Family Money Saving Tips

100+ Fantastic Frugal Wedding Ideas You Can’t Ignore

100+ Fantastic and Frugal Wedding Ideas You Can't Ignore
Written by Irina Vasilescu

Every little girl’s dream is being a bride and having a beautiful wedding, but when you grow up and face how expensive is having one, your vision is slightly altered.
For a couple just starting their lives together, the financial burden of a wedding can get their lives together off to a bad start. The good news is that there are hundreds of ways to save money and still have a fabulous wedding that will have everyone talking for years to come!

Save on the Venue/s and Catering

  1. Only invite close friends and direct family. Because your 4rth grade relative will be there only to irritate you.
  2. Have the ceremony at your church and the reception in the church hall.
  3. Get married soon after lunch time, and serve snacks instead of the full buffet.
  4. Ask someone you know to be the officiant – if you’re a churchgoer – your own pastor is best.
  5. Choose a venue where you can bring your own wine and champagne.
  6. Investigate all-inclusive venues and compare prices. One year ahead.
  7. Check off-peak prices – believe it or not, there is a peak wedding season.
  8. Get married on a Friday instead of a Saturday.
  9. Ask friends to help with catering and serving. Just don’t dress them as one.
  10. Don’t let your wedding run late – you will pay for the extra time.
  11. Get married from home (it’s also romantic and cheap).
  12. Or, get married in a park or botanical garden – it’s handy for the photo shoot, too.
  13. Supply the champagne and have a cash bar.

Save on Stationary

  1. Design and print your own invitations. If you are not keen on drawing, ask your best friends.
  2. Deliver invitation letters by hand instead of post.
  3. If you’re posting, choose a postcard-style for cheaper mailing.
  4. Design a gorgeous e-invitation and send it by email.
  5. Skip the name-cards except at the head table – it’s also fun and informal.
  6. For more formal seating make one lovely seating plan that’s posted at the entrance.
  7. Don’t bother with menus, make it a surprise – or have one at the venue entrance.
  8. Make your own artsy table number markers.

Save on Decorations

  1. Go with elegant, single-flower decorations instead of packed vases.
  2. Take the flowers from the church to the reception for the cake table and main tables.
  3. Make flowers from crepe paper.
  4. Use beautiful candles instead of flowers.
  5. For a rustic look, make vases from tin cans covered with hessian.
  6. Buy your flowers direct from the farm.
  7. Use festive balloons to decorate the venue.
  8. Add a touch of romance with cost-effective fairy lights.
  9. Use fruit bowls as table centerpieces. They are also healthy!

Photography and Music

  1. Ask friends and family to bring cameras along and send you electronic copies of all their best pics.
  2. Find a photography student to take your wedding pictures.
  3. If you get a professional photographer, limit the time he will have to spend at the wedding.
  4. Set up a playlist, use your own music center or borrow one, and ask a friend to act as DJ.
  5. Get a DJ instead of a full band.
  6. For church music, use a recording or get a musical friend to help out.

Food, Drinks and Favors

  1. Skip the favors if you want to, they’re an optional extra.
  2. Buy lengths of gauze and ribbon and make cute bags of sweets.
  3. Make gifts for bridesmaids and best man.
  4. Skip alcohol altogether and serve juice instead.
  5. Buy the alcohol wholesale.
  6. Only serve wine, champagne, and water.
  7. Limit the number of bottles of wine and champagne for each table.
  8. Ask your liquor store if they will credit you any unopened bottles you return.
  9. Have a simple BBQ for dinner.
  10. Skip the starters. Serve crackers and fruit instead.
  11. Offer a home-cooked buffet with a limited number of dishes.
  12. Skip desserts and have the cake as dessert. And fruit.

Wedding Cake

  1. Bake your own cake, or ask a friend to do it.
  2. Instead of a fancy wedding cake, serve up cupcakes.
  3. Have a small cake on a decorated base that looks like the real thing.
  4. Have a large, less decorated cake in the kitchen for serving.
  5. Use ordinary icing.
  6. Use fresh flowers to decorate the cake.
  7. Avoid specialized wedding cake bakers.
  8. Serve donuts, apple strudel or mousse instead of cake.
  9. Have a beautifully decorated wedding fruit salad.
  10. Serve home-made cookies.

Wedding Attire for Him

  1. Rent a tux.
  2. Borrow from a friend.
  3. Buy a second-hand tux.
  4. Make your own buttonhole flowers for the men.
  5. Ask family members for items such as bowtie and cufflinks.

Wedding Attire and Accessories for Her

  1. Rent a wedding dress.
  2. Shop online for bargains.
  3. Buy a second-hand dress.
  4. Choose an off the peg white dress that isn’t strictly a wedding dress.
  5. Pick a tailored white or cream dress that can be repurposed.
  6. Borrow from a friend.
  7. Ask wedding boutiques about sales.
  8. Look at formal wear in soft colors other than white.
  9. Make your own garter or ask a friend to help.
  10. Make your own veil.
  11. Buy a second-hand veil.
  12. Wear flowers in your hair instead of a veil.
  13. Skip the headgear altogether.
  14. Borrow your jewelry from your mom or your friends.
  15. Shop for vintage costume jewelry.
  16. Use garden flowers. They smell incredible and they are cheap.
  17. Choose one to three exceptional flowers for your bouquet.
  18. Shop for shoes at chain stores.

