Congratulations! You’re getting married. After all the dust has settled from your engagement, you’ve entered into wedding planning mode. There are a lot of things to think of such as wedding invitations, photography, and more.There’s also a cost attached to all of the things you’re planning for. The cost of a wedding can be completely overwhelming. Most brides have a set budget and know what their spending limit is. You should set a budget to be sure that you’re planning a wedding that you or your families can afford.
When planning a wedding, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the cost of all of the important aspects of your wedding. You don’t have to be overwhelmed. “How to save money” is often the most asked question by today’s modern brides. There are plenty of unique ways to save money when planning your wedding.
1. Invitations – Your wedding invitations are a way to tell your guests right off the bat what kind of wedding they should expect. If you love the look of fancy letter-press or 2- ply invitations then spend your money on the main invite, but go for less-expensive flat printed, 1-ply insert cards to save $500 or more on every 100 invitations. You can also save a ton of money by directing your guests to your wedding website instead of printing multiple cards to be put in with your invitation for events such as your rehearsal dinner, welcome party, transportation and accommodations. If you’re set on printed RSVPs, another great way to save money is to include a RSVP postcard instead of a traditional reply card so that you can save on both printing and postage. But if you’re open to something more modern and less expensive, you can go entirely paperless for your wedding invites. A website like Withjoy which lets you manage your guest list and track RSVPs is a great option for paperless invites.
2. Flowers – You can save money several different ways when it comes to your flowers. You can start by repurposing your flowers and use ceremony decorations on your escort-card table or reception tables after the ceremony. If you want separate arrangements and bouquets, you can add foliage to your floral arrangements which is inexpensive and adds some size and texture. This will save you money as foliage costs significantly less than flowers. Adding candles to your decor can play into a romantic vibe and help you cut flower costs as well. You don’t have to have glass vases. You can use plastic containers, instead of glass ones, to put your floral arrangements in and you’ll be able to save money and your guests won’t notice any difference!
Another great tip is to have your florist create some statement arrangements around areas where your guests tend to hang out like the bar and have them create less costly, smaller arrangements in the areas they tend to walk past. You can also have your groom and his guys opt for pocket squares instead of boutonnieres which can save you upwards of $300. If you’re going to save money on the groomsmen, you can save money with your bridesmaids by having them carry something other than a bouquet down the aisle such as a lantern. Do your research and find out what unique flowers are inexpensive, and in-season during the time of year your wedding will be held.
3. Attire – Wedding attire can be costly, but you can avoid some of the costs if you plan accordingly. If you order your wedding dress at least eight or nine months in advance you can avoid rush fees and last minute alteration fees that can cost you upwards of $800. You can also rent jewelry from websites like Rent the Runway and Adorn where you can borrow high-end, stunning designer jewelry instead of spending thousands buying jewelry. If you’re into the vintage or second-hand look, you can always try a bridal consignment store or the Wedding Flea Market website to view dresses that were only wore once or sometimes never!
4. Photography – Photographers can be costly but are totally worth it when it comes to your big day. Book your photographer for less time (think eight to ten hours) instead of a full day (twelve to fourteen hours). You could pay as muchas $4,000 less by having your photographer there for less time and still get the photos you’ve always dreamed of. You can also save money by booking a second shooter for only the getting-ready shots and ceremony and releasing them before the reception.
5. Favors – Wedding favors are a great way to send your guest off with a little piece of the evening. Go with a favor that’s easy for your guests to consume such as a small snack or candle that won’t break the bank. Your guests who are traveling home after your wedding will thank you for giving them something travel-friendly too.
Alternatively, you can forego the favor altogether to cut costs, but combining a snack and a little something is a great touch for your guests.
6. Venue– Your venue can be one of the most expensive costs when it comes to your wedding. Choose an off-peak day when booking your venue, this can save you a ton of money. A Friday or a Sunday are great off-peak days to get married on. Finding a venue where you can bring your own alcohol is great and can be a huge money-saver. However, make sure the venue comes with a bartender or you’ll need to hire one.
