My wife Maria and I got married about 9 years ago now, and our wedding was a beautiful affair. We had a reception held at a local country club, we had over 200 guests, and we spared no expense on catering, flowers, decorations, dresses, DJ and party favors. After all was said and done we ended up spending over $30,000. Luckily for my wife and I her parents were the ones footing the bill, and they really wanted to pay for it since my wife is their only daughter.
Looking back my wife and I cherish the memory of our beautiful wedding, but if I had gotten my way we wouldn’t have spent quite so much money on the wedding. Wouldn’t it have been much nicer just to have her parents give us all that money, and have a smaller affair?
My cousin and her fiance are getting married this weekend, so I thought today would be a good day to share some tips – of ways to have a more frugal wedding.
Ways We Could Have Saved Money On Our Wedding
If we could do it over here are some places I think we could have saved some money on things we probably wouldn’t have even noticed.
- Photographer: We spent a ton on a photographer for our wedding when we probably could have found someone cheaper. We have friends who for their weddings had family friends and acquaintances who were good photographers take wedding photos that looked just as nice or better than some that the professionals take. Of course you need to be careful when doing this, but if you find someone talented, it doesn’t need to be as expensive. You also can have access to the originals when you have an acquaintance do it, which is an option you don’t have with professionals.
- Reception location: Our reception was held at a local country club, very beautiful, exclusive and expensive. Friends of ours had receptions that were almost as nice at local VFW or Knights of Columbus halls that were substantially cheaper. Just make sure to check them out ahead of time to make sure they’re not too small, smoky or dingy.
- Keeping the wedding small: We basically invited everyone we knew to our wedding, and the more guests you have the more things cost. You need to take into account the costs of paying for dinners, party favors, valet parking, etc. It adds up quick. Keep the wedding smaller and it will be cheaper – I guarantee.
- Make your own invitations: We spent a fortune on creating and mailing our custom printed invitations. Make your own invitations for a substantial savings.
- Wedding cake: Our cake was beautiful, delicious and monstrously expensive. Have a family friend who bakes well to make cake for the reception. We have friends that did this and no one even knew the difference.
- Don’t rent a limo or fancy car: While it can be fun to rent a limo to ride to and from the reception, and home afterwards, remember that it can be pricey. A good way to save some money is to borrow a nice car from a family friend (we borrowed the in-laws Mercedes), or just use your own vehicle. Just make sure that if people are going to be decorating your car not to use anything that will damage the paint job.
- Plan ahead: Try and make sure you’re planning your wedding with plenty of advance time. If you have longer to plan, you’ll have longer to research your options, and find the choices that give you the best value for your money.
Do Your Research And Plan Ahead
Those are a few areas where I think you can safely cut out some expenses when planning your wedding. Of course you need to be careful, and realize that sometimes you’ll get what you pay for. But as long as you plan ahead, and give yourself plenty of leeway for making some small mistakes – you’ll be fine.
When things get busy on your big day, don’t forget to enjoy the day and your new spouse! You only get married once and all the small details and things that seemed so important beforehand really won’t seem so important once you’re looking into their eyes on that big day! Have fun!
What are some ways you cut expenses on your wedding, or do you plan on cutting for your upcoming nuptials? Tell us in the comments!
We were very frugal with our wedding. I being an artist couldn’t help but want to make just about everything for the wedding from the invites to the centerpieces. We were lucky that the wedding was at my family farm and my parents helped pay for the food. I found a lot of my vendors though craigslist and friends. We spent money on the things that were the most important to us the cake and food and even those ended up not being that expensive. It was nice to end the day knowing it was beautiful and paid for and we could look forward to the honeymoon where we spent the most money- Paris. I still wish we didn’t spend as much as we did but think we did pretty good for $4000.
Lakita | Personal Finance Journey says
I followed this advice, plus some tremendous blessings from family & friends and our entire bill was a little over $3,000.
I didn’t have to pay for my photographer, dress, hair or make-up so that was a tremendous savings.
The hardest thing to do is keep the guest list small! Kind of like buying a house, after we set the budget, we prioritized what was more important.
While a limo and real flowers would have been nice, for example I felt that money was better spent on nice gifts for the bridal party or being able to invite more people to the reception.
Next month we celebrate our first year anniversary ~ I’m reflecting on how blessed we are and grateful for all our friends and family who helped us make our day special.
Congrats to you and your wife on 9 years, and blessings to your cousin & finance as they begin their journey together.
John @ TheChristianDollar.com says
Great post Peter! When Courtney and I got married, we had great support from our parents – but we still found ways to save money on the wedding and honeymoon. I know these tips will work well for all those readers out there!
Giles Thomas says
When we got married we already had a flat so didn’t need housey wedding gifts and asked for wedding day presents instead .
My Father-in-law paid for the village hall hire and the drinks .
Our extended family bought enough buffet food to keep us going all day and night .
A friend arranged the cake and paid for it .
A friend in the motor trade arranged and paid for the wedding car .
A friend who was a DJ provided his services free of charge .
An photographer uncle did the wedding photos .
A hairdresser friend did the hair and makeup .
We shopped around and haggled on the price of invitations and orders of service .
Wedding dress and morning suits were all hired (When are you ever going to wear them again?)
My brothers-in-law paid for our wedding night in a posh hotel .
Our honeymoon was our summer holiday .
Church fees , rings and stationary were all budgeted for in advance .
We had a wonderful day surrounded by family and friends and didn’t bankrupt ourselves to impress people who knew how much we earn anyway .
Frugal Fries says
I think it’s awesome that a lot of the commenters have so many friends and hook-ups, but not everyone is so lucky.
The best way to have a frugal wedding, in my opinion, is to eliminate the things you really don’t need at all. If you can do without the limo–chuck that expense to the curb. Think you can DIY your wedding invites? Sign that John Hancock!
I know it’s not alway that easy though.Traditional practices really can get the best of us–especially when you have all the pressure from friends and family.
In the end, you just need to decide what is best for you and your soon-to-be spouse. I am of the humble opinion that, your wedding is a pretty big flipping deal. If you are going to spend money on an experience, this day might be a good place to pump the extra dough.
Some will disagree though–and that’s fine too! Your money, your big (or little) day :)
Lewis Mars says
Loved seeing there picture there. We actually had a Christmas wedding and used nearly all free or secondhand Christmas decor. We then donated it to a New Year’s Eve wedding at the same venue. Now, all the candles, lanterns, and seasonally nonspecific items are going to our friends for their wedding in May! Good for the soul and the wallet.