1. Be Diligent with Your Scheduling
When you’re booking your vendors, make sure to find out how many hours the contract includes. Vendors like your venue, photographer and band might all charge overtime for hours that go beyond the agreed upon timeframe. You can also preemptively save money by arranging with your photographer ahead of time to have them leave after the cake cutting, or queue up a playlist after 11 so you can save on your DJ or band. Read more about how couples rocked their wedding with just a playlist here.
Potential Savings: $1,000+
Don’t discount the whole referral program, as many vendors will offer you additional services for free if they get future customers from you. You know that engagement shoot you did in the park? Post those photos on Facebook and if the photographer gets a referral from those photos, they may offer you free prints or a discount on your album.
Potential Savings: $500+
3. The Family-Style Meal
Serving a three or four-course dinner might be preferred, but the family style meal is a great, cost-saving option for your wedding budget. Not only can the food still be as delicious, you’ll save a ton of money. We agree some dishes work better than others served this way, so speak with your caterer and let them recommend the menu.
Potential Savings: $40/pp+
4. Repurpose Your Wedding Flowers
The flowers lining the aisle, the bridesmaid’s bouquets, even the wedding arch can all be reused for décor at the reception. Talk with your florist about how you can make the most of your wedding budget, and make sure there’s enough time to move the floral from the ceremony location to the reception.
Potential Savings: $500+
5. When it Comes to Your Centerpieces, Think Simple
While big, overstated flower arrangements can look lovely in certain spaces, keeping your centerpieces elegant, simple, and small can save you big time. We love using an eclectic mix of vases that can help add height and color to your arrangements. And if you really need the height, go for candelabras or pillar candles, instead.
Get our breakdown of how much wedding flowers cost here
Potential Savings: $150 per arrangement
6. Use in Season Wedding Flowers
While peonies are always beautiful, they’re not always practical. Choosing wedding flowers that are in bloom during your wedding season will keep your decor looking gorgeous and your budget happy.
Find out even more ways to save money on wedding flowers here.
Potential Savings: $1,500+
7. Skip the Appetizers
If you’re having a cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres and/or stations, you can definitely limit your dinner menu to a salad, entrée and dessert. Speaking of stations, we’re a fan of skipping them altogether! A lot of times it can feel like you’re serving dinner right before your dinner. Stick to 3-4 types of passed hors d’oeuvres instead.
Read our guide to how much wedding catering costs around the country.
Potential Savings: $12/pp+
8. Use Sheet Cake
This is one of our most favorite cost-saving measures. Consider going for a smaller wedding cake (one or two tiers, max). Then, have the caterer bake sheet cakes in the same flavors that can be served to guests. They really won’t know the difference, and the cost savings is delicious.
Creating your wedding budget? Find out how much wedding cake costs on average here.
Potential Savings: 50% of total wedding cake cost
9. Think Quality Not Quantity When it Comes to Welcome Bags
Welcome bags filled with a bunch of knick knacks and too many snacks are just a way to spend money you don’t need to. We suggest keeping it simple with a bottle of wine (that can be bought in bulk at a store like Costco), or two bottles of water and a small bag filled with a local sweet treat. Be sure to include a printout of the weekend’s events, too!
Potential Savings: $10/pp+
10. Skimp on the Linens
If you’re renting a full service wedding venue they’ll most likely have plain table linens for you to use, which is a much cheaper option than using upgraded linens from another vendor. Between all of the glasses and the plates and the centerpieces, you don’t see too much of the linens anyways. As long as they’re neutral, we say go with theirs.
Potential Savings: $80 per table
11. Bring in Your Own Liquor
OK, so being able to BYOB is a dream scenario for most couples planning a weding. And while it might seem like an impossible mission to find a venue that will offer this, you’d be surprised at how many will consider (or reconsider) it if you ask. Many will charge you a corkage fee per person, but if you’re planning on bringing in top shelf liquor you’ll still end up saving even if you’re paying a $10/pp corkage fee (plus you get to keep an extra bottles of alcohol you don’t end up using in the end). If they do not offer a complete BYOB option, ask what they might be able to negotiate on (IE: they provide all the beer and wine but you provide all the spirits, or vice versa). TIP: You’ll want to neogitate this BEFORE you sign the contract.
Potential Savings: $15/pp+
12. Order in Bulk
When placing orders for napkins, favors, stationary, etc., typically the more you order, the lower your cost per item. So for wedding stationary, for example, considering adding in Thank You cards to your order to bring your overall cost down. You’ll have to buy them at some point anyway, and this will help you save in the end.
Potential Savings: 10% of total cost
13. Be Flexible with Your Date
Booking an off-season wedding is a great way to save money with all of your vendors. They aren’t as busy, and not only will you get a better deal, you’ll actually get a little more personalized service since they’re not swamped with a ton of other weddings. If you’re open to a late fall or winter wedding, it’ll definitely help your budget.
Potential Savings: 6% of total cost