U.S. couples spend an average of $25,200 on their wedding. Many couples even choose to employ a wedding planner who is usually paid by the hour, although sometimes an overall contract can be reached. It’s understandable that couples spend so much money, because most brides and grooms want their wedding day to be an incredible affair that they will remember forever.
Some couples decide to keep their weddings small, or take out the added frills that other couples include (like unique table decorations, party favors, and dessert buffets) to save money, while other couples save money by making as many of their decorations as possible. Read on to find out how you can save money on your wedding while still having a time to remember.
1. Use the Internet
Your friends or family might make think it’s tacky, but using the Internet to send out invitations can save a lot of money – like using e-vites. If your friends really don’t like your paperless invitation, they don’t have to come to your wedding, which will save you more money in the long run. If you want to print out your invitations but are willing to send online save-the-date cards, you can use sites such as Paperless Post to design your cards; the site includes some free wedding options. If you are not attached to having a certain priest or pastor officiate your wedding, you can also ask a friend to do it and have them become licensed online. You can also do a lot of your own planning without the added expense of a wedding planner just by doing research.
2. Make it yourself
This is probably the biggest way you can save money on your wedding. With sites like Pinterest becoming popular, it’s easy to find thousands of do-it-yourself wedding ideas. If you have the time, you can save a lot of money by making your own wedding items. Some future brides even include party favor making activities in their engagement or wedding showers in order to have extra help. Making your own wedding invitations can save you a lot of money, and even add an extra personal touch to your wedding.
You can also create your own party favors, decorations, and if you’re really on a budget, you could make your own playlist and decide not to hire a DJ, or ask a friend to be your DJ for the night. You can also save money by purchasing flowers from a wholesale shop and arranging your own bouquets if you can spare the time. Although you will have to check with your reception site, some couples save money by choosing their own catering company (or even having friends or family members help out) instead of paying for the hotel or venue to make and serve the food.
3. Limit the guest list
Naturally, you want to avoid offending anyone, but one of the easiest ways to save money on a wedding is to limit the guest list. If you are really on a budget, only invite your close family and best friends. If you want a bigger wedding but you still want to save money, think about your friends and determine who you will likely still be in contact with in five years. If you don’t see having a lasting relationship with someone, cross them off the list. Also, you can make your wedding an adults-only affair if you want.
You can also include only a +1 option on your invitations so that guests know they can only invite one person to come with them. It is more difficult to specify that only the particular person you are sending the invitation to can come, since most people expect to be allowed to invite a guest. Lastly, try to omit people in groups (coworkers, for example) that way you are less likely to hurt people’s feelings.
4. Get married in the off-season
You’ve likely heard this tip before, and for good reason — getting married during a less popular time will save you money on everything from the venue to the hotel, and even the flowers and cake if the vendor is in need of more business. The summer and fall are usually very popular months for weddings, so you can save money by hosting a winter wedding. You may also have the added benefit of guests who can’t come in the winter, although this can also be disappointing depending on the guest.
You can also save money by choosing a less popular day to get married; Saturday is the most popular day to get married, and usually venues fill up fast in addition to costing top dollar. Some venues are also willing to adjust minimum guest requirements if you get married on a less popular day of the week, and hotels might offer weekday discounts as well.
5. Be flexible about your location
The most popular venues are often also the most expensive, so if you want to save money, you might need to get creative. Consider getting married in a beautiful park, or find a location where you can get married and have the reception in the same spot. Also, if you live in an expensive city, consider having guests travel outside of the city for your wedding and reception. You will probably save a lot of money just by going outside of city limits. Lastly, consider a destination wedding. Destination weddings offer positives and negatives; they limit the amount of people who can afford to go, they limit your options regarding wedding choices (you may have less options about your DJ, cake, etc.) and they limit accommodations. All of these items may be seen as pluses or minuses depending on what kind of wedding you want.
There are many other ways to save on your big day. If you can save for your vacation honeymoon ahead of time, that is one expense that you can easily manage. Some couples decide to push their honeymoon back a few months in order to recover from the cost of the wedding. Also, look into an all-inclusive wedding deal; often this can save you money and time. If you are set on making all your own individual decisions, pick food and flowers that are in-season so that you don’t pay extra to have special flowers or food imported. If you’re open to it, you can rent a wedding dress, or even purchase a used one; you can also save money by doing your own makeup or borrowing fancy jewelery or cuff-links. Lastly, consider hiring a new photographer or cake designer. You will probably still be very pleased with their work, but you will save big by helping them add another wedding to their budding portfolio.