(Closed) How to Cut Wedding Costs

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 4
648 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

The number of guests will really help ypu get an idea of how much everything might cost. Also getting married in an off season, in a smaller town or on a weekday/Sunday wil help keep the cost down. Choosing flowers that are in season will reduce your floral costs, as will choosing a venue that is pretty on its down and doesn’t need much decor.

But these are pretty basic tips that you may already know. The other bees will likely have better tips:)

Post # 5
1710 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013 - Walt Disney World

The best way to keep within a budget is to have a small guest list.  As others have said, selecting a venue that needs little to no decorations is also a plus.  Not having alcohol or just a signature drink will also save you money.

Post # 6
6256 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2014

Almost any time you attach the word “wedding” to something, the price jumps. If you’re doing the wedding the same city as the quinciniera, why don’t you just get in touch with those vendors and see if they will do your wedding for the same (or close to the same) price?

ETA: Being able to supply your own alcohol, hire the caterer of your choice, and doing your own flowers will save you a ton. So definitely stay away from the all-inclusive places. Most of them wanted just for the venue/food what my entire budget is!

Post # 7
3039 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

It all depends on what type of wedding you want – how many guests, what type of venue, sit down dinner vs cake and punch reception… So many different aspects affect the budget! Could you provide an idea on how you would want to use those $5000?


If you’re interested in having a great party – my experience is that they need good music, nice food (or rather plenty) and enough alcohol so that people don’t get cranky. Everything else is an added bonus. Music you can skimp on, you can just arrange that yourself. Food, sure… you could do that; I made all the food for our engagement party (+50 guests). It was all good and it ended up being very cheap, but I was a wreck by the end of it. So I would rather spend some money on that so that you don’t have to stress! Alcohol, as long as there’s some people are happy – beer, wine, and you have a party. No need for fancy drinks. Also, you need a venue and this can become very expensive if you have lots of guests. From your previous party, you managed to host 300 for a very small amount, so you could perhaps use the same place if appropriate.


Things that I personally think are a waste of money, limos and elaborate flower decorations… The first just make me cringe, the second – I would DIY as I love to make arrangements. Plus, I just can’t justify spending that much money on something that will wilt. The dress is also something I’m willing to save money on, simply because I can’t motivate spending tons on something I’ll wear one day. This is of course a personal preference, but if you’re ok with it – check sites that re-sales wedding dresses. Also, to pay $3000 for wedding photos that looks just like everyone else’s… no, not my cup of tea. Have a friend take the photos or as a local art school if there’s a student willing to cover it for a lower cost (we got our engagement photos for free using this strategy).


Post # 9
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@HonoraryNerd:  You can definitely do a vegetarian meal for cheap. For example, buffets trays of pasta, salad, and bread can be made very inexpensively and definitely vegetarian. It also has a theme, versus being a random mish-mosh of food items. A box of pasta is 1lb and costs about $0.69 for a generic brand. That’ll feed at least 4-6 people (with the addition of salad/bread) and you can make sauce in bulk from scratch/canned tomatoes rather than paying extra for jarred sauce.

You can also do alcohol somewhat inexpensively. There’s always Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s and if you want to spend just a little more, you can stock up at the BevMo 5 cent wine sale. Beers at Costco will set you back $1 or less per bottle. We bought all imported bottled beers at Costco and it broke down to $1/bottle. If you buy domestic beer in cans, it’ll be even cheaper than that. To stretch your wine budget, consider turning it into sangria.

Right now, I would definitely trim down the guest list if you can. While some costs stay static regardless of the guest list size (e.g. venue rental, DJ), others can change dramatically if you reduce your guest list. You will save on invitations, postage, rentals, food, drinks, favors, and flowers (less centerpieces!).

I would also be careful with going crafty. We DIYed some things and honestly, after buying supplies and materials, it would’ve been cheaper just buying the thing or foregoing it altogether. Definitely do you budgeting and see if it’s cheaper to DIY before you embark on the adventure. Factor in the possibility that there may be mistakes that you have to throw away (e.g. the paper/fabric was trimmed the wrong size).

Post # 10
3039 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

So cut it to 150 and you’ve already made a huge saving!


An outdoor ceremony sounds lovely! If you’re getting married in 2015, you have lots of time to find and book something early. However, I would start to look for a place this summer so that you can reserve it ASAP. As for the reception, if security is a concern – look into something else. Once again, you have time on your side. 


A great thing with a vegetarian menu is that it’s cheaper than if you would have fish or meat. If you don’t have a full sit down meal, could you go for vegetarian appetisers? I’m thinking bruchetta, different dips with pita bread and veggies, stuffed mushrooms, cheese and crackers or soup served in small cups. If you like edamame beans, you can buy lots of them and serve with sea salt.


Regarding alcohol… I know BYOB is considered tacky… but I would personally prefer that rather than having to pay over-price for bad wine! If you have a wedding website with a registry, could you write something like “If you don’t feel like buying a toaster, we would love if you bought a few bottles of your favourite wine and shared them with us during the wedding celebrations!”. I know I would happily have purchased a bunch of bottles if someone had said something like that! 🙂 Alternatively, is this something your family could help with?


As for your FI’s family, new influences are good! As long as the feeling is genuine and people are happy, I’m sure most guests will not be to concerned about how fancy things are.

Post # 11
1094 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I’m a super budget bride too!  We’re only at 60 people, and yet the costs are still going up! We started out with $5,000, but have upped it to $8,000.

Things I “splurged” on. 

$1000 for photographer

$700 for ceremony location (comes with chairs and set up included)

$500 for the DJ. (FI really wanted a real DJ and not a playlist)

Things I saved on:

The dress $180 +shipping

I highly recommend Dressilyme.com.  They make the most beautiful dresses, for $200-$300 depending on what you want. 