You could also try to consolidate locations. If you host your ceremony and reception at the same place or within walking distance of each other, you can save money on guest transportation. Hotels are convenient all-inclusive locations as well. Hosting your wedding at the hotel where your guests are encouraged to stay can also save you money on transportation to and from your wedding. Many hotels force you to use certain vendors though. If you go with a venue that doesn’t require you to use their vendors, you’ll save and you can shop around for other vendors instead of paying the fixed price for that venue’s selected vendors.
Non-traditional venues are a great way to plan a lower cost wedding as well. Try a non-traditional venue such as a restaurant, a brewery or a large vacation home. If you go with a restaurant, they typically won’t charge you for the space but instead will have you pay for food and booze. Don’t forget to consider tents and bathrooms if your venue has an outdoor component or small restrooms. You should always ask your venue what’s included in the rental fee for your wedding.
7. Catering – Buffets are a great way to save money on catering. You can save approximately $1,000 to $3,000 per 100 guests and get more food with a buffet instead of a plated dinner.
You can save money with alcohol as well. You’ll save money by serving a signature drink and only serving wine and beer otherwise. If you’re going to go with liquor, you can cut costs by not purchasing top-shelf liquor and instead going with lower end liquor. The food that you serve can affect your catering cost as well. If you go with a less formal food choice, you can save a ton of money and your guests will still love it. Many couples today are going with dinners like BBQ and fried chicken which are huge crowd pleasers and more unique than your standard chicken and fish wedding fare.
8. Entertainment – When considering entertainment, you should plan for at least music and a photo booth. If you don’t want to spend the money on a photo booth, buy a polaroid camera and get a few props, tons of film and let your guests do the photo taking themselves! Include markers for the guest to decorate their photos afterward. You’ll also want to have someone to play music, whether it’s a band or DJ. DJs can get expensive, so if you have a music- savvy friend you can put together a playlist and ask them to take over the DJ duties. Your venue may even have a microphone and speaker system they can use to make announcements. Make sure to go over the details with your chosen master of ceremonies beforehand.
9. Cake – If you want a beautiful custom tiered cake, a great way to save money is to go with a smaller display cake that will serve immediate family and the bridal party. You can then get a serving sheet cake which can cost you as little as $4.50 per slice for the rest of your guests. If you want one cake that’ll serve all your guests, you can ask your baker to decorate just the edges of the tiers of your cake to save money instead of having them decorate the entire cake.
Another great way to save money on a wedding cake are naked cakes. Naked cakes are “in” right now and are very inexpensive. You can save approximately $3 per person in comparison to a buttercream or fondant cake. You can also go with a nontraditional dessert such as cupcakes, donuts or cookies to save instead of paying for an expensive wedding cake.
10. Decor – Decorations can turn your venue into a truly personalized space for your wedding. Visit the Wedding Flea Market to purchase used or partially used decor for half the price. There are a variety of items for sale from local brides at low prices such as mason jars, candles, bridal decor and more. You can check out our bridal shower planning blog to see some wedding decorationideas for repurposed items if you’re in need of inspiration. Don’t underestimate the amazing decorations you can find for half the price! You can also look for decorations at local craft stores including the dollar store or goodwill for low-price odds and ends. Why spend a ton of money on items you’ll only use once anyway?
11. Guest list – The guest list can sometimes be a tricky subject. One way to save money and cut down on the number of guests is limiting “plus ones”. You don’t need to give guests 18 and older “plus ones”. Instead, limit it to couples you socialize with regularly. If any guests ask, be prepared to explain why you’ve limited your guest list. You can also go with a smaller guest list to save money. If you trim your guest list even by 10 people you can save upwards of $1,000 when it comes to food, alcohol and rental items.
12. Sell your unwanted wedding gear after – Sell what you can after your wedding. The wedding flea market is a great place to get rid of anything you don’t need to hang onto such as your linens, decor and even your weddingdress if it doesn’t hold sentimental value to you. Many other brides will thankfully take items off your hands for their own weddings and you can make up some of the money you spent on your own wedding. Why let your wedding decor collect dust in your attic when you can let someone else enjoy it and make some money as well?
Wedding planning should be easy and fun. Don’t make it harder on yourself than you have to. The money spent on a wedding can be a stressful subject but if you try to save money in each of these categories, you’ll end up saving a bunch by the end of the planning process.