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100 Ways to Save Money on a Fabulous Wedding

If you are looking at your wedding budget and thinking there's not enough for everything you want, you might be looking for ways to make your budget go further. This post is filled with 100 ideas to help you plan a fabulous wedding on a budget you can actually afford. It’s as simple as determining your priorities, setting your budget, and holding yourself accountable for sticking to it!

If you're budget and your wedding vision seems impossible, front give up–it is possible! The average wedding cost for having a ceremony and reception in 2019 was close to $28,000. But it’s totally possible to do it for less. In fact, I create a 50K wedding for my daughter with under $15K.. It's all about being resourceful and willing to make compromises.

.Smart couples find ways to proceed within their chosen budget. With smart planning, a little DIY, and some flexibility, it is possible to save significantly while still planning a beautiful and memorable event - One that will leave everyone in attendance talking about your big day!

That doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality. Sometimes, simply doing a little extra research and making compromises in the right places can give you almost identical results with a smaller budget. That’s what we call planning your wedding the smart way.

The tips in this post include money-saving strategies, sneaky wedding budget hacks, DIY alternatives, and ideas to plan your day the smart way!

General Planning: Ways to save money on a wedding

1. Cut your guest list to reduce your cost. Fewer people=lower expenses!

2. Choose an off-peak wedding date.

3. Pick a location that doesn’t need much decorating. Embrace nature’s beauty!

4. Do what feels right for you and ignore the “must-haves.” Feel free to cut out anything

that isn’t a priority for you.

5. Make use of your network. Recruit talented friends and family to be wedding helpers.

6. Borrow items you can use for your celebration. From decor to accessories, anything

you don’t have to buy will save you some cash.

7. Choose a non-traditional venue like a public park, library, zoo, etc.

8. Know someone with a big backyard or empty land? Turn it into your own outdoo

wedding venue!

9. Find a venue that can host both ceremony and reception to avoid doubling your decor


10. Keep a record of expenses as you go so you can adjust if you get off track along the


Smart Shopping : Getting the best deals for your wedding

11. Order online and use a coupon codes! Look for free shipping and returns.

12. Order in bulk when possible. Even if you order more than you need, you can sell the

rest to another bride on Facebook Groups

13. Consider the cost of buying vs. renting. This applies to everything from attire to

decorations! You can even rent your wedding flowers!

14. Check out alternative sources like your local home repair stores, thrift stores, yard

sales, etc.

15. Sign up for a rewards credit card to use for wedding purchases. You could earn points

to fund some of your honeymoon!

16. Do thorough research and be sure to price compare to find the best option for each

item you buy.

17. When purchasing items, consider if it’s something you can reuse, re-purpose, or re-

sell after the big day to recoup some of your costs.

18. Shop for certain items seasonally to save money. Candy is super cheap after

Valentine’s Day, Easter, or Halloween!

19. Make a honeymoon registry so you can get funding towards the cost of your post-

wedding celebration!

20. Shop of Facebook Budget Brides Group and Bridal Resale Groups for gently used

wedding decor - and even dresses!

Paper & Stationery: Tips to slash your spending

21. Make your own wedding invitations. Search the internet for free printable.

22. “Brand” your wedding – incorporating coordinating paper details throughout your day

will help it feel cohesive and more luxe.

23. Opt for flat printing over pricier options like letterpress or thermography.

24. Go completely digital and save money and trees! People tend to respond faster to

E-vites compared to paper RSVPs.

25. Make sure your wedding invitations are under 1 oz to keep your postage costs down.

26. Create a free wedding website to keep your guests informed instead of several

invitation insert cards.

27. Download free printables to get professionally designed styles without spending a


28. Go with an RSVP postcard or have your guests RSVP on your wedding website to save

on extra postage.

29. Utilize free design platforms like Canva to design everything from your save-the-

dates to your thank you cards!

30. Skip additional enclosures like directions cards or accommodations cards by putting

relevant info on your wedding website.

