100+ Genius Ways to Save Money on a Wedding
Looking for tips and advice to tell you how to save money for a wedding? Don’t miss this epic list of savvy wedding budget hacks: over 100 ideas to save on every aspect of your celebration.
If you are looking at your wedding budget and thinking it’s not sufficient, you might be looking for ways to save money on your wedding. This post is filled with 100 bits of advice to help you plan a beautiful wedding on a budget you can actually afford. It’s as simple as determining your priorities, setting your budget, and holding yourself accountable for sticking to it!
If you are planning a wedding on a tight budget, fear not–it is possible!
The average wedding cost for having a ceremony and reception in 2019 was actually $28,000. But if you’ve been a reader of The Budget Savvy Bride for any length of time, you know that it’s totally possible to do it for less. Just browse our real weddings section for stacks on stacks of proof from real couples who’ve pulled their big days off for much less.
Savvy couples find ways to proceed within their chosen budget. With smart planning, it is possible to save significantly while still planning a meaningful event. One that will leave everyone in attendance with memories to last a lifetime!
And it doesn’t have to come with a sacrifice in quality. Sometimes, simply doing a little extra research and making compromises in the right places can give you almost identical results with a smaller budget. That’s what we call planning your wedding the savvy way!
The tips in this post include money-saving strategies, sneaky wedding budget hacks, DIY alternatives, and ideas to plan your day the savvy way!
General Planning: Ways to save money on a wedding
1. Cut your guest list to reduce your cost. Fewer people=lower expenses!
2. Choose an off-peak wedding date.
3. Pick a location that doesn’t need much decorating. Embrace nature’s beauty!
4. Do what feels right for you and ignore the “must-haves.” Feel free to cut out anything that isn’t a priority for you.
5. Make use of your network. Recruit talented friends and family to be wedding helpers.
6. Borrow items you can use for your celebration. From decor to accessories, anything you don’t have to buy will save you some cash.
7. Choose a non-traditional venue like a public park, library, zoo, etc.
8. Know someone with a big backyard or empty land? Turn it into your own outdoor wedding venue!
9. Find a venue that can host both ceremony and reception to avoid doubling your decor costs.
10. Keep a record of expenses as you go so you can adjust if you get off track along the way.
Savvy Shopping: tips to get the best deals for your wedding
11. Order online and use a coupon code! Check out our exclusive wedding deals page for current offers.
12. Order in bulk when possible. Even if you order more than you need, you can sell the rest to another bride!
13. Consider the cost of buying vs. renting. This applies to everything from attire to decorations! You can even rent your wedding flowers!
14. Check out alternative sources like your local home repair stores, thrift stores, yard sales, etc.
16. Do thorough research and be sure to price compare to find the best option for each item you buy.
17. When purchasing items, consider if it’s something you can reuse, re-purpose, or re-sell after the big day to recoup some of your costs.
18. Shop for certain items seasonally to save money. Candy is super cheap after Valentine’s Day, Easter, or Halloween!
19. Make a honeymoon registry so you can get funding towards the cost of your post-wedding celebration!
20. Get cash back when you shop online when you use Rakuten!
Paper & Stationery: Tips to slash your spending
22. “Brand” your wedding – incorporating coordinating paper details throughout your day will help it feel cohesive and more luxe.
23. Opt for flat printing over pricier options like letterpress or thermography.
24. Send digital save the dates to cut down on the extra expense.
25. Make sure your wedding invitations are under 1 oz to keep your postage costs down.
26. Create a free wedding website to keep your guests informed.
27. Download free printables to get professionally designed styles without spending a dime!
28. Go with an RSVP postcard or have your guests RSVP on your wedding website to save on extra postage.
29. Utilize free design platforms like Canva to design everything from your save-the-dates to your thank you cards!
30. Skip additional enclosures like directions cards or accommodations cards by putting relevant info on your wedding website.
