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6 ways to cut wedding costs that no one will notice

What we'll cover

  • How to map out a wedding budget

  • How to cut wedding costs

  • Ways to enjoy the big day without overspending

For many your wedding day is something you have been dreaming about since you were a child, envisioning the perfect celebration with your dearest family and friends. You’ve probably dreamt of the dress, tux, flowers and table settings, but probably not the dollar signs that go with them.

As you map out your wedding budget, finding places to cut costs can make all the difference and help ensure you’re able to walk down the aisle without spending beyond your means. However, sticking to a budget doesn’t mean you can’t still have a fantastic party for you and your guests. Armed with a plan and a creative spirit you can host an upscale event without busting your budget.

As you map out your wedding budget, finding places to cut costs can make all the difference and help ensure you’re able to walk down the aisle without spending beyond your means.

Hire students or hobbyists

Every great photographer, DJ and designer got their start somewhere. Why not your big day? Students who are just starting their careers are likely looking for experience and will typically charge less for their services. Or, maybe you have a talented friend or relative that would be happy to help you out with certain elements of your wedding, like:

  • Photography

  • Music

  • Graphic design (for invitations, menus, signage)

  • Flower arrangements

  • Hair and makeup

Break out that Rolodex (or social media network) and reach out. Who knows, you may discover the next great wedding photographer in the process.


If you or your partner live for crafting, now is the time to shine. With hundreds of small details to consider — table settings, name tags, floral arrangements, invitations, party favors — you have a boundless opportunity to put your own personal stamp on your wedding. Break out the glue gun and call in the bridal party for support. Making your own centerpieces, bouquets or party favors can be a great way to save (and get some quality time with your loved ones). And if you plan to serve alcohol at your wedding, a DIY bar setup can spare you one of the most expensive wedding bills. Just be sure to check with the venue to ensure you’re able to BYOB.

Thrift it

It might not sound glamourous on the surface, but a few carefully curated thrift finds like outfits, furniture and decorations can be great additions to your big day and can save you thousands.  Designer clothes, antiques and crystalware can be found in thrift stores and marketplaces locally and online – just be sure to start your shopping early (patience and consistency are key to scoring big). You might fall in love with something that would have been totally off your radar or out of reach with retail pricing.

Mind your seasons

Flowers are often the powerhouse of wedding décor. From bouquets to centerpieces and backdrops, those blooms can add up fast. Shopping seasonally can help you save without scaling down. Some popular bridal flowers are available any time of year, but others might be harder to find (and more expensive) out of season. In-season flowers that grow locally tend to be cheaper and just as beautiful. Talk with several florists before making a final decision and get their advice on what will come with a reasonable price tag for your budget.

Your blooms aren’t the only element affected by the seasons. Unlike your flowers, an in-season venue could be a budget buster, so searching for off-season options could help you save. For example, a northern winter wedding at a lake or waterfront venue might be priced lower than in the summer months but will still make a gorgeous backdrop for your photos. Meanwhile, popular hotels near ski resorts might offer lower pricing in the summer months when traffic is slow. Shop around and don’t be afraid to ask venues upfront how they are priced throughout the year.

Split things up

As with many things in life, sharing is caring and that’s certainly true when it comes to wedding costs. You don’t have to handle all expenses on your own; think outside the box for ways you can share costs. For instance, if you are getting married at a popular venue, perhaps you can share flowers, candles, glassware and other decorative items with the couple getting married there either the day before or the day after.

You could also save by sharing accommodations. If you’re hoping to house your wedding party under one roof, consider a vacation rental instead of a hotel. Use it to get ready and take photos before the ceremony.

Let the venue do the work

As is so often the case, wedding costs frequently come down to location, location, location. Be strategic. For instance, hosting your ceremony and reception in the same place can help you cut transportation costs like limousines, shuttles and taxis. Many venues are set up to accommodate both parts of your big day. It will be convenient for your guests and as a bonus you’ll be able to use your decorations throughout the full day.

Speaking of decor, less is more in terms of savings. Choose a venue with inherent beauty that requires minimal added effort. For an indoor venue, that might mean vaulted ceilings, big windows and old-school charm. Or head outdoors to a garden or rooftop with plentiful flowers and foliage.

If you’re flexible on location, consider venues that are less central. If you live in a big city and want to stay close to home, check out venues in the suburbs. (Your guests and bridal party will get to save on costs too.)

Enjoy your big day without a big check

Your wedding is a day for creating special, lifelong memories with your closest friends and family. Don’t let the price tag dampen the joy. A little planning and creativity can go a long way to save you and your partner thousands to put toward your future together.

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