- The average wedding in America costs about $35,000.
- You don’t have to spend a fortune on your wedding for it to be a special and memorable day.
- Buying a cheaper dress, keeping your guest list small, and avoiding over-the-top catering all ways to cut wedding costs.
You’re getting married, congratulations!
You’ve said “yes!” to that special someone, but now you’re saying “no” to all the extravagant costs that come with wedding planning.
“That costs how much?” “Do we really need that?” “Maybe we should elope…”
I’m no psychic, but I know what you’re thinking because I’ve been there. I was ready to pop with overwhelm at the long lists of to-do’s that come with planning a wedding.
Trust, you’re not alone, and you’re not crazy for wanting to be smarter about where your money goes. You’re about to start a new life with someone you love, and that shouldn’t come with such a high price tag before you even say “I do.”
Depending on how established you both are, saving money on your wedding day may not even be much of a choice. Just remember that no matter how much you spend, this day is bound to be special.
Did you know that $35,329 is the average amount spent on a traditional American wedding.
I can promise you, by the time you finish reading this, you will be able to breathe easy. And that goes for your wallet too. In fact, I’ve got news for you now that might ease your mind.
I spent less than $2,000 on my entire wedding, and it was absolutely one of the most special days I’ve had in my life. So with that said, let’s dive into these 10 opportunities to save money on your wedding day.
1. Shop wedding dress sales
Everyone knows that finding the perfect wedding dress is the most exciting part of planning your wedding.
But most of us also know that buying a wedding dress can be quite expensive.
You can definitely save money on your wedding day if you aren’t ashamed of checking out those wedding dress sales first.
If you haven’t tried on dresses already, I can tell you from experience that all those pretty expensive dresses don’t turn out to be quite as pretty when you put them on.
I’m SURE you are incredibly beautiful and look fantastic in every article of clothing you wear.
However, your wedding day is unique. And so you in your perfect wedding dress will also be unique. And by the way, no one attending your wedding will know or care how much you spent on your dress.
That feeling all brides talk about, that “this is the one” moment, is very real. But you can find “the one” that sports a reasonable price tag as well.
Wedding dress sales online
Before you hit the stores, you will surely benefit from looking online, specifically in the sales section.
Not only will this allow you to save a few styles in which to narrow your search when you enter the store (it is mind-boggling in those stores), but you’ll be able to take note of the sales dresses.
Once you’re in the store, when an associate offers to help you find what you’re looking for, you can skip the “up-selling” bit and have them take you directly to the dresses you want to try first.
Don’t let them trick you into forgetting what you came to do: to save money on your wedding day.
I spent $100 (plus tax) on my wedding dress.
It was 1 of 2 dresses that were on a final-sale rack that I came into the store interested in, but it was dress number 7 that I had tried on. I knew right away that it was “the one.”
2. DIY wedding invitations
This isn’t nearly as complicated or even as time-consuming as you might think.
If you’re like my mom, you hate anything that has DIY or Craft in the title. I can assure you that your skill level won’t prevent you from creating something beautiful and affordable.
Save money on your wedding day by using Canva.com to create beautiful wedding invitations.
Canva is a great free tool that has a ton of pre-made templates. Each showcasing gorgeous designs with those fancy fonts everyone loves.
And if you don’t love those fonts, colors, or designs, you can still completely customize your own wedding invites. You’ll get access to even more design elements when you upgrade to PRO.
When you’re all finished being creative, you can either pay Canva to print and send the wedding invitations to you or download your design for free and print at your local print shop.
Personally, my husband and I took our finished invitation design to Kinkos. In fact, it was 2 am when we decided to go print those invitations and had a lot of laughs while working to print (multiple on one page) and cut them ourselves. It’s a fun memory for me, and it was a chance for us both to be a part of making our wedding happen.
3. Keep wedding guest list small
Choosing who gets invited to the wedding can be downright annoying.
On the one hand, you each have your friends and immediate family to invite. On the other hand, you have all those people plus extended family, and maybe even co-workers who either personally expect to be invited or your mother expects them to be invited.
Look, if you want to save money on your wedding day, hunkering down and only inviting those that are closest to you will eliminate a lot of extra costs.
Refine that list and refine again until you know for sure that only the most important people to you two are going to be there.
How to tell people they aren’t invited to the wedding
Let me remind you now that this day is about you. Your wedding day is all about you and your fiancé. Go figure.
Whether it’s having to argue with parents or having to deal with the guilt that others know they weren’t invited to your special day, it ain’t gonna be easy.
But you’ve got to stick to your guns and remember why they can’t attend: That’s extra mouths to feed and more space needed for more bodies during your ceremony.
The easiest way to tell people that they are not invited to the wedding is by saying, “we want to keep it intimate.”
Trust me, on your wedding day, you want to remember celebrating with those you love the most. You don’t want to be concerned with wasting any time having to force conversations with distant relatives on your day. Leave that for the holidays.
And while some may argue that more guests mean more gifts, you need to decide if hoping for a good gift is more important than saving money.
4. Find a wedding venue
Seems simple enough, right? Just do a quick google search and compare prices of local venues.
That can work depending on how much you’re interested in saving or what your priorities for this day are. You have to decide where you’re okay with spending a little extra on your wedding budget.
But, this is another perfect opportunity to save money on your wedding day by being creative.
A great way to secure a venue for your wedding day is by considering your family and friend’s home as a space for your ceremony.
If anyone has a large yard or even a decent layout inside their home, depending on how many people you invite, you can easily set up the space to become a sweet and intimate venue for you and your guests.