Design + Wedding Decor: tips to keep your costs low
31. Make your own decor using paper! It’s incredibly inexpensive, and can be used to make anything from tissue paper flowers to Photo Booth backdrops, and more!
32. Incorporate cheap items like old books, thrift store finds, etc into your decor. You could even choose to include free items like rocks or branches that you can gather for free!
33. Give glass bottles, jars, or cans new life- coat them in spray paint to use as centerpiece vases.
34. Use items that will come in handy during other times of the year — pull out those white Christmas lights and use them to decorate your reception space.
35. Choose a simple color scheme. All white and neutral tones will give your wedding an effortlessly luxurious look.
36. Lighting can have a big impact on your event. Consider your space and find lighting solutions that enhance the ambiance of your venue without the need for extra decor.
37. Place visual emphasis on a few key areas of your reception. Adding special linens to the sweetheart table, cake table, or gift table can make a big impact!
38. Pull-in items from your home decor to use to decorate your wedding, or re-purpose your decor items in your home after the big day!
39. Keep decor minimal for a chic and simple look. Sometimes less is more!
40. Make your decor pull double duty. Place wedding bouquets on reception tables as centerpieces and move aisle decor to decorate the dance floor.
Alcohol and bar: strategies to save on booze
41. Find a venue that will allow you to BYOB. Purchasing your own alcohol gives you more control over the cost.
42. Purchase your alcohol from discount stores like Costco to get your booze on a budget.
43. Make your own Wine Labels for a personalized touch that disguises the brand if you buy cheap wine!
44. Serve only Wine + Beer to avoid crazy bar costs. Shift the focus of fun from alcohol to some other less expensive activities!
45. Skip the champagne– your guests can raise their glass for a toast with whatever they are sipping on.
46. Serve a signature drink instead of having a full open bar. Tie it into your theme to give an added personal touch!
47. Skip “cocktail hour” and go straight into dinner service to avoid a higher bar tab.
48. Close the bar early and serve coffee or a sweet treat to send your guests off!
49. Set a drink limit. Only purchase what you can afford and once it’s gone, it’s gone!
50. Serve wine spritzers or punch to make your alcohol go farther.
Food & Catering: advice to get cheap eats
51. Choose low-cost foods like pasta for your meal.
52. Go with a simple wedding cake design, and skip the fancy fondant!
53. Hire your favorite cheap local restaurant for your wedding meal instead of a traditional caterer. Who doesn’t love tacos or pizza?
54. Consider having your wedding early in the day and serve brunch! Eggs and pancakes are very inexpensive.
55. Display a small decorative cake for cutting but serve simple sheet cake to your guests.
56. Think outside the box for catering– consider food trucks, taco bars, shrimp boils or a pig roast!
57. Get your wedding cake from a grocery store’s bakery. Publix and Safeway have excellent cakes!
58. Offer a dessert buffet instead of a big fancy cake. Various sweets and pastries will cost much less than a tiered wedding cake.
59. No cake = no cake cutting fees. Opt for store-bought or homemade cupcakes instead!
60. Host your reception at a restaurant! If you’re having an intimate wedding reception, you can easily reserve a private room. Less need for decor, too!
Wedding Attire: tips for saving money on your wedding dress and accessories
61. Shop sample sales to score a fabulous deal on a dress!
62. Buy an inexpensive dress you love from a non-bridal retailer. It doesn’t even *have* to be white!
63. Choose a pre-owned gown from another bride for significant savings on designer dresses.
64. Consider renting your wedding attire rather than buying. Rent the Runway has fab dresses that are beautifully bridal!
65. Borrow your accessories or rent them instead of buying new ones. Most likely you’ll only wear them once, anyway.
66. Shop seasonal sales and score a great deal on end-of-year clearance items.
67. Make your own accessories like the veil or bridal sash. Many retail versions have a super high markup and will cost much less to DIY.
68. Wear an heirloom from a family member. Not only will it save you money, it will also add extra meaning to your wedding outfit.
