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How to Save Money on Your Wedding Without Skimping Out

January 17th, 2018 by Amanda Bradley

From full, princess ball gowns and cathedrals to barns, burlap, and mason jars, we’ve seen our fair share of both traditional and trendy weddings. Regardless of your style or the theme of the event, the happiest day of your life can easily rack up a steep bill.


With the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. being roughly $26K, it’s no wonder couples tying the knot are looking for ways to save.  Luckily, there are hundreds of websites out there offering ideas on how to reduce your budget (thanks Pinterest!). But don’t go overboard — while there are plenty of ways to cut costs on your big day, you also don’t want to look back on your wedding with any regret. Here are our recommendations on where you can save some money, and where you will be happy you didn’t.



  1. Skip the wedding planner

Yes, wedding planners can make your life a whole lot easier, but they come at a high price. Rather than hiring a wedding planner, opt for a day-of-coordinator. Your coordinator will be there for you to take care of every detail on your wedding day, so you don’t have to stress yourself out setting up your centerpieces and rushing to pick up the cake while also trying to get your hair and makeup done on time.


  1. Don’t skip the food

I went to a wedding recently where the cocktail hour consisted of four different appetizer stations. The apps were great, but it was a bit of a surprise when after the wedding party entered we went straight to dessert and dancing – where was the entre? Come to find out, there was no main course – guests were supposed to treat the app stations as the main course. We ended up leaving early simply because we were so hungry! Moral of the story – make sure you adequately feed your guests or be clear about any untraditional food situations. 


  1. Skip the full open bar

We’re not saying you need to have a dry wedding. Consider limiting your open bar to just the cocktail hour, or a certain dollar limit, and then switch over to a cash bar. You also could limit the drink menu. If your guests typically only have wine and beer, only serve wine and beer. Have the bartender remove any top-shelf liquor from view and create your own bar menu for guests to choose from. When picking a venue, ask if they allow you to bring your own drinks.


  1. Don’t skip the wedding favors

Favors can be so tempting to skip. They are one of those things that you don’t really see at your own wedding and that you think your guests won’t notice (trust me – they will). But it’s important that you thank you guests for attending your wedding and being a part of your special day. There are tons of inexpensive DIYs out there, or you can opt for an interactive favor that doubles as cocktail hour entertainment.


  1. Skip the elaborate invitations

You’d be surprised by how much paper can cost. Consider what your guests really need when putting your invitations together and remember to look at acceptable size and weight for postage. Do you need to include response cards? Why not ask your guests to respond via email or on a free wedding website like The Knot. You also could make your response card a postcard and skip the envelope. Directions and maps are thoughtful, but is the same information available on your wedding website? Are most people just going to use their own GPS?


  1. Don’t skip your photo session

Another trend we have been seeing is skipping on the professional photographer and instead having a friend take photos or relying on the guests to capture the day. While your guests can offer a unique perspective, you don’t get a second chance if you miss out on a photo you wanted. Don’t risk not having your memories captured because you went with your cousin who has a decent DSLR camera, but no training or experience.


  1. Skip the minister/priest (with caution)

Having a religious or nondenominational officiant perform your wedding can vary in price.  Now that anyone can get ordained online, consider choosing a friend or relative to perform your ceremony instead. This can add a level of intimacy to your ceremony while saving some money. However, think carefully before skipping a religious ceremony if it is important to you, your spouse, or your families. 


  1. Don’t skip the alterations

I went to a wedding recently where the bride wore the most beautiful lace gown. Unfortunately, she was tripping over it almost all night. Last year, a friend held her train over her arm all night because her dress didn’t have a bustle (FYI – most dresses DO NOT come with these!). Another friend didn’t notice until she was reviewing her wedding photos that her husband’s pants were a few inches too long and puddled at his shoes. While an extra inch or two of fabric might not seem like such a big dead, it is definitely not worth ruining your night or your photos.


  1. Skip the immediate resale 

It can be tempting to immediately sell off every piece of your wedding to other brides once your wedding day is over. However, this might be a decision you will regret later in life. Are you going to have a future daughter or daughter-in-law who would want your dress or veil? Does your cake cutter or topper hold any sentimental value? Before listing your items on the many wedding resale sites out there, take a moment to decide if it’s better as a keepsake. You can always sell it later if you change your mind.


  1. Don’t skip on what’s important to YOU

Don’t forget – this is YOUR day. If you have been dreaming of the lace, champagne, fit-and-flare dress your whole life, then don’t settle on something else just because it’s cheaper. Identify the one or two things that you just can’t live without on your wedding day (besides your partner, of course) and make sure there is room for them in your budget before you start spending. 

Posted in the category Weddings.

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