Some people also live in communities that have a venue space; they are allowed to book without paying anything extra (since they pay HOA fees).
I know this because I recently went to a birthday party in a gorgeous community overlooking the water and lovely homes. The grandmother of this person had a friend and long story short, this party was in a beautiful setting at no extra cost to the family.
Another excellent way to save is by checking out Airbnb.com for rentals in the area you’re looking to have your wedding.
Before you choose a place through Airbnb though, please make sure that you ask the owners if they’d be willing to host a wedding ceremony on their property. This can be a huge liability to the owners if you (or your guests) are not careful.
5. Utilize who knows who
This is a perfect follow up to my last point. And this is arguably the biggest penny saver of them all.
In every area, and in all ways possible, utilize who you know and take full advantage of who knows who.
For example, I looked high and low for a wedding cake decorator. What I thought I wanted seemed to be slightly expensive, and I couldn’t agree with spending more than $50 on a simple cake.
After spending too much time trying to find a professional, I realized I could ask friends and family who they know. And ask them to ask their friends who they know as well.
Sure enough, my mother knew someone, who knew someone, and found a woman who works full-time at the hospital but as a hobby makes and decorates beautiful cakes.
She was thrilled to be able to make my wedding cake. I looked on Pinterest and found a picture of a simple but pretty cake, and she matched it perfectly.
Because she was so eager to help, she only charged me $20. If this isn’t one of the best ways to save money on your wedding day, I don’t know what is.
6. Cater to yourselves
No matter what you’re deciding on while planning your wedding, remember to cater to yourselves. In other words, stay true to the things that you and your future spouse actually care about.
If you don’t care about having a DJ and a dance party after your wedding ceremony, then do not waste your money. If you don’t drink alcohol often and don’t care about spending the money to have an open bar, do not waste your money.
This day is not about making sure your guests have a jolly fun, good time. This day is not about making sure your parent’s traditional desires for the ceremony are met. This day is about you.
So how did I cater to my fiancé and me when I was planning for our wedding? Well, I made sure to stay true to us by having Chik-Fil-A catered. Yup, you read that right.
On my wedding day, I did not want Italian food or any specially made meals. I wanted to eat what I would typically eat and enjoy, and that’s Chik-Fil-A. It’s a meal I can fondly remember having on my special day.
By staying true to yourself, you are not only making your day more memorable, but you are creating a unique memory for your guests as well.
If your friends and family aren’t already married themselves, they will have likely attended a wedding or two in their time. In saying that, most weddings are pretty standard in their decor and food selections.
Stand out and do what’s truly right for you and your fiancé while you save money on your wedding day.
7. Avoid local wedding shops
This may go without saying, especially after having read point number 5 and my experience with finding someone to make my wedding cake.
I’m all for supporting your local businesses however, in the case of trying to save money on your wedding day, it’s vital to avoid professional businesses whenever possible.
Whether it’s for a cake or decor, you can find it all without needing a professional’s help. Your wallet will also appreciate you taking the time to think a little more outside the box before settling on your decisions.
You read about how I got my wedding cake, but another example I have in avoiding professional businesses was for the flowers that would be my table centerpieces.
I love going to Trader Joe’s to get affordable flowers for my home, so I checked there and sure enough, they had buckets of fresh sunflowers. It was perfect for my outdoor setting and so we cleared them out.
It was much cheaper than going to a florist. We only needed to add to the sunflowers a few branches from around my grandmother’s yard to make the jars appear fuller.
8. Minimal wedding decor
Minimalism is definitely an intentional choice, and it can be quite beautiful when done right. Save money on your wedding day by not going over the top in every corner of your ceremony or centerpieces.
Visually, you absolutely want sweet touches. For example, candles floating in glass cylinder of water, gorgeous flower arrangements, cute signs, and tulle tied in bows or other fabrics draping from tables. These are all beautiful ways to make the day feel as unique as it is.
All these things are doable, but by keeping it minimal with clean lines and simplistic designs, you can save a lot of money.
Don’t forget to borrow items from friends and family. And if there’s nothing to borrow, ask others for help financially. An aunt, cousin, or friend oftentimes enjoy being able to pitch in by buying something like pretty glasses from their local Hobby Lobby or dollar store.
For example, I really wanted glasses filled with water for floating candles, and no one had enough matching simple glassware to spare for the day. So my aunt, excited to help, went to a few dollar stores and bought simple cylinder glasses.
It was exactly what I needed, and it cost her no more than $30. All decor at my wedding was either something borrowed or something of little cost to me or anyone willing to pitch in.
And for costs that are a bit higher, consider having someone pay half with you or even split 3 ways between you and some friends.
9. Forget the wedding favors
If you can’t think of ways to keep it simple (that you also like), then don’t worry about wedding favors.
Here’s the reason I say that. Sending people home with wedding favors might be expected. Still, oftentimes unless you can come up with something truly useful or unique, those favors end up going to waste.
Even if it were a small bag of cookies, at least half of the people you send them home with will likely throw them away because they “don’t like that type of cookie” or they’re on some diet.
Wedding favors are not a “make or break the day” item, so try not to stress over this piece of the puzzle for too long.
10. Be your own stylist
There is no excuse for not being your own stylist. There are tons of tutorials and inspired looks you can look to.
From makeup to hair, while it would be nice to get “pampered” for the big day, you can save money on your wedding day by doing it yourself.
And if you don’t feel confident enough to do it all yourself, I’ve said it over and over in this article, ask family and friends for their help.
Everything I’ve listed in this article is a way that I personally saved money on my own wedding day. And so I hope you will find them useful as well.
About the author