Save Money On Your Wedding: Control Your Wedding Costs & Budget

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2012-04-1358

When a friend of mine got married some time ago, he gave me some details about how much it cost him to cover a 200 guest wedding. His number came up to between $22,000 and $23,000. This gave me a chance to compare weddings in the Bay Area during the 00′s vs the 90′s, when I had prepared for my own.

My own wedding was in 1995 when we had a similar budget allocated for pretty much the same number of people. At that time, I remember how I forked out the bucks to get the wedding I envisioned in my mind’s eye. I was also quite nervous about the expenses we would be incurring and the fact that we would be paying for most of it ourselves (or so we thought). But things worked themselves out. It so happened that generous guests and some cultural traditions helped us out on the money front (more on this below).

How Much Does The Average Wedding Cost?

But let’s see how wedding costs have increased over the years — I got these figures from various wedding articles across the web (including this source). From these reported numbers, it appears that wedding budgets increase at the rate of approximately 3% to 4% a year (barring huge economic shifts). If we were to extrapolate things, it would perhaps look like this:

wedding costs, average wedding budget

But here’s what I found as historical data:

Year Average Wedding Budget
1990 $ 15,208
1995 $ 17,000
1997 $ 19,104.00
1999 $ 18,874.00
2000 $ 21,100.00
2002 $ 22,360.00
2005 $ 27,852.00
2007 $ 28,800.00
2008 $ 28,700.00
2012 $ 27,000

As you can see, the long term trend for costs is upwards, so wedding budgets have increased even if it seems that fewer people are getting married these days. Specifically, the average wedding budget has increased by around 60% over a span of 15 years, and has risen 80% in 2 decades.

So wedding inflation is alive and well! The reason? The market can bear it: the average age of folks getting married nowadays has climbed. While people used to marry in their early 20′s, they now wait till they’re almost 30 before they tie the knot.

How To Set Up & Itemize Your Wedding Budget

I found this cost breakdown for some typical albeit weighty wedding budgets:

wedding expenses, wedding budget
Table from SmartMoney.com

That’s a lot of moolah for a one day event! As we’ve already shown, the cost of a wedding has hovered between $26,000 and $28,000, as the national average. So depending on where you’re based, your wedding could cost a lot more….or less.

Where I live, I get these rather insane statistics, showing an even wider discrepancy between the low and high end budgets as provided by this Cost of Wedding web site:

Couples in my neck of the woods spend between $24,908 – $74,723 for their wedding, which is a huge range. This does not include the costs for a honeymoon or engagement ring.

$75,000 for any sort of wedding seems unheard of (well, except in the East Coast…). I’m not even sure how the cost of living around here can possibly explain these figures. Nope, can’t blame it all on cost of living. It’s about demand, with the ghost of the dot com boom continuing to permeate this region to some degree.

In general, people normally start off with a budget that is 50% less than what they end up spending for their big day, according to the Cost of Wedding site. Seems like people need a better way to budget more accurately, or maybe they’ll need to try harder to stick to their budget!

hot bride, wedding
Photo by Hannita

Basic Budgeting Rules For Your Wedding

Okay so now that I’ve picked up my jaw from the ground (no thanks to those crazy cost figures), how about a few suggestions to help with the wedding planning process?

#1 Set expectations and be realistic.
Don’t ask for a perfect wedding. Refusing to compromise in pursuit of the “perfect wedding” will cost you a bit. Many event planners who have worked for bridezillas can attest to that. Now for most people, saving money on a wedding is a priority. Who wouldn’t want to have a dream wedding that was also affordable at the same time? So it’s often the case that when nuptials are being planned, wedding budgets are first set to an admirably low number. But as the preparations move along, that budget often grows…and grows…and grows.

To develop a more accurate budget that you’ll be able to stick to, it’s a good idea to canvas brick-and-mortar, online and even printed wedding resources (stores, web sites, bridal shows and events, magazines) for ideas, and to get a feel for how much things could really cost you before you even start writing down numbers. Doing some preliminary research helps you set expectations and to be realistic about what you’ll get for the money you’re willing to spend.

