Keeping your guest list to a minimum is the easiest way to save. Friday and Sunday weddings can be cheaper than Saturdays. Some venues and vendors are cheaper outside of prime wedding season. Compare pricing for rentals and purchasing items, people assume that renting or DIYing is always cheaper, that’s not always true. Keep your bridal party to a minimum. Skip unnecessary things like favors and decor. Buy secondhand from resale sites or Facebook marketplace. BBQ and Italian are typically the most inexpensive catering options.
They way I cut some of the cost was to cut things out that I knew I was never going to use again, I also made sure to do things myself so I didn't have to pay extra. I found a site called simply to impress that I used for all my save the dates and wedding invitations which I used when they were having a sale which made it cheaper. keep the guest list small, I skipped out on doing favors for the wedding, and doing a big exit as well.
Ask around for help! We were able to keep our costs down by having friends & family chip in their resources and talents to help out. Our family friend is providing her outdoor property as the venue for free, her son-in-law is a DJ on the side and offered to DJ our wedding as their wedding gift. We hired our event planning friend as a day-of coordinator for much less than a professional would be, and I’m having a coworker act as our bartender. People WANT to help, and actually have more to offer than you might think. So my advice would be to casually ask around, find out what your posse is capable of, and subtly ask them to help out. You’d be surprised how many eager hands will fly up!
In addition to these, on the DIY front, be strategic. Go in with a plan with a line item for each product. Pad the budget and buy extra so you can practice/have reasonable error. You overspend when you go in with a 'just looking for things I like' or I'll know it when I see it' mentality.
We're having friends who don't mind utilizing their talents and skills. I'm building our centerpieces and making our signs in advance to spread the cost. Our save the dates are going to be a cute video I put together that will look expensive but is super cheap bc all we have to do is email them! And for the few that we have to send paper too, we're using basic invite. I'm also going with Basic Invite to get my invitations that I designed along with possibly any other stationery needed. We booked a venue that allows for the ceremony and reception to be in the same building to avoid fees for two locations. You can cut out alcohol and that should eliminate the security officer fee. Purchase your dress from Still White or Pre Owned (amazing gowns for much less), and get your accessories from somewhere like Poshmark. You'll be able to get the glitz and glam at a lower cost.
For cake, get a cute one to cut (Sam's Club sells 2-3 tiers for about $30) and also get a sheet cake that can be cut in the back so no one knows it wasn't a fancy cake.
If you tell more about your vision I can find specific ways for you to cut costs
This may be a "controversial" option haha, but we are using minimal flowers (just bouquets and boutonnieres/corsages) and they are all fake flowers. When I started looking for real flowers, the prices were just outrageous. I looked into getting bulk flowers from places like Sam's Club (which does have GREAT prices on bulk loose flowers), but they would ship in only two days before and it got me worried about if they would be damaged, wilted, etc., I would be out that money and have more stress! However with the fake flowers, we are getting a huge steal on flowers that look and feel real and would be so expensive and out of season.
A great time to buy them is at the end of the season, or on Black Friday at any of the big craft stores! Some have free bouquet making classes and you could save hundreds on floral costs!
Month twin!! I'm also trying to cut down right now because I went a little overboard because I was excited lol. I've decided to make my own bouquets and boutonnieres, I've spent about 120 for them all! And I'm trying to find a cheaper Baker for the cake (ideally under 300). I have a vision I want for the cake but I dont need crazy fancy flavors or the world's fanciest Baker to achieve a simple look. Facebook marketplace saved some money for me on small decor items!
Oh, and a lot of places charge a lot less for greenery and less flowers. My friend pointed out how she used dried florals in some areas (I didn't notice) and once I looked a few up on Etsy, I noticed that there is a significant price dfference
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I got flowers from Michael's and Walmart in the shades of purple I wanted. I'm waiting for one more flower to come in the mail that has rhinestones in it for mine. And for the boutonnieres I got premade ones on sale from Hobby Lobby for $1.50 each and replaces the flower with ones that match my bouquets. Floral tape has been my best friend lol! I'm still figuring out the wrapping but then I'm done!
Stick to your budget. Don’t make exceptions for anything, no matter how much you love or need something. If you feel you can’t live without it, find a way to make it work by decreasing the cost of something else.
Try looking at a public park for a venue. I have had a few friends get married in parks and they have been gorgeous! A few have outdoor amphitheaters and they are often very inexpensive for a large amount of time.
Decide what is important to you and what is not, and cut costs accordingly. Our centerpieces are only going to cost us about $120 (terrariums with lights that we're renting from someone on FB marketplace!), with all decorations for ceremony and reception coming in under $250 total because we couldn't even remember what our friend's centerpieces were a few months ago, so while we want things to look nice, we're not going to worry too much about it!
We're also getting married on a Monday in December, so we're able to have a much more lavish wedding for our budget than we might in the main wedding season -- plus we didn't want to wait that long!
We were up front with our venue with what our budget was in my initial email to them, where I asked if we could consider them. They were willing to work with us where others were not, so that made them a winner for us! For example, we asked them for a meal that wasn't in their wedding info/menu guide (taco buffet!), and they are accommodating us at a much lower price point than their published menu had. (our off-season off-day wedding probably helps! They're going to make a good amount of money for a Monday that they normally wouldn't!)
We used a lot of decor from a friend's wedding that helped us to cut costs. We also did not send out Save The Dates and we opted for online RSVP-ing through the Knot so that we did not need to buy additional RSVP cards as well as stamps! Other ways to save: weekday weddings, limiting your guest list, having ceremony/reception at the same place to cut down on transportation.