While we can’t stress enough how important it is to set a wedding budget and stick to it in order to keep from overspending, there’s no reason you should be forced to spend all the money you planned on. If you can think of creative ways to cut costs, by all means, go for it! In fact, we have a whole list of wedding hacks that will help you come in under budget so that you can spend the extra cash on your new life together.
1. Pass on the Programs
Many couples want to hand out wedding programs so that guests can easily follow along with the ceremony, but this isn’t always necessary. With the average ceremony lasting 45 minutes, most guests won’t see it as a huge length of time to sit down and just listen, and no one will even remember if you had programs or not. Of course, you could always opt for an alternative to the traditional printed program, such as a chalkboard display. However, if you’re having a cultural ceremony that may be confusing to guests, you should provide either a program or display to help them follow along and participate as needed.
2. Marry on a Sunday
Wedding vendors charge a premium for Saturdays because there are only so many Saturdays in a year and lost of couples want Saturday weddings. Look for venues that can accommodate you on a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon for better deals.
3. Skip the Fancy Food
The standard sit-down or buffet dinner can be expensive between the cost per plate, tips, and rental fees. Explore having a brunch reception, a late night cocktail hour, a dessert buffet, or a backyard barbeque to really save on your wedding day.
4. Consider an “Off” Season
May through October is the busiest time of year for weddings (along with the blip around Valentine’s day). Winter and spring are slower seasons for venues, photographers, and florists, so you are more likely to score a good deal.
5. Cut the Costly Cake
Even a small wedding cake can set you back a few hundred dollars. To save money, try alternative desserts like cupcakes or cake pops, or look for private vendors. You can even look to your local grocery store – they can generally accommodate big orders and are a fraction of the cost of a smaller bakery.
6. Buy Last Season’s Wedding Dresses
Many styles and brands of dresses do not change drastically from year to year. To save on your wedding dress, buy last year’s stock or buy off the rack; it can save you up to 50%.
7. Try a Restaurant Reception
Restaurants can be a great money saver. Plates, napkins, cutlery, and table clothes are already included so no need for renting every last item.
8. Hire a Part-Time Photographer
To save nearly half on photography, hire your photographer (or videographer) for a half day rather than a full day. It would allow enough time to capture the finishing touches of getting ready, the ceremony, and the family and wedding party portraits.
To capture the evening activities, you can place disposable cameras on tables, encourage guests to post on Instagram with a special hashtag, or hire a friend who wants to build up his or her photography portfolio for a discounted fee.
9. Skip the Head Table
Having a backdrop and draping around a head table can cost well into the thousands to decorate. To save money, you can have a sweetheart table for just you and your new spouse, or set a special decor and embellishments at a round table for you and your wedding party.
10. Rent a House
There are many large houses for rent with beautiful yards where you can hold your ceremony. Some homes are even equipped with full chef’s kitchens and/or large formal dining rooms, so a caterer can come in and cook your reception meal with no problem
Rental houses are not only perfect for a ceremony and reception location, but also great for guests who may need a place to stay.
11. Pick a Pretty-as-Is Venue
Decorating a plain venue with flowers, drapery, or other decorations can easily set you back thousands of dollars. Try picking a venue that already has tons of charm so that the decorating will be minimal — or better yet, completely unneccessary!
12. DIY the Flowers
A bridal bouquet from a florist can set you back hundreds of dollars, even for a relatively small bouquet. You can make your own beautiful bouquet out of foliage, succulents, and even paper flowers. Alternatively, look for student or hobbyist florists to score great deals.
13. Buy Second-Hand
Many brides buy their decorations and then sell them after their weddings. Look to Craiglist or the Weddingbee Classifieds for used wedding decorations and accessories. Not only are these listed at a fraction of the cost, bust also you are very likely to find the multiples of the same item, so it won’t be a mismatch of decorations.
14. Use Local Vendors
Resources like Etsy, or even your local online classifieds, are full of folks who hand-make veils, cufflinks, and guest favors for a fraction of the cost of traditional retailers.
15. Hire a Food Truck
Thinking of having a midnight snack? Hire a food truck! It can be surprisingly cost-effective per person compared with paying for your venue to provide snacks or meals.
16. DIY the Centerpieces
Instead of having traditional flower centerpieces, try DIY wedding centerpieces. There are many ideas here on Weddingbee!
17. Limit the Wedding Party
Having a large wedding party can push your costs sky-high. The dresses, suit rentals, flowers, boutonnieres, shoes, hair, make up, and thank you presents can easily add up to be a few hundred dollars per person. Keep your wedding party small to keep costs down.
18. Send E-Vites
The wonderful thing about e-vites isn’t just the cost, but that people are quicker (and more likely) to respond.
19. Rethink the Rehearsal Dinner
Feeding your entire family and bridal party the night before your wedding can really rack up your expenses. Instead of holding a rehearsal dinner at a restaurant, why not invite them back to your house or a family member’s house? It is easy enough to buy platters from grocery stores, and you can serve something made for a large group of people like chili, lasagna, or stew.