#2 Keep an open mind.
Do you really need to keep up with tradition? When planning for my wedding, I seemed to get the impression that traditional etiquette steered away from the “tackiness” of blatant cash exchanges. But tradition often clashes with practicality and when needs arise, it’s time to open one’s mind to resourceful financing tactics. If you can think of weddings as a family affair where everyone can pitch in, all the better. It’s great when one has a rich daddy who can throw a grand wedding for their daughter but more often than not, wedding planning falls on the shoulders of the couple to be married. So why not be practical? I think that cash gifts are a great idea!

#3 Do not keep up with the rich Joneses.
When you enter the phase where everyone you know is getting married and you are requested to be part of everyone’s bridal party, it’s quite likely you’ll be comparing your own event to everyone else’s. Resist the urge to impress everyone else. The most memorable or enjoyable weddings I’ve attended haven’t been the most extravagant ones, but rather the most unique or most personal ones, where invited guests already knew each other.

#4 Work off a wedding checklist!
A wedding involves a ton of nitty-gritty details, so if you are going the traditional route, going with a plan and a checklist are a must. A trusty checklist can help you achieve quite a few things. It’ll help you:

  • Delegate tasks to those who are helping you out with your planning.
  • Determine who’s going to pay what!
  • Work out your budget.

For some advice on figuring out how your family can share your wedding costs with you, take a look at this About.com article called “Who Pays For What? At The Wedding”.

#5 Prioritize your wedding requirements.
Know what’s important to you. We all have different ideas about what our wedding should be like. While some of us want it to be simple and understated, others will insist on having the grandest thing that’s ever happened in their lives. Based on what you care about, you’re going to fashion just the right kind of budget that will fit your requirements. But it becomes tricky when you and your partner have opposing ideas about your wedding; then there could be fireworks before the marriage even starts! It all boils down to expectations, what you hold dear and how much you’re willing to pay for it all. And because it’s all personal, anyone who’s about to get hitched will have to negotiate some of these things with their partner.

#6 Know what you want and prepare to make tradeoffs.
This is a corollary to the point made above. When you’ve scoured through your wedding checklist and priced the items on the list based on costs in your area, you’ll be able to make decisions about the stuff you’d like to retain and those you’d like to trim off your budget. If you keep an open mind about the features of your wedding, you’ll find that your flexibility will make budgeting easier. Just make sure that if you’re allocating more money to one thing, you should think of reducing your budget allocation for other items that are less important. By making and accepting tradeoffs and setting budget priorities, you’ll control your bottom-line so much more successfully and resist budget creep!

#7 Get inspired by the stories of other couples.
Whether you’re out to save money or to spend it on a grand event, seeing how other couples have worked things out may lend you some perspective. How about finding some inspiration from what others have done before you? By taking a peek at how others have tackled their wedding, you may pick up some lessons learned or feel reassured that you’re on track with your plans.

For instance, I found this entry made at a bridal forum particularly inspiring:

When coming up with our budget, my fiance and I looked at it this way: $26,000 is a down payment on a house, a new car bought outright, a trip to practically every country in the world or a nice nest egg, and, it’s only one day. And I think it should be as nice as you want it. I have no issue with people who want to spend that much, but personally for us, we weren’t interested in spending that much money. We set our budget at $5,000. It definitely won’t be as nice as some weddings, but it will be what we want. We’ll offer all the traditional wedding things: food, drinks, cake, and dancing, just a scaled down version. He’s lucky I have simple tastes.

#8 Do NOT take out a wedding loan.
Call me naive, but I’ve never heard of such a thing as a wedding loan till now. These are unsecured personal loans you don’t want to get saddled with. I suppose it’s just another marketing tool for lenders to try to get you to finance yet one more thing in your life. You can of course try to get a secured loan with some asset as collateral but c’mon — you don’t want to start off your new life on the wrong foot already in debt.

Now if you really want to think outside the box, here are some suggestions for a cheaper but still special wedding:

How About These Radical Ways To Save On Your Wedding?

#1 Go cultural.
If you have wedding traditions that involve the exchange of currency, cash or even cash equivalents such as gift cards, why not incorporate it in your event (see Money Dance)? It’s been a boon to many couples I know.

#2 Cut down on guests.
This is the easiest way to save money. Start cutting down your guest list liberally, if you can help it. Make excuses that only close friends and family are invited.

#3 Rent everything.
Grooms and groomsmen rent their tuxedos, so why not have the entire bridal party rent their clothing? Will you be willing to rent your own wedding dress? Rent a cake? This comes back to keeping an open mind!

