8 Brilliant Ways To Save Money On Your Dream Wedding

Weddings can be expensive.  Whether your budget is $10,000 or $100,000, my guess is you and your fiancé are looking for ways to save. If you have started the planning process, then you probably have noticed that there is no shortage of people looking to take advantage of you.  The psychology behind this, of course, is that they know most brides will throw down any dollar amount to make their wedding perfect. So prices are inflated and you spend a lot more money than you probably should.  Before you go any further, let me give you a list of the top 8 things I did for my wedding that literally saved me $50,000!

# 1 Get Married on Thursday: This is the #1 thing that is not only going to save you money but a lot of stress and aggravation. I know your immediate thought is, “Who gets married on a Thursday?” The answer is, no one, which is exactly why you should!   When I first started looking at wedding venues, the first question I was asked was what weekend I was looking at. After I told them, they would say… “Well you better book now because you will lose the date if you don’t!”

(Insert panic attack here)

I was immediately put in the position of having to decide right then and there if I wanted to get married at that location, or risk losing the date that I wanted.  Same thing started happening with vendors. When I called florists, caterers, and DJ services, they would tell me they were already booked, or if I didn’t book now I would probably lose the day I wanted.   It felt like I was making decisions based on the fear of losing out rather than having the time to decide if that was what I really wanted.  (Does this sound familiar?)

Finally, I found a venue that I knew was the place I wanted to get married.  When I told them the weekend I was looking at, they of course, said it was already booked.  In fact, they told me that every weekend that Spring was booked. So out of curiosity I asked them if they had any Thursday’s available. The woman paused, and said “well yes, I have every Thursday available!”  It immediately dawned on me that almost no one gets married on Thursdays, which means DJ’s would be available, caterers would be available, florists would be available… and I was right.  Not only were they available but they all gave discounts because they were given business on a day that they would not have typically gotten work. Between the discounts I received on the venue and the vendors,  I saved close to $10,000. The amount of stress I saved myself? Priceless.  I was able to take my time and really research these vendors to make sure I chose the one I thought was the right one.

I realize having a Thursday wedding might seem inconvenient for your guests, but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of support I received from all of my friends and family. The truth is, no one cared.  They saw it as being just the same if I had gotten married on a Sunday. Another tip: If you are planning a Spring/Summer wedding, a lot of people can plan their vacation time around your wedding day if you give them enough notice in advance.

#2 Split Costs With The Couple Getting Married the Day Before or After You: For any brides who are having an outdoor wedding and need to rent their own tent, tables, and chairs, then listen up closely because this tip could save you more than $8,000. The venue we booked was a beautiful mansion, but it could not hold a reception inside, so we were required to get a tent.  When I first heard about this I was like, “sure, how much could a tent be?” Turns out, a lot. You aren’t just renting a tent, you also need all the things that go inside the tent.  Tables, chairs, chair cushions, lighting, flooring, walls, and insurance. I almost fell off my chair when I first saw how much they cost.  I was getting quotes as high as $30,000.  For  a tent. For one day! As it turned out, the wedding coordinator at our venue made a brilliant suggestion to see if the tent company would be willing to split the cost between us and the couple getting married the day after us. This made perfect sense since they would just be putting up the tent for our wedding anyway, and then taking it down after theirs.  The other couple loved the idea because it helped save them money and the tent company we chose loved the idea because it made it more convenient for them.   Ultimately it ended up costing about $15,000 for everything, but since we split we only ended up paying $7,500. The only thing to keep in mind is the couple you split with will have to have similar size guest list and agree on the same tables, chairs and lighting.

