50 Proven Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
Before we start on money saving tips, let's talk about the guest list. The best way to control costs is to control the guest list. Consider inviting only close friends, immediate family, and people you see and enjoy on a regular basis.
1. Have a small, beautifully decorated cake to cut into, take pictures, etc. Serve your guests slices from a plain sheet cake served from the kitchen. They will never know it didn’t come from the fancy cake.
2. If you are inviting children to the wedding, make sure the caterer has a separate children’s menu. The kids will be thrilled with chicken fingers, fries, and ice cream and it will be much less expensive.
3. Include the reception information on the invitation. Then, you don’t have to have a separate reception card.
4. Rent a luxury car for transport to the reception, airport, etc. instead of a limo. The best man can serve as your chauffeur.
5. Purchase blank invitations and print them on a laser printer. Invitation kits can be found on the True Blue Bridal Invitation page.
6. Design and print your own wedding program.
7. Carry a family Bible instead of a bouquet. This is an old Puritan tradition that you can honor.
8. Make your own pew bows with silk flowers and tulle.
9. Buy an informal dress. Try a bridesmaid dress or prom dress. If you want a train, consider making your own, it would cost around $30. If you can buy a dress off the rack you will save big bucks!
10. Ask a family members or friends to cook the meal and be in charge of setting up the dinner buffet.
11. Ask one of your more gregarious friends to serve as the DJ. It’s not that tough to run a CD changer for dancing. You can burn your own CD that someone can put into the sound system and you're good for the evening!
12. Ask a family member or friend with talent and equipment to photograph and/or videograph your wedding.
13. Ask someone who enjoys baking to make the sheet cakes as mentioned in Tip #1.
14. Make your own silk flower arrangements. If you have someone that you know that does good work, ask them to help you. Most craft supply stores offer free floral arranging classes.
15. If you have your heart set on an expensive invitation, select a coordinating reception card, RSVP card & envelopes from a less expensive line of stationery.
16. Use a non-traditional reception site. ie a historic location in your area, a park or public grounds, beach, restaurant, zoo, museum, or a family or friend’s home. Get creative and consider the activities you enjoy doing and try to incorporate them into your special day.
17. If you want Hershey bar candy favors, buy the candy at a discount store and make your own labels in Word using picture boxes and word art.
18. For reception table centerpieces, buy roses as your local discount store (usually around $10/dozen), tie a ribbon with your guests names on each stem, and put them in a simple glass vase. At the end of the festivities, each guest can take home their rose.
19. Have your attendants wear a simple black dress that they probably already own or can easily borrow.
20. Have a wedding during the Christmas season; the church is already beautifully decorated with poinsettias and tree.
21. Have a champagne dessert or gourmet coffee and dessert reception.
22. Use the same florist as the church uses for alter flowers. She can coordinate the alter flowers for the weekend with your wedding flowers.
23. Use RSVP postcards. A postcard requires far less postage.
24. When making your guest list, use the following rule: Invite only those whom you have seen in their home or yours in the past year. You can make exceptions for family but this will help you separate the work friends from the real friends.
25. Set a budget for the wedding and allow the couple to keep what they don’t spend.
26. Get price quotes from the reception site/caterer you want to use. With a budget, that will help you know how many guests you can afford. If your guest list is larger than you can afford, trim your list or select a less expensive reception site.
27. Make an “A list” and “B list” of wedding guests. When you receive regrets from someone on the “A list”, send out a “B list” invitation.
28. Many churches and hotels have a wedding coordinator on staff. They can often take care of the cake, food, beverages, etc. thus avoiding the need to have a wedding planner.
29. Hire the best photographer you can afford and purchase the smallest package he/she offers. Don’t get sucked in to the “big fat wedding album” myth. Really, as time goes by, all that is important is a picture of you and your beloved in your wedding clothes and a group shot of your wedding party and parents.
30. Negotiate with the photographer for the best deal you can get. The profit margin is huge and he can afford to give you a break. Also, negotiate for the negatives. Most photographers will give them to you after a certain amount of time has passed.
31. Don’t order any extra photos until a year has passed. At that point if you still want them…go for it!
32. If you have a photography school at your local college or university, talk to the professor and get a recommendation for an upperclassmen to take your wedding photos. They can often use it for a final project and will be happy to do it for expenses.
33. If you want to give your guests favors, consider giving one favor per family instead of one per place setting. You can usually get a more elegant favor and spend less money with this strategy.
34. The Federal Housing Authority began offering a bridal registry in 1996. Couples can open an interest-bearing account at one of 30 participating lenders. Your guests can make a deposit into your home down payment account! A search of FHA Bridal Registry on your internet provider will bring up the different options for you to choose from.
35. Have a morning wedding. Prices for catering etc. are cheaper at that time of day. As an added bonus your liquor bill will be greatly reduced if you choose to serve alcoholic beverages at all in the morning.
36. Think twice about a wedding on a Saturday in June. That is when prices are at their highest.
37. Consider having an expensive wedding and an inexpensive honeymoon, or vice versa. Don’t splurge on both!
38. Make the most of your gift registries. Instead of asking for luxuries, ask for things you need and will use regularly.
39. Buy supplies in bulk at your local discounter.
40. If you were high school sweethearts, consider having your reception in the school cafeteria.
41. Have a dessert table instead of a fancy cake.
42. Hire a square dance caller instead of a DJ. A good square dance caller can teach the steps and get everyone involved and having fun!
43. Get creative, instead of a traditional wedding, think outside the box, think memorable, think fun. For example a cookout in a barn with a square dance caller is a whole lot cheaper than a fancy sit down banquet in the local 5 star hotel. And, it would probably be more fun for everyone!
44. Don’t offer alcoholic beverages. Choose to serve sparkling cider for the toast with plenty of tea and coffee.
45. Where the guest list is concerned, think less is more. Honor close family and friends with an invitation. The best way to cut costs for your wedding is to control the guest list.
46. Consider renting your wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses. After all, you are going to wear it just once.
47. Borrow a wedding gown from a family member or friend. They will be honored that you asked.
48. Candlesadd a lot of pizzazz for a low cost. Use them wherever possible in place of flowers.
49. Have a late evening wedding and make it clear that the reception is a champagne dessert.
50. Once you have established your budget, decide what elements of the wedding day are most important to you and splurge there. Let the rest slide!