#4 Request contributions towards wedding accoutrements in lieu of gifts.
How about negotiating the gift of time, service or money towards your wedding event rather than actual material gifts from your friends and family? Some of them may want to pitch in to contribute for flowers, centerpieces, favors, food or even the honeymoon.

#5 Peg your wedding on an off-day.
Shift your wedding schedule and try for the off-season or a week day. I’d personally avoid bad weather months though just because a tornado over your wedding tent would *really suck*.

#6 Use cardboard for part of your wedding cake.
You’ve got a beautiful multi-tiered wedding cake so why not fake its bottom? I suggest this and many more wedding cake savings tips in this post.

#7 Choose a free (or almost free) venue.
Hold your wedding in a park or the beach or somewhere you can celebrate without spending an arm or a leg. You can try convincing your favorite aunt to open her house to your wedding party.

#8 Keep your entertainment simple.
Get your talented relatives to line up and do a performance for you. Maybe have some younger folks come up with some numbers. We were dining at an Indian restaurant once and to our delight, there was a traditional Indian wedding taking place in a banquet hall next to our seats. I got to watch some cute little kids do some cultural (as well as modern) dance and song numbers to everyone’s entertainment.

#9 Use the internet!
The web is filled with a never-ending list of stories, tips, ideas, advice and products that you can access with the click of a button. Research is king.

#10 Delay the wedding.
How about this novel thought: plan your wedding once you’ve built up enough savings to fund it. That’s what we did. That’s why it took a bit of time as well. It was all part of our big master plan to get married after 6 years of dating (and working at our careers) after which we took another 6 years to wait to have kids. By sacrificing our time, we were thus able to easily take care of the financial details of these events.

#11 As a last resort, elope!
Just a few months ago, a dear friend shocked us by saying she already got married. Was I slighted? Maybe just a little, but I understood. After the fact, she’s now inviting us to a post-wedding party. Though I doubt money was the reason behind her stunt, I’m sure she must’ve still saved a bundle.

Though some of these ideas may seem outrageous to you at first glance, I’d say just give it a bit of time to sink in. You never know, it may not sound like such bad ideas after all if you see how much you can save from making some simple adjustments to your wedding plan.

Created June 23, 2008. Updated April 13, 2012. Copyright © 2012 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Silicon Valley Blogger June 23, 2008 at 10:25 am

As you can see, there are tons of conventional frugal wedding advice and tips out there, but here’s one more interesting, out-of-the-box wedding idea that I’ve come across that can help you save money or make up for your expenses. I mentioned this point in my post: why not have your cultural background work for you? I’ll expound on this point further:

In many countries and cultures, the concept of giving money away during weddings is alive and well and warmly embraced. I’ve witnessed happy couples participating in what is called a “Wedding Money Dance”. Guests basically pin cash on the dancing wedding celebrants.

Money Dance 1     Money Dance 2

I suppose this practice signifies good fortune for the new couple.

Steward @ My Family's Money June 23, 2008 at 12:27 pm

When my wife and I married a little over a year ago we did it to the tune of about $5,000. We found that setting priorities was really important and ending up spending 20% of it on photographer because we definitely wanted good pictures to remember our day with. It was also a lot easier for me to think in terms of our budget than it was for my wife. Her difficulty may have had something to do with our culture that encourages young girls to start planning their wedding when they are not even in their teens! But in the end we had a beautiful wedding that both of us look back at very fondly – because weddings are about way more than decorations, entertainment and food. They are about love, beauty and tax breaks commitment.

Washington Mutual Online Banking June 23, 2008 at 12:28 pm

You absolutely have to set a budget for a wedding. It is easy to keep adding more extras. You might think ah, it is only an additional $100 for this cake, but those extras add up.

Heidi June 23, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Great tips!

I’m planning a wedding and we’ve had to have an open mind when it comes to shifting line items on my budget around.

For example, my dress cost almost $300 more than I had budgeted, so I’ve decided to forego a wedding band (I have a thick, asymmetric engagement ring, and the jeweler assured me that it can stand on its own — I’m told more and more women are going this route).

Silicon Valley Blogger June 25, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Yes, it’s always wise to be flexible — love your idea, Heidi, of the engagement ring that can stand for both a wedding band and engagement token as well.

