What are some things that can be excluded from a wedding to cut down on costs?

by DIY wedding planner on December 14, 2012

What things do you feel are necessary and what do you feel doesn’t need to be there? Can things like flowers and a lot of the decorations either be modified or cut out completely to allow for our budget?

We won’t have a lot of money for the wedding. Any advice you can give will be great. Thanks

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Blunt December 14, 2012 at 5:33 am

Unnecesary things:

-Unity candle
-Monogramed/engraved/etched/personalized anything
-Guest book (useless)
-Disposable cameras
-Cake cutter and server (borrow those)
-Aisle runner
-Pew bows
-Church decorations
-Ring pillows
-Programs (totally useless)
-Menu cards
-Save the date magnets (send save the date emails through http://www.theknot.com instead)
-Large wedding party. Cut costs by sticking to one each
-Tiaras (so passe)
-Limo (so eighties, useless, save money here).
-Wedding bells (no one uses those anymore)
-Cake topper (kitsch, old school and unfashionable)
-Useless trinket favors (i.e. gel candles, piratied cd’s, glass swans …gross) Candy will do the trick and will be appreciated, do not waste your money on useless trinkets that wil end up in the trash, go edible!!
-Chair cover and chair bows.

Save money by:

-Inviting only inmediate family and closests of friends. The trick to saving money is to have a small guest list. No second cousins, no co-workers, no gym acquaintances, no neighbors, no people from high school you haven’t seen in years.
-DIY . You can DIY your invitations and flowers.
-buy from craigslist and ebay, You wil get great bargains there and even free items.
-Buy cake from grocery store. Yes, you local supermarket bakery has catalogs for wedding cakes designs.
-Borrow. Someone that you know will be able to borrow you tasting flutes, cake cutters, veils, baskets etc.
-Take advantange of your church fellowship hall for free venue (no dancing or liquour allowed though, but free nonetheless), or local park for a small fee (you have to be out by dawn and no liquour allowed, but available for a very small fee), or a relative’s garden/backyard.
-Get married at the courthouse (free, the judge’s salary is paid by your taxes), pay only the marriage license fees.
-Offer a sparkling cider or sparkling wine toas only, and avoid expensive liquour costs.
-Have a cake and toast reception, a dessert reception or a Pot Luck reception to avoid meal costs. Other inexpensive options are brunch reception, cocktail reception with just hors d’ouevres served at non-meal times or a bbq.

Congratulations and good luck


Miss Manda December 14, 2012 at 5:46 am

Yup. Buy a cheap dress (if you must) and a cheap suit. Cancel the big wedding day and have it done in a small chapel with only the closet of family and friends. Then you will only need the ring, the license, and maybe one bouquet of flowers.
Save your pennies for a great honeymoon away!!


Tricia G December 14, 2012 at 6:02 am

For the bouquets, I would recommend getting those from the florist. But get seasonal flowers instead of orchids or a flower that is out of season.

For our wedding, we had small bud vases (the ones that are around 6″ tall) and had the banquet hall put them on the table with 3 or 4 tulips…that I bought at the grocery store the day before the wedding. LOL. They looked great! Very simple and about $60 total expenditure to decorate all of the guest tables.

I wound up buying a lot of my wedding stuff at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. I wanted garlands of flowers on some of the tables…so I bought those when they were on sale.

For other things…look at normal stuff that is not packaged as wedding. For example, for the flower girls baskets, I bought Easter baskets. I bought white satin dress shoes at DSW for $25, because they reminded me a lot like a pair of Stuart Weisman shoes ($900) that I saw on a wedding program.

Most of the stuff that you see in the Knot or other wedding magazines are unnecessary IMHO. You do not need an ice sculpture, signature drinks, a $5,000 wedding gown, chair covers, or specialty napkins. You don’t even need a cake knife…the banquet hall will have one you can use. And the standard wedding cakes that your local bakery makes are probably less expensive than a custom-designed cake.

Also…see if any of your recently married friends have stuff that you could use. I have a card box sitting in my storage room that is waiting until one of my bonus daughters gets married. And they can use my cake topper too.


Tanyawi December 14, 2012 at 6:48 am

If you really love each other then a small, comfortable wedding is all you need.

Flowers–get just the basics

Decorations– not really needed but streamers are cheap and you could find some on craigslist or garage sales.

Pictures: have a friend take them, at the reception have a few disposable cameras out on tables and have friends take pictures throughout the night then toss the camera with your gifts and develop them later.

The expensive part is the dress, renting the hall and the music.
Make it a fun event in someones barn, or a local VFW, or a big tent in your back yard.

Music: Have a friend load up an ipod with music and play that. Someone at work said if you have WII rock band you could have that in the background and your guests could go up and play whenever they wanted for entertainment, and when they aren’t playing the music could still be on in the background.

Food: If you have the food at the church everyone in your family can bring a dish to pass instead of a pricey meal at a club.

Dress: Wear something simple say T-length and the wedding party can also wear something simple yet affordable and possibly something they could wear again sometime.

What’s your budget
How many people are you planning one
How big of a wedding party
all those thing change the cost of your wedding.


Brave new girl December 14, 2012 at 7:29 am

Some things that I think can be cut out without people noticing or caring:

- limo for the bridal party to take to the reception
- favors
- Lots of decorations. Especially if the ceremony is at a church. Just some bouquets for the bridesmaids. And at the reception- just some centerpieces (you can even re-use the bridesmaid’s bouquet’s on the tables). You don’t need to decorate every surface. The cake can be considered decoration too.
- Individual place cards- you can assign people to a table and they can choose where they sit at the table
- Save the dates. Just let close friends and family know personally.
- Fancy rehearsal dinner. Just have people over for a BBQ or pizza after the reheasal to show your appreciation.
- Programs. About half the weddings I’ve been to had them, the other half didn’t. It doesn’t really matter to me. And I throw them away after the ceremony.


Texas girl and happy wifey! December 14, 2012 at 7:47 am

Here are a few things we didn’t have at our wedding that I felt like helped cut down a lot of the cost.

Alcohol-neither of our families drink, and neither did most of the guests
Band-just had a friend play the piano, then played a CD during the reception

Those were probably the 2 biggest things. We also didn’t have a lot of flowers or decorations. We didn’t have to pay for a venue because we had the wedding outside in a friend’s beautiful backyard by the river. We had no outside vendors-everything was done by friends including photography, flowers, cakes, decorations etc.

So we had the wedding of our dreams for only $6500! And there there were 500 people there, so that’s pretty good. :)

I hope you have a wonderful wedding!


Ani December 14, 2012 at 8:14 am

I am making a photobook of pics of me and my fiancee. This will be my guest book. I am going to do some pages blank white for guests to sign. This really fits my style. I am also going to use my engagement pictures in this. My photographer offered to make one for over $200. I am making mine for $15.
You can use shutterfly.com, snapfish.com, kodak.com

Another idea I had was to have the center peices be appetizers and then switched out for small desert trays after dinner. I don’t like cake and neither does my fiancee. We are going to do a very small one though just for the tradition.


Rob W December 14, 2012 at 8:22 am

The math can work against you… If you have 50 guests costs half the price of 100 guests… so anything you spend gets doubled. I would start with the guest list first and keep that under control.


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