What’s the best way to save money for a wedding?

by DIY wedding planner on January 4, 2013

This is the second marriage for both my fiance and I. We have 4 children between us and limited money. Our parents helping with the costs is not an option. I’d like to have a small, but nice wedding since my first wedding was at a city hall. Any suggestions?
We already have the ceremony/reception site secured. We just need to figure how we are paying for the music, attire, photos, flowers, etc. I already have a caterer in the family so that’s all taken care of.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz January 4, 2013 at 5:29 am

You could do a destination wedding. Just you and your fiance go away and get married. There are many places that are pretty affordable.


Shelley January 4, 2013 at 5:41 am

you can always have the reception at your own home. You can still have caterers come in but you wouldn’t have to rent a hall. My aunt had a potluck for her second wedding.


diablo January 4, 2013 at 6:27 am

open a joint account, and you both agree to the amount each of you can donate per check. I don’t know what your time frame is but I would shot for a year. Good Luck ,and Congrats…


~*Yesterdays Promises*~ January 4, 2013 at 6:51 am

Get ideas from magazines and then shop around to see if it is something that you can do on your own, like for center pieces, or favors, and decorations. Then just buy what you can when you have a little extra cash.


HONEYB1 January 4, 2013 at 7:13 am

I would do it more of like a family renunion style wedding. Use your church and their cafateria or have it outside in a family members back yard. Dress your children in nice church clothes style instead of formal and maybe you in a nice sundress. You could make it a pot luck dinner after and have close family and friends bring something. Have cupcakes from your local bakery instead of a cake. There are lots of things you can do to make it nice and simple.


RoadKween1 January 4, 2013 at 7:56 am

Depending on how long until the wedding day, some options are harder than others. You can go with the standard ones like if you normally buy your lunch, then take a pre-made one, set up a small savings account where you can put money into each week or month (whichever is easiest for you) and try to set it up so it comes out automatically. Instead of going out to a movie, rent one or watch one on tv. Instead of nights out with friends try doing nights at friends homes for either a games night or just getting together for drinks there. I know these are all small but the money can add up fast. I started a savings account in November and just started putting that little extra money left over from my last paycheck and I already have just over $900. I have also cut back on a lot of things. Since I don’t you’re normal spending habits then it makes it hard to suggest any ways to save, but hope this is a start in helping you.

Best of luck and congratulations on the engagement.


Sunnyd January 4, 2013 at 8:14 am

Have a low key wedding, maybe a destination wedding in Hawaii, or just close friends and family. If a big wedding has to happen, there are ways to save money.

1) When you book your reception hall, just stay it’s for a very important event. If you say wedding, it will for some reason get more expensive.

2) Look at department stores for your bridal gown. Look around for the best price. DON’T buy the first one you like, but price around. Try to stay away from bridal shops, because they can be very expensive, unless it is having a sale.


kevin m January 4, 2013 at 8:39 am

Belonging to a church saves a ton, they shouldn’t charge you for the space. Find a cheap caterer, they may have a rather cheap one at the church. Pick the flowers yourself. Take the pictures/video yourself. Bring some dessert platters to the reception and hook up an ipod to a stereo for the dj.


Leah January 4, 2013 at 8:59 am

Having a small wedding is a great way to save money! Here are some more ideas:

1. Have the wedding on a Friday, in the morning, or during the wedding off-season. You’ll save money on the venue and the vendors.
2. Have a small wedding party. Two bridesmaid instead of 10 will save you a lot of money.
3. Go casual. Informal events cost less. Think about a brunch or a bbq instead of a formal sit down dinner.
4. Instead of a huge fancy cake, go with another desert such as cupcakes. If you’re set on the fancy cake, get a small one for cutting and have several big sheet cakes in the kitchen in the same flavor for the guests.
5. Go seasonal. Use foods and flowers of the season. Shipping flowers gets expensive fast. You can also save money but passing on expensive flowers like roses and calla lilies and go for cheaper alternatives like dahlias.

Money Saving Myths:

Some people think having a wedding at home will save money. If you have to rent chairs, tables, and tents you may not be saving much afterall.

The buffet is not always cheaper than the plated menu. You often end up paying for more food than you need. Even after you take into account the extra servers you may save money avoiding the buffet.


callingmrsjones January 4, 2013 at 9:44 am

I say wise shopping. Use ebay and Dollar Tree stores they will be your best friend. You can get garters, guest books, decorations, plates, napkins, bubbles, flower basket, ring pillow all for a dollar a piece at the Dollar Tree.. On ebay you can find dresses for only a few hundred or even house of brides or a few other sites online you can find dresses for only a few hundred… Get simplistic on your flowers/bouquets… You could go to Walmart and buy 2 dozen roses for like $24 and divide them up (say you have 3 bridesmaids) you can give them each 1 rose, you can have 9 roses, and take 4 to make bouts, and the remaining 8 and break off the rose petals for the flower girl to toss… If you have the wedding outside you can save a lot of money. In a nice pretty garden or park. If you have an American Legion around you, you can usually rent one for around $200. Instead of getting a minister to officiate, you can have a friend become ordained (if it would be accepted in your state) and have them do it as a gift to you. Instead of paying for a photographer, have friends take pictures with their digital cameras then you can develop them at places like snapfish online where they are like 9 cents a picture or something like that. You can get a nice real pretty cake at Walmart for under $100… or get a small cake at Walmart for like $6 and then that can be the cake you and your groom cut and then make cupcakes for the guests. For music you can use an ipod or even create a play list on your computer. Ummm trying to think of anything else… But not sure. What colors would you be looking at having? When would you consider having the wedding? Email me if you like these ideas and I can come up with some more. scent.sational@hotmail

PS I don’t know if it’s against the guidelines but I have a bunch of stuff that I’m not using anymore because we changed our colors.


