The Ultimate List Of 57 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

The Ultimate Guide Of 57 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding, tips to save money on your wedding food and flowers, budget friendly wedding ideas, frugal living when getting married, how to plan a wedding without going into debt or unexpected expenses, list of wedding expensive and ways to do them cheap, #weddingbudget #weddingdecor #weddingdress #savemoneywedding, #weddingtips #weddingadvice

This time of year always has me thinking about getting engaged and wedding season! Maybe it’s because I got engaged in September and married this very week in October 2016… but I find that Fall weddings and Winter engagements are certainly a trend for many. Since it’s been three years since my own wedding, I wanted to share my ultimate list of 57 ways to save money on your wedding! The time lapse from my own wedding to now has definitely brought up some feelings around questionable investments we made and what saving hacks still bring me joy! 

Before we jump into my ultimate list for saving money on your wedding, I’d highly recommend two things:

1. Sit down with your partner and create a priority list to guide your budget

I’ll share more on this throughout and at the end of the post, but I find it’s essential to know what your “must-haves” and “don’t cares” are before you start even browsing Pinterest. Wedding fever is real and it’s a lot easier to get swept up into all the things once planning is in full swing. Forty dollars here, a hundred there, all add up VERY quickly to thousands. 

My friends at Lexington Law Firm, who sponsored this post, put together this great list of questions to ask before marriage to get the conversation started!

2. Get both you and your significant other’s financial house in order before you start planning

Weddings aren’t just a big day, it’s a marriage of two lives, and that includes two financial histories. Before you say “I do,” talk with your partner about finances. Make sure you know each other’s debts, spending styles, and so on. A wedding day is no reason to go into debt. In fact, if one of you has debts or a bad credit score, now is the time to put a plan in place to fix those things together. Read about debt repayment strategies here.

If you or your partner are struggling with your credit score, it can make it harder if you apply for joint loans in marriage (like if you choose to buy a house). Consider reaching out to Lexington Law Firm, a trusted leader in credit repair. As a law firm, they have lawyers who drive their credit repair process and even intervene with client cases when the need arises. They do this by helping to identify and address unfair, inaccurate or unsubstantiated negative items on the consumer’s credit report. Often, these negative items are a result of identity theft, divorce, medical debt, student debt or military leave. If this sounds like you or your partner, click here to receive your free credit repair consultation today! 

The Ultimate Guide Of 57 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

How To Save Money On Your Wedding Venue

Choose on off-peak time

Depending on where you choose to get married, this may vary a little. So get a lay of the land and choose their off-peak season. You can save as much as 15% doing this!

Say no to Saturday

Saturday is, understably, the most sought after day of the week for weddings. With that, it comes with a premium price tag as well. If you can, say no to Saturday to save money. If you do need to do Saturday (we did because of a destination wedding), consider a brunch!

Have your reception at a restaurant

Our original plan was actually to have our ceremony on a lawn at a resort, then a brunch reception at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the ocean on the property. The restaurant only opened for dinner, so it was an empty space with a very low fee and we were saving on chairs, linens and the like. 

The restaurant also had a big open space near the bar for dancing so we could maintain the traditional feel of a wedding reception with a DJ.

… but like I said, it ended up being renovated a couple months before our actual wedding, so our venue was amazing and gave us a gorgeous oceanfront wedding on Saturday night for the same price. So choosing a venue you love and trust is KEY! Read more tips about choosing a wedding venue here.

Choose a destination wedding if you live somewhere pricey

My husband’s family and friends are all in NY – a very expensive place to get married. We live in South Florida, a surprisingly expensive place to get married thanks to all the New Yorkers and tourists who love spending time here.

Ultimately we decided to go to northern Florida since 80% of our guests were traveling to where we live anyway, the scenery was more our style, and with it being a lesser known destination it was overall cheaper.

Understand all the venue costs & requirements

A lot of wedding venues have rules. Everything from a list of approved vendors to hourly overages. Make sure you get clear on every single in-house fee and the out of house requirements.

