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Planning a Wedding on a Budget

There are multiple ways to make the event spectacular without spending a small fortune. In addition to the following tips, research will yield many books and online resources devoted to this topic.

  1. Schedule your wedding out of season. There's no right or wrong time to plan your wedding, but there are dates that are more popular, and thus more expensive. Avoiding the early summer and early fall months makes it easier to negotiate lower prices with vendors. Additionally, Fridays and Sundays tend to be less expensive than Saturdays.
  2. Chose a nontraditional venue for your ceremony or reception. Holding your event in a backyard, park, on public grounds or in another location that doesn't specialize in hosting weddings is both unique and can be a big cost saver. However, remember to take into consideration the cost of tables, chairs and other rentals.
  3. Don't spend a lot on invitations. Couples may think the invitation sets the tone for the wedding, but the reality is guests rarely remember the invite after opening the envelope. Consider cutting costs by choosing less expensive invitations or even making your own. For the response card, opt for a postcard or even an electronic reply on one of the popular wedding websites to save even more.
  4. Get your friends and family involved. There are likely some very talented people in your circle of friends. Tap them to be part of your special day. You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by asking your friends to fill important roles such as photographer, DJ and florist.
  5. Find something borrowed. Friends and family may have centerpieces, apparel or other items from their wedding that they would be honored to loan you for yours. Ask around.
  6. Purchase in season. When choosing flowers, look for varieties that will be in season on your wedding day. You'll save a bundle and likely have more beautiful arrangements. The same principle works with menu planning. Look for local and in-season foods when deciding what you'll serve at the reception.
  7. Negotiate. Don’t hesitate to ask for a discount from your vendors and suppliers. They may be willing to offer you great rates to get your business. And there’s no harm in asking.
  8. Rent what you can't afford to buy. Although most brides opt to purchase and store their wedding dress after the big day, few ever wear or do anything with the gown again. By renting, you can wear a designer dress for a fraction of the cost of purchasing.
  9. Reduce the size of your guest list and wedding party. Scrutinize your guest list and consider limiting the number of your attendants. Scaling back can help you save on the cost of invitations, favors, meals and more.
  10. Make wedding purchases with a rewards card. Rather than writing a check, consider using a credit card that rewards you with frequent flier miles, hotel points or even cash back. Depending on how much you spend, the rewards could help defray the cost of your honeymoon travel.

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