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How to Save Money on a Big Wedding

Ever since I was a kid I was brought up to be frugal and to save and budget money. * Disclaimer: I am not a financial planner.

But before you can fully enjoy all of the planning fun, there's one thing that needs to be addressed: money!

While most people don't consider it, wedding expenses can add up quickly -- especially if you're looking to pull off a big event for hundreds or even thousands of guests. Fortunately for us fiscally conservative brides (and grooms), we've compiled some helpful tips for saving money on your upcoming nuptials:

Don't set a date too soon.

  • Don't set a date too soon.
  • Don't rush into a decision.
  • Don't set the date too far in advance.
  • Don't set the date too close to other major events that may conflict with it (like your friend's wedding or anniversary).
  • And don't make it too close to your own birthday!

Choose an off-season date.

Choosing an off-season wedding date can save you money and hassle.

  • Holidays, weekends, and peak season are all more expensive times to get married. You’ll have to pay higher prices for everything from catering to flowers to venue costs. Plus, if it’s a holiday weekend or during other peak periods of the year (like summer), it will be harder to find available venues or caterers that have the kind of food you want.
  • By choosing an off-season date—one that is not big enough on its own (such as a Tuesday) but close enough together with another day (a Monday) so they don't conflict with one another—you'll avoid paying extra fees for holidays like Valentine's Day/President's Day/Memorial Day Weekend/Labor Day Weekend/New Year's Eve/etc., while still having access to affordable packages at hotels without huge crowds around them.

Trim your list -- a lot.

  • Trim the list.

It's tempting to invite everyone you know, but that can get spendy fast. "It's not practical to have 200 people at your wedding," says [Amy Stranieri]( "You need to be realistic about who you want there and then decide whether they can afford it."

  • Cut catering costs by using a family member or friend as the caterer instead of hiring a professional company (e.g., an uncle who owns his own restaurant). This way, you get all the deliciousness without spending a fortune on food costs or having to hire someone else just for the day.
  • Look into DIY projects so that your friends and family can contribute their talents instead of sending cash gifts (and cutting down costs). For example: make your own invitations; buy flowers from farms rather than florists; use what’s already in your house for decorations like old family photos, tablecloths from previous parties and candles from other holidays — anything goes!

Avoid a Saturday wedding.

You may have been told that Saturday is the best day to get married. However, that doesn't mean it's the cheapest. The weekdays are often cheaper because of fewer people wanting to get married on a Friday or Sunday—so you can generally save yourself some money by going with a Tuesday or Wednesday.

If your wedding happens to fall on one of these busier days, don't worry! You still have options:*

  • Ask if there's any way your venue could give you a discount for having everyone together during off hours—like between 5pm and 8pm on Fridays or 11am and 2pm on Sundays.*
  • Get creative with how many guests attend (and don't forget about out-of-town friends!). If a larger number means fewer people per head count, this could help reduce costs.*
  • Consider changing your location if it requires travel time/distance from other cities/states/countries—or even different states within America!

Have your wedding on a weekday.

  • Have your wedding on a weekday. Weekday weddings are less expensive, which means you can upgrade to fancier decorations or have more intricate details in the centerpieces. They're also less crowded, so there will be plenty of room for everyone to dance and mingle. Plus, you won't have to worry about being bothered by anyone who isn't invited (or has RSVP'd). On top of that, weekday ceremonies tend to be more private and intimate—a perfect setting for celebrating the love between two people!

Keep the ceremony and reception in the same location.

  • Reduce the cost of your ceremony and reception by having them in the same location.
  • Reduce travel time for guests, which means less stress and more money saved on gas.
  • If you have a bigger wedding, try to keep it within driving distance of city limits so that everyone can stay in town for the whole weekend instead of driving back home after the ceremony. This also reduces carbon emissions from all those cars!
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Get married locally.

If you're thinking about getting married in another city, state or country, you might be tempted to spend a lot of money on travel and accommodations. However, it's important to keep in mind that many vendors who live locally will charge less than vendors from out of town. For example:

  • A local photographer can save on gas and time by just driving down your street instead of flying across the country.
  • A DJ who lives five minutes away will probably have lower travel costs than one who comes from Las Vegas or New York.
  • Even if the venue doesn't provide food or drinks (like if it's a beach wedding), having local caterers could shave off some of your costs since they don't have to pay for plane tickets and hotel rooms like those out-of-state folks do!

Use a friend or family member as your photographer.

There are also many benefits to using a friend or family member as your photographer. For example, if you use someone who is already familiar with your wedding and knows the people you will be inviting, they will have an easier time getting everyone's attention and capturing great moments. Additionally, if the person is already in love with photography, they may be able to offer discounts on photo editing software or even equipment such as cameras and lenses!

Do it yourself.

  • DIY. If you have the time and patience to make things, there are many ways to save money by doing it yourself. For example, if you're crafty enough to create your own flowers or centerpieces, or even just a table runner, then this will be a money saver for your big day. You can also save money by buying everything in bulk—think "fifty white tablecloths instead of five." It may not seem like much at first glance but those little numbers add up quickly!*

You don't have to be crafty or talented in order to DIY your wedding. If you're not into putting together centerpieces out of coffee filters and fake flowers (and who is?), there are still ways for anyone with basic sewing skills or access to a sewing machine to save on costs without losing quality.*Consider making your own invitations as well; there are lots of online tutorials that show how easy it really is.*

Think twice about flowers, expensive invitations and other details.

If you're trying to save money for your wedding, the first thing to do is look at the big picture.

The flowers and invitations are expensive! Of course, they can be gorgeous and create a beautiful ambiance that sets the tone for your celebration — but they also cost a fortune. If you want these things but don't want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on them, try looking into local flower shops or save-the-date sites like Paperless Post. The first option will allow you to pick out flowers yourself (as long as you have access to a car) and get them at wholesale prices; the second option will allow you to send out digital invites with pictures of your choice for free (assuming everyone has an email account). It's also worth noting that in many cases it's possible to have someone else handle these tasks so that they're not up against one more stressor during this stressful time period!

Take it slow with alcohol -- but don't skimp on the food!

If you're worried about spending too much money on alcohol, then consider other options. Food is a huge part of weddings, and you can always cut back on how much you spend on your wedding meal instead. You can even serve non-alcoholic drinks to guests at the reception if that's what they prefer. It's all about balance -- don't skimp on food just to save money!

By making some smart choices, you can have the big wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.

While a big wedding is an exciting event, you don't want to be in debt for years after the fact. Here are some tips on how to keep your costs down:

  • Get married in the off-season. If you can wait until June or September, you'll find that prices are considerably lower than during peak times like spring and summer.
  • Get married on a weekday. This one is another way of saying "go for an affordable time slot," but it's also important because it may help reduce your guest list as well as overall costs related to transportation and travel planning. You might also be able to negotiate rates with hotels if they are not fully booked during this period of time (usually Sunday through Thursday), which will save money on rooms and meals for guests who would otherwise need to stay over night before driving home from where they live outside the city limits where your wedding will take place!
  • Use someone close by instead of hiring professionals who would cost thousands upon thousands more than someone closer by would charge just because they're farther away from where everyone lives now days thanks technology making everything easier!"


We hope these tips will help you save money on your wedding. Remember to keep your eye on the big picture, and know that even if you don't have all of the bells and whistles in place, it's still possible to plan a beautiful reception with your loved ones around. Good luck!


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Shanon Sandquist

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