Want to save big on your big day? Learn how to save a ton of money on your wedding by taking advantage of these awesome tips!
Did you know that the average cost of a wedding is $33,900?!?!? Everyone wants to have a special wedding, but in the end, that really is a lot of money to spend on one day! We managed to have a beautiful wedding and reception for less than one-third of the cost of the average wedding. Maximize your wedding savings by taking advantage of the tips below!
1. Find an affordable venue for major wedding savings
The venue is one of the biggest wedding expenses, but it doesn’t have to be that way! We knew we wanted to be married in Door County, WI, so we did a little research on venues in the area. Several we looked into were $5,000 just for the venue, and that didn’t include any catering! Jason ended up finding a great resort on the water that offered a reception hall for $800 and an outdoor ceremony grounds for $350. That is a wedding savings of almost $4,000 right off the bat! Make sure you shop around to find a nice, but reasonably priced venue.
2. DIY your save-the-dates and invitations
Or even skip the save-the-dates as a way to save even more! Fortunately, my sister-in-law is a graphic designer, and she designed the save-the-dates, invitations, and rsvp cards as a way to help us save big on our wedding. I took the designs and had them printed out from Shutterfly during a 50% off sale. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a graphic designer in your family, check out some DIY save-the-dates and invitations from Wal-Mart photo for as low as $0.28 a piece.
3. Don’t go crazy on your dress
I recently spoke to another newlywed who said she was trying to resell her wedding dress and wasn’t getting any takers. She paid around $2,200 for her dress, and it is very doubtful that she will make that money back. Wedding dresses are one area where brides tend to go crazy. I get it–you waited a long time to get married and you want everything to be perfect! However, I do think it is possible to save big on your wedding dress and look like you didn’t. I ordered my dress from a sample sale on the David’s Bridal website for $170 including shipping. It was originally over $400. Buy a dress that fits well to begin with to avoid huge alteration costs. I took advantage of the generosity of talented friends and family for my alterations, which probably saved me over $300.
4. Keep your wedding party small
Having a small bridal party can be advantageous for a few reasons. First of all, it cuts a lot of drama by eliminating contrasting personalities and opinions, and makes scheduling things much easier. It also helps you increase your wedding savings by only having to purchase gifts, bouquets, and transportation for a few people rather than a large group. We had my best friend and Jason’s dad stand up–and that was it. It made it so much easier to coordinate everything, not to mention keep the budget down.
5. DIY whatever you can
It should be no surprise that one of the ways to save big on your wedding is to do it yourself. Once you consider the cost of hair and makeup, nails, wedding coordinators, etc., it really adds up! Try to DIY whatever you can. Having my hair and makeup done for the big day would have cost me nearly $400 for a trial and day-of hair and makeup, so I decided I could do it myself. I purchased airbrush makeup from Amazon and watched some tutorials on how to apply it yourself with a brush. I practiced my hair and makeup a few times at home to make sure I had it down for the big day. A friend of mine graciously accepted my invitation to help my mom and bridesmaid with their hair and makeup, and it turned out great!
6. Make decorations from what you have available and keep an eye open for sales
Pinterest is THE place to go for wedding decoration inspiration! They have a ton of great ideas for DIY decorations. I combined a few different Pinterest ideas to create our centerpieces. They were placed on a log slab, which my father-in-law cut for us from some down trees on their land. Cost: Free. We then arranged flowers purchased from a 50% off sale at Hobby Lobby into Mason jars provided by my mother-in-law. The remaining decorations were purchased from Hobby Lobby during a 50% off wedding sale, including some small tin buckets in which we placed small, electric votive candles. Be sure to wait for sales as everything at Hobby Lobby is on a sale rotation. The same woman who had the $2,200 wedding dress said she spent over $100 each for her centerpieces, so I estimate we saved over $1,000 on ours!
7. Forget programs
Seriously, no one will miss them. I looked into getting programs, but they weren’t really necessary and cost around $150. We still wanted everyone to know the general plan for the day, so we created a chalkboard with a timeline for our wedding day. Everyone was still in the right place at the right time, and cutting out the programs really helped to maximize our wedding savings.
8. Be creative with your cake
The wedding cake is another big cost and by being open to options other than the large, traditional cake, you can increase your wedding savings significantly. Instead of doing one large, expensive cake, we purchased one small, round, special cake and placed it in the middle on a cake stand. We then purchased two sheet cakes from Wal-Mart for all of our guests. Each sheet cake came decorated and with a filling for around $50. Another delicious option would be to get some half-sheet cakes from Costco. They come with a chocolate or cheesecake filling. Be sure to pre-order as the half-sheet cakes are not being pre-made during Covid. I don’t think anyone will mind you not having a fancy cake as long as it tastes good and there is enough to go around!
9. Use thank-you notes from Dollar Tree
You will likely receive a lot of gifts around the time of your bridal shower and wedding, and when you get a gift you should send a thank-you. I prefer handwritten thank-you notes rather than a pre-printed card as I think they are more personable. We purchased a bunch of thank-you notes at Dollar Tree to send to our guests. There are six to eight cards in a package for $1! Can’t hardly beat that. We even found some that matched our wedding colors!
10. Resell what you can
There are lots of people out there looking to save by buying slightly used wedding items. I wanted to sell my wedding decorations so I didn’t have to store them and to make back some of the money we spent on the wedding. I initially tried to sell everything as one lot, but ended up breaking it up. Luckily, I made a few small sales, then came across a woman who had an upcoming wedding with the same colors, so she took everything! I made back $105 by selling our decorations, which is close to what I spent on them initially.
How did you save big on your wedding? Feel free to share below!
Read about our honeymoon and how was stayed safe traveling during Covid-19 here!