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helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank


You all know the love I have for the coupon site, Retail Me Not, and for saving money. They are my go-to site before doing any online shopping whatsoever. I'd measure to say that site saved me $100s of dollars in my wedding planning, and possibly $1000s of dollars in my life! So of course I wanted to share with you some relevant tips they posted for saving money on your big day!

Saving Money

1. Location, Location, Location

Be creative – contact your local parks department to see if there are decent deals on public parks. Going to the chapel? Off-season months like January, March, and November, are generally less expensive. Live in a costly city? Search nearby towns for more affordable venues. {BSB note: Sometimes venues that include everything like chairs, tables, linens, etc can actually be more expensive than hiring a rental company. Not always, but sometimes. Be sure to look at the breakdowns of all your options to choose the most cost-effective choice.}


2. Invitations

Forgo the blotted paper, bows and other decorations. Not only do these up the cost, but the post office will charge for the extra weight and bulk. Save money (and go green) by ditching the response cards and having guests reply online. {BSB note: I did this and saving the extra $ on a reply card envelope and postage for that was a big help in keeping our invite costs low}

3. Dining

Hire a caterer that provides everything you'll need, from the food right down to the plate it's served on. Have an elaborate “stunt cake” for the ceremonial cutting and a sheet cake for serving to guests. Not a cake fan? Cookies, brownies, even a self-serve Candy Bar are tasty (and affordable) alternatives. {BSB note: I always recommend checking out restaurants instead of specifically ‘caterers' as many restaurants do catering as well and have the necessary equipment required}

4. Drinking

Instead of a full bar, consider offering beer, wine and a signature cocktail. You can further reduce the tab by offering an open bar for the first hour and cash bar for the duration of the reception. {BSB note: Finding a venue where you can provide your own alcohol can save you a ton as well. We bought cases of 2 buck Chuck from Trader Joe's and beer from the Army PX and our alcohol costs were under $500!}

5. The Dress

If you're not wearing your Mom's, will your daughter wear yours? Consider renting your wedding dress instead. If you must buy, get on the mailing lists for local bridal shops, and you'll be privy to information like sample sales and trunk shows. {BSB note: Check out sites like and to find designer dresses on the cheap. They may have been worn once but you can get a major discount on them.}

6. Photography

You will cherish these photos forever. Make sure your photographer provides digital files, allowing you to make copies down the road. People will have cameras at the reception, so take all of the staged photos early. After the cake cutting and bouquet toss, send the pricey picture taker packing. {BSB note: We just requested the digital files instead of paying up front for a fancy album. There are plenty of consumer websites you can use to make a coffee table book such as Inkubook, Blurb, MyPublisher and then you can save up to buy a fancy album later.}

7. Music

If you are set on live music, check out the local university to see if a music student is available to play at your wedding. Like the DJ price, but shudder at the thought of doing the Macarena? Forgo potential embarrassment (and extra costs) by doing it yourself. Program your iPod and enlist friends to make sure there are no bumps along the way. {BSB note: We did the iPod thing / had a family member play guitar. It worked out really well for us. We actually created a playlist on the computer and ran it from my laptop instead of the iPod. It saved us so much money and went off without a hitch.}

8. “Professionals”

What better time to enlist the help of your friends and family? A well-spoken friend can officiate and crafty cousins can put together centerpieces, invitations and favors. Recruit the web savvy to search sites like for discounts on goods and services. {BSB note: I had lots of help from my mom and her friends to help in assembling our pomander decorations and placing our customized water bottle labels onto our wine bottles.}

9. Decorations

If you plan your wedding around a major holiday, the church or event hall may already be decorated, saving you a bundle in flowers. Not that lucky? Choose local wildflowers, a good alternative to pricier roses. You can also use candles instead of flowers to bring an intimate, romantic feel to your ceremony. {BSB note: We did our centerpieces very cheaply, collecting vintage bottles and jars from thrift stores and using sparing wildflowers instead of full, lush arrangements.}

10. Honeymoon

Who needs another toaster? Register for your honeymoon instead. Chose activities you're planning, your hotel, etc., and guests can pay for a piece of your trip at {BSB note: Check out sites like for vacation homes that people list for rent online. You can rent houses with full kitchens instead of a hotel where you have to pay to go out to dinner every night.}


These and more money-saving tips can be found at the RetailMeNot blog or follow them on Twitter.

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About Jessica

Jessica is the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride; she launched the site in May of 2008, shortly after becoming engaged. Jessica has been recognized as a budget wedding expert by various media outlets and continues to share realistic inspiration and actionable tips to help brides save money on their weddings. Google

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