Wedding season may be nearly over, but couples are still getting married all year-round and no doubt planning for spring and summer weddings next year. Weddings are wonderful life changing events that people love to splurge on.

But how can you save money on your wedding?

Deciding how much to spend while tying the knot is always tricky. In the U.S., the average wedding costs $26,444 and that does not even include a honeymoon. Your wedding day will most likely be one of the most expensive days of your life. It’s also a very important day so it’s normal to want to create a dream wedding, that you and your spouse will remember forever.

Here are 10 ways to save money on planning and executing your dream wedding.

1. Invite Some of your Guests to the Reception Only

Friends of the bride and groom celebrate after the wedding at the reception

Having trouble cutting the guest list? Whether you have a huge family or a lot of friends who you’d like to see on your big day, it can be extremely hard to cut your guest list down to something reasonable.

Odds are, everyone you invite may not show up so you should comfortably be able to invite a few extra people or create a wish list of people to invite if your first choices don’t RSVP. Another option is to allow a fixed amount of guests to attend the reception only after the ceremony. The ceremony is certainly the less expensive part of the wedding but it still costs money depending on how many people you have. Sticking to family and close friends at the ceremony will keep the actual wedding itself smaller and more intimate.

2. Don’t Use a Wedding Planner

Wedding planners can be very valuable to busy couples who aren’t good at planning to begin with. However, it’s an extra expense that isn’t required in order to have an amazing wedding.

To avoid having to hire someone to help you plan and execute all the tasks associated with your wedding, give yourself enough time to work at your own pace. If you give yourself less than a year to plan the wedding, it can be very stressful to pull everything together and make bookings in advance.

Try to get organized and set up a timeline or to-do list. Rent or purchase cheap wedding books packed with information and worksheets for you to utilize and read some of the thousands of wedding-related articles online for more information.

You can also reach out to family members for help with the planning or your maid of honor or best man.

3. Create Your Own Wedding Bouquets

Bride holding a beautiful handmade wedding bouquet

Flowers for your wedding party can easily rack up a lot of money if you have a lot of bridesmaids and groomsmen. If you’re in favor of having flowers at the wedding, try to DIY your bouquets and flower arrangements at the ceremony.

You can also even buy your flowers at a grocery store and save hundreds of dollars by avoiding the florist.

Even if you aren’t that crafty, see if someone in your family – whether it’s your mom, future mother-in-law or an aunt can come up with some pretty arrangements for the wedding. It’s also a great way to include your family members in the wedding and they’d probably be happy to help.

4. Go with an All-Inclusive Venue

Choosing a wedding venue that provides food, dessert, drinks, and even allows you to have your ceremony there will relieve a lot of stress and save you quite a bit of money in the process.

With an all-inclusive venue that you can even have your ceremony at, you won’t have to worry about paying for transportation from the ceremony to the reception or printing directions for everyone to follow in order to get to the next destination in one piece. You also won’t have to worry about booking a separate caterer for food or alcohol along with paying additional taxes and a gratuity fee.

5. Skip the Sit down Dinner

Buffet of fine food at a wedding reception is much cheaper than a sit down dinner or meal

Food and the reception are probably the most expensive parts of a wedding. Opting for a buffet will save you hundreds of dollars on dinner and it probably won’t make a huge difference to your guests. As long as your food is delicious and everyone eats, that’s all that matters.

Guests might even prefer to serve themselves and choose which foods they’d like to eat. Plus having a buffet-style dinner will save everyone a ton of time. Sit down dinners can take 90 minutes or so to complete since servers have to bring out each part of the meal one-by-one. With a buffet, everyone will eat much quicker and you’ll be able to move on to other activities and make the most of the time you will be allotted at the venue.

6. Don’t do an Open Bar

In so many instances, alcohol costs just as much as food. An open bar can cost thousands of dollars at your event. It’s best to just steer clear of alcohol altogether but if you want to offer your guests something, see if you can offer a cash bar, do a champagne toast, or offer a signature drink for everyone to have during the night.

Slashing your alcohol costs will do wonders for the overall cost of your wedding reception. Not to mention that you likely have a friend that you know will drink too much and might just embarrass you (c’mon, you know THAT friend).

7. Hire a Student Photographer

Hiring a student photographer for your wedding day can be much cheaper than hiring a seasoned veteran.

On your special day, high-quality photos are important. But at what costs? Are you willing to pay a photographer $2,000 to take photos for one day? If not, you might want to shop around and look at some work by student photographers.

Students or someone who is looking to build their portfolio will have much lower rates and they will still have just enough experience to do a great job. Even a lot of non-photographers invest in high-quality cameras that take amazing photos. If you find a student photographer that you’d like to work with, try doing some test shots first.

If you like what you see, negotiate a rate and try to accommodate the photographer on your wedding day with food, drinks etc. The lower rate will most likely leave you with enough savings to offer your photographer a nice tip at the end of the night.

8. Order a Smaller Cake and use a Sheet Cake for Guests

Wedding cake is often priced per person so the larger your wedding is, the more your cake will cost. Some venues even charge a cake cutting fee to cut your cake when the time comes. Talk about being hard up for money.

Again, if this is your dream wedding, invite whoever you wish to invite and just save in other areas of your budget.

When it comes to your cake, you can save by ordering a smaller version of your cake and serving the rest of it as a sheet cake for guests. Some local grocery stores have bakery departments that bake cakes that are just as delicious as prominent bakeries in the area. You can also serve cupcakes instead which are cheaper, easier to clean up and don’t require a cutting fee.

9. Skip Traditions

If traditions are weighing down your budget, get rid of them. That’s if you and your future spouse don’t really favor the tradition. You both are in charge of the wedding and don’t have to submit to age-old traditions that don’t make sense to you.

10. When All Else Fails, Barter and Negotiate

Bartering and negotiating are essential skills if you want to save. No one is going to give you a discount if you don’t ask for one. See if you can offer up a skill or service to local business owners in exchange for a lower price on something you need for the wedding.

Don’t be pushy and if someone says ‘no’, let it be.

Negotiating lower prices might be awkward for you at first but it will definitely save you money in the long run.

How did you save money on your wedding?

Chonce Maddox
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