How to Save on Your Wedding

This page is dedicated to providing money saving advice, tips and ideas on how to be frugal and plan a cheaper, low-budget wedding. Saving tips on size of wedding, timing & location, reception costs, bridal gown, wedding pictures, flowers, music, honeymoon & more. Start saving money on your wedding costs by reviewing the tips presented below.

Engagement Ring

There are many jewelry stores, discount jewelers, jewelry departments of major stores, etc. where nice engagement rings can be found. And do not forget to visit stores like Costco for some great prices. You never know where you might find that perfect ring at a great price. If you are really adventurous, you might even consider shopping on the Internet. At least you will get an idea as to what is available and relative pricing. But if you do plan to buy over the Internet, be careful you are dealing with a reputable company. And be sure you can return the ring if necessary, and understand any return or restocking costs.

Engagement rings can symbolize many different things, but they do not need to symbolize a “break the bank” commitment. When deciding on an engagement ring consider the following:

Establish a reasonable budget and stick to it

There is always something nicer that is more expensive, but it is not necessary for a happy marriage. Do not let the jeweler talk you out of your budget. Remind the jeweler of your price range if he or she starts presenting rings above your budget.

Shop around

There are many jewelry stores, discount jewelers, jewelry departments of major stores, etc. where nice engagement rings can be found. And do not forget to visit stores like Costco for some great prices. The point to remember is there are many different types of stores where you can buy a nice ring. A fancy jewelry store does not mean that the engagement ring will be nicer than rings available in stores that generally offer better pricing. You never know where you might find that perfect ring at a great price. So, shop around a lot before you buy. If you are really adventurous, you might even consider shopping on the Internet. At least you will get an idea as to what is available and relative pricing. But if you do plan to buy over the Internet, be careful you are dealing with a reputable company. And be sure you can return the ring if necessary, and understand any return or restocking costs.

Look at many alternatives for both style and price, and always negotiate

Be sure to take advantage of jewelry sales which are usually available. And be sure to always negotiate. Jewelry has a huge markup, sometimes 300% or more. Most jewelers will give you a significant price reduction — even if the ring is already on sale. Ask for a price reduction of 50% or more and see what happens. And if the jeweler cannot be flexible on price, buy a ring elsewhere. There are plenty of nice rings around. Just remember not to be bashful about asking for a significantly lower price. You will be able to buy a great ring substantially below the list price. This is particularly true at traditional jewelry stores. The same can be said for purchasing the groom’s wedding band. There are a number of different styles made from a number of different metals. Many times, with the groom’s ring especially, good deals can be found.

Keep on trying for a price reduction

Once you have found a ring and the jeweler has reasonably compromised on price, see if a further price reduction is available if you pay in cash. Credit cards generally charge the retailer around 3% of the purchase price. The jeweler should be willing to pass this saving on to you. But be sure the sale is an above-the-board sale and all store guarantees will still apply.

Make sure to always consider the five “C’s” when buying a quality diamond engagement ring

  1. Carat weight
  2. Clarity
  3. Color
  4. Cut
  5. Cost

Do a little research on diamonds before you go to the jeweler and let the jeweler know what you want. If the jeweler realizes you have some knowledge of engagement rings they will be easier to work with on price.

Size of Wedding and Budget

The surest way to have a nice wedding, within an affordable budget, is to limit the size of the wedding. Not only does a smaller wedding save money, it also allows the bride and groom to enjoy their close friends and relatives (and themselves) throughout the wedding and reception, rather than spending the entire event making sure they greet and thank hundreds of guests, many of whom they may not even know very well, or at all. So consider paring down the guest list to those individuals that the bride and groom would really enjoy seeing at the wedding and reception.

The average cost of a wedding is over $20,000 with over 100 guests, and lasts less than six hours. While a wedding is hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime event, $20,000 (after taxes) is a lot of money and 100+ guests is a lot of close friends and relatives for a “six-hour party.” The objective of the wedding is for everyone to have a fun and memorable occasion, particularly the bride and groom, not for everyone to be impressed. Keep that in mind and plan a great and affordable affair, and exclude expenses that really do not contribute significantly to achieving your wedding objectives.

Establish a budget and stick to it.

One way to do this if the bride and groom are not paying for the wedding, and at the same time provide the bride and groom with some extra money for starting their life together, is to tell the couple that they will receive any money not spent from the wedding budget that has been established. This helps the couple decide what is really important for their wedding, and what is not so important. In other words, is it really worth the additional money for that extra guest, fancier cake, live band, etc.?

