14 Clever tricks for cutting wedding costs
We all love a good deal. When it comes to your wedding, though, finding a good deal can be extra challenging. In fact, according to The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study, the average total cost of a wedding in the U.S. last year was $33,900.
Luckily, there are creative ways you can reduce wedding-related costs so that you can get the most out of your budget – no matter how big or small. Here are some expert cost-saving tricks (broken down by category) to consider when planning your ‘I do’s.’
1. Reuse and repurpose: “With flowers, think about how they can be repurposed and transition from one location to the next! Can you take the floral arbor and move it to the front of the tent during cocktail hour and make an entrance?” suggests Jaclyn Watson, principal planner for Jaclyn Watson Events in Vermont, New York and Florida.
2. Nix the boutonnieres: While the average cost of a single boutonniere is relatively small ($18 to $45+ depending on your market), they can add up quickly between all of the groomsmen, ushers, fathers, grandfathers, etc. Instead, have the fellas accent their outfits with a pocket square.
3. Rent jewelry: Instead of buying jewelry you might only wear once, consider renting it from online companies like Rent the Runway or Happily Ever Borrowed.
4. Shop at sample sales or trunk shows: Save big bucks on designer dresses by shopping at sample sales or trunk shows. Just be sure to follow your favorite bridal salons to know when deals are happening!
Food and Drinks
5. Keep the menu simple: “Most people don't realize that catering and bar are more expensive than they thought,” says Watson. You can help minimize these costs by streamlining your menu with fewer entrée options or a single signature cocktail.
6. Reduce waste: Over-ordering is a quick way to rack up costs and food waste. Talk to your caterer about ways to ensure you get the maximum bang for your buck, like switching to a plated meal instead of a buffet or boxing up leftovers for guests as a wedding favor.
7. Downscale the cake: Rather than serving a multi-tier cake, consider sizing down to a single tier and supplementing with less costly sweets, like brownies, cookies or sheet cakes.
8. Set with a statement: Keep your tables classy but your costs down by selecting a single statement piece, like colored glass, metallic charger or extravagant linen, and keep the rest of your settings simple.
9. Borrow furniture: Before you start renting furniture, check with your venue to see if they have anything – tables, chairs, linens, soft seating – that you can utilize on your big day. You never know until you ask!
10. Don’t book for a full day: Ask your photographer if you can book them for a partial day rather than the whole day. That way, they can still snap the big moments (i.e., ceremony, cake cutting, first dance), but not the full reception. Or, at least see if you can shorten the hours for the second shooter.
11. Hire new talent: Consider booking a newer photographer to capture your big day – just be sure to check out samples of their work and ask for references first.
12. Slim down your invitation suite: This one is pretty straight forward – the fewer pieces of paper you send out, the lower the cost. So, consider skipping the envelope liner and only providing a single insert directing guests to your website to RSVP or find other details.
13. Minimize the guest list: “The more people you have, the more things you need. So, if you’re looking to cut costs, the first place should be with the guest count,” says Watson.
14. Talk to your vendors: “When you’re searching for vendors, be honest about it and say this is where we’re at [budget-wise]. They will be more than happy to tell you what would work best,” advises Watson.