Getting married almost 6 months ago was a big game changer for my finances. First, my husband and I were faced with the task of keeping our dream wedding within our budget. We knew we couldn’t afford to spend the typical $25,000-$30,000+ on our dream wedding, but still wanted to live in the moment and have an amazing traditional wedding that we could remember for years to come.
Funds were already limited since I got engaged smack dab in the middle of my debt repayment journey. Taking out a loan, carrying a balance on our credit cards, and accumulating more debt to pay for a wedding was not an option for us. Waiting until we could afford or even justify spending more than $10,000 on a wedding would cause us to push off our big day by at least 5 years – that wasn’t going to happen.
Instead of feeling sorry for myself or deciding to delay my gratification completely and accept the idea that I couldn’t afford to get married, I decided to tap into my frugal mindset and habits to find real strategies and tactics to help my husband and I save big on our dream wedding.
If you are finding yourself in a similar situation, here are 25 easy ways to save a significant amount of money on your wedding.
Save Money on the Ceremony and Reception
1. Cut your guest list. Keep the guest list tight by only inviting close family and friends and limiting +1s.
2. Have your wedding during the off season.
3. Have bigger tables so you pay less for centerpieces and tablecloths.
4. Have your ceremony and wedding at the same location.
5. Get married in your church.
6. Purchase wedding bands during Valentine’s Day sales.
Save Money on Food and Decor
7. Have a buffet-style dinner.
8. Get married in the morning and have a brunch-style meal afterward.
9. Have cupcake tiers instead of cake.
11. Have a BBQ or potluck-style meal if you are doing a very laid back reception or backyard wedding.
12.Serve vegetarian appetizers during the cocktail hour.
13. User more greenery in your wedding bouquets along with filler flowers.
14. Purchase decorations from the dollar store like vases, candles, fake flowers etc.
15. Rent decorations instead of buying them.
Save Money on Decor and Attire
16. Order your wedding dress online after you determine your measurements and the style you like.
17. Purhcase shoes at a consignment shop. (I got my beautiful silver shoes at a store called Clothes Mentor for $4. Unfortunately, they didn’t get too much action since my dress was so long most people didn’t see them.)
18. Take advantage of buy one get one tux rental deals. For example: Rent 5 tuxes and get your 6th tux rental free.
19. Wear your mother or grandmother’s dress. You can take it to a tailor to alter and modernize it.
20. Buy your dress at a retail store instead of a bridal shop. (My sister bought her wedding dress at the mall.)
More General Ways to Save
21. Negotiate with vendors and ask for deals.
22. Keep your bridal party small.
23. Skip the open bar and do a cash bar or prepare a signature drink instead.
24. Design and print your own wedding invitations.
25. Hire a student photographer for engagement and wedding photos. If a friend or family member is good at taking photos, you can even ask them to photograph your wedding and rent a professional camera for them to use. Pittsburgh Lens Rentals provides photos and video equipment rentals.
26. Hire a DJ instead of a band for the reception.
27. Email your save-the-dates and skip seating cards at the reception.
28. Bonus Tip: Determine your values and focus on them during the entire planning process. Your big day is all about you and your future spouse so you should honor what you both want over what anyone else wants. When you stick to your values no matter what, you’ll find that you’ll spend less on aspects of your wedding that don’t really matter to you which will free up more money for what is important.
My Personal Wedding Savings Strategies
I understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to pulling off the perfect budget wedding but if you’re anything like me, you probably want to spend as little as possible so you can focus on other aspects of your finances like paying off debt, saving, contributing to retirement, and breaking the dreaded paycheck to paycheck cycle.
My husband and I pulled off a fabulous wedding for only $9,000 which included a week-long stay in the Caribbean for our honeymoon. I recently released my very own wedding guide called Save Thousands on Your Dream Wedding that includes the specific savings tips, strategies, and resources along with the specific budget I used to save big on my traditional dream wedding.
Download the guide for yourself of a friend!
If you’d like to sign up to become an affiliate for the guide and receive a 50% commission for helping future brides slash their wedding expenses, you can email me at chonce (at) mydebtepiphany (dot) com for more info and so I can sign you up!
Stop Worrying About Money and Regain Control
Ready to regain control of your money? Take the first step with this free starter pack which includes:
- 2 Monthly Bill Calendar templates
- 1 'Start Paying Off Your Debt' Checklist
- 1 'Drastically Cut Your Expenses' Checklist