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How to Combat Inflation and Have a Beautiful Wedding on a Budget

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Costs are rising for everything, even weddings. But you can still have a beautiful event even if you’re on a tight budget. Check out these tips for how to beat wedding inflation.

Jessica Bishop Headshot

Inflation is an unfortunate reality for all of us– the costs of goods and services increase yearly, making it challenging to maintain our standard of living. Rising prices apply to every area of our lives, including milestone life moments like weddings.

And while managing a wedding budget is a typical concern for engaged couples, due to the elevated inflation rate, it’s an even bigger worry for those planning weddings this year. 

What is Inflation?

Inflation refers to the overall rise in prices of goods and services over time. In April, the reported inflation rate was 8.3%. That increase affects the cost of everything from the venue, food, drink, decorations, wedding attire, and more. 

For example, as the cost of food and other supplies increases, so will the cost of catering. Similarly, increases in the price of rental items such as tents, chairs, and linens can also add to the bottom line.

And with nearly every expense across the board going up in price, this can pose a significant problem for couples trying to plan their wedding celebrations on a limited budget. 

Can You Put a Price on Happiness?

It’s no secret that weddings can be pricey affairs. Between the cost of the venue, the catering, the flowers, and all the other details, it’s easy for couples to spend tens of thousands of dollars on the big day. Recent surveys reported $27,000 as the average national wedding budget in the United States, which tends to rise yearly.

While several factors can contribute to increases in wedding costs, inflation is among the most significant. For example, labor shortages and gas prices can affect the cost of catering and rental deliveries. At the same time, supply chain issues can impact the cost of anything from flowers or wedding dresses. In addition, a surge in demand – say, during peak wedding season – can lead to increased competition and higher prices. 

This year, an estimated 2.5 million wedding ceremonies will occur, the highest number of weddings since 1984 and a 20% increase over 2021. The number has risen due to a large amount of pandemic-related delays and postponements over the last two years. The uptick in events creates increased competition amongst couples to book desired wedding dates, vendors, and venues. 

Competition can be exceptionally stiff for service providers who can only work one wedding per day, such as a photographer or videographer. For example, if there are fewer florists in an area, they may be able to charge more for their services. Ultimately, it’s important to be aware of all of the factors that could impact your wedding budget so that you can plan accordingly.

Money-Saving Wedding Tips to Beat Inflation

Essentially, a wedding today will cost you more than the same wedding would have a few years ago. For couples wanting to tie the knot on a shoestring budget, here are some ways to offset inflation’s impact on your big day.

#1: Start Early

If you want a better chance of securing the wedding venue and vendors you want, the earlier you start your search, the better. Planning your wedding well in advance gives you more time to save funds to contribute to the celebration, which can be helpful when budgeting. Starting early also gives you more time to price compare and shop for the best deals on anything you need for the big day. 

#2: Trim Your Guest List

Second, be ruthless with the guest list. The more guests you host, the more expensive the wedding will be, inflation or not. Inviting only close family and friends, you’ll have a truly meaningful and intimate celebration. So to save money on everything involved in the wedding day, cut down the guest list.

#3: Be Flexible and Willing to Compromise

Prioritize the areas of your celebration that are most important to you, and be flexible on the areas you don’t care about as much. For example, if your biggest priority is photography, hire the best you can afford and find ways to cut costs elsewhere. Try to focus your efforts on the aspects of the wedding that are most meaningful, such as the ceremony.

#4: Get Married in The Off-Season. 

When it comes to availability in the wedding industry, the higher the demand, the higher the fee. Desirable dates in spring, summer, and early fall are highly competitive and get booked quickly. To save money, choose an off-season wedding date. Planning a wedding for winter or early spring when demand is lower will help couples combat any overall pricing increases.

#5 Have Your Wedding on a Day Other Than Saturday 

Venues tend to be cheaper on weekdays, so you can save a lot by having your wedding on a Friday or Sunday instead of Saturday. However, don’t be scared to choose a mid-week wedding date either. It will likely help you trim your guest list, and you’ll probably pay a lower fee for your wedding venue or other services.

#6 DIY What You Can. 

You can save money on wedding decorations by making them yourself or borrowing them from friends or family. Couples can also DIY wedding elements such as invitations, gifts, or floral arrangements. If you aren’t interested in or able to DIY, consider buying affordable items from discount stores or purchasing secondhand items. You can find a variety of pre-owned wedding items on wedding resale marketplaces like The Wedding Swap App where you can purchase directly from couples.  

#7 Utilize Alternative Wedding Resources. 

Another way to reduce costs is to choose less expensive alternatives to traditional wedding elements. For example, consider using a non-traditional resource for various aspects of the wedding day, such as renting silk flower arrangements from Something Borrowed Blooms instead of hiring a professional florist to create floral centerpieces or bridal bouquets. Using their service will save couples 70% compared to similar fresh flower arrangements by a pro. 

#8 Skip the Wedding Planner. 

In a recent survey by Gumtree, 44 percent of couples said they were skipping hiring a professional wedding planner. If your budget is extra tight, consider planning your own wedding and opting for an on-site coordinator to oversee logistics on the big day. 

#9 Have a Smaller Wedding Cake. 

Many event professionals report that wedding cakes are often wasted after the celebration because they rarely get eaten. Instead, couples can purchase a small cake for the ceremonial cutting and serve plain sheet cake to their guests. 

The Takeaway

The truth is that weddings will cost more in the next year. If couples don’t want or can’t afford to increase their wedding budget, they will have to choose between compromising pieces of their wedding vision or cutting their guest count.

Planning a wedding today requires flexibility, resourcefulness, creativity, and clearly defined values and priorities. With these tips, couples can have their (smaller, more affordably-priced) cake and eat it, too.

Jessica Bishop Headshot

Jessica Bishop is the founder of TheBudgetSavvyBride.com, and has worked in various areas and roles within the wedding industry since 2007. She is the author of the best-selling book,The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer and also hosts The Bouquet Toss Wedding Planning Podcast. Jessica's expert wedding advice and savvy savings tips have been featured by Good Morning America, COSMOPOLITAN, Glamour, and more. You can learn more about Jessica on her personal blog and professional website.