You’re engaged! Congratulations! Now you just have a wedding to plan for! Simple, right? Weddings aren’t cheap, but there are some sneaky ways that you can save money. First, you want to work out how much you want to spend and split it into all of the different categories. Keep track of your budgeted amounts as you go, noting whether you underspend or overspend on each item. We have a checklist here which can help you out.
Custom bridesmaid dresses can be expensive, and unnecessarily so. Take your bridesmaids out and choose ones off the rack together. This can be a great day and save you a lot of money! If you start early enough, the store can order any extra sizes that you need.
If you think these are only going to be worn once, think about renting these to save yourself some money. If you would prefer to buy, then take the same advice as for bridesmaid dresses and don’t get them custom made.
DIY Wedding Invites
Having custom made invites professionally printed with personalised photos might look good but is also very pricey – especially for something that most people won’t keep. It isn’t difficult to design an invite yourself at home and print it yourself or with a photo printing service such as Vistaprint or Snapfish. Both of these sites often have new customer deals or sales.
Once again, you can make an evening of this. Get your friends involved to help you choose photos, fonts, and colour schemes.
Ask for help instead of gifts
Have a friend who’s a graphic designer? See if they’ll help with your invites. Another friend in a band? See if they’ll offer you a lower price to play at your reception. You can see if they’ll do it for free instead of giving you a wedding gift, especially if they’re a close friend or family member.
Be aware of the costs of flowers and ingredients if anyone is helping you with bouquets or your wedding cake, as they could end up quite heavily out of pocket. Offer to cover at least the base costs in this instance.
Don’t go overboard on the honeymoon
Your honeymoon doesn’t have to cost the earth. Think about choosing somewhere a little closer to home that will still allow you to relax and unwind. Choose somewhere that means something to you, a place you’ve both been thinking about visiting for a while, or where you went on your first holiday together. As long as you go somewhere you both will enjoy, long haul flights aren’t necessary.
Order fewer flowers
Flowers are expensive, especially the amount you need for a wedding. Ordering fewer flowers doesn’t have to look cheap, as long as you keep it elegant and simple. Look at all the flowers you have the option to use and think about whether the cheaper ones could be an option.
Something as small as having a smaller bouquet and having fewer flowers as decoration can free up a great deal of your budget.
If you’re not bothered about fresh flowers, fake ones can eat up a lot less of your budget, and still look good.
Invite fewer people to your wedding
There’s no need to invite everyone you’ve ever known to your wedding. Stick with the people that you’d really like to be there. If you haven’t spoken to someone in a couple of years, you probably don’t need them to be at your wedding.
Take a night out and go through the list of people in your life to decide whether you really want them there. Don’t feel obliged to invite someone over the fear of hurting their feelings.
Cutting down your guest list will significantly reduce all of your other costs. You won’t need such a large space, or so many decorations as well as food and drink, which can cost a lot!
Think outside the venue
Churches and venues can be very costly to book, especially if they are in high demand. Think about other places that you can use as a venue for your wedding, such as at your home, the beach or a public park. These options are free, as long as you have the relevant permissions. Using an outdoor space will make for some very tasteful and intimate photos – as long as weather provisions are in place in case of rain or extreme heat
Find somewhere with a view and choose a date where you’re likely to see better weather and you’ll be good to go.
Less expensive rings
Think about the practicality of the rings you are buying – you don’t need to spend thousands. You can easily cut the cost of the rings without losing their beauty of elegance by choosing cheaper metals and smaller diamonds.
Shop around for decorations
If you have plenty of time before the wedding, then don’t rush to buy anything straight away. Keep an eye on the prices, as you’ll be likely to see sales outside of the wedding season. If you’re quite crafty, you may enjoy doing some decorations yourself instead of buying them. Once again, this can be a nice evening for you and your friends. At a wedding I went to recently the bride made homemade limoncello as wedding favours. It took a lot of time to make, then decant into the little bottles, but it saved them a lot of money compared to buying individual bottles.
Stock the bar yourself
Having an open bar at your wedding can be pricey, especially if all of the spirits are on offer! Think about buying the alcohol yourself in advance, this fixes the cost for you.
Don’t feel obliged to have an open bar. You can have a tab open for close friends and family, or those who helped you a lot with the wedding planning. Plenty of people choose not to have an open bar.
Plan an off-season wedding
If you choose dates that aren’t between May and October, then you’ll possibly get much lower quotes when you are searching for venues, catering, flowers, tuxedo rental, photographers, and even wedding dresses. If you’re planning on using an expensive venue, this option can cut the costs, and still be just as elegant and attractive.
You can choose to use the season as part of your theme, using browns, reds, and oranges during the autumn months, and blues during winter. Don’t assume that your venue will be cold during the winter, either. When you visit the venue, be sure to ask about the temperature, and whether there’s a way they can keep it warm for you. If there’s an outside area, you could have a pile of blankets for those who choose to go out there, as well as warm alcoholic drinks – like Bailey’s hot chocolate, mulled cider, or even mulled wine.
If you’re a big fan of Christmas, you could even decorate with a Christmas theme.
Have a midweek wedding
If your guests have enough time to book the day off work – you can go for a midweek wedding. Much like with the wedding season, if you’re not getting married at the weekend, you could save a lot of money.
If you’re likely to have children at the wedding, try booking it during a school holiday to ensure they get the day off.
So now you have it, a great list of tips that will help you save money on your dream wedding! We have an amazing checklist here which can help you budget each cost, so you don’t get halfway through planning before running out of money – like every single groom on Don’t Tell the Bride. The important thing is, don’t let yourself get too stressed out. You’re planning a party. Just a really big, important party. Things will go wrong, just try to make yourself laugh it off.
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Last updated by Robert Edwards, July 2022