10 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

by - 7:00 AM

Did you know that the 2019 average cost of a US wedding is around $30,000? When we started planning our wedding, we scoffed at the idea of spending $30,000 on a wedding, "Hah! We'd never spend that much!"

After some preliminary quotes from vendors and gathering of facts, we realized in short and without much effort, it's very easy to reach those numbers - even with our "no-frills" attitude. We brainstormed ideas to find ways to cut the budget, without sacrificing our style and quality. At the end of it all, we ended up saving nearly $10,000 total on our wedding budget. Here are some ways you can cut down your wedding budget:

1. Buy Used Decor

Surprisingly, there are tons of resources where you can find used or gently used wedding decor and items. Facebook has a ton of Buy/Sell/Trade Wedding groups on Facebook where you can view and browse for pretty much anything wedding related, even advice on vendors and services.

The best thing about this route is that once you're done with your wedding decor, you can then put the wedding decor back up for sale and see at least a 50% return or more on your decor. So those used charger plates that you bought for $2 per piece can possibly be sold again for $1.50 per piece, and you'll have only paid $0.50 per piece total. A fraction of the price in the end!

2. Wait for Coupons and Holiday Deals

Hold off on buying all of your items at once. Wait for stores like Michael's, Hobby Lobby, or even websites like Oriental Trading to have holiday sales. Sign up for their newsletters and wait for the coupons and sales to be announced. Some coupons can even be combined with in-store or online sales, increasing your discount even more.

3. DIY the simple things

This one may be tough because you might be thinking to yourself, "I'm not a crafty person" but DIY doesn't have to be 100% from scratch. You can take most of the burden off your hands by purchasing kits or things that just need assembly.

For example, we made our own invitations, ceremony programs, signs and wedding favors. For the invitations, programs, and signs - you do not have to have any graphic design experience. Etsy and other websites have a lot of designs for purchase. We purchased our invitation template on Etsy for $10.00. The file template was easy to edit, all we did was input our wedding info and voila! We had an invitation. You can send this file off to a professional printer like Shutterfly or Vistaprint or you can print them at home yourself (like we did!).

Our programs were made in Word and the signs were also templates purchased from Etsy.

Our wedding favors were items purchased in bulk on Amazon. We made little luggages filled with kit items for our guests; mints, floss, packets of Advil, hand sanitizer. The luggages were purchased on Wish.com, 100 pieces for $15.00.

4. Scale Back

It's totally okay to scale back on things like open-bar for the entirety of the night, wedding favors, wedding gifts for parents/grandparents/wedding party, something borrowed/something new, late night snacks, etc.

Take a step back and discuss what really matters to you on your wedding day. Eliminate what you think will be too much of a hassle or just not worth the cost. The tradition of "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" is something we decided to forego entirely. As well as having a veil, a garter to toss, and wedding gifts for our party. For example, I didn't want to worry about locating and finding all of those things on the day of, on top of everything else I had to remember. We swapped the garter toss for the shoe game. And our wedding party were more than understanding of our budgetary limitations on the gifts. We decided to buy wedding albums on Vistaprint for our parents as their wedding gift and thank you gift after the wedding for less than $40!

I thought we would miss having those things but we truly didn't! It gave us more time to focus on photos, dancing, and spending time with our guests instead of being pulled in different directions to set up or do other things. Pick what matters to you the most and really give thought to what you can do without, and you'll be surprised to see how much money you'll save just by eliminating those details.

5. Swapping a Large Wedding Cake for a Cutting Cake

Wedding cakes are a classic wedding tradition and nothing gets me more excited than eating cake on a wedding day (our own or anyone else's wedding!). But the cost of a wedding cake can add up. On average, just the wedding cake itself can cost between $350 and $450. If you're looking for something with floral or intricate decorative details, this price can go up. Then there's also the delivery fee, some venues charge a cake cutting fee. All of a sudden, you're looking at nearly $800 to $900 just to have a cake.

Many bakeries now offer cutting cakes, a smaller cake that can be just as beautiful as a large cake but without the large price tag.