The surest way to have a nice wedding, within an affordable budget, is to limit the size of the wedding.

Not only does a smaller wedding save money, it also allows the bride and groom to enjoy their close friends and relatives (and themselves) throughout the wedding and reception, rather than spending the entire event making sure they greet and thank hundreds of guests, many of whom they may not even know very well, or at all. So consider paring down the guest list to those individuals that the bride and groom would really enjoy seeing at the wedding and reception. A smaller party with good friends and close relatives will not only cost a lot less, it will be much more fun for everyone.

Limiting the size of the wedding party (bridesmaids and groomsmen) can also significantly reduce costs.

This can be difficult to do because of concerns about hurt feelings. But sometimes having a small wedding party actually helps solve this problem. If friends and family that were not included in the wedding party realize that many other close friends and family were also not included, being “left on the outside looking in” can be much easier to accept without any hurt feelings.

Use vendors who are not primarily wedding vendors to get lower prices.

For instance, a florist in a grocery store will probably offer lower prices than a traditional florist shop. Wedding vendors are traditionally high priced. So, think “outside the box” when choosing vendors for your wedding, and consider non-traditional sources to lower costs.

Don’t forget to negotiate for virtually every product and service you will buy for your wedding.

Most vendors want your business and will discount off their first offer if they believe it is required to get your business, particularly if your wedding is held at an off-peak time. Also, consider giving vendors a free advertisement in the form of a tasteful notice placed somewhere at the reception for a reduced rate. Make sure you keep accurate records during your planning to ensure you stay within budget, and make sure you keep and refer to contracts that you have signed with each vendor.

Get wedding insurance

And just in case, although there is no insurance against common problems that may plague your wedding, insurance is available to protect against freak storms, disreputable vendors, and other types of problems that may occur. One company, WedSafe.com provides coverage on everything from damaged gifts to destroyed wedding gowns. They also insure against canceled weddings due to injury, illness or natural disasters. Premiums range from under $200 to over $400 for coverage up to $50,000. The National Alliance of Special Event Planners provides insurance that will even cover cold feet, with premiums starting at under $200.

Timing & Location

When you have your wedding, and where you have your wedding, will affect the overall cost of the wedding and reception considerably. Periods of high demand for weddings or other social occasions, and venues that are in high demand, will be more costly. If you can be flexible you can reduce cost considerably. Remember, there are many great places to hold your wedding and reception, and there are also many times of the year (and times of the day and week) that should be able to fit your schedule and provide a memorable occasion.

When you have your wedding, and where you have your wedding, will affect the overall cost of the wedding and reception considerably. Periods of high demand for weddings or other social occasions, and venues that are in high demand, will be more costly. If you can be flexible you can reduce cost considerably. Remember, there are many great places to hold your wedding and reception, and there are also many times of the year (and times of the day and week) that should be able to fit your schedule and provide a memorable occasion.

Choose a non-traditional or off-peak time for your wedding and get better pricing on virtually every aspect of your wedding

  • Early November, January, February (not Valentine’s Day) or March generally offer savings. Try to avoid June, July, September and October.
  • Avoid holidays.
  • Have your wedding on a day other than Saturday or on a non-weekend evening.
  • Plan your wedding and reception for the morning or around lunch time.
  • If you are having your wedding at a vacation destination, consider a date that is during the off season for travel in that region.

Look into free locations

Choose a location for your wedding and/or reception that is affordable (or perhaps even free) and save significantly, while enjoying a memorable occasion. Many wedding/reception locations are so unique or beautiful that only minimal decorations and flowers are required.

  • If your wedding is not very large, consider a home wedding and/or reception.
  • Consider privately owned locations such as a private garden or beautiful farmhouse (or almost any other location like art galleries and theaters), and ask the owner if you could hold your wedding there. Be creative. Perhaps you have a friend with a beautiful house or beautifully landscaped yard. Or perhaps you have a friend that has a membership at a country club and you can get a discount.
  • Public areas such as parks, museums and public gardens may be very affordable and a beautiful setting for a wedding. Keep in mind a permit may be necessary.
  • Organizations such as your church or place of worship, local clubs, community centers or even the fire department may have reception halls available with full kitchens that would be perfect for your reception.
  • Some local restaurants and hotels may also offer low budget wedding receptions.
  • Be creative. There is a great location for your wedding and/or reception that will fit your budget and provide a great occasion. Get recommendations from family and friends. Ask around, you will find it.

