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How to Save Money on a Wedding: Complete Guide

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Getting married is a special day for you, your, partner, and your family. Gathering your friends together to celebrate your love for one another is a tradition that stretches back for millennia. When the big day arrives, your nerves are on edge, and you quiver at the thought of standing at the altar with your partner’s hands in yours.

The spectacle of a wedding is something that requires planning well in advance. Your venue might have a waiting list of 6-months, and you need time to notify all of your friends and family. After the RSVPs come in, it’s time to start planning the event.

Most Americans want a marriage ceremony followed by a reception party. Receptions are a way to celebrate your union with those you care about in life. Unfortunately, your wedding day will cost you plenty of money. Arranging the venue, food, pastor, and decorations cost a pretty penny.

Fortunately, we put together this list of 9 ways you can save money when planning your wedding day.

1. Define Your Budget

When planning your wedding, the first thing you need to do is work out your budget. Make a list of all of the items you’ll need for your wedding day, including the venue, decorations, pastor, entertainment, catering, and accommodation. Decide how much you can afford to spend on your wedding day, and then stick to your budget.

Women dream of their wedding day from when they are little girls. When planning their wedding, they tend to go overboard to make the day as special as possible. If you don’t set a budget, then you’re likely to overspend on both your wedding ceremony and reception.

A budget keeps you on track to host a wedding that you can afford. There’s no reason why you should want to take out a loan to pay off your wedding day. Getting into debt to have the wedding you dreamed of as a teenager will do nothing but start your new life together on the wrong foot financially.

In some families, the father of the bride is responsible for paying for the wedding. However, with inflation and a rising cost of living taking its toll on the economy, very few families live up to this commitment anymore. In most cases, the families will contribute, but you’ll have to foot most of the bill.

Before you work out your budget, meet with your respective families, and ask them what they would consider giving you towards your wedding. This strategy gives you a clear indication of what you can and can’t afford with your wedding budget.

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2. Hire a Planner

Planning your wedding is a stressful experience. There are plenty of things to organize, from the catering to the venue, and the entertainment. Some people can’t handle this kind of pressure, especially when they are getting ready for their wedding day.

Fortunately, there are professional wedding planners that can help you make arrangements for the perfect ceremony and reception.

Wedding planners have plenty of connections in the industry. As a result, they get discounts on everything from venues to flowers. Some people may think they can’t afford a planner, but the savings they make on organizing the wedding pay for the planner’s services anyway.

By using a wedding planner, you take the hassle and stress out of your big day. Relax with your friends at the reception while the planner takes care of everything behind the scenes.

Wedding Planner
Consider hiring a Wedding Planner, Their contacts could pay for themselves

3. Have a Friend DJ Your Wedding Reception

After the magic of the ceremony ends, everyone heads to the reception for a good time. A reception is the chance to announce and share your commitment with your partner to your friends and family. A wedding reception is a time of joy and laughter, and you’ll need some entertainment to keep everybody engaged and in a good mood.

A wedding without any entertainment won’t last very long. Your guests will begin to get bored, and they’ll start looking for the exit. Hiring a live band and a DJ is a great idea to keep your guests entertained. However, a live band could cost as much as $2,000, and you’ll need to cater to them as well. Live bands only play two or three sets, and you’ll need something like a DJ to fill in the gaps as the group takes a break.

We recommend that you ditch the band and hire a professional DJ for less than half the price. If you have a friend that has good taste in music and likes to DJ, ask them to perform at your wedding reception as a present to you.

Wedding DJ
Ditch the band & get a Wedding DJ

4. Take Your Time Hunting for a Venue

The venue is the most significant expense when planning your wedding. Wedding venues require 6-months’ notice, so you’ll need to plan well in advance to ensure you get a wedding date. Your choice of venue depends on your tastes and style.

We recommend that you keep the venue local. If you decide to have a wedding that’s in another county or state, you might have trouble bringing your guests along. Many of them won’t end up making the trip. They may have financial difficulties, or they can’t be bothered to drive a long distance to attend your wedding.

You’ll also need to ensure that the venue has accommodation for all your guest from out of town. Accommodation can be expensive at wedding venues., so make sure you get quotes and estimates on everything.

Wedding Venue
Take your time to pick the perfect venue

If you’re having trouble deciding on your venue, make a list of your top 5 locations. Draw up a list of pros and cons of each place, and then ask your partner for their input. Your wedding needs to be a joint decision, and you should both contribute to planning your wedding as well.

If you want to make the most significant savings possible, have your wedding in the backyard of a friend’s home, and then treat your friends to a reception at your favorite restaurant. If you have a friend with a large yard, you can set out your reception there as well, and save yourself plenty of cash.

5. Send e-Invitations

After finding a venue and setting the wedding date, you’ll need to send out the invitations to your friends. Many people love the thought of designing their invitations, and they use premium materials in their invitations. This strategy will end up costing your wedding budget and leaves less room for other essential items.