For instance, are they going to charge an extra fee if you use a vendor not approved on their list? What about the vendors on their list? Do you even like them? Are they pricier than the average in the area? I had friends who chose venues without researching the approved vendor list in advance and ended up with vendors they didn’t like that cost an average of 20% more than the ones they would’ve used.

Consider cost of transportation

If you plan to have your guests in one place, ceremony in another, and reception in yet another, you are likely going to have to provide some form of transportation to at least a portion (if not all) the guests. This can get pricey so please think it through!

Go All-Inclusive

With a two year engagement, we looked at every type of venue imaginable. Ultimately we went with a resort who offered weddings that were basically All-Inclusive. Meaning when we signed on with them, they provided our wedding coordinator and on-site day of staff. Catering and a good chunk of decor was provided and they worked with an amazing (and affordable) florist. We could choose outside vendors for photography, entertainment, and even if we wanted an additional wedding planner (literally no need). 

This also allowed us to have the guests stay in the same place as our ceremony and reception, meaning no travel costs. They also provided a shuttle for our guests to go downtown the night before the wedding. All those little things can add up and take away from the guest experience. We were more than happy to hand over the reins to a seasoned team. 

[RELATED] 3 Reasons to Have a Long Engagement

Get married at the courthouse

Nothing saves money like a good old courthouse wedding! You can make it friends and family only, then host a reception later if you’d like. This will save on the cost of your ceremony and a cocktail hour. 

Opt for a venue with built in decor

When you get married in a beautiful location, you don’t have to do as much heavy lifting to bring your vision to life. We looked at some beautiful sites in the woods that just needed chairs and an alter brought in. Nature’s beauty were all the decorations needed. 

[RELATED] 7 Things No One Tells You About Choosing a Wedding Venue

How To Save Money On Paper Goods For Your Wedding (invites, menus, etc.)

DIY Your Own

Obviously you’ll need to have a little design skill here, but it can be a huge cost saver! I purchased a font from CreativeMarket.com and then just designed our wedding invites, menus, and welcome cards on my own. 

Print Your Own

Whether you’re DIYing your paper goods or simply purchasing a design, you can save a lot of money by printing your own. I found a great site, CatPrint, who constantly runs sales and prints high quality goods. In fact, I messed up my order and they were right on top of helping me fix things. So learn from that lesson too: check the proofs carefully!! 

Explore seating chart alternatives

Consider just having a large poster seating chart or a giant chalkboard design. If you really want to have individual seating cards, consider getting just small cards that don’t fold from a dollar store and hand writing them.

Another option, which I did, was I used leftover paper from our menus to printing them and just cut the sheets! Our florist was happy to provide the moss for free to fill in the background and our venue gave us the frame.

[RELATE] The Confused Millennial’s Guide to Wedding Details

Go Paperless

We live in a digital age and there is nothing wrong with going paperless! There are so many steps along the way you can choose to go paperless. For instance, you can send an evite for your wedding; but if that’s not your thing, you can just opt for digital RSVPs. 

We set up a wedding website that had all the information for guests. From hotels, to transportation, to our favorites places to eat and things to do. Guests could RSVP on the website.

Consider skipping paper menus or a program too and just having a big poster as guests walk in with the menu options. 

Grab a pen & some friends

Stationers can get pricery! Grab a pen and some friends and make it a night of addressing and stuffing invites! Time saving tip: consider addressing some of the envelopes for thank you’s then too, just hold off on stamping those until later!

 

How To Save Money On Your Wedding Dress

REAL TALK: I ended up with 7 wedding dresses for under $1,500!! I legit, meant to write this as it’s own post after our wedding, but the wedding burn out was so real! So here are the tips for saving money on your wedding dress:

Get clear on what you want

Like I said, I ended up with SEVEN wedding dresses for the price of what most people spend on one. Part of it was that I really kept changing my mind on what it was I wanted. We had a two year engagement and three wedding venue changes (planned on eloping, then planned a brunch wedding, then the complimentary switch to a Saturday night which was great, but needed a new dress). 