Wedding Reception Food & Beverages

If you are using a caterer, tell your caterer about your need to keep costs as low as possible. Be sure the caterer supplies what you need (plates, glassware, tablecloths, etc.). Be sure the caterer is not charging you for items and services that may not be required (such as decorations, etc.). Read your contract carefully and see if the gratuity is included.

Food and beverages are generally the most expensive part of the wedding reception, and certainly one of the most important aspects of the reception. There are several ways to save on this expense and still throw a great party. Your mission is not to impress people, just to help ensure that they have a great time.

Food costs can be kept under control in several ways

  • If you are using a caterer, tell your caterer about your need to keep costs as low as possible. Be sure the caterer supplies what you need (plates, glassware, tablecloths, etc.). Be sure the caterer is not charging you for items and services that may not be required (such as decorations, etc.). Read your contract carefully and see if the gratuity is included.
  • Consider a buffet rather than a seated dinner. This will not only save money, but may also leave less room for any possible disappointments that could occur with poor table service.
  • Choose less expensive entrees like chicken and pasta instead of seafood or beef. Nice meals do not need to be overly expensive. Limit entree choices for guests.
  • If you must offer more exotic/expensive foods (such as lobster) consider including them as appetizers, rather than for the main course.
  • Consider serving only heavy appetizers, a sandwich-style buffet, a dessert reception, casual brunch, barbecue or lunch instead of a full dinner. Everyone will still have a good time.
  • See if the caterer offers child meals or teen meals (same meal as adults but no liquor included in cost).
  • Dispense with a separate dessert course and just present the wedding cake as dessert.
  • Consider local culinary or cooking schools who may agree to cater the reception for little more than the cost of the food, with a small markup.
  • Consider whether drop-off catering will suffice where the caterer delivers and sets up prepared food but does not stay. It may be a little less formal, but just as much fun.
  • See if the local grocer or family friend would be available to cater the reception. Or ask friends or family to prepare the food. A potluck dinner at the reception could be a lot of fun.
  • Instead of renting place settings and linens for the reception, you might actually be able to buy them for less than the cost of renting. Look around and see if this is possible. In addition to possibly saving some money, you will also have some dishes, glasses and linens to share with friends and family. Or perhaps your can borrow from friends. But remember, clean up will be your responsibility.

Beverages, when alcohol is included, are particularly expensive

You can have a great reception while keeping these costs under control.

  • Consider an alcohol-free reception. Maybe just a champagne toast would suffice. Everybody can still have a good time. Or maybe the champagne toast is not required either.
  • Although not for everyone, a cash bar is always an alternative.
  • Consider having the bar open only during cocktail hour and serving an inexpensive wine with dinner. Or only offer wine and beer at the reception.
  • Serve a signature drink, such as an alcoholic punch or favorite cocktail instead of providing an open bar.
  • If you do have an open bar, do not offer top shelf liquor. No one is going to know the difference or care.
  • Don’t include after dinner liquors such as Grand Mariner, etc. These can really get expensive, especially when the party really gets going.
  • If you have booked a venue that allows you to supply your own liquor, consider doing just that. The savings can be significant and sometimes you can return unopened cases . Wine can often be bought at wholesale

Flowers & Decorations

Consider using silk flowers (you can even rent them) for both the wedding and reception. They can be less expensive than many real flowers, can be kept indefinitely, and can serve for years as home decorations. As an added plus, you can acquire silk flowers well in advance of the ceremony, so there is one last thing to worry about on your wedding day. Even the wedding party can carry silk flowers, including the bride. Or perhaps the bride can have a fresh bouquet with everyone else going silk.

Depending on your tastes, and the location of your wedding and reception, flowers and decorations may be either a moderate expense or a major expense. Some locations are so beautiful that only a few flowers and decorations are needed. Try keeping your flower arrangements and decor simple. When deciding on flowers, keep in mind they are a one-time use, expensive and perishable item. Try to limit fresh-cut flowers and utilize other types of floral arrangements and decorations. Here are some ways to stay within your budget.

