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Cost Cutting Tips When Planning a Wedding on a Budget

February 13, 2020 by Hunter Swanson

Love may be priceless, but a wedding isn’t. 

Planning a wedding can make finding the person who you want to spend the rest of your life with seem like the easy part. Everyone has an opinion. Who to invite, where to sit, what venue, color scheme, flavor of the cake… the list is endless. And then there is the little issue of how to pay for it all.

Even if you skip the elephant entrance and fireworks, a wedding can cost a pretty penny. However, with careful planning, you can have the wedding you want without starting married life in financial distress.

Here are some helpful cost-cutting tips to help you plan your wedding on a budget:


Invitations
  • Send electronic invitations or postcards instead of formal invitations.
  • Make your own cards. If you have a quality printer, you may be able to produce professional-looking cards at home. But if not, you can always go with a handmade, do-it-yourself look.
  • If you are having the invitations professionally done, forgo extras, such as bows, engraving, and lined envelopes.

Wedding Dress
  • Buy a sample or “last season’s” dress.
  • Buy a used dress instead of a new one. If you don’t have a friend or family member whose dress you can buy (or borrow), check listings on-line or visit local consignment stores.
  • Instead of buying a dress, rent one for the day. There are many wedding stores that offer this service.

Decorations/Flowers
  • Only use flowers that are in season and readily available.
  • Hold the wedding in a garden or other venue that provides natural adornment.
  • Consider alternatives to flowers for centerpieces and other decorations. For example, you could use branches (available for free outside!), fruit, stones, books, candles or feathers.

Venue
  • Ask if you can get a discount if you hold the wedding at a less popular time, such as Friday or Sunday. (Saturday is typically the most popular day for weddings.)
  • Consider other options besides traditional weddings halls. Having it in your backyard or the backyard of a friend or a family member may be another option.
  • If you are holding the reception in a hotel, see if they will give you discount if you also reserve a block of rooms for guests.

Food
  • If it is allowed, provide your own food and/or wine. You may be lucky enough to have someone willing to cook for you, but if not, you may be able to get platters from the supermarket. Remember, wedding food does not need to be fancy.
  • If you are using a caterer, ask which menu options are the cheapest and if you can save money by doing a buffet instead of a served meal.
  • Instead of a traditional tiered wedding cake, have a sheet cake, cupcakes, or pie.

Music
  • Typically, a DJ is cheaper than a live band. Using an MP3 or other music player is even cheaper, especially if you have or know someone that can provide speakers.

Photography
  • Contact photography clubs or schools in your area to see if there are any budding photographers interested in shooting a wedding.
  • Instead of having a photographer at the event, ask your guests to bring their digital cameras with them to take photos (or provide disposable cameras). If you want formal photographs, visit a studio before or after the wedding. It is usually cheaper than having a photographer come to you.
  • Go with a digital photo album instead of a printed one. Or have the photos printed yourself – regular photo labs often charge less than photographers.

From handmade invitations to a buffet dinner, these cost cutting tips will help you say “I do” to love, not to debt.  Congratulations and have fun on your big day!


BALANCE is an amazing resource for all our members to utilize when taking on life's milestones. With trusted guidance available for free, they are ready to help everyone on the path to financial wellness. This article and many more can be found on their website: balancepro.org.

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