wedding venue may be trying to fill.

3. Think "in season" for your flowers and food.

Two words will lower both your catering and floral expenses: seasonal and local. When you buy what's in season, you get food and flowers at the peak of their supply when the price is normally lower. Plus, when they're locally grown they don't need to be shipped halfway around the globe. So not only do you save money, but you also reduce your carbon footprint. Win-win.

4. Make your guest list the A-list.

It goes without saying that a shorter guest list is easier on both your budget and your sanity! Even if it's unrealistic to whittle your list down to 20, chopping it from 300 to 150 will still help take things from overwhelming to manageable. More often than not, an intimate affair really does requires less money and less work—and it comes with an invaluable bonus: more quality face time with that cozier group of guests you invited!

Newlyweds kiss at head of family-style wedding table | Budget-friendly wedding ideas

Christophe Genty Photography | Alexis Solano Events | Kari Young Floral Designs

5. Limit the plus-ones.

One way to manage your guest list is by extending a plus-one only to wedding guests that are married, engaged, in your wedding party, or in a serious long-term relationship. Beyond that, you don't need to offer a plus-one to every single guest! The only exception to this is a destination wedding: Err on the side of generosity here so your guests don't have to fly solo (literally!).

6. Pick a venue or setting that looks great au naturel.

A celebration on the beach or in a cool, industrial space requires very little décor—which means very little extra expense when it comes to selecting, purchasing, or DIY-ing your decorations. Natural beauty, for the win!

7. Have your entire wedding at one venue.

You won't have to worry about the logistics and extra expense of transporting everyone from the ceremony site to the reception.

8. Embrace "all inclusive".

Want to stretch your wedding budget to the max? Keep an eye out for the magic words "all inclusive". Venues with all-inclusive packages provide lots of amenities and services in addition to the event spaces, like on-site coordination, catering, alcohol, staff, rentals, cake, guest accommodations, and more. By bundling all of these services under one roof, these packages are a great value. Talk about a one-stop shop!

9. Find an out-of-the-box wedding venue.

Country clubs and fancy hotels are great, but they're not your only options! Consider a restaurant, museum, city park, library, or even a boat—there's a slew of modestly priced (and unique!) wedding venues out there to choose from. Scroll down this page to find affordable wedding venues near you.

Hipster couple get married at the Minneapolis Central Library | Money-saving tips for weddings

Minneapolis Central Library | Eileen K Photography

10. Hire a wedding planner/day-of coordinator.

You might be thinking of foregoing a coordinator in order to save some cash, but trust us…if you're looking to have your champagne-dreams-on-a-beer-budget wedding, then hiring a planner is your best bet. Time is money—and an experienced coordinator will handle all the little details so you don't have to stress. Plus, they can also pass along savings to you by hooking you up with their extensive vendor network.

11. Keep it tight.

Ditch the giant bridal party in favor of just a few siblings or BFFs. You'll spend less on bouquets and boutonnières, bridal party gifts, transportation, hair and makeup, etc.

12. Don't feel pressured to party.

If you're already on a tight budget with the wedding itself, don't feel obligated to throw additional events like an engagement or bachelorette party. We promise that an old-school slumber party with your bride tribe (along with some adult beverages) will be just as much fun as a big bash—and way less costly!

13. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

When it comes to budget-friendly weddings, remember that DIY doesn't mean you have to do it ALL yourself. Your friends and family can be your personal saviors! Enlist retired aunts for centerpiece prep, ask your talented cousin to do your makeup, and see if your BFF who loves to bake will whip up some wedding cookie favors. A "divide and conquer" approach will keep things affordable and take some of the DIY stress off your shoulders.

Cute bride with natural hair and floral crown | Budget-friendly tips for your wedding

Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens | Photography By Cameron | Peper Events | In Bloom

14. Streamline your stationery.

Use an all-in-one wedding invitation design like these from Minted and all you'll have to worry about is the postage for the RSVP postcard. Plus, they offer a free wedding website to match! For anything from the engagement party invites to the rehearsal dinner, we suggest going paperless. Digital invitations come in a wide array of stylish designs and are also eco-friendly.

