Here it is: One of the posts you’ll find on just about every single wedding blog ever.
You’re not looking for an essay. You’re not looking for an opinion piece. You’re not even looking for a detailed analysis of the standard budget breakdown for Western weddings. You’re just looking for a few tips to save some cash.
Whether you’re just starting to plan a wedding, or whether you’re several months to a year in and you’re realizing, “I need to get this budget under control YESTERDAY,” I’m here for you. Here are ten brief and effective ways to save money on your wedding:
Forget Dinner. Make your reception a lunch reception (lunch is cheaper than dinner), a brunch reception (brunch is cheaper than lunch), or a cocktail reception.
Shrink Your Guest List. Invite fewer people and you’ll need less food, fewer drinks, fewer tables, chairs, & centrepieces, and a smaller space for your wedding. Why pay $1,600 to rent the Ballroom when you can pay half that to rent the Garden room? Or you could go even further and have a microwedding… Or just elope.
Limit (or Forgo) Alcohol. There is absolutely nothing wrong with an alcohol-free wedding, regardless of what anyone tells you. If you’re not comfortable omitting alcohol completely, opt for a cash bar or a drink ticket system. You can also keep the selection of drinks limited: Beer, Wine, and one or two signature cocktails.
Get Married During Off-Peak Dates. If you’re able to swing a weekday wedding, your venue or vendors may offer you a discounted price. Additionally, if you’re open to an off-season wedding (this usually means between November and April), you’ll likely save a significant amount of money on the venue (many will offer packages at lower rates during this time) and décor (you can easily use the festive Autumn or Holiday-themed decorations the venue puts up during these times to your advantage).
D.I.Y. Where You Can. Admittedly, D.I.Y. won’t always be cheaper- crafting materials can be expensive. But it often is. Invitations, wedding signs, décor, clothing, jewellery, flowers, and music can all be partially or entirely created by you and your partner(s).
Opt for a Cheap Venue. Home and backyard weddings, community centre weddings, and park weddings are all usually inexpensive. If you want to get creative, you can also look into alternative venues, such as restaurants, libraries, warehouses, or theatres.
Ask For Help. See if you friends and family are willing to help with aspects of your wedding. One way is to ask for their help in lieu of gifts. Just make sure you can leave room for them to say no, and that you can gracefully accept “no” for an answer!
Re-Imagine Your Wedding Cake. There are plenty of ways you can do this: You can opt for a fake cake (a cake with a real top tier for you to cut into, but Styrofoam bottom & middle tiers; a sheet cake is often cut in the kitchen for your guests). You can choose to have cupcakes, instead. You can choose to have pies. You can choose to have doughnuts, or cookies, or a whole sweets table instead of a full-on wedding cake. You could even ditch the cake, entirely.
Cut Wedding Party Gifts and/or Guest Favours. Everyone has their own feelings about Wedding Party gifts and wedding favours. They’re all valid. But truth be told, a lot of people don’t even like them. It’s actually a very common opinion. I can’t speak for how the people in your circles feel, but if you choose not to buy favours, it isn’t a big deal. If you still want to do something nice for your wedding party, consider an experience: Have a great dinner together, have a party, go on a day trip somewhere, or offer your unique skills or professional services to them to show your appreciation. Get creative!
Look for Pop-Up Wedding Events. These were already happening before COVID-19… and I suspect they will only grow in popularity now that we have to be cautious about having large gatherings. Many Pop-Up Wedding packages will offer you a ceremony in a pre-decorated space, photos, and a quick window of time for celebration for a very reasonable price. Keep an eye on social media to find them- they often book up very quickly!
No matter what your current vision for your wedding is, I encourage you to continually check in with yourself and re-evaluate what is and isn’t important to you and your partner(s). And if your priorities or your visions change, that’s okay! It just means that your wedding is evolving- not devolving.