Instead of sending a physical invitation on eggshell cardboard with gold lettering and a bow, go digital instead. Design your wedding invites using a program on your computer, and then email the invites to your friends. By emailing your invitations, you guarantee that they receive the invite, and there’s no chance of it getting lost in the post, or the mailman arriving late.

The best part of this exercise is that it costs you nothing but your time and effort.

6. Bring in Outside Catering

The catering is probably the single most significant expense after hiring the venue. Everyone at your wedding reception needs a meal after the events of the day. Some places only allow you to order off of their menu, and they refuse to let you bring in outside catering. In most cases, these venues overcharge for their food, and they know you will pay the additional fee because you have no other choice.

Find a venue that allows for outside catering and decorating of the place. After signing the rental contract, arrange to hire a catering service. Look around on social media to find caterers in your area that specialize in weddings. Choose meals that are easier to cook in bulk, and offer a set menu at your reception.

A set menu helps to reduce the costs of your reception, as the cater does not have to make arrangements for different menu items. Having your caterer arrange a lamb on the spit, with four of five sides is an excellent way to turn your wedding reception into a delicious buffet for your guests.

Wedding Catering
Shop around for wedding caterers

7. Run a Cash Bar

Weddings are occasions to drink and be merry. Do you have a few friends that like to drink more than they should? If so, think about running a cash bar at your reception. When people believe that something is for free, they tend to overindulge.

Leaving the venue to discover you have a bar bill for thousands of dollars is no way to start your honeymoon. A cash bar means that you control the expenses of your reception. However, people do need to think that you are catering for a drink or two at your dinner. Therefore, we recommend that you allow free local beers and table wine for your guests.

This strategy helps you to avoid people ordering bottles of Dom Perignon on your bar bill. If your friends want to get loaded, that’s no problem, but they need to do so on their dime, not yours.

8. Find a Photographer

When it comes to remembering your wedding day, you’ll enjoy scrolling through the pages of your wedding album. A photographer is a necessity for any wedding. Capturing the events of the day will help you preserve your memories of the reception and ceremony forever.

Professional photographers can cost an arm and a leg when hiring them to shoot your wedding. Instead of hiring a professional, save money by getting your friends to do it for you. If you have a professional photographer as a friend, then ask them to do you a favor for your wedding present.

However, not everyone has a professional photographer as a friend, but every friend you have has a cellphone. Today’s smartphone cameras are advanced pieces of technology. Many top-of-the-line phones come with 24 or 48-megapixel cameras that are every bit as good as professional photography equipment.

Ask your closest friends to snap pics of you during the ceremony and reception. Get your friends to email you the pictures, and use a digital editor to fix any imperfections in the photos. With the Selfie-generation in full swing, all your friends will love taking your wedding photos.

9. Save on Flowers and Decorations

Flowers and décor are one of the most significant expenses of a wedding. Florists know that you are getting married, and they love to increase their prices to take advantage of the situation. Reduce your flower costs by choosing local varieties of flowers that are in season. Most people get married in the summer or the spring, so flower season is well on its way.

Using in-season flowers instead of expensive options like orchids could end up saving you as much as $500 on your floral arrangements for the ceremony and reception. While using seasonal flowers is an excellent option to reduce your costs, there are a few ideas that can help you same much more.

Supply your vases, and try and use flowers from your garden or a friend. Ask your family to bring potted plants so you can use them instead of spending on more flowers.

Decorations also add costs to your wedding expenses. Ask family members to help you out by making table runners and streamers at home using wholesale fabrics. Cut your costs everywhere you can. Visit the venue a few days in advance and set up lighting, level any gravel, and set out the tables and chairs for the reception.

In Closing – What Will Your Remember about Your Wedding Day?

After the last guests leave, and you jet off to your honeymoon location, the memories of the ceremony and reception will be fresh in your mind. However, ten years later, what will you remember about your wedding day? The chances are that you’ll remember your dress and every moment of the ceremony.

However, you’ll probably forget what the table settings looked like, or what the DJ was playing all night long. Weddings aren’t about finding the perfect decorations or DJ. A wedding brings you together with your family and friends to celebrate your union.

As you start a new chapter in your life, you shouldn’t stress about the small things. If you do the right thing and hire a wedding planner, then let them take the stress out of the day, and enjoy the events with your loved ones.


Oliver Dale is Editor-in-Chief of MoneyCheck and founder of Kooc Media Ltd, A UK-Based Online Publishing company. A Technology Entrepreneur with over 15 years of professional experience in Investing and UK Business.His writing has been quoted by Nasdaq, Dow Jones, Investopedia, The New Yorker, Forbes, Techcrunch & More.He built Money Check to bring the highest level of education about personal finance to the general public with clear and unbiased