But since weddings are such emotional events, people sometimes get attached to ideas and a certain vision for their celebration, which can cost quite a bit. I agree though, that by being resourceful enough, you may find options that are reasonable and can be great substitutes for what you expect.

My top priority expenses for a wedding: videos, photo and location.

Wedding Photographer Brighton July 7, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Really great tips and I especially like the charts and graphics. Here in the UK the situation is even more extreme, with the average British couple spending a reported £20,000 ($39,500) on their wedding!

But I’m not so sure about your projected increase in spending – with the economy looking shaky on both sides of the atlantic, extravagant spending on things like weddings is bound to be one of the first casualties, and budget tips like yours are going to come in very useful.

Personally my wife and I got married last year on a total budget of less than £5,000 ($9,900) and still had a wonderful wedding. Our secret: the internet! Google enough and you will find the best deals on suppliers, and ebay is a goldmine for supplies from cake stands to confetti…!

Tim July 17, 2008 at 1:07 pm

I’m always amazed at these numbers. Maybe I just hang out in the wrong class of people or maybe costs in my are aren’t what they are anywhere else, but I’ve NEVER seen a $28,000+ wedding. The closest was a friend with well-to-do parents who rented a LARGE room at the Fargo Dome and invited about 500 guests. Even her wedding was only around 18 or 19 thousand. My wife did the DJing, but didn’t knock any off the price because the wedding was in June and she had to turn away business to keep the date open. I also know that she didn’t get much of a discount (if any at all) by getting her favors and such through an associate of mine.

Fair Trade Wedding Gift List July 18, 2008 at 5:39 am

$28k for a wedding – wow! Check out the search trend for ‘Wedding Budget’ Wouldn’t it be better to spend the money on an around the world trip? Rather than spending it all on 1 day!

Sue, Wedding Hair Stylist July 20, 2008 at 1:24 pm

With the rising cost of living, the case for keeping it simple (and cheap!) is more compelling than ever. I like the comment from the brides.com forum… less is more ;)

Texas Wedding Photographer July 21, 2008 at 12:45 pm

I can understand spending a little more for a once-in-a-lifetime event. The deal is to set your budget, your priorities and stick to them. We had a very nice wedding and spent the money where we felt it would do the most good.
- Allen

wedding planner nz July 30, 2008 at 6:39 pm

Top Ten reasons why I won’t be getting married any time soon:

No.1 $$$

No.2-10 See number 1.

I think these figures are crazy? How am I ever going to afford a wedding?

HC August 3, 2008 at 8:53 am

I’m all for thinking creatively and accepting different cultural traditions, BUT:

It’s a celebration, not a Mafia shakedown.

If cash gifts are traditional wedding gifts among the couple’s family and friends, then attendees can figure out how to put money in an envelope without prompting.

Dollar dances and requests for cash (not that requests for ANY gifts should be in the invitation) are demands upon people. I’ve never been at a reception or wedding where either of those occurred, but I’d have no compunction about taking a conveniently timed bathroom break or refusing the invitation wholesale if they did.

Jennifer August 3, 2008 at 12:16 pm

These sound like great suggestions but you’re right, some seem kind of radical to me. The hardest thing is to try to cut down on the guest list. That’s just a tough thing to do. I have a blended family so I had to invite everyone. No matter how I looked at it I couldn’t cut my guest list.

Silicon Valley Blogger August 3, 2008 at 9:28 pm

@HC
I’ve attended many weddings with dollar dances and have never felt obligated to pin a dollar to the bride’s dress though I participate for the fun of it. Again, it may be a tradition for certain cultures and so forth, and I leave it at that. I can see how some of these practices can come across as “tacky” to some people, but beyond the physical image of people dripping with dollars on their attire, the practices do also signify something deeper, such as wishing a couple a prosperous start to their lives together. All this depends on the dynamics of certain families so it may work for some, and not others.

@Jennifer
Hopefully you were able to cut costs elsewhere if not from your guest list!

Jim D August 7, 2008 at 5:21 pm

A wedding on the beach in Hawaii can be had for under $2k, and you can take the 20 or so people who’ll actually fly there to attend out to dinner for another $1k. It’s also quite pretty, but the main advantage is cutting down on the guest list. If someone can’t come, that just means that they’re not really interested in seeing you get married :-)

(And before you start in with the “but they can’t afford it!”, I’m sure they’re just as able to afford it as you are able to afford buying them a $50 dinner (times the 200 people in your wedding). Guest list problem solved.)