15. Seek out sample sales.

Wedding dress sample sales can yield pretty amazing designer bargains. Sign up for email updates from your favorite local bridal salons so you'll be informed about their upcoming sale events. Some of our best tips: Arrive early (with an appointment, if required), wear your bridal undergarments, and know your size in advance. Just don't forget to factor in the cost of possible alterations or professional dry cleaning.

16. Rent and return.

Nowadays you don't even have to purchase a wedding gown. You can rent one! Rent the Runway is great way to get that designer-chic look at a deeply discounted price. Rent suits online with a reputable company like Generation Tux. You can also comb through consignment shops or even department stores to find a classy little white number at an affordable price.

17. Something borrowed.

Use this part of the old wedding adage to your advantage and borrow to your heart's content! This can alleviate the cost of purchasing new wedding accessories like earrings or a cute clutch, or even wedding décor items like signage and frames. Think of delightful details you loved from your friends' weddings—and see if they kept anything that you might be able to use.

18. Opt for more casual bites.

A buffet or family-style meal is typically easier on the wallet than a more formal, plated dinner. Everyone serves themselves and you forgo the cost of waited table service. You can also keep it casual by ordering from a local BBQ joint, your fave Mexican restaurant, or a fun food truck! And if you really need to save money, rely on your guests to contribute potluck-style.

Epic food truck wedding by Lauren Fair Photography | Cheap + casual wedding ideas

Lauren Fair Photography

19. Pass on passed apps.

Passed hors d'oeuvres can be pricey, so skip them entirely. Instead, place large crudité and charcuterie platters on a table for a self-serve appetizer station. Your guests will still be able to nibble during the cocktail hour, and you'll save a bundle on hors d'oeuvres + service staff fees.

20. Or at least scale back.

If you don't want to miss out on the fun of passed apps, stick to 2–3 of the most enticing options to keep your catering budget in check.

21. BYOB.

Instead of a pricey bar tab and bartenders, get a couple of kegs and some red Solo cups and call it a day. Or mix up some giant vats of sangria and let adult guests pour their own drinks at a self-serve beverage station. If your wedding is early in the day, we love the idea of a make-your-own mimosa or bloody mary bar with tons of delish accoutrements. Just confirm that your venue allows you to BYO alcohol—and keep in mind that you may need to obtain Liquor Liability Insurance if it's not offered through the venue or caterer.

22. Stick to beer and wine.

You don't need to host a fully-stocked, top-shelf open bar for your guests to have a good time! Hosted beer and wine is much more cost-effective. If you have your heart set on a signature cocktail, offer it up during the cocktail hour and then switch to beer and wine for the reception. It'll be way easier on your wallet. Another bonus of limiting the liquor? Your crazy friends won't get so hammered! #weclassy

Grooms drinking craft beer on wedding day | Tips to save money on wedding

Eder Photo | 32 North Brewing Co. | Amy June Weddings and Events

23. Start with the basics.

When hiring vendors start with the most basic packages. You can always upgrade and add on later, if your budget allows.

24. Ask about associates.

If the wedding photographer of your dreams is way outside your budget, ask if she or he has any associate photographers they'd recommend. Associates generally share a similar photography style—but at a more affordable rate.

25. Get the digital negatives.

Find a photographer that will give you full rights to your digital wedding photos. You'll be able to print them out at your discretion, and will save money by using less expensive printing options—or simply emailing the images to your loved ones!

26. Hire a DJ.

Choose a wedding DJ with a great, all-inclusive package that can cover you from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception. They'll typically be cheaper than live musicians, and may provide everything from MC and DJ services to simple lighting design and even photo booth setup.

