Q&A: What are good ways to save money on a wedding?

Question by sarahbeth: What are good ways to save money on a wedding?
I’m getting married in May of next year. I’m looking for ways to cut costs. I hate the thought of paying 20,000 for one day. We have about 250 guests!! We’re already planning on doing our own flowers and Any other ideas??

Any help would be awesome



Best answer:

Answer by treday25
Be ready to do some of the work yourself.

What do you think? Answer below!

18 Responses to “Q&A: What are good ways to save money on a wedding?”

  1. ssgtusmc3013 says:


  2. Dr Dan says:

    You won’t like it, but its what I am going to do.

    Goto vegas – you pay anywhere from 2k-10k.
    They setup everything, you just pay for what you want.
    You arrive, do the thing, and your done.

    Even at the bottom range you get 30-60 minutes in the chapel, a suite, food, cake, photos… flowers….

    To me it saves money, saves your sanity.

  3. scoobyd3 says:

    Go to a hall where someone is setting up for a wedding…when the all leave to attend the service…go in and steal their decorations.

    Steal the display model of the wedding cake…pretend to cut it. Then take it in the back and cut up some plain sheet cake and bring that out to serve.

    Pay to have a homeless person ordained a minister and have him marry you…should be cheaper then the “honorarium”.

    Rent a regular Hummer and use mirrors to make it look like a stretch Hummer.

  4. db says:

    There is always cost cutting ways check out a bridal magazine.

  5. skyler says:

    cut your guest list as much as possible. You’re going to be paying more than 20K for one day with all those guests! you can get your wedding invitations and thank you notes made at costco or even papyrus in the mall. Make sure to call costco to find out which locations make the inviations.
    Definitely shop around for cakes, photographers and everything. don’t just go with the first one you see. make a list of the most important things to you on your wedding day, whether it be the dress, the flowers the photography…and then spend your money there…the other areas, don’t spend any.
    or go to vegas, get married, then have a reception for everyone afterwards when you get home, have a slide show of photos from your wedding?

  6. FaZizzle says:

    1) Make your own invites — go to a crafts store and they will hook you up.

    2) Cut down the guest list by half. Unless you have 175 relatives and each bring their own families, cut it down.

    3) Consignment dresses — get a $ 3000 dress for less than $ 500.

    4) Look into a location that can do the ceremony and reception. The ceremony is only 25% of the event, so put more efforts into the reception. Also, make sure that the location will be able to provide food as well.

    5) Be realistic about your budget — can you really get away with a $ 200 dress? No.

    6) Big one: NEGOTIATE! With photographers you will be able to get the price cut for things you don’t want included. Do you REALLY need a proof CD you can’t even print from? Do you REALLY need a $ 300 photo album you could put together yourself?

    7) Make your own cake. Or, ask the baker to only have the top of the cake be real and the rest be decorated cardboard. The guests can eat from sheet cake. It will cut costs.

    8) Do your own hair/make-up.

    9) Allow wiggle room. Some things will cost more, some things will pop up, and some things aren’t worth the cost.

    10) Hire a wedding DAY planner — she will usually cost about $ 30/hour. She will make your life EASIER!

    11) NO ALCOHOL!!

    People are saying destination weddings. If your family and friends can afford it, great. I myself wouldn’t expect someone I love to have to pay $ 1000/ticket when they could just pay $ 200.

    Any realistic budget is possible. You are just going to have to stay to your guns and research. Most will be able to work with you. Stay away from David’s Bridal and always communicate with your fiance, his parents, and your parents.

  7. KRAZIE!! says:

    if some one u noe is a good cook have them cook the dinner or u gues can

  8. free2b says:

    Have a very small, private wedding in Jamaica. . .invite only immediate family, all of which will have to foot their own bill to get there as well as for their own accomodations (costs about $ 3K per couple for 5 days BUT is sooo worth it! They’ll all love the extra added benefit of this mini vacation). THEN, after you all get back home, host a reception ONLY for the remaining 200+ guests. Does a family member have a large home with a large yard that they would let you use? You could word the invite as a wedding celebration “open house” . .this will alleviate having everyone show up at one specific time. Unless you live in CA or NY, you can probably get the event catered, for 200 people, plus service for less than $ 5K. You won’t be eating steak and lobster, but you can make this very nice for a minimal amount of money. I have zillions of ideas, and would be willing to talk you through them, play devils advocate if you’d like. Just let me know. Good luck!