DivaJean August 14, 2008 at 7:54 am

I guess no one in my family values big “traditional” weddings like what I always hear others do…

My wedding 13 years ago was really on the cheap. My mom & my mother in law MADE my gown and my attendants dresses- just simple dresses that looked normal- no boufant sparkly craziness! We made all our own food and a few family members served the buffet in the church hall. The cake was given to us as a wedding present from a friend who finished all the Wilton cake classes. We had no alcohol but a really great DJ- and the reception is still looked on as one of the best any of our friends & family went to.

My sister eloped and had a big ham dinner party in her own home a few weeks after the newly married couple was settled in. Much more homey and fun!

My step cousin had his wedding on the roof of his house! He built an underground home (for great insulation in Central New York winters!) and the roof of his house is wildflowers. He had the minister come over and perform the ceremony- then we had a big chicken barbeque.

My sister in law had a more “regular wedding”- but with so many people from out of town, the “rehearsal dinner” was a big picnic with hotdogs, hamburgs and a softball game at the county park.

I guess the difference is that most of the people I know & value realize its ONE DAY out of the rest of their lives together- better to just enjoy your family and have some $$$ to live your life, rather than throw it away on one day!

Mrs. Micah October 31, 2008 at 12:43 pm

One word: Lunch. My wedding was “catered” as a present by good friends who were like my second parents. We bought these delicious little(ish) sandwiches from a local place. With chips and cookies and cake, the meal came to $5-7 a head for 100 people.

The sandwich people were excellent advertisers, btw. They gave the local librarians (and I was working at the library) two free sample trays for lunch one day. So we all sat in the back and tried sandwiches. They were delicious and easy-to-manage. It was a year before my wedding, but I took home a flier and stuck it in the wedding folder.

Al November 19, 2008 at 8:59 am

This is great information and great tips that any couple planning a wedding should follow to prevent that “blindsided by the cost” feeling. Great read!

Your Bridal Flowers December 2, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Great post. In this day in age, you’ve simply got to plan ahead or things could get away from you quickly.

Minneapolis Wedding Photographer January 24, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Weddings are expensive and what I’ve found works well with budgeting is to pick out the items that are very important to you and the items that are a not vital to making your big day perfect. Then reallocate funds to the more important items and go cheap on the things that you feel you need but don’t care as much about. For my friends wedding, flowers were no biggie so they hit up the farmers market the day before for the table settings – not the bouquets. But, because they knew they would have their pictures forever, they spent more on a really great wedding photographer and they got a photo booth – it was a great touch and everyone had fun with it! Best of all – they had memories that will last a life time.

Karen May 18, 2009 at 12:41 am

Since it is a once in a lifetime thing for most people you can expect them to “splurge”. With economic times as they are now those numbers may go down.

Jane June 5, 2009 at 5:19 am

For our wedding we made alot of stuff ourselves including the favours, table placements and cake! That was 4 years ago and I wouldn’t have had it any other way it was so much fun to get inviolved and well worth it in the end! It was still an expensive affair IMO and I think that more brides should get involved in making what they want – it makes it far more personal and is also cheaper.

BK June 5, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Thinking of your budget is important but picking good vendors will save you money and headaches on the most important day of your life. Surrounding yourself with professionals will make sure that your day will come off without a hitch.

Olive Man June 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Ya, I remember my wedding budget ballooning because of the “perfect wedding” syndrome. Getting out of this mind set is definitely key to having an affordable wedding.

Love Bug Wedding Invitations July 4, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Excellent article, and extremely topical for this economic climate. I agree that there are certain things people don’t want to skimp on, and other areas where it won’t make a huge difference in the enjoyment of the wedding for you or the guests. Like most people can’t tell the difference between thank you cards that were 30 cents and ones that are $1.00 each and that’s a 70% savings, substantial.

Takeshi July 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Very good advice. What a lot of people don’t realize is that they need to start saving early if they want to have enough saved up to pay for their wedding. If you’re 20 years old, you should be saving as much as $100 a month, if you want to have enough saved up by the age that most people statistically get married, but how many people do that?

