There are lots of ways to save money on your wedding, you just have to be willing to do a little extra work.
Rank your priorities The most important tip to save money on your wedding, make a budget. Choose your top 3 priorities and put most of your budget towards those. Everything else, see if you can DIY, enlist people you know to help DIY. Here is a free budget guide to help.
Join Facebook Groups The wedding resale groups on Facebook are invaluable. It’s a one-stop-shop for finding vendors, buying inexpensive decor, and selling your decor after your wedding. Such an amazing resource, here are all the groups for Kansas City and Wichita: Kansas City: No non-sense group Swap & Shop KC Metro Swap & Shop Missouri Wichita: Resale
Pick the right venue Some venues will nickel and dime you like crazy. Their initial rental fee won’t seem expensive, but wait until they tack on tables and chairs, the string lights, A/C or heat, etc. It’s insane. And there are venues out there who include those things in their fee, they even include any decorations they have on hand (usually left behind from previous weddings). Other ways to save on your venue: • Pick an off-season wedding date (Dec.-March) • Consider a Friday or Sunday wedding • Have everything at one venue and cut out transportation costs • Consider a smaller reception at your favorite restaurant. Most restaurants just require a minimum spending amount to reserve a portion of the restaurant. You won’t need to worry about decor, just pay for food and drinks!
DIY Flowers Real flowers can be expensive, but have such a beautiful look and are visibly more appealing than fake flowers. So here’s a couple ideas to save on flowers: • Using dried flowers. Find someone getting married who is using the kind of flowers you want to use, and ask to have some after their wedding (or pay them a fraction of the cost). Dry the flowers and use them in your decor! • Buy in bulk and build your own bouquets. Sams is a great spot to purchase from. Johnson County Community College has an affordable Floral Design class. Follow local florists, a lot of them host classes. Check out Pinterest for some how-to blogs. • Plant a garden. If you’re a green thumb and have at least a year until your wedding, take advantage of your skills and plant the flowers you want to use. Then build your own bouquet. • Have flowers at your ceremony double as your centerpieces or decor at reception
Assign a friend as DJ Disclaimer: only do this if you’re confident in your friend/family member’s ability to handle this. Assign the DJ role to a friend or family member. Make sure they can handle keeping things on schedule and will play songs that appeal to the entire party (your grandma probably won’t appreciate “Get Low” by Lil John, save that till later). Also, make sure this friend or family member isn’t super crucial to the rest of the day. It would be a pain for the best man to have to deal with DJ duties and being best man.
Research before you DIY Crafting can get expensive, so sometimes it’ll cost you more to make it yourself than it would to hire a professional. I had planned to build my own s’mores bar for my wedding, after doing the research I found it would cost me around $300 to make it how I wanted it to look. Using the wedding Facebook group and found someone who already had the whole set up and would do it all for me for $250, including the s’mores. I didn’t have to lift a finger.
Skip the favors Favors are such a silly expense. People will not notice that you didn’t spend an extra few hundred dollars on little goodies. Your guests are already getting free food and a fun evening, and they’re there to celebrate you not get a koozie.
Use minimal stationary • Not everyone will take a program, only print enough for each couple or each family. • Don’t have a lot of out-of-town guests? Don’t worry about sending save the dates. Spread the word on social media and have your parents tell anyone who wouldn’t see the posts. • The wedding invitations don’t have to be comprised of 5 different pieces. You can fit all the necessary information on one or two pieces. Have people RSVP online.
Hit up the people you already know Parents usually know a lot of people. For my wedding, we got quite a few discounts because my dad knew a lot of the vendors, or I knew them from high school.
Cut down on the guest list The average cost per wedding guest is $30. If you’re having 150-200 people that’s already $4500-$6000! Trim the guest list down to the VIP’s and limit plus ones.
Opt for casual food/drinks There’s really cute ways to do cheap food, check out this Pinterest board. Foods like pizza, BBQ, or tacos are inexpensive but can feed the masses easily. Beer and wine is significantly cheaper than a full bar. In most places, having a full bar requires hiring a bartending service, which means paying for their employees and the alcohol. Buying beer and wine in bulk is pretty easy, and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to sell off anything that doesn’t get used.
Use a credit card that gets good points Find a credit card that offers cash back or points for each dollar spent. Don’t go into debt for the wedding if you can avoid it, just pay the card off as you spend. However, using a good credit card could give you hundreds of dollars back.
Watch for sales Every business offers sales at some point. Places like Vista print or Shutterfly offer sales on stationary all the time, especially around black Friday. Bridal stores have trunk shows or sales before the year’s new dresses arrive. Vendors often offer sales around holidays or for off-season weddings. If you’re planning a wedding within a few months, ask if they offer a discount for last minute. Vendors will often be willing to discount if they have the date open and it’s only a couple months away, because otherwise they wouldn’t make any money that day at all.
Use the Facebook groups to sell things after the wedding Get most of your money back on decor and other items by selling them to other brides in the Facebook groups. You could even sell your wedding dress.
Elope! Elopements have become more and more popular. Grab an officiant, a photographer, a videographer, and some wedding attire and get hitched! You can make it as elaborate or as low key as you want. Bring a few friends and immediate family, or just have the two of you. You can do it big and elope in the mountains or on the beach, or you can go to the best park in the city, or even city hall.