#3 If Etsy Can Do It, So Can You: It seems like the only place to get unique decor for weddings these days is Etsy. They have so many amazing things you can buy, its hard not to get caught up in it all.  Here is where you need to figure out what to buy and what to DIY. Etsy is a great place to get inspiration for things you want, but if you took the time to research a bit, you can find out how they do it and then just do it yourself.  For my wedding favors I was giving out mason jars and specifically wanted to hang Kraft paper with doilies tied on by twine to the jar. I found it on Etsy, but the price would have been $300 for 150.  Instead, I went to a craft store and found they had the exact things I needed to make them myself. It took a lot of work, and a lot of time, but they came out beautiful and saved me a ton.

#4 Take Advantage Of Family & Friends: While I love to paint, I am no Bob Ross. For the things I could not do myself, thankfully, I had friends who could! Take advantage of their artistic abilities. Family and friends will love being included in your wedding, and you can even tell them this can be their wedding gift to you.  I had friends paint my wedding crest on a cornhole board, create my program sign and make my dinner menu.  It came out beautiful and it meant so much more that these were done with love, by the ones I loved. This saved upwards of $1500. Not only did I not have to pay to get it done, but since I went green (making signs instead of using paper) it saved in printing cost.

#5 Opt For Family Style Dinner: Up until now there has only been two ways of serving food at a wedding; sit down or buffet.  Each comes with their own benefits and drawbacks. With sit down you have a waiter serve you but each guest can typically only select one entree. Buffet style your guests can have a little of everything but must serve themselves.  Family style is the perfect combination of these both.  Food is served on large platters at the table, and like a nice, big, Italian family, guests take a little of what they want and pass it around the table. I loved the elegance of having a sit down, and the option of letting guests be able to try all the food.  Serving family style saved $30,000. Not only was it cost effective, but my guests loved it!

#6 Be Involved in Choosing Dinnerware: If you are working with a caterer, you will have a day where you meet with them to pick out napkins, tablecloths, glassware, and dinnerware. When it comes to linens you will be very interested because you will want to make sure the colors are right.  With the dinnerware and glassware, you also may be interested in the aesthetics, but paying specific attention to shapes and sizes could be a money saver.  Some caterers know tricks to reduce cost in this area. For instance, we needed platters to put the food on. Platters themselves cost about $12 per piece (and we needed about a ton of of them).  However, when we saw plates that were in a rectangle shape they look exactly the same, but only cost $8.   That is a $4 difference per plate, which adds up really quick. Mention this to your caterer; it will make a huge dent in the bill.

#7 Have Your Ceremony and Reception In The Same Place: You probably have heard of this before, and it’s because it works.  Having your ceremony and reception in the same place can save you from having to rent limos and shuttle services, which easily can run $2,000 or more depending on how many people you have attending your wedding.  It also makes the day so much easier. You have a home base for the day and don’t have to worry about transporting bouquets, shoes, hair products, makeup, a drunken bridal party; the list goes on and on. It also makes it very convenient for your guests.  One destination and the party begin!

#8 Look at Your Wedding Dress In Natural Light Before You Buy: This is the one tip I wish I had known, because it would have saved me $2,000.  Alas, it is now knowledge that I can pass along to hopefully help you not make the same mistake. I picked out my wedding dress exactly one year prior to my wedding.  It was the first dress I had tried on, and I instantly fell in love.  I put down my deposit and off I went.  8 months later, the dress finally came in but when I went to look at it, the dress had a dull and yellow color to it.  I was told that the dress was faulty and they would get me a new one.  That dress didn’t come in until a month before the wedding.  Beneath the lights of the boutique it looked great.  I thought the problem was resolved. At my first fitting a week later (at another location), I put the dress on and it looked exactly like the faulty dress.  I had no idea what was going on. Turns out the dye lot of the dress company had changed, and so the dress that I originally saw a year ago was a different color than the one I received.  The lights in these wedding boutiques are usually bright halogens, strategically placed to make you look stunning. So when I tried it on, I wasn’t seeing the true color.  I had to go out and buy an entirely new dress 2 weeks before the wedding. Ultimately, I do believe everything happens for a reason, because I did find a dress I loved even more. Could have done without the stress though!


Photo Credit: Janelle Brooke Photography


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