Eliza September 3, 2009 at 9:59 pm

I think these ideas are practical and informative. I agree that though times are hard, couples still want a stylish and grand wedding. Thanks for the nice discussion here.

Kerrie G's Wedding Invites September 28, 2009 at 8:13 am

I think your first point about being realistic about the wedding budget is probably the most important step. If you’re not realistic, there’s no way you will be able to organise your wedding within it.

There are so many brides who are willing to share their ideas on how they cut costs on their wedding, it’s worth asking the question in wedding forums as it’s sure to generate ideas.

Wedding Photographer Leeds October 6, 2009 at 4:32 am

Some of the couples I speak to, who are at the early stages of planning their wedding have no idea how much things can cost. I explain that with anything in life, you get what you pay for and with regards to your wedding, you should not take risks. You wouldn’t risk a cheap wedding dress made of tissue paper to save a few bucks in case it rains on your wedding day, would you? So don’t risk a cheap wedding photographer whose credentials are paper thin either!

Lucas December 12, 2009 at 6:40 am

Keep the wedding small. The smaller the wedding, the fewer the guests, the less you’ll neeed to spend to accommodate them with seating, food, etc.

Kelly Gaetz January 31, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Excellent tips and advice. The budget for the big day is the absolute key factor in planning a wedding. It is the starting point and the ending point. Having a good wedding planner book is also very essential to stay organized and on budget.

Charles February 12, 2010 at 2:14 pm

It’s true, I have personally seen many people spending exorbitant amounts on their weddings. Even though it is a major once in a lifetime event, I sometimes can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t be wiser to have a smaller wedding and then perhaps put some of your savings into an investment like a home purchase where the money will grow over time. I’m sure having a smaller wedding would require more discipline to stay on budget because we all want the very best for our big day.

Charles February 12, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Hey, I really like that idea of the money dance! You’ve got some great suggestions here and I’d like to add one more concerning a limo rental. Efficiency can also save you money. When searching for a limousine for your wedding, look for a company that arrives 15 min. early for your pickup and gives you a 15 min. grace period. With this you’ll get 30 minutes of extra time, free of charge. How many other areas are you spending money on (for your wedding) where you can do something similar?

james February 13, 2010 at 10:17 am

Some weddings are full on outrageous. There is so much money spent every year in this industry. It can get crazy!

Papa John February 19, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Weddings can be expensive but I think it’s well worth the the price for the happiest day in the couple’s life. A wedding is also a day that the couple and the families of the couple will never forget.

Vermont Wedding April 4, 2010 at 6:16 pm

It’s the women who are behind this enormous increase in wedding expenses.

Mia August 2, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Wow, that is a lot of money to spend on one day/night. Enough for a deposit on a house! I do think it’s nice to celebrate your love and your union but surely there are cheaper ways. After all it is about the love of two people and their closest friends and family, not the table arrangements.

But then again, they are a hell of a lot of fun!

Allan Breeze August 6, 2010 at 3:34 am

You really do need to think carefully when planning your wedding as the money levels can get so extreme. Remember it’s the marriage that counts!

patrick- photographer brighton August 9, 2010 at 7:57 am

The cost of even a basic wedding continues to sky rocket. As a photographer, I am involved in weddings and can recommend this hub page, which has some excellent new ideas for reducing the cost of wedding photography.

Kennly at Best Wedding Planning Book January 20, 2011 at 12:33 am

Thanks for the budgeting tips! Even $22,000 sounds like a lot to spend on, as you point out, one day of your life. Your suggestion to do research before setting a budget makes a lot of sense. Most of us don’t know the prices of things like a reception (and all the other details) because we’ve never planned an event of this scale before. Good tip also about prioritizing and focusing on what’s really important to you personally. I think it’s a good idea to keep all of this in perspective because as the commenter before me said, it’s not the wedding but the marriage that matters most.

Erin Johnson January 24, 2011 at 7:55 pm

The most important thing to remember about your wedding day is that it’s about you as a couple. It’s the personal little touches that make a wedding memorable and fantastic. There are plenty of ways to personalize your wedding with out having to spend a ton of money… think of creative ways to include photos and quotes that have special significance. One wedding I photographed had board games stacked by a fire place in the hall…everyone had a ton of fun playing. There are many ways to make your wedding all about you two with out having to go broke.