Wedding and reception flowers

  • Limit the number of people in the wedding party that have flowers. If you only have flowers for the bride, the groom and a few other key people in the wedding party, such as the maid/matron of honor and best man, the cost of wedding flowers will be minimized.
  • Don’t purchase a duplicate bouquet for the bride to toss, if you are not planning on preserving your bouquet for display at home. Toss the original. Or consider picking just one flower from your bouquet to toss.
  • Consider carrying a small bouquet or single flower wrapped with ribbon or tulle. Sometimes smaller is more attractive and elegant.
  • Consider using silk flowers (you can even rent them) for both the wedding and reception. They can be less expensive than many real flowers, can be kept indefinitely, and can serve for years as home decorations. As an added plus, you can acquire silk flowers well in advance of the ceremony, so there is one less thing to worry about on your wedding day. Even the wedding party can carry silk flowers, including the bride. Or perhaps the bride can have a fresh bouquet with everyone else going silk.
  • Ask your florist what flowers are in season and most economical. And consider using non-floral embellishments and greenery among the costlier flowers to fill out the bouquets, wedding decorations and reception arrangements. Consider using plants or flowering bulbs as table arrangements. They can be attractive and you may also be able to rent them from your florist or garden center.
  • Utilize the same floral arrangements at the wedding and reception. If there are enough ceremony flowers, and they are the right size, they can be used as centerpieces at the reception. Or they could be used to decorate other tables such as guest book, seating-card, favor tables and the cake table. Or consider using the bride’s and bridesmaids’ flowers as centerpieces.
  • Consider using relatively modest table arrangements as decorations such as floating a few flowers or flower petals in glass bowls. These type of floral decorations are easy and do not require a florist.
  • See if any of your friends have a knack with flowers. Perhaps they could create the bouquets, wedding flowers and arrangements for the reception. Most friends love to help out and be a part of the wedding.
  • Consider buying your flowers from grocery stores or discount clubs such as Costco. This can save a significant amount. Silk flowers can be purchased at stores like Michaels.
  • After the wedding and reception, don’t forget to consider donating your flowers to a hospital or nursing home where they can continue to be enjoyed. This act of kindness may also qualify as a tax deduction.

Non-floral decorations

  • Flowers are not the only way to decorate for a wedding and reception. Consider other decorations such as candles, lace, ribbons, white Christmas tree lights and other less expensive decorations.
  • For weddings held near certain holidays, your church or other wedding venue may already be decorated for the holiday and not require further wedding decorations.
  • A simple candlelit ceremony can be quite dramatic and elegant, while needing only minimal decorations.
  • Decorate the head table by buying inexpensive vases to put the wedding party bouquets in, with votives in between.
  • Bowls filled with seasonal fruits can be used instead of floral arrangements, as can single candles in hurricane lanterns. Use your imagination.
  • If you are providing guest favors, consider placing them in the middle of the table on a raised cake plate as the table decoration.
  • Personalized decorations not only cost less but add a personal touch to the wedding. One choice would be to use photographs as a major part of decorations for the reception.
  • If another couple is getting married on the same day, contact them to see if sharing decorations at either the wedding venue or reception venue is possible, resulting in significant savings.

Wedding Music

If you have a band for your reception, see if one or two of the band members can also provide music or vocals at the wedding. Sometimes they will agree to do this at little or no additional charge in order to get the reception booking. Another alternative is a compilation of beautiful recorded wedding music that can be played through the wedding venue’s sound system. With today’s CD’s and iPods this is easily arranged and you know what you will be getting.

Music is an expense that can easily get out of hand quickly, particularly for the reception. The whole point of music is for everyone to enjoy the ceremony and have a good time at the reception. Fortunately, thanks to today’s technology and professional artists, music can be both high quality and inexpensive.

Wedding music

  • Often the church or other wedding venue will have an organist and/or vocalist that charges reasonable fees and is well qualified.
  • Or perhaps you have friends that would be willing to play or sing at your wedding ceremony.
  • If you have a band for your reception, see if one or two of the band members can also provide music or vocals at the wedding. Sometimes they will agree to do this at little or no additional charge in order to get the reception booking.
  • Another alternative is a compilation of beautiful recorded wedding music that can be played through the wedding venue’s sound system. With today’s CD’s and iPods this is easily arranged and you know what you will be getting.