So my tip: as long as you aren’t shopping at a traditional bridal gown shop, wait it out for as long as possible to make your 100% decision and leave tags on until you fully decide if you’re getting more “non-traditional” wedding dresses like I did. Traditional bridal shops are the opposite rule of thumb, where the earlier you buy the cheaper is typically is.

Consider a non-traditional “wedding dress”

How I ended up with seven dresses was that I originally thought we were eloping, and then decide on a brunch wedding. Which meant that I originally opted for some really cute white maxi dresses that were not wedding gowns. Think gauze, hand detailing, and ethereal. 

Start at a department store

Once I realized we were having a Saturday night wedding, I decided my non-traditional gowns may be just a little too casual. I had been scouring Pinterest while planning my wedding and fallen in love with a particular designer. I found a local department store that carried her gowns and went to try some on to get an idea of sizing and how her stuff fit my body.

Buy used

Once I knew how her stuff fit my body, and my size in wedding gowns, I hit up all the websites that sell used wedding gowns and ended up buying my dress twice worn before off ebay. It was literally so perfect and I got it for like 75% off. 

Another great reason to buy used: sometimes the gowns you may fall in love with on Pinterest are from past seasons and the designers no longer offer the style or cut, but you can find brides who are selling theirs. 

rachel ritlop eric dresdale wedding

Skip the white

Another one of my wedding dresses was actually a pale blush dress. I saw Jojo from The Bachelorette wear it as her final rose dress and fell in love! I then found it online for 70% off. Sometimes, I actually wish I had worn it as my dress… or at least brought it with me to change into at some point. Oh well, it still fits and I’ll wear it someday!! 

Check out a sample sale

Sample sales are great since they have a ton of discounted options and usually have vendor tables set up. It can sometimes be like a wedding expo in addition to the sample sale.

Personally, I didn’t love the sample sales we went too. I found that my size had pretty limited options and many of the gowns just weren’t my style. I would say to skip this if you have a very specific dress style that’s a little less classic in mind. The entire atmosphere felt very overwhelming and shopping online was just easier. Granted, if it’s a sample sale at an expo, it can be a great way to try on a variety of designers and cuts to get a better idea of what will fit your body if you do choose to shop online.

Borrow

You may be surprised by how many of your friends will offer up their wedding dress when you get engaged! At least I was! If they aren’t offering, just ask. A lot of women I know just assumed I wouldn’t be interested in a used gown initially until I said I was looking at used gowns and then they would offer me theirs. 

Follow on social

A lot of bridal shops or designers on social will share discounts for their inventory. 

How To Save Money On Wedding Jewels & Accessories

Consider your lifestyle when it comes to wedding bands

If you’re an active couple, perhaps skip traditional diamonds and gold and opt for more durable materials like silicone or tungsten. In fact, the ring my husband wears every day is a $40 cobalt one I got off Amazon. I know my husband, he loses EVERYTHING. In fact, on the flight home from our wedding he lost his wedding band (he ended up finding it). I’d much rather just keep replacing a cheap one (thankfully we haven’t needed to), then an expensive one. Just go into a store and get sized, try on a few styles, and mark the widths of the ones you like down. Then shop for cheaper alternative online.

Skip name brand jewelers and go custom on your wedding bands

I know, custom wedding bands?! That probably sounds like it’ll break the bank. But hear me out: we searched high and low for my dream wedding band. I went all over New York City into every jeweler from high end to department stores to just high end boutique jewelers and tried on at least 20 wedding bands. I finally found a band I loved… with a $5,500 price tag… EEK!

A friend of ours suggested we talk to his family jewelry, we went over to their daughter’s house that night, she looked at my hand, knew my exact size, I showed her the picture, and she was able to recreate it for less than 3 times the cost! It’s just as beautiful and high quality and I couldn’t be happier. We saved so much below our budgeted amount that I ended up getting TWO wedding bands! 

Borrow your wedding day jewelry

Ask friends and family if you can borrow wedding day jewelry. Also, depending on where you got your engagement ring, they may lend you day of wedding jewelry too! 

Opt for shoes & jewels you can reuse

Your wedding gown will likely cover your shoes, so my suggestion is to skip the super expensive and uncomfortable wedding shoes and opt for something you can reuse. We got married on a grassy clearing overlooking the beach, so I just wore sandals that I still have three years later. 