69. Get your wedding day makeup done for free at your local department store. Often you can get a mini-makeover with the purchase of a small beauty item!
70. Don’t be afraid to shop online— just make sure you check out return policies and terms!
Florals & greenery: how to get cheap flowers
71. Use fresh flowers sparingly. Only use fresh flowers in your wedding party bouquets and boutonnieres.
72. Use single blooms in bud vases for a chic, minimalist look, or float a few flowers in vases.
73. Choose inexpensive filler flowers like baby’s breath, carnations, or greenery to create an airy feel.
74. Opt for all-white blooms and keep things neutral for cost savings.
75. Choose flowers that are in-season during your wedding month to get the best prices.
76. Order wholesale flowers and arrange your own bouquets and centerpieces.
77. Skip fresh flowers completely! Make your own bouquets from fabric or paper, and create alternative wedding decor.
78. While big, pricey blooms like peonies take up space, using smaller, cheaper flowers en-masse to recreate can create a luxe look for less.
79. Use fake flowers instead of fresh blooms. You can even sell them to another bride after the big day!
80. Consider using potted plants instead of expensive floral arrangements as centerpieces.
Music and more: saving money on the odds and ends for your wedding
81. Be your own DJ. Create the perfect playlist to rock out to at your reception.
82. Use Spotify or Apple Music to run your playlist so you don’t have to pay to download hundreds of individual songs.
83. Have any talented family and friends? Recruit the musicians in your life to take the stage to sing or play music during your ceremony.
84. Skip the pricey limousine rental and grab an Uber or Lyft instead!
85. Let your wedding favors act as decor for your reception! Set up a candy buffet as a fun, interactive guest gift.
86. Make your own wedding favors. Most will end up in the trash, so don’t waste your money.
87. DJs are less expensive than a live band, so skip the multi-member music groups if you’re on a tight budget.
88. Keep your bridal party small in order to reduce costs. You’ll spend less if you’re paying for fewer gifts, attire, hair, and makeup, etc.
89. Leave kids off the invite list. Removing little ones will help keep your guest count lower.
90. Set up a DIY Photo Booth with instant film cameras instead of hiring a professional photo booth company.
Vendors & suppliers: how to get the best prices
91. Find a photographer who offers their services a la carte instead of booking an expensive package.
92. Hire a photographer for fewer hours to get the best option for the best price.
93. Book a day-of-coordinator to oversee the timeline, schedule, setup, and more for your big day. They are worth their weight in gold!
94. Book top priority vendors ASAP to secure the best rates. Photographers and venues are typically the first things you should book!
95. Gather quotes and info from several different vendors to compare offerings before making a decision.
96. Consider having a “first look” prior to the ceremony. Getting the bulk of your portraits done before the wedding will cut down on the time you are paying for.
97. Don’t have the budget for an officiant? Have one of your friends or family get ordained online to officiate your ceremony.
98. Cut the celebration short- many people end up leaving early anyway.
99. Find a venue that doesn’t have exclusive vendor contracts. Choosing your own vendors for each service gives you more control over your spending.
100. Find up-and-coming vendors who are talented, but more affordable. Get a great deal by giving a newbie a shot!
101. Consider a destination wedding! If you’re looking for money-saving tips specifically for an out-of-town wedding, click here.
102. Choose an affordable destination for your wedding. Certain places are much less expensive when it comes to hosting an event.
103. Check out our real weddings on a budget to view actual weddings with real budget breakdowns — so helpful for seeing what’s possible on your budget!
There are *so* many ways to save money on your wedding.
We hope you found this post helpful if you were looking to learn how to save money on a wedding. We know that you likely won’t take on every one of these suggestions. You should spend on the areas that are important to you and find ways to save on the areas that aren’t!
Remember: it’s your day. Focus on what actually matters to you.
Keep things in perspective and try not to sweat the small stuff.
Your wedding is a special day, but it’s just one day at the beginning of a beautiful life in marriage.