Your wedding is one of the biggest days of your life, but that doesn't mean every aspect of it needs to have the biggest price tag. Knowing how to save money on a wedding is all about using a few well-placed hacks that will keep your event super special and meaningful but keep costs down at the same time. From the invitations to the after parties, there are so many ways to save.
Keep Your Guest List Intimate
One of the best ways to save money on your wedding is to keep the guest list small. This doesn't have to be a painful thing at all. In fact, it can actually make your event feel more intimate and meaningful. We promise; in ten years, you won't care whether you invited your co-workers or your mom's friends to the wedding.
Want a super easy way to painlessly trim your guest list? Skip giving guests a plus one. If they ask why, just explain that you want the celebration to be intimate.
Hold Your Wedding in the Fall or Winter
Anyone who has had a bunch of friends get married and experienced the seasonal flood of invites knows that summer is definitely wedding season. Vendors know this too, and it's way harder to get good deals on your venue, photos, and everything else if you're having your wedding during the peak months of summer. Opt for a fall or winter wedding instead, and you can negotiate better prices and have your pick of vendors.
Have a Daytime Ceremony to Save Money on Your Wedding
A lot of weddings happen in the late afternoon or early evening and include an evening reception. This means that there's a ton of competition for vendors and venues, and they can charge a bit more for these times. Hold your wedding earlier in the day to save big on things like the reception hall, musicians, caterers, and more.
A good timeline for a daytime wedding could be a 10:00am ceremony, followed by a lunch reception.
Hold Your Wedding on a Sunday or Friday
Just as there are times of the day and year that can save you money on your wedding, there are also days of the week. While we're not recommending a Monday wedding (pretty hard for out-of-town guests), Friday or Sunday are good bets that won't break the bank. Ask your vendors if they offer a deal for these days.
Use Your DIY Skills (and Your Friends')
Are you handy with floral arranging? Have a friend who can sew? DIY it up to save a ton of money on everything from your dress to the favors. You can even make your own veil. Bonus: everything you make for your wedding will feel super meaningful.
The key with DIY wedding stuff is making sure you spend less on supplies than you would to buy the item. Price everything out and see where you can save by making it yourself.
Be Your Own Wedding Coordinator (and Skip Packages)
If you know how to stay organized and make phone calls, you already know how to save money on a wedding: be your own wedding coordinator. While it can be helpful to have someone to run the show for your big day, it can seriously add to the overall costs. Managing your own event can help you save big.
Skip the pre-set wedding packages too. Even though these take the hassle out of the planning, they usually end up costing you more because you can't call around to vendors and compare prices.
Get Multiple Bids for All Vendors
You know how you wouldn't just buy the first car you saw when you walked onto the lot? Don't hire the first caterer either. Call around and compare prices for everything from the wedding cake to the DJ. You'll find this can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Limit Your Invitation Inserts and Extras
Those letterpress invitations with all the extras are lovely, but most of your guests won't even notice the texture of the cardstock or all the little inserts about parking and the registry. We're not telling you to go full evite here (although there's definitely no shame in that), but you can save a ton of money on your wedding by sending your invitation through the mail and handling everything else electronically. As a bonus, you'll save some trees too!
Embrace Minimalist Flowers
Know what won't matter at all in a decade? Your wedding flowers. Sure, they'll live on in photos (and maybe in your memory), but they aren't the main attraction here. We're not saying you should super skimp on the blooms. Just pick a simple design and a couple of less expensive flowers to mix in. To really save, order the flowers in bulk from a floral supply and make your own bouquets.
Go for Vintage Where You Can
One of the most stylish ways to save money on a wedding is to bring in some vintage items. You can often find vintage decorations, linens, and accessories for far less than the cost of new. Even better, you get to show off your vintage style while you walk down the aisle.
Offer a Speciality Cocktail Instead of a Full Bar
A full open bar can be one of the most expensive parts of your wedding, but it's not the only option. It's perfectly acceptable (and even awesome) to have beer, wine, and a signature speciality cocktail. This gives everyone an option for a drink without you having to employ a bartender and stock the whole bar.
Talk With Your Photographer About Digital Rights
As you're talking to wedding photographers, you might find that many packages don't include the digital rights to your images. If you know you're going to want a lot of prints or want to have a copy of all the photos, you can save money on your wedding photography by getting the rights to the digital files. That way, you can print them wherever you want and save the files for the future too.
Compare Costs for Wedding Reception Food Options
Did you know that a buffet isn't always cheaper than a plated meal? It's all about what you're serving and number of guests. Just as you should call around to talk to different vendors and get quotes, you can also ask whether a buffet or plated meal will be cheaper for your situation.
Word to the wise: skip the steak. No one will remember if you served chicken instead of beef, and it's often far cheaper.
Go With Cupcakes Instead of a Cake
Everyone loves cupcakes, and in many cases, they're far less expensive than a huge tiered wedding cake. As a bonus, you can get wedding cupcakes in different flavors and even have gluten-free cupcakes available for people who can't indulge in gluten. It's a money-saving and inclusive wedding cake alternative that gives everyone a sweet treat and makes your wedding festive.
Get Creative With Your Wedding Decorations
Sure, you can order giant floral centerpieces for the tables at your reception, but that doesn't mean you should if you're looking for ways to save money on a wedding. Think about creative (and cheap) wedding decoration ideas to try instead. Some of the best options include balloons, fairy lights, candles, and even food or favors as table decor.
Know Where You Shouldn't Scrimp
When you know how to save money on a wedding, it's tempting to think about even more ways to cut costs. There's nothing wrong with that, but there are a few things you should make sure you don't try scrimp on:
- Photographer - Other than your new spouse, your wedding photos are what you'll have to keep from this important day. Hire a photographer who does great work you love, even if you can find someone to do it cheaper.
- Officiant - If you belong to a specific faith or have someone you want to perform your wedding, don't try to cut corners here.
- Comfortable venue - Ever attend a summer wedding in August in a reception hall without AC? Prioritize your guests' comfort over most other aspects of the venue.
- Enough food - Even if you don't serve something super fancy, make sure there's plenty to go around. You don't want guests to feel like they're still hungry when dinner is over.
So Many Ways to Save Money on a Wedding
No matter how you save money on a wedding, the key is prioritizing what's important to you. Spend where you need it to be truly special and save where it won't impact how you feel about the event. You'd be surprised how little people remember about weddings even a few years down the line, so in the end, as long as you have a future spouse you're happy to marry, everything else is just a judgement call.