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How to Save Money on Wedding Expenses

Amber is a writer with a diverse amount of knowledge and experience on various topics, including budgeting, parenting, and many more!

Saying "I do!" doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg!

Saying "I do!" doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg!

Saving Money on Wedding Expenses

Weddings cost thousands of dollars today, and that's not including the honeymoon. Long gone are the traditional days when your parents would pay for your wedding. That doesn't mean that you're stuck with a wedding you hate. This article is going to teach you how to save money on wedding expenses.

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How to Save Money on Wedding Flowers

Flower arrangements for a wedding can be costly, especially if you hire a florist to create careful arrangements out of fresh flowers. There are quite a few ways that you can save money on wedding flowers.

Opt for Fake Flowers

Go with faux flowers for your wedding day instead of the real thing. You can arrange them yourself, or have a wedding florist make beautiful arrangements for your bridal bouquets! There are beautiful fake flowers on the market, like silk and satin flowers, that look much better than cheap plastic flowers. You can also keep these flowers as a keepsake from your wedding day!

Use Fresh Flowers From Your Garden

If you're trying to trim your wedding expenses to fit into your wedding budget, consider going all natural. Pick flowers from your garden to make a beautiful wedding bouquet from pretty flowers like lilac and baby's breath. In-season flowers are always beautiful, and you won't even need a floral budget!

Minimalist Bouquets

Cut down on your overall wedding cost by sticking with a minimal approach. Instead of an elaborate bouquet, choose a single rose to carry down the aisle. Another great idea is to choose a bouquet for yourself but a single flower for your Maid of Honor and bridesmaids.

Forget Boutonnieres

Boutonnieres look nice, but they are not necessary. Forego them all together or just pick one up for the groom. Remember, modern weddings can break all of the traditions and get away with it. There's nothing wrong with going against tradition!

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Save Money on Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations can be as cheap or as costly as you would like for them to be. If you're trying to save money on wedding expenses, you need to consider cutting as many costs as you can. Trimming the cost from your wedding invitations with these ideas is a great place to start.

Consider Cheaper Cardstock

Thick card-like invitations are great, but they aren't a necessity. Instead, opt for cheaper cardstock to save money on your wedding invitations. Wedding ideas like this save you a little bit of money, but you can combine several ideas to save thousands.

Utilize Etsy

Etsy is full of affordable wedding items, including some great invitation options! You can find invitations that are handmade or a printout for DIY wedding invitations.

DIY Wedding Invitations

DIY wedding invitations are a great idea. If you have a printer or a friend with a printer, download a printout. Then, pick up some cardstock from your local office supply store. Finally, all you have to do is print off your invitations.

If being crafty isn't your thing, you're not out of luck. Consider asking a friend of someone in the bridal party to help you out. Most of the time, people in the wedding party will help with things for the wedding.

Exclude the Envelope Liner

If you're mailing out traditional invitations, there are still ways that you can save money. Instead of including an insert, simply include the invitation. Those little things can help you save a lot of money in the long run.

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Pick Up Postcards

Instead of invitations, mail out postcards! You can find beautiful postcards online. Custom ordering postcards is another option. Have a friend with pretty handwriting help you write on the back of them before sending them out if you have sloppy handwriting.

Create a Wedding Website

Create your own wedding website to control your guest list, keep the wedding party in contact with one another and send out invites! You can create a cheap blog on WordPress with no previous experience. Then, simply direct people that you would like to invite to your wedding to your website. WordPress also has an option to keep your site password protected if you don't want other people to view your wedding details.

Affordable Wedding Favors

Small things like wedding favors can add up to spending big bucks. Likewise, cutting back on expenses for little things can help you save a lot of money. These cheap wedding favor ideas will help you give everyone something to take home without breaking the bank.

Bubbles

You can pick up bubbles for people to blow after the wedding extremely cheap at most dollar stores. Ordering them in bulk is another great option. Then, tie a ribbon around them and sit them by a basket beside the door so people can take one as they leave.

Bags of M&Ms

Order custom colored candies for wedding favors! Then, put them in small bags or use a ribbon to tie them in little mesh pouches. This wedding favor idea requires a bit more time than simply buying something, but it's extremely cost effective.

Mini Picture Frames

Mini-picture frames are a great idea for a wedding favor! Pick a neutral color, such as black or white, so that everyone can use them as home decor. These will only cost you a dollar per guest!

Buy Cheap Wedding Favors in Bulk

If you simply do not have the time or money for DIY wedding favors, don't feel bad. You've got a lot on your plate! Forego the cute candies in favor of simply ordering wedding favors in bulk. When you buy things in bulk, you'll find that it's much cheaper per unit. You can find bulk wedding favors on most online marketplaces, such as Amazon.

Find Elegant Wedding Favors Through Wholesale Suppliers

If you want to order a large number of elegant wedding favors, check out wholesale suppliers. Wholesale suppliers offer you the same discount that buying in bulk from other places does, but they have a wider selection. You'll find quite a variety!

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Cheap Wedding Dresses

A wedding dress is going to be one of the more expensive parts of your wedding. While everyone wants their dream wedding gown, there are a few ways that you can save money on a wedding dress. These are some of the best ways to get a cheap wedding dress.