The same with my necklace, it was one I already had. No need to go out and get over the top stuff you’ll only wear for a day.

How To Save Money On Wedding Decor & Flowers

Check your local craft stores

Local craft stores typically have a wedding section and do sales on a monthly rotation. If you find stuff you love, just google the store name and sales to learn the most effective way to shop there for the biggest discounts.

Make your own

Listen, I’m not a fan of DIYing to the point of driving yourself crazy, but I do think it’s great if you can choose 2-3 projects you’ll DIY to save on your wedding. Whether that’s invitations, menus, an item on the tablescapes, etc. Inspiration is everywhere and if you feel stuck on how to recreate something there’s probably a tutorial online somewhere!

Borrow

If you have friends who were recently married, they may still have some of the tchotchkes to make you day extra special. Especially if you’re looking for cake topper or back of the chair signage, vases for a table, lanterns for the aisle, and so on.

Ask for seasonal flowers

If you found a bouquet you’ve fallen in love with online, but find out it’ll cost a pretty penny to replicate, ask your florist to swap out the blooms for similar looks or colors that are in season.

Go BIG!

Opting for a few large stems can create a big impact, without the large bottom line of a bouquet filled with pricey blooms. If you want to fill in your big blooms even more…

Go Green!

Fill in flower arrangements with loads of greenery. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures which make them the perfect filler. The foliage can also make your flowers really pop.

Choose an excellent florist

A florist can really make or break your budget. Ours noticed I kept pinning the same bouquet over and over. She found a way to recreate it with a mix of high end and really budget friendly blooms. She also offered up excess inventory to help us fill in spaces on our table runner and in other areas. Get recommendations or read reviews, find out how they handle mishaps and the unexpected, it’s those moments that can make your wedding day all the better.

Go thrifting

If you’re looking to make a statement on your tablescape, unique glassware can take your table from blah to wow! Go thrifting to find some vintage and colorful glasses, giving each seat a unique touch. If you feel overwhelmed by this concept, a good rule of thumb is to go monochromatic. So choose just one or two colors that you stick to when purchasing. This way your table won’t look like a hodgepodge of randomness.

Opt for single buds

We kept our tablescapes really simple with just a few budget-friendly buds in a jar. Keeping things low on the table meant people could actually talk to one another. You can pick up jars at the dollar store too to keep this even more cost effective.

rachel ritlop eric dresdale the confused millennial sarah seven

Reuse

Chances are, your wedding ceremony and reception won’t be in the exact same open space. During the cocktail hour, have your wedding team move and reuse the ceremony flowers to the reception area. What started off as an aisle liner or your bouquet can now become a centerpiece! 

How To Save Money On Catering Your Wedding 

Consider brunch

Not only is brunch food delicious, but brunch wedding prices are delightful! We saved over 50% on the venue and catering by opting for a brunch wedding.

Price out dining style options

A sit down dinner will typically run you the most. Consider looking at family style or even buffet options instead.

Ask about kids

Sometimes kids eat free, sometimes they are half price. Either way, get some clarity on this before agreeing. It’s small things like this that break your wedding budget fast!

Opt for a comfort menu

At the end of the day, I think we all want great food at our wedding. Sometimes the safest best is just going with simple comfort foods. Great news, they are also usually cost effective too! Think a loaded potato bar, mac and cheese station, or even a taco food truck! 

BYOB

Every venue will have different rules on this, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if you can bring your own booze. Some will allow only beer and wine, but will charge you a cork fee. Do the math and don’t just assume bringing your own will save you.

Simplify the bar menu

Skip having a ton of signature cocktails or top shelf liquor (or even liquor at all!). Keeping the bar menu simple, will keep your budget simple too.

How To Save Money On Your Wedding Cake

Opt for something else

It’s your wedding so follow your own rules! Skip the cake and opt for cookies or something more your taste. I mean, donut bars are all the rage right now.