Hair, Nails, and Makeup

  1. Do your own hair, or get a friend to help you.
  2. Choose a simple hairstyle.
  3. Get a friend to do your nails. Or use a coupon to save the money if you decide to go to a beauty salon.
  4. Do your own makeup.
  5. If you go to a hairdresser, she may do your makeup for free if you ask.
  6. Buy your going away outfit off the peg.

Other Extras to Save On

  1. Let the best man wear his own suit.
  2. Ask your bridesmaids to wear a particular color, but let them use their own clothes.
  3. Unify your bridal party with color and corsages instead of clothing.
  4. Keep your bridal party to the minimum.
  5. Skip the confetti, rice or bubbles after the ceremony.
  6. Dry rose petals from your own and friend’s gardens.
  7. Choose an extrovert friend to be MC.
  8. Pick a friend with a nice car to provide the ‘limo’ and be the driver.
  9.  Decorate your own car for the wedding instead of having a limo.
  10. Reserve a limo and driver on Uber.

Your Honeymoon

  1. Choose a local beauty spot with modest accommodation.
  2. Visit a national park.
  3. Visit a nearby city with cool attractions.
  4. Choose a cheap international destination.
  5. Borrow a holiday house from a friend.
  6. Check out package holiday deals.
  7. Go self-catering.
  8. Choose camping or RVing instead.

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100+ Fantastic Frugal Wedding Ideas You Can't Ignore

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team a year ago and is also involved in the writing process.

12 Comments

  • These are all great tips! I have recently been trying to find cheaper ways to have a nice wedding and this list is extremely helpful! The amount of money that people spend on wedding is astounding and I refuse to put all my savings into one day lol. I’ve already started making some mock ups of what I want my invites to look like and the types of centerpieces I’d like. I am definitely going to bookmark this article and do as much from it as I can. Thanks for posting! 🙂

  • I think it’s great that there are ways to get married so cheaply, and one of the best ways by far is to take a look at your family and see what talents they have. For example if you know somebody who takes good photographs, ask them to do it for your wedding, or if you know a good baker, they could make the cake. They could charge you a small amount, or even say that it is their wedding present to you! But if everybody in both families pulls together, you can usually find that there is somebody who would be able to get the job done.

  • I am getting married soon and will definitely be using some of these ideas.

    Another one we are doing is using a wedding website for RSVPs rather than sending out hefty invites filled with card that people have to send back to us. It also saves those people money as they do not have to pay for return postage!

    A lot of issues with wedding costs are fabricated by venues – many refuse to bring in outside caterers or decorators which can make the costs spiral. My fiancee and I always asked what we could and could not provide ourselves when we went to visit locations, otherwise we might have been forced to pay more for something, and that something might not have been exactly what we wanted.

  • One of my friends actually did have her honeymoon in the city which is 30 minutes from here. They researched everything so they got a good deal on the room and had some money for they could explore too. I also have seen people just driving up to their friends mailboxes and putting the invitations in without a stamp, it works too. Awesome article, great ideas.

  • Cash bars are tacky. And making your own wedding cake might cost a lot more because you have to buy the supplies, do practice cakes and transport the cake to the reception.

  • This is about 50/50 good vs tacky. Do not make your friends and family work on your wedding day and preform duties you would hire someone to do. Don’t have a cash bar or self cater. If you can’t afford to wine and dine your guests, either cut your guest list or wait and save. Best way to cut costs is have a small guest list. No one is entitled to a fairy tale wedding just because you want one. Don’t plan something outside your means.

  • I do not feel a cash bar is out of the question especially depending on your region and family/friends. I do feel it is nice to offer some alcohol for free like a keg but charge for mixed drinks. You can still have a large guest list on a budget and make a nice experience for all.

    • Think about it from a guests perspective. They travel, pay for lodging, get you a gift, but clothing, etc to come to your wedding and then they get to the reception and have to pay for their drinks. I think it is better to do beer and wine only instead of making people pay for mixed drinks.

  • Great post, but remember that in most states it is illegal to open someone else’s mailbox and put something inside!

  • While I think that these are great ideas to help cut down on the cost of a wedding I do think it is wise to invest in a great photographer. From my own experience my wedding day went by too fast and it was hard to remember everything because it was one of the busiest days of my life. I was on a tight budget but I was extremely grateful that we had invested in a great photographer.

    • Hi Danielle! I also think that it’s important to have a great photographer because photos are memories. If you search thoroughly you can find affordable wedding photography packages. 🙂
      Irina Vasilescu recently posted…20 Free Things to Do in Las Vegas

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