Make Your Own

When all else fails, make your own. My mother spent a couple of years and made all of the dresses for her wedding by hand. Her dress included a massive train and was seven layers of lace and satin, complete with pearls sewn in, etc. My flower girl dress was a miniature replica of her dress and was every bit as gorgeous. If you can sew, this is an option you should seriously consider. You'll be able to customize your own dress and save hundreds of dollars.

Shop Online

Online marketplaces like Amazon sell wedding dresses, too. This can be a cheaper alternative to purchasing one from a specialty store. However, make sure that you buy your dress far in advance in case it needs to be altered.

Stray Away From Traditional Wedding Dresses

Traditional wedding dresses are wonderful, but that doesn't mean that you have to wear one! Instead, opt for a simple wedding gown. If you are having a more casual wedding, consider a gorgeous formal dress. You don't have to wear a wedding dress at a wedding anymore.

Forget the Train

Adding a train to your wedding dress will increase the price. Instead, pick a beautiful wedding dress and ask that it be made without the train to save some money.

Check Out the Clearance Rack at Bridal Shops

Wedding dress boutiques have sales and a clearance rack just like other stores! Take the time to shop around and see if you can find a dress on clearance.

Browse Thrift Stores and Online Marketplaces

If you don't mind a used wedding dress, check out thrift stores. These are great places to find wedding items in general, including potential wedding dresses!

Online marketplaces, such as Facebook Marketplace, are another great idea. You can find used wedding dresses as well as brand new dresses at a discount. Sometimes, a person has already bought their dress, and then the relationship doesn't work out.

Sometimes, people will also lower their prices. For example, I sold an engagement ring for $40. The engagement didn't work out, and they didn't mind a used engagement ring. I made a few extra dollars and they got a gorgeous engagement ring! Keep searching for your wedding dress, and you might come across an amazing deal.

DIY Wedding Centerpieces

Centerpieces are always a great idea! However, that doesn't mean that you have to spend a small fortune on them. Making your own centerpieces can help you save money on wedding expenses, especially if you have a lot of centerpieces to make.

Have Your Flowers Do Double Duty

If you have bridesmaid bouquets of fake flowers, use them as floral centerpieces as well. Simply pick up a vase and put your flowers inside as centerpieces. You can assign this task to someone to complete while the rest of the wedding party is taking pictures with the wedding photographer after the ceremony.

Tealight Candles

Tealight candles are cost effective and versatile as centerpeices. Get crafty and make DIY floating candles. Opt for a simple arrangement of sand and candles on a small square plate to save both time and money. Put a tealight candle inside of a wine glass for an easy DIY centerpiece.

Paper Lanterns

Paper lanterns are ideal for an evening wedding. You can pick these up at most bargain stores for a dollar! They are easy to make and pair well with most wedding themes.

Spray Paint Wine Bottles Instead of Vases

Instead of spending money on vases for table centerpieces, start saving your wine bottles. Spray paint them to coordinate with your wedding colors, and put fresh flowers from your garden in them.

Other DIY Wedding Centerpiece Ideas

Those are far from the only DIY centerpiece ideas. Check out this video for more crafty ideas and affordable options.

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Cheap Reception Ideas

A reception often costs more than the wedding itself. You need a DJ, to rent the wedding venue, catering and so much more. However, there are several ways that you can save money on your reception!

How to Save Money on a Wedding Venue

A wedding venue is where you'll get married and/or have your reception. A lot of couples opt to rent one venue for their wedding, and then travel to a separate venue for the reception. Use these tips to help you cut costs.

Get Married During the Week

Saturday and Sunday rental options are more expensive than renting a venue throughout the week. Consider getting married on a weekday to save money. Ask immediate family members and other wedding guests if they will be able to take the day off work first. This is the ideal situation if you're having a destination wedding and will be at the location before the weekend!

Forget Linen Table Cloths

Linen tablecloths can be expensive. If the venue offers gorgeous wooden tables, enjoy them bare. This will look wonderful, and wood pairs well with every wedding theme.

Get Married During the Off Season

Most people get married during Spring and Summer. This is often referred to as wedding season. During these months, the price of renting a wedding venue goes up substantially. Simply getting married during the winter can help you save hundreds of dollars on your wedding reception.

Have Your Wedding and Reception at the Same Location

Instead of spending double the money to rent two locations, find one location that offers an area for the wedding and a dining area for your reception. You can instantly spend half the money that you would by keeping things simple.

Avoid Venues That Make You Use Their Wedding Vendors

There are certain wedding venues that make you use their vendors. Avoid these at all costs. Often, you can find cheaper wedding vendors on your own.

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Saving Money On Catering

Food is another large cost that you need to consider. If you're trimming the wedding expenses, it's important to do what you can to cut down on the catering budget. Not having a reception is always an option for a budget wedding. However, if you're definitely having a reception, consider these tips to save money.

Printing costs are small, but they can add up to a large amount of money when you consider everything that you have to print. If you're paying a company to make a custom wedding menu, they will charge you per menu. Order one menu per table and sit it in the center. Another great option is to order one menu per two guests.

