Wedding Budget: 17 Ways to Save

Setting and keeping your wedding budget feels like a big hurdle, but it doesn't have to be. From wedding flowers to reception venues, there are budget savers at every step of wedding planning. Check out our tips to plan a wedding on a budget with ease.

Choose a Bargain Wedding Venue

Ceremony and reception locations can be huge wedding budget busters. Our tips for a budget venue? First, skip the at-home wedding. Renting tents, tables, and chairs will cost way more than an all-inclusive site. Second, consider hosting your ceremony and reception in the same spot. A swap from chairs to tables will cost less than two locations.

Budget Wedding Tip: The less formal your wedding, the less expensive it will be. If you're OK with casual fare in a borrowed space, you'll save a lot more.

Don't Do a Saturday Wedding

Even though Saturday is the most popular day to walk down the aisle, consider hosting a Friday or Sunday wedding. Wedding vendors will often give deals on off-days.

Budget Wedding Tip: Be sure to consider your guests' schedules for an off-day wedding. Friday weddings should be in the evening, and Sunday nuptials should finish early in the day.

Shorten the Guest List

The average cost per guest is about $200. That means limiting your guest list is crucial to cutting wedding costs. Start with these tips:

  • Friends (including parents' friends) should know both you and your fiance.
  • Coworkers should only be invited if you are friends outside of the office.
  • When it comes to "plus-ones," have you met them? If you consider your girlfriend's significant other a friend, it could be imporatant to invite them, married or not.

Keep Dinner Simple

Food is an important part of any wedding, even more so if you're planning a wedding on a budget. Ways to save:

  • Try a brunch or an appetizer or dessert-only wedding. Make sure it's clear to guests before the wedding that you're not offering an entree.
  • Have a firm guest list when you speak to your caterer. You don't want to pay for extra food.
  • Get a clear cost estimate of plated meals versus buffets. Sometimes vendors charge more for a buffet because they're making more food.

Hit the Sample Sales

Dream of a beautiful designer wedding dress but don't want the large price tag? Check out designer sample sales; you can get amazing discounts. Also, consider buying your wedding dress right off the rack. Even though it has been tried on a few times, most dresses are wedding-ready after a quick spot clean.

Budget Wedding Tip: Ask about alteration costs before you buy. You might get a better deal with a tailor.

Get Creative with Grocery-Store Bouquets

Keep your wedding budget in check by arranging your own wedding flowers. With a few snips of stems and basic flower arranging skills, transform grocery-store bouquets into beautiful arrangements. Then personalize them with creative containers that match your wedding decorations, like this modern, wide-neck vase.

DIY Wedding Cake

Save big bucks on a wedding cake by making your own wedding desserts. From cupcakes to brownies, dress up classic desserts with piped frosting, glimmering sprinkles, or, like these mini white chocolate cakes, curls of chocolate.

Budget Wedding Tip: Your reception venue might charge a cake-cutting fee if you bring in outside baked goods. Weigh the costs before using an outside vendor for your cake.

Serve a Signature Drink

Weddings on a budget are made that much more fun with cocktails! Save by serving a single signature drink. This easy idea is a way to add to your wedding theme and will keep costs down.

Budget Wedding Tip: Another way to save on drinks is serving just beer and wine. Most people like one of the two, and you can get cases or kegs to save costs.

Bargain Centerpieces

Centerpieces are simple when you use a single kind of flower (voluminous hydrangeas are great for filling any vase) and repurposed garden containers. You can also borrow vases from friends and family and return them after the wedding.

Stay in Season

Save on flowers and food by choosing in-season items. Sourcing local produce and blooms means smaller transportation costs and a lower bill for you. Ask your florist to suggest a list of in-season flowers to fit your color scheme.

Double-Duty Flower Arrangements

Make your wedding flowers work twice as hard by using them a couple times throughout your wedding. Here, we repurposed the bride's bouquet as a centerpiece at the head table.

Handmade Favors

Store-bought wedding favors can get pricey, no matter how small your guest list. Check out these easy and creative ideas to thank your guest for joining you on your big day.

Something Borrowed

Borrowing your mom's or grandma's wedding dress will save you heaps of cash, and you may get better quality out of the deal. Vintage dresses often have better construction than mass-produced modern gowns.

Make Your Own Invitations

The Internet puts designing your own invitations within reach. Check out wedding sites or blogs for inspriation, and then download free fonts to get the look.

Budget Wedding Tip: Use standard envelopes to save on postage.

Be Your Own DJ

Personalize your wedding with your own tunes. Save money on a DJ or band by setting up your iPod with your favorite wedding playlist. Then connect your playlist to the reception space's sound system.

Budget Wedding Tip: If a band or DJ is a must, be sure to clarify the amount of time and equipment they'll need. Extra set-up time and sound equipment means a higher bill for you.

Save Hotel Rooms for Your Guests

Save your guests a few bucks by blocking off a set of rooms at a local hotel. Ask the hotel if they'll give you a discounted rate because you'll be booking so many rooms.

Make a Honeymoon Deal

From your honeymoon to your vendors, there are tons of hidden discounts that will help maintain your wedding budget. Many hotels offer honeymoon packages which is a great way to save. As for your vendors, bridal stores will often offer deals when you purchase your bridesmaids dresses or rent tuxes at their store. It never hurts to ask the question: Do you have a discount for weddings?

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