14 Insanely Smart Ways to Save Big on a Wedding

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There is an old nursery rhyme that starts with “First comes love, then comes marriage…” but once you see what a typical wedding costs…. many people are inclined to skip the whole thing.

Thankfully, you don’t have to go broke to have a beautiful and memorable wedding. You can still have everything you want; you just need to think smart.

Check out these insanely smart ways couples used to make their wedding day wonderful and still conserve their cash.

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1. Avoid Saturdays

Almost everyone gets married on a Saturday, which means your venue, unless it’s at your parent’s house, will be more expensive. You can have a late Friday night or Sunday wedding and literally save thousands.

“We were offered a 15% discount if we got married on Sunday. It was a holiday weekend anyway, so no one had to worry about being hungover on a Monday!”- Ashley Fizzarotti: a recent bride.

Average Estimated Savings: $2,000-$10,000

 

2. Think Outside the Season

While weddings can start as early as April, the peak months, and therefore the most expensive, are June through September. Winter weddings, done just before or just after the holidays, are usually the cheapest time for renting your venue.

Recent bride Jessica said, “We got married in mid-May, so we still have beautiful weather but saved tons of money by not booking it in June.”

Average Estimated Savings: $1,000-$5,000

 

3. Invent Your Invitations

You can save a few hundred bucks, or more, by either going paperless and sending electronic invitations via sites like Joy, or by printing your own. Sites like Etsy have templates for invites that you can download, design, and then print yourself or take it to your local FedEx or other stores for printing.

“I saved more than $500 by going paperless. I got lots of compliments about not wasting paper and I was happy to have the money for other things.” – April Daughtry: newlywed.

Average Estimated Savings: $200-$1000

 

4. Get Serious Savings on a Gown 

While everyone wants a stunning wedding gown, brides-to-be have a lot of options these days. There are a great many sites offering used wedding gowns, such as Wore It Once, or Nearly Newlywed, which offers new gowns that women bought but never used.

Other thrifty brides have worn white prom dresses or had family heirlooms (your mother’s wedding gown, for example) refitted and/or restyled to suit them.

“I had a tailor adjust my sister’s old wedding gown and used my mother’s veil for my wedding. The only thing I purchased new were my shoes!” – Valerie, recently wed.

Average Estimated Savings: $200-$5,000

 

5. Have the Ceremony and Reception in One Place

Guests can sit at tables to watch the ceremony and enjoy appetizers or drinks before you even walk down the aisle. Not having to pay for transportation costs means you can save some serious bucks. Some locations will even cut you a deal if you tell them you will hold the ceremony there.

“I got married in the hotel our guests were staying at. All we had to do was walk from the room where the ceremony was held in the dining room! I would totally do this again. “Emma McGregor; new bride.

Average Estimated Savings: $1,000-$3,000

 

6. Use Your Own Vendors

You can save a fortune by finding a venue that doesn’t require you to use their vendors. You can choose far more inexpensive caterers and DJ’s than what most venues are going to charge you.

Lyndsey says that she saved over $7,000 just by choosing a venue that let her bring her own vendors. “This is the tip I give all my friends when they get married. Choose the right venue.”

Average Estimated Savings: $2,000-$10,000

 

7. Think Restaurant Reception

Rather than rent a location for your reception, have it catered, bring in chairs and decorative items, you might find that holding your reception at a nearby restaurant makes it easy. Everything is there except for perhaps some flowers or other decorations. Most restaurants will be more than happy to provide those when you book a reception in advance.

“After an exhaustive search, I found that it was so much cheaper to hold the reception at a restaurant, they already had everything I wanted!” – Jolene; newlywed

Average Estimated Savings: $1,000-$5,000

8. Consider the Cost of DIY

Many couples think that they can save money by doing a lot of things themselves, but sometimes, your life is so busy that the emotional turmoil isn’t worth it. Seriously consider the cost and the savings before you try to do everything yourselves.

Recently wed June Beedie told us “I wanted to do so many things but, in the end, it was really worth it to let someone else do it for me and it wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be.”

Average Estimated Savings: $100-$500

9. Don’t Do Dinner

No one says that you must have dinner for your guests. Think about serving hors-d’oeuvres, finger foods, and cake or, heck, just cake and champagne!

Newlywed Emily Olson says that she saved over $1,000 by having her wedding in the late evening and then served nothing more than appetizers and cake. “Everyone seemed happy and a more than few women told me that they wished they had done the same at their wedding.”

Average Estimated Savings: $2,000-$5,000

10. Managing the Guest List

While no one wants to insult people by not inviting them to the wedding, guests really rack up the cost of your event. Keep things intimate by inviting only couples, not singles who may or may not bring a guest. If possible, keep your guest list very intimate, inviting only family members and/or those who you have close relationships with. If you can’t keep it small, have both the bride and groom cut 10 people from their list. This alone will save you a minimum of $1,000.

“I didn’t want to spend a fortune on favors for my guests, so I made one charitable contribution and printed up cards telling my guests that I did so in their names.” – Judith Solis: A recent bride.

Average Estimated Savings: $1,000-$3,500

 

11. Limit the Photographer

Save yourself money by limiting the hours that your photographer/film crew are at your event. Yes, you want pics of the ceremony and at least through the cake cutting, but everyone will be taking video of your nephews dancing with grandma and your brothers singing karaoke badly, so you really won’t need a professional for those shots.

“I had my photographer take a minimal number of photos and no one seemed to notice the difference when I show them my wedding album.” – Allison Brody: June Bride.

 

12. Save on Entertainment

DJ’s can be expensive, but you can save here by being your own DJ. Rent some quality speakers (or borrow some) and hook up your phone or use an online account like Spotify with your chosen playlists. Check Craigslist or ask your friends for help in this area. If you know someone who has a karaoke machine at home, ask to borrow it for the night.

“Our venue had a built-in sound system, so we plugged in our computer and played from our own song list we stored on the computer.” – Kelsey: A new bride

Estimated Average Savings: $1,000-$3,000

 

13. If You Have Time

Long engagements are great because they give you time to shop for the best sales deals. You can pick up cheap décor items that go on sale after Easter and prom dresses for bridesmaids are a bargain in August!

“I bought all my bridesmaids’ gifts at a Black Friday sale, even though my wedding was planned for May. I saved a ton of money!” – Alexis: newlywed

Average Estimated Savings: $500-$2,000

 

14. Sell the Extras Afterwards

Many people are looking to buy items that were used once or are still in like new condition. Consider selling items you no longer need (or want) such as tablecloths, unused décor items, decorations that are still in very good condition, anything that isn’t personalized will sell for almost what you paid for them!

“I resold my table runners and cloth napkins on eBay for far more money than I expected!” – Lacey: recently wed.

Average Estimated Savings: $100-$350

Kat Begonja

Kat Begonja

Lover of animals, writing and all things Croatian!

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