6 ways to cut wedding costs

Unless you’re ready to make some significant compromises, such as getting married on a Tuesday rather than a Saturday or having a cash bar instead of an open one, weddings are pricey affairs. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to save expenses without compromising comfort or enjoyment.

It actually relies on each couple’s own tastes where they choose to spend and cut. Making general suggestions about how to save expenses might therefore be challenging because various couples have different priorities for the wedding.

1. Wedding favors

If you’re trying to trim your budget, wedding favors are an easy thing to eliminate that guests are not likely to notice, let alone miss. The cost of these trinkets can really add up, especially with larger guest lists.

Domino said she often ends up packing up lots of leftover favors that guests leave on the tables at the end of the night. Do you really want a box of those leftover knick-knacks collecting dust in your garage for years to come?

“No one cares about a pen or a shot glass with your wedding date carved into it,” planner Summer McLane of My Simply Perfect Events in Atlanta said.

6 ways to cut wedding costs

2. Live cocktail hour music

“We love good entertainment as much as anyone and I would be the first person to say to splurge on a fabulous reception band or DJ, however, to get that string quartet for cocktail hour most often goes unappreciated,” Domino said. “Your guests are chatting and drinking and will never notice if you have piped in music of any style instead of a live performer.”

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If live music isn’t all that important to you in general, you can also potentially save a lot of money by having a DJ instead of a band at the reception.

3. Desserts

“Once the cake is cut and the dessert bar is open, guests immediately move on to dancing and hanging out, anything but eating dessert,” planner Liz Coopersmith of Silver Charm Events in Los Angeles said. “Get enough so that each guest can have one slice or a piece of whatever you’re serving, make it pretty to look at, yummy as hell and leave it at that. You’re still going to have to throw some away, but not as much.”

Another option is to cut a smaller, decorative cake for the photos, but have your caterer cut and serve a simple sheet cake in the same flavor. And planner Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events in New York added that if you and your partner don’t really have much of a sweet tooth, you shouldn’t feel like you have to serve wedding cake just for the sake of having one.

“Do not spend the money if the tradition does not matter to you or your fiancé,” he said.

4. Paper invitations 

Between the stationery and the postage, paper wedding invitations can become rather pricey, especially the more ornate ones. Paperless e-vites may not feel quite as formal, but they will help you whittle down your budget (and they’re eco-friendly too!).

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“I know this won’t be popular but if you’re on a tight budget, don’t spend tons of money on fancy invitations,” McLane said. “Yes, they are the first impression but I’ve had clients who spent thousands on invitations and people still asked for the information that was clearly printed out for them.”

If you have certain guests who aren’t particularly tech-savvy, you can always order a small number of printed invitations to mail to those people and send e-vites to the rest.

“No one really cares about the invitations, past good design and clear information, and most of your guests are not going to save them,” Coopersmith said. “And, if someone does give you hard time about it, then it was a mistake to invite them to your wedding in the first place, you know?”

If you don’t want to go the digital invitation route, you can eliminate some of your other wedding paper goods, such as programs or menu cards, instead.

5. Transportation

If your ceremony and reception are in two different locations and you have the money to spend on a party bus to shuttle guests, fantastic. And if not, with the variety of rideshare options available today, it shouldn’t be all that pricey or inconvenient for your guests to use Uber or Lyft.

“When it comes to things to skip, you can decide not to offer transportation, if you are in a big city that has easily accessible cabs,” Meyer said.

If you are having a wedding in a more remote or rural area, do know that cabs and rideshare options may be limited. If you are able to have the ceremony and reception in the same location, even better.

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6. Upgrading rentals

Many wedding venues offer tables, chairs and linens included in their pricing. They may be basic and not your first choice design-wise, but they can certainly get the job done and help you save some cash in the process.

“You can save on costs by utilizing any and all in-house rentals, since they would be included in your rental and cost you nothing,” Meyer said. “Upgrading rentals can add up very quickly.”


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