  9. ravenbb says:

    Micheal’s for invitations and target for thank you cards
    My favor cost $ 100 for 150 guests they were spray painted terracotta pots with ribbon around the top- filled with butter mints and a champagne bubble bottle. cake was from a small local bakery( ie… not one that specialized in wedding cakes – PS go for a yellow cake with white butter cream frosting— it will be moist and your guests will love it.) look into buying your flowers from a local distributor or warehouse store. but the best idea is to sign up for the knot website and look on some of their message boards

  10. playtime says:

    Garden syle breafast brunch…dinner is much pricier than brunch and a garden seing would reduce cost of decorations. Congrats…

  11. plcl32003 says:

    do your own centerpieces, favors, you really dont need engraved napkins etc, also get your own card box at a michaels or ac moore they run 40 plus dollars but they also have 40 percent off coupons in their ad weekly, you can also get a guest book there too, you dont need a fancy one cuz if you think about it no one sees the front of it cuz its open for people to sign!!! ps and to the answer above i got my dress for 149.00 on clearance and everyone commented how beautiful it was and i just got married in april complete wedding that i did myself for under 5000.00 150 people

  12. Andy G says:

    Just got married in December, here’s a few things we did that saved us quite a bit:


    Use an online discounter. You should pay at least 15% below what the retails rates in the big invitation books list. When you shop at a stationery store and pick out what you want, make note of the manufacturer and all the item #s. Then Google discount wedding invitations or discount (name of printer) and you’ll find plenty of options

    BETTER YET, find a local independent invite designer. You can get something totally unique for less than you’d pay from Crane’s or Checkerboard. We used:



    One of the biggest, but overlooked costs, is the album. If you really want a nice album, pay extra attention to what is and what is not included in the packages the photographer offers.

    MOST IMPORTANT: Make sure the package you buy includes the negatives/hi-res digital files. If so, you can upload the images to Shutterfly or Snapfish (or others) and order prints for 19 cents to a few dollars instead of 15x that amount.


    If you’re making arrangements for a lot of out-of-town guests, try to consolidate them into one hotel. If you have a certain number of room nights (one room, 2 nights is 2 room nights, for example), they will generally comp another room… which you can use for yourself. Usually the comps start at one free night per 50 booked in your block.

    Check out several hotels before you book. And negotiate on price. If your wedding is not at a peak time, you have a lot of flexibility. And hotels that mainly cater to business traffic tend to discount on the weekends. Properties that cater to leisure travelers will give better weekday rates. Play them off against each other to get the best deal for your guests (and yourself).

    At the VERY least, if you plan to stay at that hotel on your wedding night, they should give you a suite at a regular room price.


    See if you can buy the wine/alchohol yourself and just pay a set price for the bartending staff, and mixers/glassware rental. Alcohol sales (either on consumption or in a package) is the highest profit margin item in a catering budget… there’s room to negotiate.

    Champagne toasts are great, but most people will take one sip and go back to their regular drink. If you have the servers tray-pass champagne for a toast, most of it will be wasted. Avoid!


    Ridiculous expenditure, and only a very few people actually keep them. If it’s important to you, make your own. Look at sites like:


    and buy packaging (jars, tins, ribbon, whatever) and fill them with, I don’t know skittles or nuts or M&Ms or Jordan Almonds. You’ll pay a tiny fraction of the cost compared to buying a pretty pre-packaged thing from a wedding accessories place.


    If you’re planning on showing a “through the years” photo montage at the reception, you’ll find that videographers often offer this as an add-on service. However, these tend to be either very short or not very personalized. Videographers are good at working with their own video and not someone else’s photos. You’re going to get more for your money going to a company that specializes in these, such as:


    To show it… you probably know someone with an LCD projector and, maybe even a screen. See if a friend owns one or can borrow from work, and that’ll save your hundreds of dollars.


    What do you need a fancy stretch limo for? You’re just having it take you down the street! There’s no bigger waste than a limo that you have take you from point A to point B for 15 minutes then sit for four hours on the clock while you get married. So, don’t book a car for the whole day, as you’ll pay for a lot of sitting time. Second, a nice black Lincoln Towncar is as elegant (and less ostentatious) than a stretch. Have friends drive you from place-to-place earlier, and if you want post-wedding privacy, hire a sedan for the departure.

    Good luck with your wedding, your marriage… and your budget!

  13. dj says:

    It really will depend on what you’re going for. If you have your heart set on the “fairy tale” then it’s going to cost you.

    However. Finding a venue where you can have the ceremony and the reception will save money and time. Having your event on a Sunday will typically be more cost effective than a Saturday night. Explore this type of option.

    Photos are something you’ll have forever. This isn’t necessarily where you want to skimp. Vidoes are OK, but few people I know that got a video have ever watched them twice!

    Find a good DJ that will do both the ceremony and reception as well. Most can also provide microphones for the officiant as well.

    Big, fancy, sit down dinners can be fairly expensive. Thinking of feeding everyone? What about a nice brunch buffet? Food is something your guests will remember.

    Booze, on the other hand, is not. If you feel you need to offer beverages, Champagne for the toast is nice, wine with dinner, soft drinks, punch, coffee – maybe beer, if the guys in your group go for that – but it’s not necessary to have a full on open bar, people tend to focus more on the alcohol and less on the event and it can run the tab up fairly quickly. (And if you do a brunch, juices and perhaps mimosas – but most people don’t want to get hammered early in the day!)

