We saved a lot of money on save the dates and invites by waiting for deals to be emailed to us. It’s also nice because we had four birthdays, two Christmases, and two years worth of tax returns between the time we got engaged and our wedding.” —Alexis Ziegenfuss, Facebook
“My best wedding saving tip is to find a venue that doesn’t require you to use a particular caterer/bartender/DJ. I saved so much money by being able to select my caterer ($1,300 for service for 100), bartender ($500 for the bartender, beer, and bar necessities — we bought most of our own alcohol for $400 from a wholesale liquor store and had a full bar), DJ ($350 flat rate, and they even did our ceremony music!), and photographer ($795 for all rights to our photos, an online album for a year, and a flash-drive with all of our photos — not to mention he stayed for the entire day, 3 p.m. to after 12 a.m.)! I ended up paying $3,345, when I would’ve paid $10,700 for those things ($4,000 for catering, $4,000 for the bar, $700 for four hours of a DJ, and $2,000 for photographer) at the other venue I was considering.
It was low-key, intimate, yet still was major cause of celebration. Hiring a caterer with a kick-butt menu to do a party was so much better than a sit-down meal. We didn’t even do tables — lots of bar tops and existing comfy furniture for perching. We also were able to have our entire bridal party stay in the bedrooms of the house, cutting their expenses too.” —
“Aunt #1 worked at a university, so we looked at locations on the very picturesque campus for Aunt #2, who got a huge discount because of the staff connection. If you know anybody who works at a university, park, whatever, check with them to see if they can swing something like that for you.
“After an exhaustive search, I realized that getting married at a fancy restaurant was our most affordable option. Instead of paying $1,000 or more (sometimes much more) to rent a space and then bring everything in, I had to buy only food and alcohol. The room, furniture, linens, lighting, beautiful decor, dishes, silverware, fancy display items, etc., were all included. So much cheaper than renting a space and having to bring in everything from forks to outhouses.” —
“We had a courthouse wedding and a family and ‘friends like family’-only reception. Having the wedding at the courthouse was so much easier because they guide you through all the paperwork so there is absolutely no confusion. It also took the pressure off of having to create a fairy tale for everyone to watch me.
*A courthouse wedding doesn’t have to feel like a trip to the DMV; you can still wear a fancy dress and invite a decent amount of guests! Look for historic courthouses in your state — the buildings are often gorgeous but they are still budget-friendly.
We had a small ceremony at our hometown church, went back to our place for cake, champagne, and gifts, and then went to a local bar in our wedding clothes and didn’t have to pay for anything all night!
“I saved thousands by having a guy roast a hog and having a friend make sides only. The guy who roasted the hog did so at his place of business and brought the pulled pork to the hall with different sauces already on the pork. Pulled pork on jalapeño rolls, green beans with almonds, cheesy smashed potatoes, and cornbread for my country-chic theme.
My parents are wonderful and helped prepare the food and set it up. I also made a small cake for the cutting, and we got a sheet cake from the grocery store bakery (you’re skeptical, but it was awesome — people were asking where we got it) to serve guests. No catering bill. (And frankly, it tasted way better!)” —Susan Marie Cole, Facebook
As opposed to serving cake to our 250 guests at $2.50 a slice, we bought 300 cookies (chocolate chip, sugar, etc.) from the bakery at a local grocery store and then had drink dispensers filled with white and chocolate milk.
“We were married 10 years ago in a beautiful hall with a garden courtyard; it was built by a Rockefeller as an ornate bank in the early 1920s — the ceremony was in the courtyard and reception inside.
. This will save you thousands! Our entire floral budget was $250, and we ordered from fiftyflowers.com. We used red ranunculus and white garden roses, and that made seven bouquets, 10 boutonnieres, and all the table flowers. We picked greenery out of my backyard for filler. We purchased small colored bud vases from Hobby Lobby when they went 50% off and stacked them on top of wooden rounds (my husband’s grandfather made them instead of purchasing) and old books.” —
The supplies to make them cost a fraction of the amount of real flowers, they were therapeutic to make, and they will be functional long after the wedding to use, sell, or give as gifts!” —Kate Mason, Facebook
! We bought neon orange and yellow ones at Kohl’s for $7, then spray-painted them silver to match our wedding colors. We also wrapped purple ribbon around the handles! My bridesmaids loved that they were able to take them home afterwards.” —Claire Bogle, Facebook
. You could also easily and cheaply put a kit together yourself. Guests will be able to take their own pictures with their phones! The total cost for the project will be around $50; the cheapest photo booth we could find was $500.” —Emily Christine, Facebook