We all know that weddings can be expensive. It is said that the average U.S. couple spends around $26,000 on their wedding. You don’t need to cut out your dream wedding dress to save money on your wedding. Follow some of these simple tips to save big on your big day! But first, sit down with your fiance (anyone else who might be contributing to your wedding) and decide what your wedding budget is using this budgeting worksheet from realsimple.com. You may also use this wedding cost search from costofwedding.com to find out the average cost of your dream wedding in your area!
1. Start by doing research on vendors. Compare their prices. If you like one vendor best but they are more expensive than the other options tell your first choice you are willing to negotiate a price. Showing a vendor that you’ve done your research usually results in a lower price or some extras to make up the difference.
2. Make sure you know everything that is included in the price when getting quotes. Negotiate out things that you don’t need or can get at a better cost.
3. Be nice to everyone when planning your wedding. No one likes working with a bridezilla. It never hurts to be nice when asking for something, especially a discount.
4. Be willing and flexible when planning on a budget. Most times you can get a better price on a location if you book on a weekday or Sunday and during the winter season as most weddings are on Saturdays and in the summer months. Be willing to compromise in order to save a few bucks.
5. Always mentioned who referred you to a specific vendor. Most vendors have referral programs that can save you some money.
6. Ask your photographer if (s)he will throw in a “brag book” with some photos to share.
7. Ask your vendor about specials or freebies that they have going on. Sometimes certain months during the off season are cheaper.
8. Have friends and family take pictures and upload them to the same location (facebook event group or with https://www.weddingsnap.com/), leave a bunch of disposable cameras at each table and develop them later, or have a photo booth.
9. For decor and other wedding necessities, visit local thrift and antique stores. Lanterns, chairs, tables, stools, napkins, plates, linens, etc.
10. Instead of a 5-course meal, plan a cocktail and appetizer reception that’s not as long. You’ll save on food and other vendor expenses for not having such a long reception. Breakfasts and brunches tend to be cheaper as well.
11. Check out this website where people sell their wedding stuff for a lower cost instead of you buying new. Centerpieces, jewelry, dresses, vases, veils, hairpieces,decorations, etc.
12. When it comes to linens, it’s usually a good idea to buy rather than rent. In the long run you can make money selling them afterwards.
13. Find a more efficient substitute for those things you can do without. Instead of a bouquet of flowers, create one from your grandmothers old brooches. Instead of a cake, have a dessert bar with different homemade goodies or an ice cream sundae bar).
14. Keep your wedding more intimate. Only invite your friends and family that you really want there. If you can imagine your wedding day being perfect without them, you probably can leave them out.
15. Instead of hiring a makeup artist go to your local department store for a free makeover. Then you can purchase the makeup (mainly the shadow and lip gloss) they used to touch-up throughout the night.
16. Have someone you know officiate your wedding. It’s easy to get ordained even online!
17. Use what you already have. Decor, seating, natural resources like seashells, etc.
18. Try to barter. You may have a talent or craft that could be helpful to those helping you with your wedding.
19. Use coupons! Craft stores like Michaels and Jo-Anns e-mail coupons out all the time. These will definitely come in handy and save you a few bucks.
20. Try to DYI. Get out your glue guns and glitter. Make your own centerpieces and decor. Martha Stewart Weddings of course has amazing ideas for DYI- Thank You Cards, Decorations, Favors, Food, and more!
21. Sometimes hiring a professional wedding planner can actually save you money. They are very good at negotiating with other wedding vendors and usual have referral benefits.
22. Get your friends and family involved. See if anyone knows how to make cakes, do decor, photographs well, etc. Borrow things from friends and family as well.
23. Go to bridal shows! Vendors usually give discounts and specials to those that attend the wedding expos. There are sometimes even raffles and contests for free wedding rings and dresses.
24. Public places, such as parks, are usually more cheap than hotels and churches. Again book on a weekday.
25. Forget meaningless favors. People usually throw them away anyway.
27. Have an earlier wedding. Most vendors will have a lower cost if you end your event before 3 pm. Again, breakfast and brunch tend to be cheaper as well.
28. Don’t buy heels. Wear a cute pair of Toms Shoes, Converse, cowboy boots, or any other pair of comfy shoes. Not only are they more likely to be less expensive than heels, your feet will be thanking you!
*Stick to your budget as much as possible and try not to go over. Circumstances will come up when you may need to spend a little more than budgeted, but be realistic!*