couple kissing at altar
Picturist Photography

Many couples are opting not only to postpone their wedding in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but also to have a smaller wedding and figure out how to cut wedding costs in the process. In many parts of the country, distancing guidelines don’t appear to be easing—so for couples putting together a guest list, they have to consider the fact that the larger the group, the harder it will be to both plan and control and thus keep people safe. 

“With all of this, smaller weddings in many forms will be the main type of weddings going forward because they allow couples to still get married and celebrate, but also not put people in danger,” says Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events in Los Altos, California.

Even if you hadn’t originally planned on having a small wedding, you stand to benefit from cutting your guest list down in a few ways. “By having a smaller wedding, couples are able to stay more relaxed and actually enjoy the process of planning the wedding and getting married,” notes Jen Avey of Destination Weddings Travel Group. “A smaller guest list also means more time to spend with your guests, and this list usually consists of the people who mean the most to you and your spouse.” Last, but certainly not least, a smaller wedding allows you to cut your wedding costs, which is always a plus on the money-saving side of things.  

You will, however, have to make arrangements in order to lower your budget to accommodate your smaller wedding, especially if you were originally planning on a large one. Not to fear—we asked wedding planners to share how to cut wedding costs while still hosting the event of your dreams. 

Opt for a brunch wedding.

People tend to eat less (and have fewer courses) during a brunch so the pricing per plate tends to be more reasonable than for a lunch or a dinner. “You also won't need any lighting for a brunch wedding and your wedding day is usually shorter overall with a brunch wedding,” explains Janice Carnevale of Bellwether Events in Falls Church, Virginia. “The time difference will mean your labor costs overall will go down—not only with catering but also with your entertainment and your photo and video pros.” 

Don't have a wedding party.

Your close friends can still be a part of your big day without holding the title of bridesmaid, groomsman, bridesman, or groomslady. Without having to tack on the cost of hair and makeup, floral expenses, wedding party gifts and whatnot, you can save a couple thousand dollars — not to mention save your friends, who would have been in your wedding party, some money as well

Rethink your transportation plan. 

If you’re having fewer guests, you can opt to provide transportation for the VIPs rather than your whole guest list. However, this depends on the logistics of your event, so work with a trusted transportation company to ensure everyone is able to travel safely and comfortably to your wedding. 

Opt for one venue instead of multiple.

In your original wedding plans, you may have had a designated place for your ceremony and another for your reception, but with the drop in guest count you may want to consider having just one. “While you will need more space than normal given social distancing, it will likely be easier and safer to stay in one big space as opposed to moving between spaces,” Chang points out.  “If you're renting fewer spaces, your venue fee may reduce.” With fewer spaces and fewer guests, you’re also saving on floral and design costs. “Not only is it helpful to have fewer items guests can touch, but less decor means you just focus on the main focal points,” adds Chang. 

Connect with your linen and rental companies.

Fewer guests mean fewer tables, china and chairs, on top of many other considerations, Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services in Livermore, California, points out. “Make sure you have scaled back accordingly to accommodate your new group size,” he says. “Also, bear in mind that if you do have some budget to play with you, you may be able to reallocate some of the investment of equipment no longer needed, to upgrading the things that you do have to have, such as linens.”