Wedding Budget Hacks: Tricks for Cutting Costs Without Your Guests Noticing
Finding ways to stretch your wedding budget is almost a rite of passage for brides. While most of you are trying desperately to stay within budget (you've got bigger priorities, after all) you're also struggling with the fear of seeming cheap.
The key is to choose the right places to cut corners– basically in the areas that your guests aren't likely to notice.
To help you out here’s a quick guide on the best wedding budget hacks to cut costs without your guests noticing.
We promise, no one will notice a thing.
Savvy ways to cut costs that your guests won't even notice!
WEDDING INVITATIONS: WAYS TO SAVE
One area that is easily price-slashed is your wedding invites and stationery. Your guests won't be able to tell if you've ordered from a posh paperie or DIYed your day-of papers. There are so many options to do your wedding paper goods for less, even if you're not a trained designer! Here are just a few ideas to get you started saving:
Full-on DIY wedding paper extravaganza:
- Make your own wedding invitations. Use free software like Canva and design your own, and print them using your inkjet printer at home!
- Get your cardstock papers in bulk from a discount store to save on hard costs.
- Take part in Staples Ink Recycling Rewards to save money on your printer ink.
- A good printer will get you through the job from save-the-dates to thank you cards!
- Invest in a good paper trimmer or take your cards to your nearest FedEx/Kinkos to have your papers cut in bulk.
Semi-DIY wedding invites:
- Look for wedding suite designs on Etsy or Creative Market that you can customize.
- Check out DownloadandPrint.com for a plethora of wedding templates you can customize with Microsoft Word.
- Print using discounted online printers like Vistaprint, OvernightPrints or Staples!
Order professional invites with cost-saving tweaks:
- Pass on fancy printing methods like letterpress or thermography. Flat printing is just as elegant and definitely cheaper.
- Opt for a black and white printed design to save on the cost of colored inks.
- Make sure to choose a standard-sized invitation to avoid heftier postage fees.
- Have your guests RSVP online to save the cost of a mailed response card.
WEDDING CATERING: WAYS TO SAVE
Obviously, your wedding reception meal represents a huge cost, but there are several ways to cut your expenses that will float right over your guests' heads.
- Opt out of additional decorative items (no fancy ice sculptures, necessary!)
- Choose a small display wedding cake to use in pictures. Then, have a regular sheet cake in the back for guests. Your guests will never realize where their piece came from!
- Choose inexpensive foods for your wedding catering menu. You can serve quite a spread of affordable pasta for far less than plated steak dinners.
- Have a brunch wedding instead of a dinner affair. You can treat the crowd to a full, luxurious breakfast menu at a more affordable price point than a seated dinner.
READ THIS: How I saved half off on my wedding
WEDDING DRESSES: WAYS TO SAVE
You may think that your wedding dress is a difficult thing to cut back on– everyone wants to look their best on their wedding day. However, the dress can be one of the most expensive things in your entire budget if you're not careful. Check out these cost-cutting wedding dress tips that your guests will never pick up on:
- Shop wedding dress sample sales. We promise your Great Aunt Mildred will never know you scored a gently-used sample instead of a brand new bridal beauty!
- Buy a pre-owned wedding dress. Your guests will never know that you're not the first bride to wear your designer gown.
- Rent a dress for the big day. This trend is becoming popular because it’s so affordable – and you don’t have to stress about getting the gown cleaned afterward.
WEDDING DECOR: WAYS TO SAVE
Of course, you want your wedding decor to look insta-worthy, but on a budget! You want to find cheap wedding decor that doesn't look cheap. When it comes to your wedding decorations, there are quite a few ways to cut costs without your guests noticing.
- Upcycle items to use as wedding decor. Think of using items you'd otherwise throw away–like glass bottles and jars– and turn them into stunning centerpieces! You'd be surprised what a can of spray paint can do to transform trash to treasure.
- Cut out the monogrammed napkins. You think people will notice them, but they won’t.
- Buy used wedding decorations from former brides. Check out buy/sell groups on Facebook, or shop eBay!
- Use fresh flowers sparingly, but make it suit your theme and your guests will be nonethewiser. Example: if you're bibliophiles, incorporate used books into your centerpieces!
- Consider renting silk wedding flowers instead of using fresh. Some options are so lifelike, your guests will never notice that they aren't the real thing!
WEDDING DATE: WAYS TO SAVE
Finally, a simple plan for cutting costs is to schedule your wedding for a Friday evening or a Sunday. Saturdays are the most popular days and, consequently, the most expensive. Your guests won't notice a difference in your event no matter what day of the week it takes place on. So why not save yourself an extra 30% on your costs by choosing an off-peak date for your wedding!
Think you can cut costs without your wedding guests noticing?
It’s true that subtly planning a cheap wedding calls for dedication and great attention to detail. Plus, some truly creative cost-cutting ideas! But it’ll all be worth it once you’re lying beachside in Bali, with extra money in the bank. We hope this list of ideas helps spark some creativity and some budget-savvy skills!
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Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.