Choose a store-bought cake

Ask for a simple white buttercream cake. From there you can dress it up with your own greenery or cake topper. If the store will only do white buttercream sheet cakes, get a few and just cut and stack them to your desired look. You can purchase cake pillars at a craft store to prevent it from sagging. 

Consider fewer tiers

Fewer tiers obviously means cheaper cake. If you have your heart set on a specific height, see if your baker will make a tier using a facade of cardboard or the like.

Skip the fondant and go naked

Naked cakes are all the rage and you can dress them up with some florals. Skipping on the heavy buttercream and fondant layering can save you a few bucks per person which is especially helpful if you have a 100 person wedding.

How To Save Money On Your Wedding Vendors, Guests, and all the rest of the hidden costs 

Skip a registry and opt for a honeymoon fund

As my friends at Lexington Law point out in 15 Smart Ways To Save On Your Wedding (go read it! They have a bunch of good points I didn’t mention!!), the honeymoon can sometimes be the priciest piece of the puzzle!

More and more couples are opting for a honeymoon fund in lieu of traditional gifts. For a lot of older guests, the idea of giving cash like this can feel a little uncomfortable, so I’d suggest setting up a few experiences on your wedding website they can contribute to or purchase for you. For example, “dinner at X restaurant,” “sunset horseback riding on the beach.” A lot of the older adults in my life have this qualm about simply giving cash or a general gift, and want to give money towards the “fun” instead of just the unknown.

Elope!

Obviously eloping is going to be a top way to save. No guest list, no decor, no reception, all that money for you to live your best life! 

Keep things small

If you do choose to have a wedding, the smaller the guest list, the more money in your bank account. Our wedding was under 50 people and we truly felt like we could spend time with everyone and enjoy ourselves.

Have some rules on plus-ones

As we get older, plus ones can be trickier to navigate but it’s important to have some rules around them… after all it can cost you like $70 per person! Consider only allowing plus ones if they are married or have been together for a significant period of time.

Ask a friend or family member to officiate

An officiant can be one of those unexpected costs they sets you back a few hundred dollars. Consider asking a friend or family member to officiate. If they aren’t legally recognized to officiate a wedding, it’s pretty affordable to get them approved online.

Have a shot list for your photographer or videographer

You photographer and videographer really don’t need to stay until the very end. Consider a shot list for what you care about and come up with a timeline of events based off of that and try to get them out as early as possible.

For instance, we faked some of our getting ready photos/video footage and went back and just recreated those moments when they got there. We had them a little before the ceremony for first look and family photos, through the ceremony, during cocktail hour we set aside just a portion of it for photos of just us on the beach, we danced for a little before opening up the reception food and did speeches at the same time as dining. Which meant that they only stayed for an hour and a half of the reception. We cut the cake quietly really early for the photo op right after speeches and then they left. We went back to our evening, dancing, and opened up the desert bar/cake later on. 

DIY a photo booth

Let your photographer go home early and have your friends capture the rest of the night with a DIY photobooth area. Simply set up a table with some props, cameras (disposable or polaroid), and a sign with your wedding hashtag for those taking photos on their phone and ask your guests to capture the night for you! 

If you want an IG worthy backdrop, get a huge piece of butcher paper and then choose if you want to have any additional decor touches. For instance, you can grab so faux flowers and string to create a back drop of hanging flowers or the like. Just search Pinterest for inspo! 

Consider a DJ

A good band can be expensive and a bad band can break your wedding. Instead, get a DJ. Not a wedding DJ, but a DJ. Often times they are more affordable and will do the ceremony and reception – that’s a two-for-one savings! Plus, they don’t do that cheesy hype-man shtick.

We asked our wedding venue for their DJ recommendations and I was very clear on what I wanted. They ended up giving us the DJ they use for all their corporate events and it worked out perfectly who was more cost effective and our style.

Shop the big sales

SO many of my friends had their bridesmaids pick their dresses during Black Friday and similar holiday sales from big name retailers. This becomes especially easy the longer engagement you have.

Take advantage of a credit card with great rewards points

Since you’re already spending the money on your wedding, you may as well get some rewards back! Look for a credit card that offers cash back and 0% APR for a year. Just make sure your credit score is in good standing and that you’ll actually get accepted when you apply for a credit card.