Design and Wedding Decor: tips to keep your costs low

31. Make your own decor using paper! It’s incredibly inexpensive, and can be used to

make anything from tissue paper flowers to Photo Booth backdrops, and more!

32. Incorporate cheap items like old books, thrift store finds, etc into your decor. You

could even choose to include free items like rocks or branches that you can gather for


33. Give glass bottles, jars, or cans new life- coat them in spray paint to use as

centerpiece vases.

34. Use items that will come in handy during other times of the year — pull out those

white Christmas lights and use them to decorate your reception space.

35. Choose a simple color scheme. All white and neutral tones will give your wedding an

effortlessly luxurious look.

36. Lighting can have a big impact on your event. Consider your space and find lighting

solutions that enhance the ambiance of your venue without the need for extra decor.

37. Place visual emphasis on a few key areas of your reception. Adding special linens to

the sweetheart table, cake table, or gift table can make a big impact!

38. Pull-in items from your home decor to use to decorate your wedding, or re-purpose

your decor items in your home after the big day!

39. Keep decor minimal for a chic and simple look. Sometimes less is more!

40. Make your decor pull double duty. Place bridesmaid wedding bouquets in tall vases

on reception tables as centerpieces and move aisle and arch decor to decorate the


Alcohol and bar: strategies to save on booze

41. Find a venue that will allow you to BYOB. Purchasing your own alcohol gives you more

control over the cost.

42. Purchase your alcohol from discount stores like Costco, SAMS Club, or BevMo to get

your booze on a budget.

43. Make your own Wine Labels for a personalized touch that disguises the brand if you

buy cheap wine! I'll bet you know someone with a Circuit machine!

44. Serve only Wine and Beer to avoid crazy bar costs. Shift the focus of fun from alcohol

to some other less expensive activities!

45. Skip the champagne– your guests can raise their glass for a toast with whatever they

are sipping on.

46. Serve a signature drink instead of having a full open bar. Tie it into your theme to give

an added personal touch!

47. Place wine bottles on the table for self service during dinner.

48. Close the bar early and serve coffee or a sweet treat to send your guests off!

49. Set a drink limit. Only purchase what you can afford and once it’s gone, it’s gone! Two

drinks per guest is usually sufficient.

50. Serve wine spritzers or punch to make your alcohol go farther.

Food & Catering: advice to get cheap eats

51. Choose low-cost foods like pasta for your meal.

52. Go with a simple wedding cake design, and skip the fancy fondant!

53. Hire your favorite cheap local restaurant for your wedding meal instead of a traditional

caterer. Who doesn’t love tacos or pizza?

54. Price shop your caterers - they often will give you a deal if they know there is

competition. Look outside of the “preferred” list.

55. Display a small decorative cake for cutting but serve simple sheet cake to your guests

Sheet cake is much less expensive.

56. Think outside the box for catering– consider food trucks, taco bars, shrimp boils or a

pig roast or In-n-Out Burgers!

57. Get your wedding cake from a grocery store’s bakery. Staters. Albertsons and

Safeway have excellent cakes!

58. Don't over-buy cake - half the guests won't eat it anyway.

59. No cake = no cake cutting fees. Opt for store-bought or homemade cupcakes instead!

60. Host your reception at a restaurant! If you’re having an intimate wedding reception,

you can easily reserve a private room. Less need for decor, too!

Wedding Attire: tips for saving money on your wedding dress and accessories

61. Shop sample sales to score a fabulous deal on a dress!

62. Buy an inexpensive dress you love from a non-bridal retailer. It doesn’t even *have* to

be white!

63. Choose a pre-owned gown from another bride for significant savings on designer

dresses. Check Facebook and Poshmark

64. Consider renting your wedding attire rather than buying. Rent the Runway has

fabulous dresses that are beautifully bridal!

65. Borrow your accessories or rent them instead of buying new ones. Most likely you’ll

only wear them once, anyway.

66. Shop seasonal sales and score a great deal on end-of-year clearance items.

67. Make your own accessories like the veil or bridal sash. Many retail versions have a

super high markup and will cost much less to DIY.

