- Shorten (or elongate) your wedding planning timeline to either nab last-minute deals or have the flexibility to lock in bargain rates at a later date.
- Consider a Friday or Sunday wedding instead of the traditional -- and expensive -- Saturday.
- Consider nontraditional venues, like city-run spaces, gardens, beaches and zoos, for inexpensive and beautiful wedding sites.
With the average cost of a full-service wedding planner clocking in at nearly $4,000, eliminating the planner is an easy way to shave money from your budget. Not having one will require legwork on the part of you and your spouse-to-be, but the savings are tremendous.
Avoid traditional evening sit-down dinners or buffets. You can save lots of money by hosting a daytime affair or cocktail reception. While you may hear some guests grumbling, you will save a healthy chunk of change.
Avoid an open bar and consider opting for wine and beer only. Or serve a signature cocktail instead. This lets you buy one or two types of alcohol, allowing you to buy in bulk and cut costs. Consider avoiding the pricey champagne toast altogether, and toast with your signature cocktail instead. It'll be more personalized and memorable.
The higher, larger, and more ornate the cake, the more money it will cost. Choose a lower, smaller, and simpler one for the ceremonial cake-cutting and photos, and stock the kitchen with a sheet cake. Guests will never know the difference, and it can save you a couple hundred dollars.
The average cost of wedding flowers is nearly $2,000, but by choosing one type of seasonal, local flower, you can take advantage of a cheaper, bulk order. Or consider using Costco or an e-retailer like freshroses.com, whose site allows you to buy wholesale flowers -- cutting out expensive middlemen -- for do-it-yourself centerpieces, bouquets, and boutonnieres.
You can find DIY ideas by perusing Pinterest or marthastewartweddings.com. No one attending your wedding will remember -- or care -- that you had homemade favors as opposed to expensive, store-bought ones. Consider commissioning an aunt or grandmother with a unique skill to make the favors, centerpieces, or cake. It'll be special and that loved one will probably feel both pleased and honored to help.
The pre-ceremony aromatherapy massage, professional hair and makeup, pricey bachelorette weekend in Tahoe, and three bridal showers are all completely unnecessary.
Invest in your long-term relationship instead.
With so much focus on the wedding day, consider parlaying some money into services that'll build a great foundation for your marriage, like couples counseling and financial planning. These investments in your future together have magnificent potential for enhancing the quality of your marriage.