Reception music

  • If you must have a band, make sure you know what you are getting. Either see the band playing in person or review their audition DVD. Make sure what members of the band will be present, what the charges are, how long they will play, what music selections they will play, what intermissions they will take, will they play CD music during intermissions, how will they dress, whether they will provide emcee services for the reception, what they will charge if you want to extend their agreed upon hours, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discounted rate after they give you an initial quote. And if you are having an afternoon wedding, ask for a discounted rate since they will still be able to book another function that evening. Make sure any extras offered by the band (such as lighting, smoke or bubbles) are either included or at a reasonable price. Get a contract and check it closely.
  • If you do not want to pay for a band, a DJ may be a perfect fit, and is usually considerably cheaper. Many of the questions above for a band should also be asked of the DJ. Get quotes from at least three DJ’s and pick the one that suits you best. One advantage of a DJ is that since selected music is performed by a recording artist you know what you will be getting with respect to the quality of performance.
  • If you really want to save money and still have great music, get a reliable friend to be the DJ. Just set up your selection of songs, hook up the CD player or iPod to the reception hall’s sound system (or bring your own sound system) and enjoy the music.

Wedding Pictures

Hiring a professional photographer/videographer will most always produce better quality wedding photos/videos than an amateur. However, the cost is considerable. Some ways to limit the cost include: Limiting the photographer’s services to a minimal package of photos, perhaps including just the bride and groom, wedding party and family. Limiting the photographer’s services to just the wedding. Let friends and family take the reception pictures. Consider not doing a formal shoot at the bride’s and/or groom’s house. Friends and family can shoot these pictures. Don’t keep the photographer employed for the entire reception. Once there are no more major events to shoot the photographer can leave. Hire a photographer that gives you your negatives (or digital file) so you can make as many copies as you want without ordering them from your photographer. If they won’t give you the negatives, ask them how long they keep the negatives and if you can have them when they are to be disposed. Check not only the initial charge for the photographer’s wedding packages, but also the charge for prints, enlargements, albums, etc. See what can be eliminated and purchased elsewhere at a lower cost.

Pictures, and often videos, are a must for ensuring those special moments can be remembered throughout the years. They also can get very expensive. Here are a few tips to keep the cost reasonable.

Hiring a professional

Hiring a professional photographer/videographer will most always produce better quality wedding photos/videos than an amateur. However, the cost is considerable. Ways to reduce the cost of a professional include the following:

  • Limit the photographer’s services to a minimal package of photos, perhaps including just the bride and groom, wedding party and family. Limit the photographer’s services to just the wedding. Let friends and family take the reception pictures.
  • Consider not doing a formal shoot at the bride’s and/or groom’s house. Friends and family can shoot these pictures.
  • Don’t keep the photographer employed for the entire reception. Once there are no more major events to shoot the photographer can leave.
  • Hire a photographer that gives you your negatives (or digital file) so you can make as many copies as you want without ordering them from your photographer. If they won’t give you the negatives, ask them how long they keep the negatives and if you can have them when they are to be disposed.
  • Check not only the initial charge for the photographer’s wedding packages, but also the charge for prints, enlargements, albums, etc. See what can be eliminated and purchased elsewhere at a lower cost.
  • Look for a professional photographer that is not a wedding photographer and offers low rates and/or specials. Ask them for their best deal, but be sure to check their qualifications and look at samples of their work.
  • Get bids from several photographers for similar photo packages.
  • If you are thinking about a videographer, consider packages with one-camera coverage and with limited editing and special effects, or none at all. Consider having only the ceremony recorded.
  • And last but not least, make sure you get references and understand thoroughly what is included and not included in your contract.

Don’t use a professional

A much less expensive way to photograph/videograph your wedding is to have non professionals handle either the entire task or part of the task. With today’s digital cameras and video cameras, if the individuals you choose know what they are doing with a camera, and everyone is clear what events are to be photographed, the results can be great and very affordable.

  • Ask one or more friends to volunteer to take either casual or formal photos at both the wedding and reception. But make sure you really trust these individuals.
  • Contact your local college to see if they have any photography students or faculty that are looking for work. They may be a good choice to do a video of the wedding and reception, and perhaps even photographs. The cost may be very affordable and their work very good, but be sure to check their reliability.
  • Ask everyone invited to bring their cameras and share the pictures they take with the bride and groom.
  • Supply disposable cameras at various places throughout the reception for use by the guests to take candid pictures. Consider putting a note with each camera explaining what you would like the guests to do and where to drop off the cameras at the end of the reception.

