Save Money on Your Wedding – We Know How!

Save Money on Your Wedding - We Know How!
Written by Oana Schneider

Whether you’re saying your “I dos” at a country home setting or an elegant indoor venue, the fact is that weddings are expensive. You don’t want to start your wedded bliss in debt so it pays to stick to a budget and make do with what you have. However, you also want to plan the perfect day that fulfills the wedding of your dreams.

How do you create that delicate balance between sticking to a budget and having the perfect wedding? By knowing which techniques will help you save money. Read on to find out what these techniques are, and what else you can do to save money when planning your big day.

Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

Even if you’re working within a set budget, it does not mean that you would have a cookie-cutter wedding that is not at all personalized. In fact, it’s paying attention to the small details that will add that personal touch to your wedding. This does not have to cost much at all. To give you an idea, take a look at our top ways to save money on your big day:

Deciding on the wedding planning timeline

You said yes to the marriage proposal, and now the planning phase starts. Before ironing out the individual details, the first thing you need to decide on is the timeline for the actual planning. Here are the pros and cons of having a shortened or lengthened wedding planning timeline:

1. Short Wedding Planning Timeline

The typical timeline that couples give themselves to plan a wedding is 11 to 12 months. Can you shorten this timeframe? Definitely! Take a look at the pros of having a shortened wedding planning timeline:

  • You can simplify the details of the wedding.
  • You can take advantage of last-minute deals.
  • You can streamline the process of planning the wedding to cut expenses.
  • You will not get sucked into a whirlpool of planning an elaborate wedding.

Perhaps the only disadvantage is that you need to make lightning-quick decisions if you have a short timeline for the planning phase. Other than that, from a budgeting perspective, having a short timeline will help you manage your expenses better.

2. Long Wedding Planning Timeline

On the other hand, you can go for the long haul and have a prolonged wedding planning timeline – say, more than one year, and still be able to stick to your budget. The benefits of going for a longer wedding planning phase are:

  • You can take advantage of seasonal sales.
  • You can ask the suppliers for early bird discounts.
  • You can choose a bargain wedding venue.
  • You can take your time in cutting the guest list, and deciding on the other details of the wedding.

As long as you know what your budget is, you can make a long wedding planning timeline work to your advantage.

Choosing the date of the wedding

Next comes choosing the exact date of the wedding. Take a look at a few quick facts that will guide you for this step:

  • Saturday is the most popular day of the week to get married. Choosing any other day than this will instantly save you money because of a lower demand.
  • Except for Valentine’s Day and the days approaching the holiday season, you can save 20% to 30% off your wedding costs by getting married on November, January, February and March.

There are also seasons of the year and specific times of the day when it is less expensive to hold the wedding ceremony and reception. By saying your “I dos” during the off-peak times, vendors and suppliers will give you more negotiating power.

Save Money on Your Wedding - We Know How!

Choosing the wedding ceremony and reception venue

If you have a specific church in mind or a favourite restaurant where you would like to hold the ceremony or the reception, why not conduct both there? Let’s say that there’s this beautiful church where the couple spent their childhood years together.

If you can, look for a venue right outside the church where the wedding reception will be held. Holding the ceremony and reception in one spot will not just cut the travel time, but also save you money because the vendors and suppliers who are being paid by the hour will not charge you as much.

Finalizing your guest list

A good rule of thumb to follow when finalizing your guest list is that you should be able to spend at least one minute with each one of them without tiring yourself out. With 300 people, you’d need more than five hours as a couple to spend just one minute with each guest who took their time out to spend this special day with you. This means that the shorter your guest list is, the more intimate it will be because you’d get more time with them.

Another big plus for cutting short your guest list is that it keeps the reception costs down. Even if the difference is just 50 guests, you can save thousands of dollars on the per-person charge from the caterer, restaurant or banquet hall who will prepare the food.

Making your wedding Instagram-worthy

After the honeymoon, the only souvenir that you will have of your big day is the pictures and videos. How do you make the wedding ceremony and reception Instagram-worthy? Again, it’s all about paying attention to the small details and personalizing everything.

When it comes to saving money on wedding video and photography packages, look for professionals who offer the best packages based on the number of hours that they will work. Talk to former brides and ask what their photo and video packages looked like.

You can also consider hiring a student as a second point-of-view photographer. If there’s someone in the family who dabbles in photography, you can ask him or her to take pictures of your wedding details for free so that only need to hire the professional photographers during the ceremony and reception itself.

What about the flowers?

To save money on flowers, you can incorporate more greens than blooms. Having an assortment of blooms can also cut your budget in half. For instance, peonies or daisies are a fraction of the cost of roses.

Based on the color scheme or theme that you have, you can choose cheaper floral arrangements. Buying blooms which are in season and making your flowers do a double function – to be used during the ceremony and the reception – will save you a lot in the long run.

Save Money on Your Wedding - We Know How!

Knowing what to serve your guests

Everybody loves an open bar but the cost of the individual drinks and spirits can take its toll on your budget. What you can do instead is have a signature cocktail ready for the drinking guests to enjoy. Or, instead of having an assortment of beers, have a cheap brand of beer and table wine ready – which you can buy in bulk.