James February 13, 2011 at 10:25 am

I am sure to tell everyone about the money dance! What a great idea! Thanks for the information. Yes, managing your wedding budget is one of the most important aspects of dealing with the wedding. There is so much emotion involved in this event, that it is easy for everybody to get carried away.

Andy May 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I think the best advice is to be thrifty with the money you do have. Be conscious that things that are more expensive are not always of quality. There are many talented people in photography, cakes, flowers that can give you a bargain. See if you can negotiate some of the prices you come across.

S Todd June 23, 2011 at 7:29 pm

All of this is great advice. A lot of times, people will worry about the small details of the wedding and they forget that the ceremony and reception is for them, not the guest. 10 years from now, the guest are not going to remember the small details, the center pieces, the flowers, etc and they will have small memories of the reception.

Plan the wedding you can afford and enjoy it, it’s your day.

John June 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Using a cardboard for part of your wedding cake is a genius idea! I never truly understood the intricacy of weddings cakes and the steep price couples usually spend on a mere cake that guests will ultimately devour. I understand the part about aesthetic purposes, but if it’s going to break the bank, I’d prefer to improvise and I think using cardboard is definitely a great idea to save a few hundred dollars. If you want additional tips on weddings and bridal showers check out these tips I’ve come up with.

Ann July 2, 2011 at 3:16 pm

A wedding is a very significant day of two souls being united with a commitment and promise to live together as husband and wife. It is probably the grandest day of their lives and as such all the care in the world are taken just to make the wedding day as perfect as possible.

Hmmm October 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm

In my area, there are places that sell wedding packages (including food, photography, wedding party flowers, cake,etc) for ~$5000 for about 100 people. We don’t live in a place that’s known to be a destination for weddings. Why not look around for a package deal? It’s cheaper and less stressful.

Andy November 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm

So many people make there wedding to suit what everyone else thinks it should be. If you do things how you would like them and not how everyone thinks it should then its so much easier to keep control of your budget. There are so many things you can do just as well at home without spending thousands.

tom November 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm

I help run a wedding event venue and can agree with many of these ideas. But if you are going to cut back, cut back on the venue and food. Never never never cut on the photographs!

Tom November 24, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Don’t understand why couples put themselves into debt getting married. Many cultures know that young people have little money and don’t expect to be hosted in a grand style, rather they are will to give to the couple to help them get started.

Jenny @ Planning Your Wedding Ceremony November 24, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I love how many ways people can be creative in saving money on their weddings. Nice post, I can remember that some people had a hard time at my wedding, calling it “new age”.

It was wonderful. One good way to save some bucks is through a potluck, and everyone brings a little something, it ends up being a good variety of stuff.

bostonmawedding November 25, 2011 at 1:02 am

I agree with keeping a smaller wedding invite list. each person you add to your guest list is an added expense from the invitation to the food and beverage to the additional table settings, decor and center pieces…

Rhonda November 29, 2011 at 9:21 am

I like tip #7 under “radical ways to save”. Mother Nature has the best wedding venues and usually the price is right! But, Mother Nature sometimes doesn’t cooperate so having a back-up plan is a smart thing to do. Maybe a beautiful park that also has a covered pavilion that you can use in case it rains.

Rick December 17, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I probably could have saved myself a bunch of money on my wedding had I found this page sooner! One thing we did do though is to choose to have the wedding at our house (in our backyard). Turned out to be a beautiful day and saved us a ton of money.

Martynas January 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm

What a timely post! My boyfriend asked me to marry him last week and this stuff has been on my mind.

Oya February 7, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Planning a cheap wedding is quite easy to do with your tips, so thanks for sharing your ideas. Being organized and checking for unnecessary expenditures certainly go a long way towards a cheap but fairy tale wedding. Your wedding is all about happiness and fond memories! :)

Wedding Gift List April 25, 2012 at 3:11 am

Some friends of mine wanted their dream honeymoon but after planning and paying for everything else their was nothing left in their wedding fund. I set up a donation page on a social networking site and encouraged all friends and family to donate what they could. They got their dream honeymoon, eventually!

Gary Webster May 22, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Very Creative indeed. I am proudly paying for my daughter’s wedding this year and have taken note. My budget is slightly lower so will have to juggle somewhat. Fantastic blog post, very useful.

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