11 Exceptional Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
Ah, weddings. Such a fun, joyous event full of happiness, excitement and expense!
We all know how expensive weddings can be. There is a reason why lots of parents save money years in advance for these types of occasions. Or if you are footing the bill by yourself, wedding costs can be crushing.
Thankfully, there are some easy and effective ways to save money on your wedding.
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1. Destination Weddings- Wedding and Honeymoon at the Same Time!
A lot of people assume destination weddings are out of their price range. But did you know they are typically cheaper than traditional weddings?
The average traditional wedding cost is roughly $25,000 for 100 people to attend. Conversely, destination weddings average $17,000 for the same amount of people.
Why the difference in price? Well first of all, you typically pay for yourselves and not much of the guest expense if you opt for a destination wedding. Once you take care of your travel, wedding package, clothes and photographer, the rest is minimal expense. The guests are mainly eating and drinking at their own expense as part of their stay.
Plus, with a destination wedding, you can consider it as your honeymoon too! Two expenses rolled into one. Your budget will thank you!
My spouse and I actually did a destination wedding and we don't regret it one bit. And it was far less expensive than the average destination cost noted earlier. We and our immediate family and friends had a great time and have lasting memories we won't forget.
2. Wedding Cake Cost Saving Ideas
The average cost for a wedding cake is between $350 and $450 nationwide. This obviously fluctuates with tiers, flavors, and decorations. I used to make wedding cakes as a side hustle back in the day, and I charged $1.50/serving which is on the cheaper side of wedding cake costs. Keep that in mind folks when looking for your wedding cake!
Don't feel you absolutely need to go this route though. Guests just want something sweet after the big meal. Instead of a massive cake, you could opt for something like cup cakes. I see this all the time now. Heck, even pie and cookies are dessert items people are doing now. Lots of non traditional options to do. The most unique idea I saw at a wedding were stacks of beautifully glazed donuts. Yum!
If you feel cake is a must, you could even do some sheet cakes instead of a tiered cake to shave off some cost.
3. Wedding Flowers and Decor
The cost of wedding flowers and the other assorted decor items can really add up. Consider artificial flowers instead of the real ones that will just die after a few days anyways. Or have no flowers at all. Perhaps the bridesmaids can carry lanterns and wreaths as an alternative to flower bouquets.
My bridesmaids and I got together one weekend, shopped for their dresses as well as bought supplies to make their own bouquets. I think we went to the local dollar store and hobby lobby and found everything we needed to make beautiful arrangements! It's also nice to use as decor in a vase next to our wedding photos.
4. Wedding Invitations Don't Have to Cost an Arm and a Leg!
Did you know the average cost of wedding invitations costs $650? And some spend $2,000-$3,000! This is crazy for something that people throw in the garbage after a short period of time.
The most cost effective way to save money on invitations is of course, to do it yourself. You can choose to skip the multiple layer invite and just do a postcard. A photo invitation is another affordable and easy method. Or if you want the traditional look, you can buy the cardstock at a discount store and take it to the printers separately.
5. Be Your Own Wedding DJ
With technology as easy and accessible as it is these days, a person doesn't need to spend extra money on a DJ. If the venue has a sound system, you might be able to plug in a laptop and have a friend crank out the playlist for you.
Just be sure to give it a test run first and make sure to keep your friend well hydrated through the wedding night!
6. Wear a Previously Owned Wedding Dress
Need something that falls into the category of "something borrowed?" You might not think a wedding dress fits this description but consider the savings.
Most women likely wear their dress one time and then either stuff it in the closet or sell it. When the average price of a wedding dress is $1,631, this is a tremendous waste. If you could buy a dress you like on ebay in excellent shape for a quarter of the price of new, why not?
7. Say No to an Open Bar
The phrase "open bar" is a fun thing to hear as a guest but when you are the one paying the tab, it's best to go a different route. I would suggest buying a couple kegs of beer and perhaps some table wine.
If cocktails are desired, it's most cost efficient to have the bar/reception crew take care of this and have guests pay for their own drinks. I've often seen parents of the bride or groom passing out free drink tickets to guests during a setup like this. Makes for a fun evening!
8. Hire a Friend For Your Wedding Photography
Since photography is such a popular side hustle, you might have a friend or contact who could take your wedding photos or video at a reasonable price. This is typically far cheaper than professional photography companies.
If you don't happen to have any contacts, try to take advantage of social media and inquire to the proper local groups on recommendations. And be sure to get multiple quotes and negotiate prices!
9. Skip a Saturday Wedding to Save Money
Saturday weddings are the most popular by far. What does this mean? More money of course.
If you elect to have your wedding on a Friday, you should be able to get a cheaper rate. You could really get crazy and have the wedding during the middle of the week but it might cause you to lose some guests. Wait, does that mean less mouths to feed?!?
10. Borrow or Purchase Items from Other Newlyweds
Make sure to ask around via friends or even Facebook to find items like centerpieces that other newlyweds may have recently used. They might sell them to you for a tiny cost or even just give them away.
And once you are done with them, you have the ability to sell the items yourself!
11. Say No To Gyms, Crash Dieting, Teeth Whitening And Tanning Beds Before Getting Married
I won't lie; I did all of the above before I was getting married. And I horribly regret it. I'm going to be honest and go there - there's so much stupid stigma about looking celebrity ready for your wedding day. But the truth is, the person is marrying you, for who you are right now! Not who you will be on your wedding day.
Tanning beds are NOT safe and my biggest regret. Anyone want suspicious new moles removed when they are 27?! Umm, no. If you feel the need to look bronzed like a Kardashian, look into alternatives such as spray tans.
Professional teeth whitening can be very expensive. I've used Crest Whitestrips over the years and have been very happy with the results.
Removes 10 years of tough set-in stains from coffee, wine and smoking
It's important to have physical health and do everything in moderation. Don't go crazy killing yourself to be skinny in a gym! There are many ways you can get fit in your home. And this just in if you aren't aware - muscles are sexy and booties are in! Lunges have been the best way for me to increase my metabolism, give me core strength and oh yeah - the booya booty.
Bonus! 15 Wedding Budget Hacks
If you'd like even more ideas on how to save money on your wedding, check out this youtube video. There are some great pointers on items most people wouldn't think of.
Don't Bust Your Budget On A Wedding!
This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to saving costs on a wedding. One of my favorite lines is, "I prefer my money to be working for me instead of hanging in my closet."
Well, the same thing can be said about weddings. I didn't want all of my money blown on just one event! The destination wedding in my mind was a good deal because I was just graduating from college, in debt up to my eyeballs with student loans and I never went on spring break trips or other vacations. We were overdue for some fun! Our friends still talk about how much fun they had as well and described our wedding as, "definitely the way to go."
I honestly could go on and on how amazing our wedding experience was vs. the stressed out big wedding experiences my friends have gone through. But I will wrap it up!
In addition to a destination, you can make a quick trip down to City Hall or have a private ceremony (hey baby let's go to Vegas!).
There are many alternatives to wedding cakes. Get creative and think of pies, donuts or a candy buffet. DIY your wedding invites or look at e-invites. Of course think of alternatives to fresh flowers such as other decor you can use (and reuse in your home!). Get married in the off-season, not on a weekend and hire a friend to do the photography. Consider buying used items from other couples (yes, even when it comes to the clothes and dresses!). And if you can say no to an open bar, maybe you can even cheapen the food up by having a day-time picnic!
Be sure to pay attention to #11 in my list above! It might be the most overlooked areas, yet biggest hitters.
Have you started planning your wedding or are helping someone? What other ways have you thought about to save money?