As a good rule of thumb, only charge what you can pay off quickly. You don’t want to have to pay any interest fees ever when using a credit card. If you’ve struggled with credit in the past and are unsure if you can even get approved for a rewards card, make sure to read the fine print before applying, as a hard inquiry will drive your score down.

If you or your partner’s credit isn’t in good standing, reach out to the professionals at Lexington Law Firm for your free credit repair consultation today. They specialize in helping their clients with unfair, inaccurate, or unsubstantiated negative items on their report. Before getting married, it’s especially important that both you and your partner are in good financial standing as you take on one another’s financial history. Often times, negative items are a result of divorce, medical or student debt, identity theft, or military leave. If this sounds like you, click here to receive your free credit repair consultation today! 

Have a priority list and stick to it

Like I said at the very start of this, a priority list is key. When you start shopping it can be easy to get swept up in the process. Before you set foot in a venue or start pinning your dream wedding, sit down with your spouse and talk about a budget, what your priorities are, and what you’d like to remember from this special time.

If you feel unsure on how to start that conversation, click here to read about How To Talk About Finances With Your Significant Other.

Our priorities for our wedding

For my husband and I, we ultimately decided to have a small wedding instead of elope because I missed so many milestones in my life (prom, walking the stage for graduation, etc.). I didn’t want this to be one more thing I missed. With that said, we didn’t want to go into debt.

We wanted our friends to remember great food and a fun weekend. For us, we wanted to remember staying true to us as a couple (so our style not dictated by family), and an awesome honeymoon. 


Catch up on the Savings Series here:

How To Reach Any Savings Goal

How To Save Money For Your First Home Purchase

41 Brilliant [+ Easy] Ways To Save Money On Travel

37 Ways To Save Money When You Have A Baby

How To Stop Overspending Money: 17 Tips To Stop Once & For All

How To Save Money This Halloween: 27 Tricks That’ll Feel Like A Treat

The Ultimate List Of 57 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

How To Save Money On Groceries Every Month On A Tight Budget

31 Ways To Save Money On All Things Thanksgiving

 


List Of 57 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

  1. Choose on off-peak time

  2. Say no to Saturday

  3. Have your reception at a restaurant

  4. Choose a destination wedding if you live somewhere pricey

  5. Understand all of your costs & requirements

  6. Consider cost of transportation

  7. Go All-Inclusive

  8. Get married at the courthouse

  9. Opt for a venue with built in decor

  10. DIY Your Own

  11. Print Your Own

  12. Go Paperless

  13. Grab a pen & some friends

  14. Explore seating chart alternatives

  15. Get clear on what you want

  16. Consider a non-traditional “wedding dress”

  17. Skip the white

  18. Start at a department store

  19. Buy used

  20. Check out a sample sale

  21. Borrow

  22. Follow on social

  23. Consider your lifestyle when it comes to wedding bands

  24. Skip name brand jewelers and go custom on your wedding bands

  25. Borrow your wedding day jewelry

  26. Opt for shoes & jewels you can reuse

  27. Check your local craft stores

  28. Make your own

  29. Borrow

  30. Ask for seasonal flowers

  31. Go BIG!

  32. Go Green!

  33. Choose an excellent florist

  34. Opt for single buds

  35. Reuse

  36. Go thrifting

  37. Consider brunch

  38. Price out dining style options

  39. Opt for a comfort menu

  40. BYOB

  41. Simplify the bar menu

  42. Ask about kids

  43. Opt for something else

  44. Choose a store-bought cake

  45. Consider fewer tiers

  46. Skip the fondant and go naked

  47. Skip a registry and opt for a honeymoon fund

  48. Elope!

  49. Keep things small

  50. Have some rules on plus-ones

  51. Ask a friend or family member to officiate

  52. Have a shot list for your photographer or videographer

  53. DIY a photo booth

  54. Consider a DJ

  55. Shop the big sales

  56. Take advantage of a credit card with great rewards points

  57. Have a priority list and stick to it

Photography by Brooke Images & Kir2Ben

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