How to save money on your wedding

Whether you are concerned about going over budget for your wedding or simply looking to throw a beautiful wedding with a modest reserve of cash, there are ways you can cut costs without feeling the pinch. With these tips, neither you nor your guests will miss what you don’t have.

Hold your wedding on a day other than Saturday–If you don’t have a lot of out-of-town guests, you may want to consider holding your wedding on a weeknight or on a Sunday. Many chapels and reception venues offer discounted rates for booking during off-peak hours.

Having a wedding between October and April may also be cheaper as these are not generally included months in the ever-busy “wedding season.”

Save on dresses–Many consignment stores offer beautiful, designer dresses in great shape and at the right price. For your bridesmaids and flower girls, look in department stores for dresses rather than traditional bridal shops.

Right after the holiday season, many stores have cocktail dresses and formal wear on clearance that could be the perfect fit for your wedding day.

Consider a non-traditional venue–Country clubs and banquet halls can be pricey to rent and often dictate the vendors you have to use, leaving little room for comparison-shopping.

Many city- or county-run facilities such as parks, schools, and recreation centers can be rented out for a fraction of the cost and can be decorated to replicate a fancy hotel ballroom.

Trim the fat but leave the taste–Food is typically one of the biggest expenses when planning a wedding but there are some ways to cut down on the cost. Think about skipping a formal sit-down dinner and instead opting for a cocktail reception that serves just hors d’oeuvres, cake, and cocktails. To save money on the alcohol, consider serving just one “signature drink,” or stick with just beer and wine. For the cake, you can have one small decorative cake on hand for pictures and cutting purposes, and serve sheet cake, cupcakes, or other desserts to guests.

Keep it local–Using local vendors and resources can cut costs dramatically. Small businesses in your area may be willing to negotiate with you on prices while large, national vendors may not be in the position for bargaining.

Local flowers and food ingredients are easier to obtain and can greatly reduce delivery costs. Not only can you save some money but you will be helping your community’s economy.

Don’t assume you have to use professionals–There are many budding photographers and videographers that can produce a beautiful product for half the price, but make sure you look at their portfolio to ensure that they’re a good fit.

Not only can you save a little extra, but you’ll also be helping these artists out by expanding their portfolio. In fact, some students may even offer their services for free.

Take advantage of your talents–If you are an especially creative or crafty couple, you can take advantage of your skills to make some of the wedding elements yourselves. Invitations made by hand can offer an especially personal touch, often without the hefty price tag of a professional printer.

If you are known for your delicious chocolate chip cookies or other treats, consider whipping up a large batch of these on your own to give out as favors. You may consider nixing favors altogether and leaving a small note on the place cards that a donation has been made to a charity of your choice in lieu of favors.

A $50 donation can go much further for some non-profits than spending possibly much more on gifts for guests. This can also leave you and your guests with  the feeling that you’ve helped, even if its in a small way.

Be careful when taking on a lot of do-it-yourself projects or spending a lot of time bargain hunting. You’ll want to be sure the costs of materials and your time spent on these tasks will add up to an actual cash savings.

By incorporating some of these helpful ideas into your wedding planning you can cut costs and still have the event you’ve always dreamed of. For even more cash-saving ideas, translate a few of these tips to your shower, bachelorette, or engagement party planning as well.