Find a Small Catering Company

Small catering companies often charge less, and they can still make your favorite dishes. Start browsing among local catering companies to find one that is affordable and has a good reputation.

Have Kid's Meals

Kid's meals are a great way to cut costs if there will be children at the reception. Simply serve children smaller portions. Don't forget to include kid's meals on the menu!

Buffet Style Receptions Are Always Great

One of the best ways to save money is to have a buffet. You can hire a catering company to refill dishes and help serve people or simply have a self-serve buffet. It will cost significantly less because you do not have to pay for waiters or menus and the dishes served at a buffet are generally less expensive.

BYOB Venues

Alcoholic beverages at venues are going to cost a pretty penny. If you plan on serving alcohol, choose a venue that lets you bring your own alcohol. Some venues offer a bartender, but still allow you to supply your own alcohol. You can enjoy fewer wedding expenses and still have a bartender make your favorite signature cocktail.

Cut Out the Champagne

Champagne is one of the most expensive drinks. Don't offer champagne at all or replace it with wine. Sparkling water is another great idea if you would like a non-alcoholic option.

Go With a Local Restaurant

Most local restaurants offer catering at affordable prices. While you might not want KFC to cater your wedding, there are other restaurants that are exceptional options. Give Olive Garden a call to check on their prices.

Have a Brunch Wedding

A brunch-styled wedding will instantly help you cut back on food costs. Instead of an expensive dinner, serve a light brunch. Offer finger sandwiches as the main course. Provide fruit platters on a buffet table. These simple options are perfect for brunch, and they are affordable.

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Do You Need a Wedding Planner?

No, you do not need a wedding planner. Most brides today are more than capable of planning their own wedding! Pick up an organizer, make a list of everything you need, and remember that most brides spend at least six months planning their wedding. Spend a little bit of time each day doing your own wedding planning, and make sure to enlist the help of your bridal party.

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Other Ways to Save On a Wedding

While those are the most common ways to save money on a wedding, those are far from the only ways to cut costs. These are other ways you can continue to trim down the average cost of your wedding.

Don't Rent a Limo

Most weddings consist of a limo ride to each venue, and the bride and groom riding away from the reception venue in a limo. Instead, drive yourself.

Book Local Musicians

Local musicians are a great way to save money. Shop around to find a DJ or someone that can play an organ. You may just have a friend who knows how to play the violin! Small musicians are typically less expensive, and they can use the good review that you'll leave them.

Only Invite People You're Close To

Trimming down the guest count can help you cut down on wedding costs. You'll spend less money on the reception, especially if you are serving a plated dinner. Consider limiting who is allowed to bring a plus one, and only invite people that you really want to be there.

Find a Local Photographer

Local photographers are always cheaper than professionals, and often produce high quality photographs. If you're uneasy about hiring someone because they are not a professional, browse through their portfolio. Contact their references. You'll be glad that you did!

Order a Smaller Wedding Cake

Large wedding cakes cost hundreds of dollars. Instead, select a smaller wedding cake and serve people smaller pieces of cake. You can also forgo the tradition of saving the top tier of the wedding cake to purchase a smaller cake.

Casual Wedding Attire

While formal weddings are often displayed in pictures, that doesn't mean that it's your only option. A beach wedding with khakis is an exceptional idea. You'll save hundreds of dollars when you don't have to purchase and/or rent formal attire.

Hand Out Disposable Cameras

Instead of hiring a photographer, hand out disposable cameras. Then, leave a basket by the door of the reception hall for guests to leave their cameras in. Get the pictures developed, and use them to make your wedding album.

Elope

It's both cheap and fun! If you don't want a fairytale wedding, why should you deal with the stress of one? Instead, hop on a plane and head to Vegas. Get married and spend the weekend having fun. You'll have the time of your life!

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Cheap Wedding FAQ

Do You Need a Wedding Band?

No, you do not need a wedding band. Although it is common to have one for your wedding, it's more of a tradition than a necessity. Instead, do whatever you want with your wedding. It's your big day! As long as it makes the couple happy, nothing else matters.

Who Can Marry You?

Anyone who is legally ordained can marry two people. This often includes priests and other religious officials. Other people that can marry a couple include a notary public, judge, and a justice of the peace. If you happen to know a notary public, they can legally marry you.

Do You Need a Rehearsal Dinner?

No, you do not need a rehearsal dinner. It is custom to have a rehearsal 2-3 days before the wedding followed by a dinner for the wedding party. However, there is no reason that you have to have on. Out of consideration, let the wedding party know if you will not be hosting a dinner.

Who Pays for the Bridal Shower?

It's tradition for the Maid of Honor to pay for the bridal shower. Occasionally, the rest of the bridal party or the parents of the bride will pitch in as well. Modern times have seen several brides paying for their own bridal showers.

Weddings Don't Have to Cost Thousands!

Weddings can cost thousands of dollars, and that's not including the money that will be spent at bridal salons. Save money on wedding flowers, the wedding ceremony, and more by following these tips.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Amber Lynn

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