Wedding Cake

A very nice wedding cake can be had for a reasonable cost. Make sure the size is appropriate for the number of guests and try making the cake nice, but not overwhelming. If you use your wedding cake as dessert to avoid having a separate dessert table, make the tiers different flavors. Conversely, if you are having a dessert table you do not need a large wedding cake at all. If you want a tall cake but it would be too large for the number of guests, you can make the upper tiers out of cake and the lower large tiers out of Styrofoam and iced to match the others. Order two cakes for the reception. A small fancy cake can be used as the main display cake and for the cake cutting ceremony. A larger sheet cake with only moderate decoration can be sliced in the kitchen and served.

A very nice wedding cake can be had for a reasonable cost. Make sure the size is appropriate for the number of guests and try making the cake nice, but not overwhelming.

  • If you use your wedding cake as dessert to avoid having a separate dessert table, make the tiers different flavors. Conversely, if you are having a dessert table you do not need a large wedding cake at all.
  • Buy a plain wedding cake and decorate it yourself with silk or fresh flowers.
  • If you want a tall cake but it would be too large for the number of guests, you can make the upper tiers out of cake and the lower large tiers out of Styrofoam and iced to match the others.
  • Order two cakes for the reception. A small fancy cake can be used as the main display cake and for the cake cutting ceremony. A larger sheet cake with only moderate decoration can be sliced in the kitchen and served.
  • To reduce the price of the cake, purchase the cake from a supermarket or moderately priced bakery, or ask your caterer or bakery if they have standardized designs rather than ordering a customized design. Or locate a friend, local amateur cook or culinary school student who might like to make the cake at a reasonable cost.

Wedding Invitations

Invitations do not need to be expensive. Even custom-made invitations by an outside vendor can be found at a reasonable price. But be sure to get samples and an assurance that your invitations will be the same quality. Consider getting them thermographed instead of engraved to save some money. Order them over the Internet. And make sure you order enough extra invitations to make up for mistakes in addressing and last minute invites. But to save more, consider purchasing invitations at a craft store and printing them yourself with available software programs. Consider including reply postcards instead of traditional cards to save. Include reception information on the invitation instead of separate cards and use invitations that require only standard postage. If you really want to save, consider using an online invitation web site. Many sites even provide some free online invitations.

Bridal Gown & Wedding Party Attire

Instead of buying a new design, consider purchasing a discontinued dress or sample dress, or looking for dresses at closeout sales. They are usually less expensive and can often be found at smaller dress shops, or perhaps even consignment shops. Shop for your wedding dress in places other than bridal boutiques and specialty shops, where prices may be considerably lower. Find a dress you like and you know fits and search for it online.

Bridal gowns and bridesmaids dresses, and often tuxes, are pretty much one-use items. While every bride and groom, and the rest of the wedding party, want to look great for the wedding, it does not have to cost a fortune to be nicely attired for 4-6 hours. No one really cares or needs to know where the wedding dress came from or what it cost. They only care if you look nice, and bridal gowns in all price ranges will accomplish this objective.

The bridal gown

  • Instead of buying a new design, consider purchasing a discontinued dress or sample dress, or looking for dresses at closeout sales. They are usually less expensive and can often be found at smaller dress shops, or perhaps even consignment shops.
  • Shop for your wedding dress in places other than bridal boutiques and specialty shops, where prices may be considerably lower. Find a dress you like and you know fits and search for it online.
  • Avoid silk gowns which are generally very expensive. Synthetic blends are usually less expensive, don’t wrinkle as much and are easier to clean. And remember, the more detail and beading on the gown the more expensive it usually is.
  • Take advantage of local or regional bridal shop or wedding show sales, or locate a bridal outlet store.
  • Try to buy your bridal gown during the off season for weddings.
  • Used dresses may also be available that are in great condition and very affordable for a very nice dress. Check out consignment shops, the classifieds and Internet sites such as CraigsList.org and eBay.com.
  • If you wear a “standard” size, check out sample sales where you can often get a very expensive dress for a low price.
  • Perhaps your mother or a close relative has a beautiful wedding dress that you can wear.
  • Consider renting a wedding dress for much less than a purchase would cost. After all, you probably will never wear the dress again.
  • Perhaps a local seamstress can actually make you a dress for substantially less than purchasing one retail.
  • And don’t forget to look for those white shoes for your wedding at regular shoe stores during the spring and summer, when white shoes are plentiful. They can cost considerably less than shoes bought at the wedding boutique.
  • You might also consider making your own veil. The know-how and supplies can be found at most craft stores.
  • Borrow accessories from family and friends.

