Affiliate Disclosure: This article may include affiliate links and we may receive compensation if you click, at no cost to you.

When you fall in love with your best friend and it’s time to get married, don’t be scared off by costs. Weddings can definitely be very expensive, costing an average of $30,433, according to With an average wedding having 125 guests, that’s a cost of $243 per guest.

Even if your wedding is going to be paid by your parents, there are ways to save money to reduce the burden on all of you. If you’re like us, we paid for our wedding ourselves so that we didn’t have to put it on our parents. We certainly could not afford a huge wedding and took steps to reduce the cost as much as possible.

As you’re looking to start your life together, it is tough to have to pay a $30,000+ bill for one party. As special as it is, that’s a tough pill to swallow if you don’t have much money.

Here are our top ten tips for cutting your wedding costs to save more money for other things.

1. Consider Eloping to Avoid the Wedding

If you’re particularly concerned about the wedding costs, it might be easier to just elope. You can still get officially married without the hassle of planning a full wedding. Eloping is a great way to avoid the stress and costs of getting married.

Yes, there are some downsides of eloping. You won’t have the experience of walking down the aisle in a dress. Your family may be sad to not be involved in your special day.

But, there are also considerable benefits. You can save the money you would have spent on the wedding and use it for your honeymoon or a future house. Skip the stress and months of planning that can drive some people crazy. Focus your time on enjoying time with your partner instead of planning a wedding.

If you don’t mind having a (very) small wedding and want to save a lot of money, eloping is a great option.

2. Create a Wedding Budget

For those of us who still want an actual wedding, the first step towards saving money is to create a wedding budget. This means that you take a hard look at your current financial situation and determine how much you are willing to pay.

To start, determine how much money you have saved that you can put towards the wedding. Are you able to save more between now and the actual wedding? Will you receive any assistance from family or friends?

I do not recommend taking on any debt to pay for your wedding. That will only put you farther behind financially as you and your partner try to start a life together. You can put some of the costs on a credit card, but always try to pay it off without carrying a balance.

Once you know how much you can afford, make the decision to not spend any more than that amount. For us, our limit was $18,000. We based all of our decisions off that number to make sure that we did not go spend any extra.

One of the easiest ways to track your budget is to use Personal Capital since all of your expenses are automatically tracked for you.

3. Break Down Your Costs

Before you commit to any vendors, do your research to see what everything will cost. Take your overall wedding budget and break it apart until you can fit all of your costs into that amount.

For example, you could easily spend $2,000 on a wedding dress but that isn’t the best idea if your overall wedding budget is $10,000. Instead, look for a dress that is closer to $500 so that you have enough money to cover your flower, reception, and photographer.

Plan out approximately what you can spend on each piece of your wedding so that you know your individual vendor budgets. This will help guide your selections by knowing the maximum amount that you are willing to spend.

4. Look for Alternative Wedding Venues

The most expensive wedding venues are the popular ones that everyone uses. Well-known churches, large wedding halls, and popular attractions can all be very expensive to rent out. If you want to stand out a little while saving money, look for non-traditional venues.

A beach house could provide the perfect backdrop to get married on the beach and then have a party just steps from the water. A local park could work well with open air picnic shelters being rented for low cost. If your local church or school has a hall available, see if you can rent it out at a discount.

Especially with the COVID restrictions, more and more people are doing backyard weddings that are also cost effective. The point is that you can save money by looking for a wedding venue that is a little off the beaten path and less traditional.

5. Invite Less People

There’s no getting around it, the more people you have at your wedding, the more expensive it will be. Since it can cost $200 or more per person, cutting even a few people can make a big difference to your budget.

This can be difficult if you have a large family, but try to reduce the number of people you invite. Keep it to the most important people in your life, like your close family and friends.

Don’t feel obligated to invite everyone you’ve ever known, or your parent’s friends you have never met. If you’re looking to reduce costs, just tell people that you want a small, close-knit wedding and most people will be understanding of that.

