Top 100 Ways To Save On Your Wedding Day

When I started this blog, my primary goal was to help people save money on their weddings. Since then, I've evolved into more of a lifestyle blog but that hasn't changed my passion for empowering people to have their dream wedding on a budget. You CAN save money on typical wedding bits and pieces and STILL have your dream wedding – it's all in the details and your level of flexibility. In that spirit, I've rounded up my top 100 ways to save on your wedding day:

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When I started this blog, my primary goal was to help people save money on their weddings. Since then, I've evolved into more of a lifestyle blog but that hasn't changed my passion for empowering people to have their dream wedding on a budget. You CAN save money on typical wedding bits and pieces and STILL have your dream wedding – it's all in the details and your level of flexibility. In that spirit, I've rounded up my top 100 ways to save on your wedding day:

Top 100 Ways To Save On Your Wedding Day

Save On The Wedding Reception Centerpieces:

  1. How about an edible centerpiece? Fill trays or bowls with fruit or bread and let people enjoy them with the meal. Or you could even do the entire meal family-style and let the platters of food be the centerpieces!
  2. Swap out flower arrangements for potted plants or even herbs. Pot them in tins or pretty crocks inexpensively.
  3. Spray tall branches white, silver, gold or leave them natural and arrange in tall glass cylinders.
  4. Candles (or LED tealights) make dramatic and cheap centerpieces when grouped together or in glass vessels. Especially lovely for an evening holiday or winter wedding.
  5. Buy all of one type of flower in bulk and then fill containers with masses of them. This is a very dramatic and inexpensive look for a modern or urban wedding.

Save On The Wedding Ceremony Altar:

  1. If your ceremony is set against a lovely beach vista or sweeping mountain view then skip an altar altogether – nature is gorgeous enough. You don't need to compete with it.
  2. Skip fancy floral arrangements and opt instead for lovely potted plants or fruit trees that you can use at your home after the wedding.
  3. Borrow a small gazebo or trellis from a friend or family member. Adorn it with paper flowers or fabric garlands.
  4. Love the look of a ribbon background but find it too expensive to execute? Use fabric or old curtains instead. We dyed, cut, and sewed old sheets into a huge ceremony backdrop for our wedding.
  5. Use a large family quilt or Grandma's special tablecloth as a ceremony backdrop. The sentimental piece will be an amazing addition!

Save On The Wedding Ceremony Seating:

  1. Pull double duty. Use the same seating for the ceremony as the seating for the reception. Just be sure to have plenty of time and people to help move them after the ceremony.
  2. Not picky about the design or color? Great! Being flexible is the BEST way to save money since you don't have to have a particular design.
  3. Use alternative seating. Think beyond the traditional chairs and use hay bales, tree stumps, or benches.
  4. Skip seating entirely. This is best if you'll be having a short (i.e. 15 minutes or less TOTAL) wedding – but be sure to have some kind of seating available for older or disabled guests.
  5. Choose a venue that includes seating. Most churches do! As do ballparks, some park or garden locations, and museums.

Save On The Wedding Ceremony Programs:

  1. Skip programs entirely. Really. They are not required and everything will be just fine without them.
  2. Purchase a printable PDF wedding program (many etsy vendors sell these at reasonable prices). This allows you to print them at home or via VistaPrint for MUCH less than hiring them out.
  3. Make your programs double as something else. For example, fan + program OR confetti container + program. Two birds. One stone.
  4. Have one main program instead of individual ones. Post a large sign at the front of the ceremony location with all the important information.
  5. Stick to one page. Just list the important details and save yourself the cost of extra paper, ink, and labor.

Save On The Wedding Invitations:

  1. Buy a printable stationery suite and print and assemble your wedding invitations at home.
  2. Design your own invitations using free fonts.
  3. Look for Groupon or LivingSocial deals that allow you to purchase stationery for a fraction of the retail price.
  4. Skip all the extras (like the second envelope and tissue inserts). They are relatively outdated anyway and no one will even notice.
  5. Stick with plain white envelopes and dress them up with pretty envelope liners made from scrap paper.

Save On The Wedding RSVPs:

  1. Buy a printable wedding suite that includes RSVP or response cards in the package.
  2. Skip making/sending RSVPs to people who will only respond online (i.e. Facebook, wedding website, or email) and send paper ones out only to those who are more comfortable with paper communication. This will save on printing costs and postage.
  3. Instead of a separate RSVP card, if you're having an informal wedding, include an RSVP line on the invitation itself.
  4. Still want to send out the traditional separate RSVP cards? This is the place to DIY them yourself. Just use a pre-designed template and some business card printing paper.
  5. Skip the envelopes completely and opt for a postcard style RSVP instead – save on extra stationery AND postage!

