Learning how to save money on your wedding can feel daunting, but I challenge you to adopt an attitude of light-heartedness instead!! Everyone loves saving money on their wedding and everyone wins when you save money, so why not have fun with it?! The more cash you save, the more you’ll have to spend on what matters to you. Let me give you some tips to help you stick to your wedding planning budget so that you can be intentional with your dough.
Wedding Venue Fees
This is simple: supply & demand. Venues charge more during peak wedding times.
Consider having your wedding on a Friday or Sunday, or even a Thursday, and encourage your guests to take your wedding weekend as a holiday. A Thursday, Friday, or Sunday wedding can shave around 10% – 20% off your wedding budget. If you opt for this idea, make sure you’re clear on your Save The Dates what day your wedding is on, and that you encourage your guests to make a holiday of it!
Wedding venue prices are lower December through March, and booking during those months can save you around $45 per guest!
Ask the venue about the events happening before and after your wedding. Chances are, you can share costs with these couples! This is a dirty little secret in the wedding industry, and it’s a great way for all of you to share costs and get more bang for your buck. Not to mention, the community aspect of this aligns all my happy chakras. 🧘♀️😅
Florals & Decor
Your bridal bouquet:
This little gem will be in almost every picture, namely your close-up, romantic Husband and Wife portraits. As a photographer, I recommend being intentional with your bouquet and considering splurging just a little here! 🤪 (You didn’t expect me to keep my opinion to myself the whole time, did you?!)
Instead of throwing beautiful florals around your entire wedding space, consider investing in statement pieces each of your guests will appreciate. If you’re not having a sit-down dinner, you could skip centerpieces on all the tables and instead put your money toward a statement piece near the bar. Concentrate on a few arrangements, instead of filling the entire room, and you can easily save money.
Stay local and seasonal with your floral choices, and then choose some of your favorites from that list. Once you narrow down stems you love, consider incorporating pricier stems in your arrangements and allowing your florist to creatively fill in the gaps while staying in your budget. Florists do better when they’re left to their own devices to figure out how to stretch your budget.
How To Save Money On Your Wedding
Repurpose your gorgeous arrangements, yo!
When you meet with your florist, ask if she has tricks up her sleeve to help you with this. There’s no sense in leaving florals at the altar; bring them to the reception!! Use the large arrangements from the end of your aisle on your buffet or dinner table. Bring the flowers that line your aisle to the guests’ tables at the reception. (Don’t just dream this up, though; make sure you have a solid plan in place for it to happen discretely.)
Use arrangements (or even statement pieces) as Thank You gifts to the folks who helped you out the most with your wedding. People love fresh flowers, and to know you were thinking about them when investing in your florals will mean a lot. Consider having your coordinator or planner add a Thank You card to the arrangements and assign a friend to make sure they get to the right person.
Food & Drinks
Consider having chef-attended action stations rather than a sit-down dinner. While action stations can get out of hand if you go crazy with them (because, duh, they’re fun!) they cut down on costs in two ways. 1) Less hands on deck. You’re paying the chef and his crew rather than a full wait staff. 2) You’re paying for all the food, consumed or not consumed, up front with a traditional dinner. Action stations provide guests the choice of what they want to eat, so less will be wasted. Instead of serving everyone a meat and two side dishes, your guests will pick what they want, likely not visiting every station!
Pros: Guests interact with the chef, and food choices are almost always more fun!
Cons: Guests will have to serve themselves, and a bigger space is required for action stations.
If you’re not digging the Action Stations, consider having a buffet style dinner. Opting for a buffet over a sit-down dinner can save about 15% from your catering bill!
If you’re having a brunch wedding, offer a large spread of food with light and healthy dishes rather than gluttonous, heavy foods.
How To Save Money On Your Wedding
Let’s talk the obvious about liquor. Opting for House liquors over Top Shelf can save about 15%.
Consider offering beer and wine to your guests rather than a full open bar. If you really want to offer cocktails, choose one or two signature drinks at the cocktail hour and then switch to beer and wine at the reception.
Shave about $400 from your bar tab by offering just the bride and groom champagne during toasts, and letting everyone else toast with a drink of their choice.
Never buy enough cake for the entire guest list; I see so much cake wasted. Generally it’s recommended that your cake serves about 80% of your wedding guest list, but I personally see so much wasted that I might opt for 75%. Talk to your cake artist and see what they recommend.
Cake secret: talk to your cake artist about faux layers on your big, beautiful wedding cake and serve the guests a sheet cake from the kitchen. No one will know, and you’ll save at least 15%!
A DJ is cheaper than a live band, obviously, but there’s a possibility you could stream music for your cocktail hour rather than having a DJ cover it. Ask your wedding planner or venue about it!
If you want a live band (which you totally should) seek out some folks who haven’t ‘made it’ big yet. Plan some weekends out with your friends and scope out some local talent at the bars. Make notes about the bands so you remember which ones you like the best, and reach out!
Take time to choose a photographer you trust, and then talk to them about your timeline. Letting your media folks go as soon as the important events at the reception are over (entrances, first dances, cake cutting, toasts, speeches, and tosses) can save you hundreds of dollars. Really, there’s no sense in having hundreds of images of the same folks gettin’ jiggy on the dance floor. (And in my experience, those on the dance floor at the beginning of the night will be the same folks on the floor at the end of the night. Have your photographer take some group shots with folks before she leaves so no person is missed.)
Ultimately, after everything is said and done, the only things left after your wedding are the memories in photos. What is a memory worth to you?
Save money when planning your wedding, and take time to ensure you’re making the right investments in the right vendors for you. Trust your vendors, and take advantage of their experience; a lot of them will help you stick to your budget without skimping on service.
In other news… Do you know what time your ceremony should start?? I made a quiz for you to figure out what’s right for YOUR wedding!!