Everyone knows weddings are expensive—with the average wedding in the U.S. costing just over $26,000. So, how exactly do you tie the knot without breaking the bank? With a little bit of savvy and a lot of research, you will be well on your way to having the wallet-friendly wedding of your dreams. Here are some tips to help you save some money along the way to saying “I do.”
1. Use Your Network to Find Wedding Services
Do you remember that girl from high school who recently started a photography business? Or what about your cousin’s boyfriend who deejays on the weekends? Instead of searching online for your wedding services, reach out to your networks first to see if you can get better rates on your photographer, videographer or DJ. Though it’s good to be discerning and not just hire someone because they’re cheap, you can really save a good chunk of change by going through family and friends instead of hiring the first company that pops up on a Google search.
2. Use a Grocery Store Instead of a Florist
Flowers are one of the most important parts of setting the scene at your wedding. They line the aisle that you’ll walk down beautifully and make your tables look elegant. The only problem with fresh flowers is that they can eat into your wedding budget—and very quickly at that. Instead of going to a traditional brick and mortar florist, try pricing around at the local grocery store. Unless you are looking to do specific and artistic things with your flowers, chances are that the grocery store florist can handle the task for a cut of the cost.
3. Consider an Off-Season or a Sunday Wedding
When it comes to budgeting for your wedding, time of year and day of the week play a big part into the cost. The most popular months to get married are typically June, August, September, and October (though this varies by region). If you consider an “off” month for your wedding, you are guaranteed to save money on the venue and possibly even more. The most popular day to get married is Saturday—mostly for convenience, but also because Saturdays are conducive to a party atmosphere. If many of your wedding guests live in town and won’t need to travel, consider a Sunday wedding for your nuptials. Though choosing an “off” month or an “off” day wedding is a great way to save money, don’t sacrifice convenience for savings. A January wedding may be much cheaper, but you don’t want to chance a blizzard interrupting your big day.
4. Skip the Big Dinner
A huge percentage of your wedding budget will go to food and drinks. You can easily cut the costs down if you skip the big buffet or plated dinner and go with a “heavy appetizer” option or even just have cake and other desserts. If you’d prefer to serve something more substantial—which is recommended if you are serving alcohol—then go with something simple like a taco bar, or even order a bunch of pizzas. Most of your guests are really interested in dancing and heading toward the photo booth and don’t necessarily need a heavy seven-course meal.
5. Look on Craigslist (or Weddingbee!) for Wedding Décor
Even though you’ve pinned a dozen or more ideas for DIY wedding decorations that you think or completely unique, most likely another bride in town has already made something similar. Scour Craigslist, local Facebook groups, and our Classifieds for recent brides who are looking to get rid of their no longer useful wedding decorations. She’ll probably be so glad to get rid of her items that you’ll get an insanely good deal.
6. Consider Renting Your Dress or Buying Secondhand
The wedding dress might be the biggest detail in your wedding, but hear us out. Most brides only wear their wedding dresses once—or maybe twice if you take separate bridal photos. Consider shopping secondhand for your dress (think recently wed brides and not necessarily consignment shops). Brand new wedding dresses can literally cost a small fortune, and if you are trying to budget, this could be an easy way to cut some costs. Another option you could try when it comes to wedding dresses is renting one. Sites like Rent the Runway provide an economical way to have a designer dress for the evening. If you decide to go the traditional route and purchase your own wedding dress, shop sample sales or off-the-rack stores like David’s Bridal to get the best deals.
7. Skip the Save the Dates
Save the dates are an adorable way to remind someone of your upcoming wedding, but they are often an extraneous expense. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on ordering them and mailing them out, make a Facebook group or a wedding website to remind guests of your big day.