Save On The Wedding Rings:

  1. Love lots of bling but can’t afford the ring? Ask if it also comes in a setting using a lesser metal. White gold looks just like platinum but costs a fraction of the amount. You can always upgrade the setting to a nicer metal later
  2. Buy your engagement ring and wedding ring at the same time and ask for a package price.
  3. Not picky about the design or metal? Check Amazon, etsy, or ebay for some real steals.
  4. If it is the rock you love but it’s too expensive, look for rings with a stone that is the next grade down. If it is at the top of the next grade, it generally looks the same but for a lot less money. 
  5. Have a metal fabricator friend or someone with access to a lathe? Always wanted to take a jewelry making class? Why not ask them to MAKE your wedding ring? We did!

Save On The Wedding Reception Music:

  1. Ask a talented friend or family member to perform. Be sure to have (or rent) a microphone and speakers, if needed.
  2. Power up the iPod! Create a playlist and hook it up to great speakers – just ask someone to press play. This is what we did for our wedding and it worked great.
  3. Look into saving a little money by hiring student musicians. Students are often very talented and ALWAYS looking to earn extra money. Just be sure to check references so you know that they'll show up.
  4. If you're getting married outside (and don't care about dancing) then why not skip music entirely and let the sounds of nature take center stage?
  5. Getting married in a restaurant? A lot of restaurants employ a regular band or musician to perform nightly so ask if you can have them perform at your reception instead of to the standard dinner crowd.

Save On The Wedding Reception Catering:

  1. Ask your caterer to cut back on or completely eliminate any seafood. Instead, pick nicer or unique cuts of beef and chicken and pair with lots of colorful roasted vegetables.
  2. Opt for foods that can be served at room temperature – anything chilled or heated will require more equipment to serve.
  3. Comfort foods are incredibly popular and totally inexpensive to make. Fancy them up with unusual cheeses or make them into mini portions.
  4. Recruit friends and family to help you DIY cater your own reception
  5. Remember, any food served family-style (where the platters are passed around the table by the guests) will always cost less than individually plated meals or a buffet!

Save On The Wedding Boutonnieres:

  1. Traditionally, the groom's boutonniere is made using a flower from the brides' bouquet – so why not do just that? Pluck a single bloom from her and pin it on!
  2. Save on the labor costs and DIY them. There are a mountain of excellent tutorials out there to help you.
  3. If you must have some special little detail then just do it for the groom rather than the entire wedding party.
  4. To cut costs, pick a boutonniere that is elegant and simple. Fancier ones include additional material and labor costs that will increase your bottom line (you could pay 20% or more for the addition of those items).
  5. Skip the flowers or greenery and use some thing else like a feather, a seed pod, or even an action figure!

Save On The Bride's Hair:

  1. If you've been seeing the same hairstylist for years, generally, they'll be happy to work out a deal with you to do your wedding day hair for the same price as your normal 'do.
  2. Have a friend or family member who's talented with hair? Ask them if they'd do your hair as a gift (that's what I did).
  3. Wear your hair exactly like you always do – add a veil. Voila! Instant bride hair.
  4. Want your hair done at a high-end salon but can't afford it? Ask if one of the stylists that you like allows their assistant to do hair. Often, the master stylist will oversee the entire process and design but since it's not actually them doing the work – the final bill will be much less.
  5. For a simple, yet chic hairdo that you can do yourself – try a sleek ponytail. High or low, it's a lovely look with a veil, flowers, or sparkly accessories.

Save On The Bride's Gown:

  1. Keep it simple, pick a plain dress and instead dress it up with stunning jewelry and accessories (those will probably be worn again!). Dessy and Modcloth make budget dresses in simple styles. Have your ladies shop their closets. Just assign a color and let them pick out a dress they already own!
  2. Rent a dress. There are many online options now for people to rent fabulous dresses at affordable prices.
  3. Skip the bridal boutiques and hit the mall. Stores like J. Crew, Express, and Ann Taylor have great dresses in lovely styles that are totally affordable (and a good option if your bridesmaids are a wide range of sizes).
  4. Try some big box stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s, and even Target for great dresses at better prices.
  5. Shop the off-season or clearance rack for amazing deals. This is a really good option if your bridesmaids are all smaller since they can buy “off the rack”.

Save On The Bride's Veil:

  1. This is the time to find your "something borrowed"! I borrowed my best friend's veil and loved that I got to share a little bit of her happy day on my day.
  2. Look for veils secondhand on eBay or Craigslist. Generally, they are in amazing condition and a fraction of the retail price.
  3. Rent it. You can rent amazing designer veils for nearly a quarter of the price of buying a new one!
  4. Look for pretty and affordable handmade options on etsy. A Busy Mother, Blue Sky Horizons, and Pomp & Plumage make really stunning ones.
  5. This is the place to try your hand at DIYing something. Veils are stunningly easy to create and you don't even need to be able to sew to make a lovely one!