68. Wear an heirloom from a family member. Not only will it save you money, it will also

add extra meaning to your wedding outfit.

69. Get your wedding day makeup done for free at your local department store. Often you

can get a mini-makeover with the purchase of a small beauty item!

70. Don’t be afraid to shop online— just make sure you check out return policies and

terms, measure carefully, and read reviews!

Florals & greenery: how to get cheap flowers

71. Use fresh flowers sparingly. Only use fresh flowers in your wedding party bouquets

and boutonnieres. Arch flowers will be at a distance and your guests won't notice if

they aren't real.

72. Use single blooms in bud vases for a chic, minimalist look, or float a few flowers in


73. Choose inexpensive filler flowers like baby’s breath, carnations, or greenery to create

an airy feel.

74. Opt for all-white blooms and keep things neutral for cost savings.

75. Choose flowers that are in-season during your wedding month to get the best prices.

76. Order wholesale flowers and arrange your own bouquets and centerpieces. - Try

Walmart/SAMS for wedding flowers.

77. Skip fresh flowers completely! Make your own bouquets from fabric or paper, and

create alternative wedding decor.

78. While big, pricey blooms like peonies take up space, using smaller, cheaper flowers

en-masse to recreate can create a luxe look for less.

79. Use fake flowers instead of fresh blooms. You can even sell them to another bride

after the big day! Try LINGS on Amazon

80. Consider using potted plants instead of expensive floral arrangements as centerpieces.

Music and more: saving money on the odds and ends for your wedding

81. Be your own DJ. Create the perfect playlist to rock out to at your reception and rent a

sound system or large speakers.

82. Use Spotify or Apple Music to run your playlist so you don’t have to pay to download

hundreds of individual songs.

83. Have any talented family and friends? Recruit the musicians in your life to take the

stage to sing or play music during your ceremony.

84. Shop for Bundled services - DJ, Lighting and PhotoBooth, for example

85. Let your wedding favors act as decor for your reception! Set up a candy buffet as a

fun, interactive guest gift.

86. Make your own wedding favors.Or skip them entirely. Most will end up in the trash, so

don’t spend too much on them.

87. DJs are less expensive than a live band, so skip the multi-member music groups if

you’re on a tight budget.

88. Keep your bridal party small in order to reduce costs. You’ll spend less if you’re paying

for fewer gifts, attire, hair, and makeup, etc.

89. Leave kids off the invite list. Removing little ones will help keep your guest count


90. Set up a DIY Photo Booth with instant film cameras or set up a backdrop yourself and

ask your regular photographer to take your guest photos

Vendors & suppliers: how to get the best prices

91. Photography packages are often cheaper than buying al a carte services.

92. Use your photography hours wisely - decide what parts of the wedding are most

important to you.

93. Book a day-of-coordinator to oversee the timeline, schedule, setup, and more for

your big day. They are worth their weight in gold!

94. Book top priority vendors ASAP to secure the best rates. Vendors tend to book up a

year in advance. Photographers and venues are typically the first 2 things you should


95. Gather quotes and info from several different vendors to compare offerings before

making a decision. if you have a desirable venue, don't be afraid to ask for a discount.

Many will discount you for the opportunity to have your venue in their portfolio

96. Seriously consider having a “first look” prior to the ceremony. Getting the bulk of your

portraits done before the wedding will cut down on the time you are paying for and

can eliminate the need for a cocktail hour.

97. Don’t have the budget for an officiant? Have one of your friends or family get ordained

online to officiate your ceremony.

98. Cut the celebration short- many people end up leaving early anyway. Helf of the

guests are usually gone by the time the cake is cut or shortly after.

99. Find a venue that doesn’t have exclusive vendor contracts or force you to use their

preferred vendors. Choosing your own vendors for each service gives you more

control over your spending.

100. Find up-and-coming vendors who are talented, but more affordable. Vendors with

less than 2-5 years of experience may be willing to negotiate to make relationships

with your venue, Get a great deal by giving a newer vendor a shot!

Hope these tips help you take your wedding planning from Budget to Fabulous!

- Sheryl

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