Wedding party attire

  • The fewer wedding attendants you have the less expensive bridal party wedding attire will be, as well as other costs. So, keep bridal party size reasonable. Do you really need a flower girl and ring bearer?
  • Bridesmaids dresses do not need to be purchased at a bridal shop. Buy ready-to-wear dresses that do not need alterations. Look through catalogs of retail clothing stores located locally. They will generally have many styles of beautiful gowns at prices well below wedding stores. Consider shopping for bridesmaid dresses during prom season or after New Year’s when there is a greater selection.
  • You may be able to purchase bridesmaid dresses at the same store you purchased your wedding gown and receive a “quantity” discount.
  • To have a consistent look among groomsmen, it is almost necessary to rent tuxes. See if the groom will get a free tux rental.
  • If your wedding is not formal, dark suits may be fine for the groom and groomsmen.

The Honeymoon

Now that the wedding has been planned and budgeted, it’s time to plan and pay for the honeymoon. Hopefully, some money is left over from the wedding budget to make this a bit easier. Consider the following ideas:

  • Try to visit your destination of choice in the off season. This can save plenty in travel, accommodations, food and drink and other extras. On average, the weather might be less inviting, but the crowds may also be less onerous.
  • Try staying closer to home to minimize transportation costs. Look for great locations nearby.
  • Decide if you really want a long honeymoon or if a shorter honeymoon at a nicer place would be more suitable.
  • Try to avoid major resorts that earn a premium just for being well known. Look for more affordable accommodations at lesser known places. For instance, if you are looking for an island honeymoon, find a resort on one of the lesser known islands and it may very well be less expensive. Or consider a nice bed and breakfast that can provide a very unique honeymoon getaway.
  • Look for deals. Significant discounts on airfare and lodging are usually available if you look for them and ask for them. Sometimes you can find a discount on a brand new resort or hotel that is not yet well known, but has superb and new accommodations. And do not forget looking online for great honeymoon and travel deals.
  • Look for last-minute deals. If many different locations might be suitable for your honeymoon, there generally will be a great deal available to one or more nice locations. Cruises, in particular, offer some great bargains if booked at the last minute. Check newspapers, travel agents, online, etc. to find your perfect last-minute honeymoon deal.
  • If looking at all-inclusive deals make sure you really want most or all of what is included. Will you really eat and drink enough to make it worth it? If you plan on leaving the resort to visit other locations will you end up paying double for food and drink? In many cases, buying the honeymoon package can cost more than just going as regular vacationers and purchasing extras when you want them. On the other hand, if you really take advantage of what is offered in all-inclusive deals they can be a good bargain.
  • Does a friend or relative have a timeshare that they are not using. Perhaps they would like to give you a week or two as a wedding gift.
  • Set up a honeymoon registry and ask your guests to purchase part of your honeymoon as a wedding present.

Other Wedding Tips

There are many additional expenses to holding a wedding other than those noted above. Some tips on controlling those expenses include:

  • Enlist the creative talents of your family and friends to pitch in wherever they can to assist you in making your wedding a memorable event that is affordable. Consider throwing a pitch-in party where you invite friends to be part of your wedding by helping you make invitations and centerpieces, assemble favors, etc.
  • Consider not having favors and instead have the emcee make an announcement that the couple has made a donation to a specific charity in place of the normal favors. If you do have favors, consider using them as seating or place cards.
  • Plan on making as many of your accessories as possible. It will save you money and probably be more meaningful.
  • While this is not for everyone, if you are considering having your hair done for the ceremony you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself. You won’t run the risk of a hair disaster right before the ceremony, and you will look more like yourself which, after all, is the girl the groom wants to marry.
  • Special transportation for the wedding can cost a bundle and really is not necessary, as compared to other wedding expenses. Who really sees you in the car? Any nice car will do and there will certainly be plenty of friends and family that would volunteer to drive. Perhaps you have a friend with a luxury car or vintage car that would be just perfect.
  • If you are organized, or someone close to you is, and you have the time, you probably do not need a wedding planner or wedding consultant. However, if you are just hiring the wedding planner for good ideas and a timetable of events, a good wedding planner may be helpful and affordable. A good wedding planner may also have relationships with certain vendors that could provide cost savings. But this would usually only be the case with large and expensive weddings. In most cases, while wedding consultants may be worth it, they are expensive.