Now if you're really set on having a three-tier, extravagant cake without the price tag - there is an option for that too. Faux cakes. Yup. You can buy beautifully decorated, fake wedding cakes. Take it one step further and add a small cutting cake to the top of a few faux cake tiers and you've got a grand looking cake that you can show off and still cut. The only con: you just can't serve it to your guests.

You can still offer your guests dessert with a dessert table or candy table. With a dessert spread, the various combinations of options your guests can choose from is sure to make everyone happy, including your budget.

6. Go for Cheap Accessories 

Bridal and wedding accessories can be really sentimental, but if you're like me - you'll probably never wear an extravagant necklace or drop earrings like that again. Resist the urge to splurge on pricier wedding day jewelry and look for cheaper options.

Claire's and Icing has some really beautiful pieces. My necklace and earrings were from Claire's. They were also having a buy 2, get 1 sale at the time, so I was able to score my wedding day jewelry at an even lower price.

The same goes for shoes. Don't splurge unless you're sure you'll be wearing them often. I purchased my wedding shoes for less than $20 on Wish.com.

7. Have a Laid Back Rehearsal Dinner

To be honest, before our wedding I've never been to a rehearsal dinner. I had to ask a wedding coordinator friend what it was. A rehearsal dinner is traditionally hosted the night before the wedding,  to rehearse and also spend a night with select family, friends, and your wedding party. There's a dinner, there's toasts, there are gifts exchanged. The average cost of a rehearsal dinner is $1,330.00! We've read that some in-laws will pay for this dinner but most couples are taking care of this bill.

Opt for something more casual. There are inexpensive options that can feed your group while still serving its purpose to allow both families and guests to mingle before the big day. We had our group meet at a community meeting room, ordered pizza and served with homemade salad and soft drinks. Our total: just under $150.00. You can host a rehearsal dinner backyard BBQ, host a private dinner at someone's home (plated or buffet-style) or, if you prefer the restaurant route, keep casual places on your radar like your favorite Mexican place or your favorite Asian restaurant where you can order large platters of food; entrees, rice and appetizers for everyone served family style.

8. Have Your Guests RSVP Online

Most wedding websites like The Knot have an online RSVP function, where you can add your guest lists online and allow guests to RSVP through your wedding website. You'll save money on the RSVP cards, envelopes, and also return postage. It'll be easier for you to organize as well, having all of the resources digitally. And it's an eco-friendly option, if that's something that's important to you.

We found that a large portion of our guests RSVP'd right away on the website. The convenience of being able to respond from their phones made it easier on them, which was great for us!

9. Multi-Purpose Decor

When you're working on your theme or design, try to find ways to repurpose your decor in all stages of your wedding. You can incorporate your garlands, vases, centerpieces, string lights, etc. as decorations in the ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, etc.

For example, one of the biggest pieces of our wedding was our circle arch. We used it in the ceremony, behind the head table during dinner, and then as a photo station for our guests during the reception.

Our geometric vases were used as aisle decor in the ceremony, and then transferred to the dinner and reception as table centerpieces.

10. Don't Be Picky With Floral 

Floral arrangements can take up a huge portion of your budget. Depending on the colors, seasons, and types of flowers you may be looking for - the prices may vary. If you're using real flowers, it's best to talk with your florist about what will be in season around your wedding date and how larger blooms like peonies compare in pricing to smaller blooms like roses or lilies. You'll get more value for your money with bigger blooms as your bouquets and arrangements will look more full.

You can also get creative for things like corsages and boutonnières and opt to go with non-floral versions. A lot of rustic themes have cleverly incorporated burlap corsages and boutonnières,  paper flowers, tufts of cotton, or miniatures of your favorite super hero. Corsages can cost an average of about $20-$50 per piece and boutonnières about $10-$20 each. Creating your own is a fun way to showcase your personalities.

We made our boutonnières and corsages using silk flowers and vintage maps of Europe.

Overall, there is no right or wrong way to save money for your wedding. It all comes down to what's important to you and what you want to remember. Sit down with your bride tribe or spouse and prioritize the things you absolutely need to have and the things that you can do without or can cut corners on. From there, you can start to cut things out entirely or budget certain things down to be more affordable with your newfound savings.

If you have any advice, definitely comment below. If anyone has any questions on ways they can save or plan for their wedding, we are more than happy to help you!

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