27. Find blooms on a budget.

Think outside the "traditional wedding flowers" box. Large blooms like hydrangeas and sunflowers mean you only need a few stems for an impressive arrangement. Also, have you seen carnations or baby's breath as the main floral attraction? Huge, billowy arrangements of these pretty "filler" flowers look amazing—and won't cost a bundle. And who says you even need flowers? Try using lots of leaves and greenery for a money-saving look that's big on style.

28. Repurpose your flowers.

Let your florals do double-duty by using your ceremony arrangements at the reception. The flowery lushness that flanked your ceremony will look just gorgeous on the guest book table! The bridesmaids' bouquets can also be transformed by putting them in cute vases on the cake table, at the end of the buffet, or anywhere that needs an extra pop of color.

29. Go the non-floral route.

Instead of flowers, why not use big balloon arrangements? A chic balloon arch would look stunning as your wedding ceremony backdrop, and you can also tie large, single balloons to ceremony chairs for a whimsical effect. Plus, we love how sweet balloons look in wedding photos!

Bridal party holds giant balloons | Cheap wedding ideas

The Barn at Silver Oaks Estate | Pixel Perfect Weddings

30. Get the look you want for less.

Think of creative ways you can get the feel of an expensive décor element for less. For example, instead of bistro lights, a few strategically placed strands of clear Christmas lights can lend the same effect. As for that utterly gorgeous-but-pricey chandelier you wish you had, maybe hanging some inexpensive globe paper lanterns would work. Achieving the look you want while keeping your bottom line in check takes a bit of imagination, but you can do it!

31. Do yourself a {wedding} favor.

Forgo expensive favors and stick with something edible: perhaps a taste of the local bounty, like fresh fruit or small jars of homemade jam. Another option is to create your own spice mixture or give each guest a packet of flower or vegetable seeds. These types of favors are inexpensive to purchase and easy to put together. Need more inspo? See these 10 wedding favors under $1.

32. The icing on the cake: Buttercream saves $!

If your dream wedding wouldn't be complete without a traditional wedding cake, opt for buttercream over fondant. Although fondant is more "durable" in hot weather and can be formed into fancier finishes, buttercream icing is not only tastier—it's also cheaper! We recommend getting a small cutting cake for photos, but having inexpensive sheet cakes waiting in the kitchen to feed your guests.

33. Cut the cake cost.

You don't need to splurge on a four-tiered, fondant-covered cake (unless you want to!). Why not buy or make several dozen cupcakes and place them on pretty trays? Or get a bunch of pies from your local bakery and make a rustic dessert table. We're particularly sweet on this budget-friendly dessert trend: the donut wall!

Elizabeth Burgi Photography | Verandas Beach House

34. Do your research.

Besides the obvious costs, there are a lot of hidden ones that can inflate your bottom line. For example, in addition to buying the wedding cake, you're often also required to pay a cutting fee. And on top of the venue rental fee, there may be setup and breakdown charges. And, then there's a whole slew of vendors you'll be expected to tip. Educate yourselves about these "hidden" costs so you can factor them into your budget.

35. Reserve room blocks.

A room block is a reservation of at least 10 rooms at a hotel near your reception venue. On average, reserving a block of rooms can save you 15–40% off the normal guest room fees. Just be sure to check the hotel's "attrition" policy, as you don't want to get stuck paying for rooms that your guests didn't book. You also may want to ask about a "courtesy room block" which typically doesn't require a deposit or hold you responsible financially for unbooked rooms.

36. Use a travel agent.

If you're planning a destination wedding or honeymoon, use a travel agency that specializes in romantic getaways. LovinAway and similar agencies are paid a commission from the airlines and hotels you end up booking—meaning there's no additional expense for you to use them. Yes, you read that right!

37. Elope!

If you got through all of these tips and still don't think you can swing a traditional wedding, you might wanna elope! Whether you opt for an elopement package at a wedding venue or your neighborhood City Hall, eloping equals significant savings. BTW, many photographers have special (i.e. affordable!) elopement pricing, so this could be a great way to book your dream photog on a budget!

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