Save On The Bride's Bouquet:

  1. Go for subtle over big. A smaller bouquet of gorgeous flowers can make more of an impact than a massive wad of so-so blooms. This is especially true if your dress is simple, modern, or vintage.
  2. Mix in berries, pinecones, silk leaves, or other cheap embellishments to fill-out a bouquet for less.
  3. Don’t even carry a bouquet – use a family bible, your pet dog, or even a good luck charm instead!
  4. Select in-season flowers. While most popular bridal flowers are available year-round, some traditional ones like peonies and lilies of the valley can be difficult to find and expensive when out-of-season.
  5. DIY the bridal bouquet. Sites like Blooms By The Box sell bridal flowers wholesale and deliver them right to your door! They also have great bouquet tutorials on their site.

Save On The Groomsmen's Attire:

  1. See if a local chain or shop will give someone a free tux if all the other groomsmen rent or buy their's there. And don't be afraid to ask for the perk if it's not offered!
  2. Skip the fancy tuxedos and opt instead for a suit (preferably one they already own).
  3. Do the groomemn really need to wear a tuxedo or suit? Why not have them rock a (much cheaper) sweater, vest, or just a dress shirt and pants?
  4. Does a family member or a friend have a tuxedo or suit that they can borrow? Often, a good tailor can temporarily alter it to fit and then take it back to "normal" after the wedding.
  5. In the military, police force, or a firefighter? Then wear your dress uniform! Not only is it free but they can represent an important part of their personality and show off their career.

Save On The Bridesmaid's Attire:

  1. Keep it simple, pick a plain dress and instead dress it up with stunning jewelry and accessories (those will probably be worn again!). Vow to be Chic and Modcloth make budget dresses in simple styles.
  2. Have your ladies shop their closets. Just assign a color and let them pick out a dress they already own!
  3. Rent a dress. There are many online options now for people to rent fabulous dresses at affordable prices.
  4. Skip the bridal boutiques and hit the mall. Stores like J. Crew, Express, and Ann Taylor have great dresses in lovely styles that are totally affordable (and a good option if your bridesmaids are a wide range of sizes). Also try some big box stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s, and even Target for great dresses at better prices.
  5. Shop the off-season or clearance rack for amazing deals. This is a really good option if your bridesmaids are all smaller since they can buy “off the rack”.

Save On The Flower Girl's Dress:

  1. Look for dresses in the girl's closets. Many little girls already have pretty dresses that would be perfect for a wedding.
  2. Buy through ebates.com. Using this rebate program, you’ll save money (via member discounts) AND you’ll receive a percentage of your purchase back in the form of a check.
  3. Look for dresses at major department stores or big box stores around the holidays. They have lots of ruffled, glittered, girly dresses at amazing prices.
  4. See if an older sister or cousin has a lovely dress that they've outgrown and are willing to pass on to the littler one.
  5. Skip the fancy dresses and opt instead for cute rompers, tutus, or princess costumes!

Save On The Wedding Cake Topper:

  1. Make a topper out of something free from your house - .a framed photo, figurine, or bit of memorabilia from your first date.
  2. Use something edible like berries, cookies, or candy are delicious and unique.
  3. Snag a few buds or greenery from a bouquet and use them as the cake topper.
  4. Skip the expensive topper and pick up something handmade and affordable from etsy. Here's a bunch that I love.
  5. Have fun with it and use Lego figurines, action figures, or toy cars!

Save On The Wedding Favors:

  1. Stick with favors that can be eaten or played with. No one wants crap with your name or wedding date on it. Food or toys are ALWAYS the best favors.
  2. Dress up plain notebooks or water bottles with custom labels or stamping. It's an easy DIY that’s popular with guests.
  3. Shop after holiday sales for items you can use. Mini locale-specific ornaments, a bag of red candies, or patriotic button can all be found in seasonal sales and will work for your wedding’s theme.
  4. Do you really need favors? REALLY?!?! Are you just doing it because everyone else is?
  5. Do favors that double as decor. Group single blooms or potted plants together as a centerpiece for the reception and hand out as individual favors after the wedding.

Save On The Wedding Transportation:

  1. If your ceremony venue and reception are close (or the same) – skip transportation completely. Walk or carpool – it’s fun and environmentally sound!
  2. Skip the fancy limo and opt for an affordable luxury SUV or towncar. You can get one from any rental car agency at a fraction of the cost.
  3. Borrow a fancy sports car from a friend or family member for yourselves and arrange for your wedding party to carpool.
  4. Look for a fun transportation alternative. Think school bus, wagon, bicycles, fire truck, horses, or even tractors. Not only are these generally more affordable but they are also more memorable!
  5. Still jonesin' for a limo? Stick with standard black and opt-out of stretch-sized. Skip the mini bar, stripper pole, or red carpet to help you stick to your budge

 

What's your favorite money-saving wedding tip?