Bride-2-Be 5/3/08! January 4, 2013 at 9:58 am

Rent a tent…have a summer wedding…have family bring food…more laid back equals less money.


qwertystar January 4, 2013 at 10:25 am

There are two ends to paying for a wedding. One is how much money you can reasonably save (or borrow–yikes!), and the other is how much you spend. Try working both ends.

For example, to keep expenses down, do as many of the things yourself as you can (a crafty friend is helping me with the invitations and thank-you cards, which are costing us about a quarter of what it would to get similar ones at a stationer), we’re doing inexpensive centerpieces (fruit submerged in tall glass vases with a floating candle on top–the venue provides pots of ivy and votive candles which fill out the center area of the table), making our own favors, I’m making my veil). Cut out unneccesary things like personalized napkins, toasting flutes, tons of decorations. Substitute less expensive things for more expensive ones (use things other than flowers for decorations, consider a small cake for display and cutting, with a much-less-expensive sheet cake to be cut in the back). If a full meal is out of range for the budget, then consider having an hors d’oeuvre or dessert reception, or a brunch. Consider days other than Saturday for the wedding–the venue and DJ and photographer may all be less expensive. Consider not serving alcohol. Find different kinds of venues that may rent out cheaper than banquet halls.

On the savings side, figure out how much time you have before the wedding. Then, what can you reasonably save in that amount of time? For us, we took about 20% of our total budget out of current savings and opened a separate bank account. Into the “wedding fund” goes everything we save using coupons and store loyalty cards (you’d be surprised how fast that adds up!), and rebates or refunds (including our tax refunds this year), and then we each contribute a certain amount each pay day. I also have a jar in the kitchen into which we put in whatever is left in our wallets on payday, spare change and the like. When that adds up to about a hundred dollars, it gets deposited into the wedding fund. Keeping a separate bank account means we know how much money we have at any given time, and how much more we need to meet the budget. It also means we don’t dip into it for other things.

I also sold a motorcycle that I didn’t ride very much anymore, the proceeds of which went into the wedding fund. I also had the opportunity to take a short-term job doing something I like that doesn’t take too much time–all of that salary goes into the wedding fund. We cut back on entertainment expenses–renting movies instead of going to the theater, not going out to eat as much, and when we do to less-expensive places, we take our lunches to work–that kind of stuff adds up, too. You need to consider if you’re willing to take out a loan (we weren’t–the thought of still paying for the wedding on our fifth anniversary was not appealing).

There’s lots you can do to both keep the expenses down and to stash some cash.


stagemaniac2007 January 4, 2013 at 11:11 am

Since your biggest expense is already taken care of, the rest will be easier than you think. One simple phrase – do it yourself!
Invitations – buy simple card stock and print your own. Tonnes of sample ideas including wording are online.
Flowers – buy from you local store the day before, make your own arrangements with pretty ribbon (no different than your florist does) and store in the fridge.
Photography – this one may cost a bit but there are often local photographers who are much cheaper than studios (your local newspaper photographer may freelance, ask friends who they know).
DJ – by having just the dance covered by a pro will be less than dinner, cocktails etc. Technology is so good too though, if you have a techie friend, they can customize a selection for you of the songs you WANT to hear and then rent some inexpensive speakers. All you need is someone with a lap top and computer knowledge.
Wedding favors – make your own. No one keeps those stupid trinkets anyways. Make cookies, wrap them in pretty cellophane and you’re set.
Bar – no free bar!!!!! No one expects that now anyways. Check with your local liquor association (there are maximums you can charge) but your liquor store should be able to tell you what you need to charge to recoup costs. $1 to $1.50 seems standard.
Cake – Everone knows someone who makes nice cakes. Ask someone to make the cake for you! Much cheaper than bakeries.
Guest list – Only inite the people you an there and don’t cave to “but aunt Carol’s daughters cousin will be upset if they are not invited”.
If I’m missing any of the big ones, repost and I’d be happy to give suggestions.
My friend did the same thing last year and everyone thought it was very nice! I’m planning my wedding on the cheap as I just can’t justify blowing $15,000 on just one day. Good luck and best wishes!!


Mel January 4, 2013 at 11:48 am

Wow, I’m in the exact same situation as you. My fiance and I were both married before and also have 4 children between us. We are doing a very small, church wedding. His mother is helping with preparing the food. We are not using a caterer – she’s it. We are getting married at 2pm so that we don’t have to serve a “meal,” just finger foods and cake. I did get a “wedding dress” but I chose a bridesmaid/mother of the bride dress at David’s Bridal. They are MUCH more affordable. Really, though, you don’t even need to go that far. Just a simple dress from anywhere will do – it doesn’t have to be a wedding dress. Also – the only people in the actual ceremony are us and our kids. We have two boys and two girls so we have a maid of honor, best man, ring bearer and flower girl all built into the family! We have people from our church who are offering to do the singing / piano playing, etc., so we don’t have to worry about that expense. You’ll be surprised how many people will pitch in and help for little or no cost. It can be done, trust me. Good luck to you and congratulations!

P.S. Forgot to mention – we also made our own invitations ($14.99 kit from a craft store) and are using candles as centerpieces for the tables rather than expensive flowers. Also, my bouquet will be non-traditional – long stemmed roses rather than a round bouquet, which is half the cost.


Mo January 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm

when you both get your paycheck in pay your bills
then take a certain amount out and save it


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