My shoes, $5 at Ardene’s, made my own jewerly, and veil etc etc.

Also, i’m not having any real flowers, because flowers are a fortune! I’m making them all, for both bouquets/bouts and centerpeices! If you and your family are crafty folks, there’s lots of ideas. (paper flowers, fabric, crochet, etc)

We lucked out on the reception hall, $275 to rent and then just the cost of food/drink.  That’s where the bulk of our money is going. 

Invitation kit from Michael’s ( a craft store in Canada, similar to Joann’es for you guys i think?) on clearance. (60 for $20)

So you can definitely pull this off! It’s just about  prioritizing and searching for the best deals!  

Post # 12
1478 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013 - Creek club at ion, SC

You can save on everything. My Future Father-In-Law and FSMIL had their wedding for 3000, his aunty 3500. 

Dress: you will get a bigger choice if you look online and get a replica dress made (a reputable place with recommendations) . Dont forget to check out David Bridal, my Fiance aunty got a dress the majorly reduced for $99. You have loads of time for you wedding so look but also check out sales when they come around.

Ceremony: Outside will also mean not a lot of decorartion, maybe not any at all 

Mens Tux: Rent it. There are so many, if the groomsmen rent them the groom gets it free offers. 

Photography – Craigslist 

Stationary – DIY – make sure you choose cost effective material, i found out that wide ribbon is not cost effective at all. Buy cheap templates off ETSY, use vistaprint.

Reception: you said you had somewhere but look around, you may find something that incorporates ceremony, reception and food for a cheap package deal – again, you have time 

Music – DJ Ipod. I actually believe its better as you have songs you like 

Bakery – get talented family members to bake a cake each. You could even get his family in on this and make out its some type of sentimental thing rather than a cost cutting trick. Cake competitions are fun, but maybe perceived as tacky i dunno.  Also cupcakes on a cupcake stand with little cupcake flags. 


Flowers: Go to a flower market and learn how to make your own on youtube, make a brooch bouquet using ebay or make a paper bouquet. Babies breath is coming back in style and extremely affordable.


transport: who really cares, lol … I still think turning up in a taxi can be cool


Gifts: A beautiful personalised letter wins eveytime

Decoration: Pom poms, paper stuff, fairy lights, etc etc too many to mention. Make your centrepieces serve as a double or even triple purpos. For example have wine bottles with pretty table number stickers on them, which you can drink and look pretty. Or mini sweet stations which are also deserts. 

Favours: Give whatever you can to charity and make little cards saying you have done so, give seeds to plant to symbolise a growing love. Go on Etsy buy a DIY template and print activity books for kids to keep them busy, the one i want is $3.50. Make home made goodies if your any good at cookies, cakes orr jam or something 


Post # 13
485 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I cut costs the following ways:

  • NO BRIDAL PARTY (therefore, no bouquets, dresses, shoes, gifts, hair, makeup, headaches…)

  • Non-floral centerpieces (we did river rocks, candles, fancy table runners)

  • No limos (we never even missed them)

  • Favors – we did them but so cheap and people loved ’em.  It was plain little box, with 2 nice chocolates inside, a ribbon to close it, and I had address labels made up with our engagement pic and a thank you message.  

  • Shop around for that dress!  You’ll find a pretty one at any price point.

  • Cocktail reception (appetizers only, basically…. but everyone was stuffed when they left)

  • Open bar was wine and beer only, cash bar everything else.  This one hurt a bit, I wanted to be able to do a full open bar, but I don’t think anyone else noticed or cared.  They had plenty to choose from.

  • No honeymoon – yet.  Someday!

  • My aisle decorations also decorated the cake table when the ceremony was over.

Good luck!


Post # 14
350 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

Skimp: A small guest list is the way to cute a budget. Also, instead of doing to sit-down dinner, do a buffet style, but be sure to taste test the food before the big day. My cousin did a buffet to save money and the food was amazing, but then I went to a friend’s wedding about 3 years ago that was buffet and it was cold and nasty. Also, flowers are pretty, but they die. Only using flowers for bouquets and boutonnieres is also a way to save. If you’re dying to have a floral centerpiece, use only a few instead of an extravagant floral centerpiece. I know this is a touchy subject for some girls, but spending thousands on a dress in insane. The best way to save is to buy a great dress at a chain (like David’s Bridal). They almost always have sales so that could save you a few bucks. Also, my best friend’s sister bought a plain, inexpensive dress (from David’s Bridal) and took it to a lady that sews really well and added her own bling to the dress. She saved a ton of money and had a custom wedding gown. Don’t spend a lot of money on invatations. It’s paper and to be honest, people don’t keep them. Also, pass on save the dates…unless your totally set on doing them. Just spread the word through family and friends.

Spend: I think money well spent is on a great photographer. The day will go by so fast that the pictures will really be all you have to look back on. 

Post # 16
151 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I’m having a similar problem. I have 35 people coming and am already touching 8k and expect to surpass it. 🙁

Photographer-FREE (friend is an artist)
Favors-$200 (homemade CDs and local honey) 
Dinner/Cake-(Did lunch to save and a dessert bar instead of cake…$2k includes gratuity)
Chair/Arbor Rental-$500 
Site fee-$1k
Marriage Counseling-$200
Rehearsal Cookout-$500
Gifts for Parents-$100
Our Wedding Outfits (including my dress, his new suit and accessories)-$1k
Invites-$75 (handmade) 

It just adds up. I think I need a second job…I swore I wouldn’t be one of those brides, but it’s just so hard. Places hike stuff up… Cry

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