    Get a smaller tiered wedding cake, for maybe 100 people, if that’s something you’d like, but augment that with a sheet cake or two.
    If it gets cut in a back area somewhere, no-one will know what it looked like before it was slapped on a plate! Put the smaller cake on a pedestal or stand so it looks bigger!

    Simple, tasteful centerpieces. You don’t need thousands of roses or imported anything! Look for whatever flowers are in season or just do a clear bowl with water on a mirror with some rose petals and a floating candle. Perhaps a few votives. Rent the glass parts and go to Walmart or a craft store for the candles (unscented!). Watch for a sale.

    As far as doing your own flowers, think about that. You will be busy with alot of little details as it is, and on your wedding day, hopefully, you’ll be busy being pampered. Consider other options. Is there a local college with a floral department? Sometimes student work is less expensive and by May, they should be fairly good. Of check with local grocery store floral departments. I’ve seen some lovely bouquets and arrangements from some of them. Then all you need to do is have someone pick them up.

    Forget the favors and the cameras on the tables. Have a friend do the programs on a computer. Do the invitations on a computer as well – there are wonderful papers available and programs that will practically do it for you. You also don’t need to have monogrammed napkins or matches. And unless it’s something you’ll use again on your anniversies, special toasting glasses aren’t essensial and how often do you think you’ll need an engraved cake knife and server? Or a guest book? Get a nice photo album and put some fun pictures of you and your fiance in it and have your guests write fun messages for you in that – much more personal and something you’ll cherish!

    Look for deals on tuxes and dresses. Go to bridal shows, there’s always specials available.

    Skip the limo. It’s fun, but depending on your venue, most of your guests won’t see you arrive (especially if you go early for photos!) and rarely is everyone still there when you leave. If you don’t want to drive yourselves away at the end, hire a smaller car for just the two of you, everyone else will find a way to get there and get home!

    Last, but not least – look for an event coordinator that will do “day of service” coordination. It is another expense, but the peace of mind it will bring is often well worth the money. If you have time to do all the planning, such as buying the dresses, cake, venue, photgrapher, dj, etc, then having someone who is there to manage the rehearsal, ceremony and reception and to see that all the details are taken care of so that you, your family and your friends can all just relax and enjoy themselves will make a huge difference. It is, after all, your special day, you should be relaxed and savor all your hard work, let someone else watch the clock and worry!!

    Good Luck!

  14. n2bateyou2000 says:

    Pay the divorce lawyer his retainer up front.

  15. mJc says:

    Many of the best weddings I’ve ever attended had the reception held at someone’s home. You have a lot of guests, but if you know someone with room in their backyard (think tents and candles) and a big heart, you can save big that way.

    Also, no-one I know ever likes the reception hall dinners. Blech. Make your reception a Champagne and Dessert evening. You can save big that way too.

    Otherwise, cut the guest list and have a small wedding with just family and friends. Trust me… you’ll be glad you did.

  16. autumnshadz says:

    Well…….for starters, you could cut that guest list in half. 250 people? Are they all close family and friends? Sit down a look at the list again. How many of these people are you inviting because you actually WANT them there?
    Secondly, talk to as many reception halls as you can. Some places will give you a discount if you have over a certain amount of people (usually around 100).
    Skip the church. It costs $ 500 to get married in one. Ask a priest to come to the reception hall or get a JOP.
    Do your own make-up, just plan it out ahead of time. Oftentimes, when you get it done at the salon, you end up looking like a clown anyhow.
    Go to a dress consignment shop. My mother got her wedding gown for $ 300 at one, and it was beautiful, looked like it had never been worn!

    It will take time and dedication, but if you are determined, you can cut down your costs. Good luck!

  17. raquel122203 says:

    don’t do favors (you might have already cut that out). I went to a wedding recently where they had a note on everyone’s plate (or you could put it on the placecard (which you can sooo easily do your self – another way to save) saying they dontated to charity instead of favors. You can donate $ 50 – no one will know how much you gave. It was a really nice thing to see. Or just skip the favors – no one keeps them!!

    Last wedding I went to had flowers on half the tables, and rented freestanding chandelier type things on the other tables with candles. HAD to be cheaper than all flowers. Looked great.

    But a plain white dress at a department store – take it to a tailor and have her/him add some sparkles, lace, bead – whatever you’re into. And buy your veil at a craft store. NO ONE will know the difference.

    just serve wine and beer – no hard alcohol.

  18. Karen? says:

    Get married on a weekday, even Friday. Saturday is the most expensive day to have a reception anywhere.
    By the way, I am a cake decorator…a “dummy cake” costs just as much as a real cake…we have to decorate them too. However, a sheet cake is a great idea. You can have a smaller cake for “show” and cutting, and a sheet cake served to the guests from the kitchen (done all the time).