6. Streamline Your Food Options

The more food options you have, the more expensive your wedding will be. Instead of offering multiple different entrees, narrow it down to only two so it is easier for your caterer to prepare.

Another alternative is to go with a buffet for your wedding. This is generally less expensive than individual meals since it can be prepared in bulk and is easier to serve.

Do the same thing with your appetizers and reduce the number of options you have to your favorite 2 or 3. You can still have plenty of food to fill everyone up, but less options will help to save money.

Couple Wealth | Save Money on Your Wedding with a Buffet

7. Don’t Offer an Open Bar

For many people, drinking at weddings is a large part of the entertainment. An open bar is always a nice feature for guests, but could be an area where you cut costs. When you send out your invites, just mention that it will be a cash bar so that they are not surprised.

Another option is to offer your guests one or two free drinks but anything past that would be a cash bar. This is a good compromise to help your guests loosen up initially while not getting stuck paying for your drunk uncle who kept going back for more.

If you decide to offer an open bar, minimize the number of drink options available. Work with the bartender to identify an inexpensive house beer, wine, and well drink that will satisfy everyone.

8. Buy Your Own Liquor

Since alcohol costs can certainly add up, another option is to skip the professional bartender all together. Instead, purchase your liquor in bulk and at a discount from a store that will take back unopened bottles. This way, you can return any spare bottles that you don’t end up using.

By buying from a wholesaler, you’ll be able to pick exactly what type of liquor you want and get it at a better cost. You can save on hiring a professional bartender if you know someone who is willing to help out for the night. And, you’ll be able to get your money back if there is any leftover.

9. Bid Out Your Vendors Online

Couple Wealth | How to Save Money on Your Wedding

When you are searching for a photographer, caterer, or florist, don’t settle for the first vendor you find. Research multiple vendors in your area and get quotes to see who will offer the best service at the best price.

Besides talking one-on-one with local vendors, post what you are looking for online to get bids. You can use sites like Thumbtack to find pros in your area at the lowest cost. It also doesn’t hurt to ask them for a lower price, if you think you can get them a little lower.

If you’re looking to save even more money, see if you have any friends or family members that could help out with some of the wedding. Maybe you know someone who is a great baker and they would be willing to bake your wedding cake. Or an artistic friend that is able to take your pictures. Buying loose flowers and arranging them yourself could also help to cut costs.

10. Plan Out the Timing of Your Wedding

With many moving pieces of a wedding, there are some hidden costs that can pop up if it is not planned out well. This is especially true if you have the ceremony at one site and then move somewhere else for the reception. This can incur extra costs for transportation and time to get your guests and vendors to the appropriate places.

Photographers and videographers usually charge per hour for wedding pictures and videos. If you are able to do the ceremony, first dance, and cake cutting early in the day, you can reduce the time that they are needed. Cutting out a few hours that the photographer has to be onsite can help to save money.

Think about the timing for the rest of your wedding, as well. You might be able to save money by making sure your DJ, caterer, and officiant don’t waste time standing around.

Bonus Money Saving Ideas

Here are a few more ideas to cut costs on your wedding day.

  • Schedule your wedding on an off-day, such as during the week or a Sunday
  • Sign up for vendor email lists to see if they will give a discount
  • Use free wedding software to create a website and online RSVPs
  • Hire students studying cosmetology, photography, or culinary arts
  • Use a family member or friend who is ordained to be your officiant
  • Avoid the chairs and do a standing wedding
  • Skip the party favors and welcome bags

Enjoy Your Day!

Saving money on your wedding can help to give you a better start to the rest of your life. Use that money to put towards a house, starting a family, enjoying a honeymoon, or paying down your debt.

While there are benefits to saving money at your wedding, the most important thing is to have fun! Make sure you take a moment for just you and your partner to enjoy the day.

Even if it costs a little more, don’t be afraid to spend money on things that will make you happy. It is your day, so enjoy it!

Similar Posts