7 Easy Tips How To Save Money On A Wedding Before It’s Too Late

by Hank Coleman

7 Easy Tips How To Save Money On A WeddingDid you know the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. nowadays is $26,444? That’s more than what some new cars cost, and it can be disheartening later on when you and your new spouse are house shopping and could’ve used a few extra grand for a decent down payment. But, there are several ways how to save money on a wedding.

Instead of breaking the bank with a fairytale wedding complete with all the bells and whistles, here’s a few ideas for an equally wonderful but more wallet-friendly wedding.

How To Save Money On A Wedding

Shrink the Guest List 

The bigger your guest list, the bigger your venue and meal expenses will be in order to accommodate all your guests. Rather than inviting everyone and their mother, consider inviting only your closest friends and family members to the ceremony and then host a reception or celebration with your larger social circle afterwards. This way, everyone gets to be a part of the festivities, but only the most important people in your life are there for the intimate ceremony.

Alternatively, the New York Daily News points out that you can request no children or plus-ones in order to trim your wedding guest list without excluding anyone who you truly want at your ceremony.

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Beautiful Venue Bargains

The venue is usually the largest expense when it comes to planning a wedding, but there are many frugal alternatives to dropping thousands of dollars on a pristine location for just a single day. If you haven’t decided on a day yet, then avoid Saturdays at all costs.

As the most common day to get married, Saturday prices for wedding venues are significantly higher than Friday or Sunday venue rental prices. You can also opt for an off-season wedding in autumn or winter (avoid December unless it has special meaning for you, however).

Aside from choosing an optimally affordable date for your wedding, additional ways to save on your wedding venue costs include negotiating the price (find out what they charge for a facility rental before mentioning it’s for a wedding), hosting your wedding ceremony and reception at the same location, and perhaps seeking out alternative venues that don’t normally host weddings (such as a bed and breakfast, a friend’s large backyard, a local park, etc.).

The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. nowadays is $26,444. Here are 7 ways to save!Click To Tweet

Rent/Borrow the Wedding Dress or Tux

There are different pros and cons to buying versus renting your wedding attire, but if your main priority is affordability, then renting or borrowing is the way to go. For the bride, you can rent from a local dress shop or browse through Rent the Runway’s selection of wedding gowns for rental prices as low as $70. For the groom, Menguin’s collection of tuxedos is a fantastic option to start with, thanks to their customizable fitting options and prices starting at $85 for a rental.

If you know someone of similar size and body type who might be willing to lend you their dress or tuxedo, then borrowing your wedding attire is your cheapest option available (but you still might want to buy them a small gift to say thank you).

Sure, renting and borrowing don’t have the same sentimental value of having your very own dress or tux to treasure forever, but if you’re only going to wear these outfits one time, then affordable attire is the way to go.

Funky Alternatives to Floral Arrangements 

With the average cost of flowers and decorations hovering around the $1,500 mark for weddings in the U.S., there must be ways how to save money on a wedding on these temporary items without leaving your venue with a bare-bones appearance, right?

Yes, in fact, the Rock N Roll Bride blog has 33 alternative bouquet ideas including origami flowers, homemade felt flowers, flowers made of book pages or music sheets, and more! Traditional flowers will wither away within a few days of the wedding, but nonorganic materials will last you for many years to come (and save you money on floral arrangements!).

Hit Up Your Photography-Savvy Friend

Wedding photos are extremely important to preserve the memories of your special day forever, but doling out $3,000+ for a professional photographer and videographer is too expensive for many couples. Instead, ask a photography-savvy friend who owns a good-quality camera to take pictures at your reception (don’t forget to buy them a gift to thank them!) and limit your professional photographer to the 2-3 hours of the ceremony itself.

You can also ask guests with smartphones to download a free wedding photo sharing app, such as Wed Pics, so you can get dozens of shots and angles of the ceremony and reception from the very folks sitting in your audience.

Ditch Traditional Catering and Bar Options

Catering is yet another outrageously expensive cost for weddings, but your guests don’t need filet mignon and an open bar to have a good time at your reception. Oftentimes, you can ask the venue if you can bring your own appetizers (cheese and cracker plates and fruit salads are perfect) and bring your own alcohol to avoid the surcharges on venue-provided booze.

The Portable Bar Company points out you can also save money on alcohol by offering your guests a limited bar (specific timeframe or set number of drink tickets per person) or providing only beer and wine (and perhaps champagne for a toast to the newlyweds).

If your venue allows outside food, then ditching the catering option and having a food truck wedding is an increasingly popular (and affordable) option for weddings. If you’re still unsure what to do about your menu, there are also thousands of ideas in the Cheap Wedding Food category on Pinterest to spark your imagination.

Bye-Bye Band and DJ

In the age of Spotify and Apple Music, you can save tons of money by self-DJ’ing your wedding. This option is best if the venue has its own speakers through which you can stream your party playlist and let guests add their favorite tunes throughout the night.

Sure, there may be more fanfare with a melodious band or a funky DJ who knows all the tricks to keeping your guests entertained, but if the cost difference is $0 or $2,000+ then being your own DJ might be best for your wedding.

Wedding expenses shouldn’t drive your financial situation into the red before you and your significant other even have a chance to experience life together as newlyweds. As you can see, there are plenty of ways how to save money on a wedding without sacrificing the magic of your big day or shortening your honeymoon to recover from the costs of the wedding itself.

If you’re currently in the midst of planning your wedding, keep this quotation from Jane Seymour in mind: “I think a lot of people get so obsessed with the wedding and the expense of the wedding that they miss out on what the real purpose is. It’s not about a production number, it’s about a meaningful moment between two people that’s witnessed by people that they actually really know and care about.”

Did I miss any tips on how to save money on a wedding? What ways have you saved money on your wedding?

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and a graduate certificate in personal financial planning. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 581 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jenni @ Miss Moneyjenni

I’m getting married this year, and what I see in many of the wedding groups on FB prompted me to write a similar post on the things you can ditch from your wedding without anyone noticing. So many people spend a lot of money on things they don’t really need just because it’s “the done thing”, so I’d really recommend asking yourself “will anyone notice/remember this?” for every purchase. Because I can promise no one is going to come and ask where their favour is 😉

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