For the food, the first thing to consider is the time of day that the ceremony will be held. Evening receptions will typically include a sit-down dinner which will be costlier than a daytime reception where you can serve snacks and appetizers. You can also opt to include comfort food items on the menu rather than sophisticated dishes which will turn out to be more expensive.

If you must serve a full meal with an appetizer, main course and dessert, talk with your caterer about the possibility of serving plated meals over buffets. Vendors will usually charge more for buffets than plated meals simply because they have to cook more. You also need to be firm with the number of guests that you have, otherwise you would have to pay for extra food.

Choosing the wedding stationery and favors

If you’d like to have traditional wedding stationery as invites, look for cheap material and design a single page rather than a multiple-page invite. For the wedding favors, you can make a deal with the baker of your cake to make you a batch of small cupcakes which you can distribute to guests as favors.

Don’t bother printing save-the-dates anymore, simply e-mail them to your friends or post them to social media sites – just make sure that the viewing is limited to those who are included in your guest list. You can also print your own place cards, menu cards, escort cards, etc. There are downloadable templates that you can print online.

Saving money on the other details of your wedding

Instead of hiring an actual DJ for your wedding, download an app that will allow you to play a pre-selected number of songs during different parts of the wedding ceremony and reception. If you must hire a band, choose a smaller one instead of a full band to save on costs.

Make sure that your wedding cake has just the right size for the number of guests that you have. For the bridal dress, you can check out the sample sales offered by designers at fashion houses, and compare the costs of ready-to-wear bridesmaids’ dresses with tailored ones.

With these tips, you can save a lot of money while planning your big day.

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.


  • Wonderful advice, I am currently planning my wedding with my fiancee and the costs are certainly mounting up. I can officially kiss goodbye to the intimate wedding I had planned as a child but these are some wonderful ways to keep costs down

    • Is it common for girls to plan out these dream weddings when they’re young? Is it disappointing when reality dictates that it might not work out or is more of a fanciful daydream type scenario?

      I don’t know if it’s a common thing, but it sure seems like a lot of women have some unrealistic expectations regarding the size/cost of the wedding, reception and engagement ring.

      • Each girl will have her dream wedding, but things indeed change. I think a lot of girls will think of prince charming spoiling her on her wedding day, and the guests are there to be happy for her. Then the real world show that this can be improbable. Add to the inflation and the change in wedding related industries through the years…this can be heartbreaking to some.

  • Some great tips here. All too often , people work themselves into the ground trying to save cash for their wedding. It almost defeats the point really, it’s meant to be the happiest day of your life, not the most stressful!

    • Consider the fallout too! You squirrel away enough to throw a large wedding with all the bells and whistles… all of that effort is gone by the next day. I mean sure, the memories will last a lifetime, but are those memories strictly about the venue, food and decor or was it about the people and the relationships?

  • When my mom was determined to turn my sister’s wedding into a huge affair, my sister completely short circuited her planning by cutting the timeline very short. The reduced timeline meant fewer options for venue and that left them with smaller places. Smaller places kept the guest list intimate. With fewer people, she could afford the food options she preferred that she wouldn’t have been able to do with a larger reception. There were inconveniences but she still says it was well worth it.

    • I don’t see why weddings always need to be huge affairs costing tens of thousands of dollars. For many newlyweds, taking on debt to fund their wedding can’t possibly be a wise decision as a new couple. Why not take that money and put it toward a downpayment on a home, or save towards your first child?

      I think societal customs have really forced us to spend extravagantly in regards to the whole marriage institution (rings, reception, all of the needless fluff). Seems people can’t just gather to celebrate the happy union of two people without going all out.

  • I read an article a little while ago about how the amount of money you spend on your wedding is inversely related to how long the marriage lasts. 😉 But really, my sister’s wedding was under $1,000 and was really fantastic to attend, so I plan on stealing some of her ideas. She kept it extremely small and intimate since they saw no reason to invite all of their coworkers and neighbors, and it was in our parents’ backyard since it’s so beautiful out there. Along with some catering from a local restaurant and all of us pitching in to help decorate, as well as reusing some items from friends’ weddings, it ended up coming in way under budget — and it went to the honeymoon!

    • I think people should find and read that article. It will hit the wedding related industries because of the lower income, but in this economy…we really need to be more mindful of our expenses.

      I plan to have a small wedding too. However, I am not sure if I can do that since the girl I will marry is one of the elites of my hometown. Hmmm~

  • Bouquets can be so expensive! I saw prices of brides’ bouquet going up in the few hundreds, I was so shocked. But there are many DIY bouquet to be found online.

    About the date, though… There is a reason Saturday is the most sought for; on Friday, people still have to work. Saturday is complete free, and the day after is also, so people can stay up late and drink, what they surely cannot on a Sunday!

  • I was discussing what it takes to plan a wedding with my SO the other night and I took the side that overall it shouldn’t be too difficult to do. She was of the opinion that there are a million and one things that you need to account for, and that it takes months and months to get everything right.

    Is this something that’s prevalent among women? I mean, for me, it’s a special day and all but there’s no point in sinking a sizable sum of money in to it if it means making our lives together more difficult afterward.

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