The average wedding costs thousands of dollars ($24,000 to be precise) and aside from your home and cars, it will probably be the biggest expense of your married life! If you could shave a few hundred to a few thousand dollars off of your wedding bill without sacrificing your dream wedding ceremony, you would, wouldn’t you?

What if we said it would take little extra time and your guests would never know the difference?

Here are a few money saving tips that will save thousands on your wedding.

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Timing Is Everything

Having a Wedding Ceremony in the off season can save you thousands.

Just like vacations there is a prime wedding season and an off season. Off season weddings will save you thousands.

Stay Away from Saturday. If you still want a Spring wedding, the most popular season for weddings, the day of the week plays a significant role in how much you will pay.

Sunday weddings can be 10-15% cheaper than a more popular Saturday Wedding reception. If you have 200 guests and can save $5 a plate by having it on an off day, or at lunch time instead of dinner, that’s an easy $1000 savings on just the food.

Since most churches decorate for Christmas by putting up Christmas Trees and poinsettias, you can save hundreds of dollars by not having to decorate the church!

I knew of a friend that had a Christmas Wedding Ceremony in which the bridesmaids all wore red and the men were in black tuxedos. The pictures were gorgeous with the Christmas Tree twinkling lights in the background.

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These are a huge expense at every wedding but who would want to skip them?!

Yes, silk is going to be less expensive, but if you still want the fresh variety, selecting local and seasonal flowers for your wedding table decor will save a significant amount of money over exotic varieties.

Is anyone REALLY looking at the groomsmen’s flowers? Assign one of your bridesmaids to run to the grocery store the night before your wedding and buy a dozen roses. Then clip and pin. The average boutonniere runs around $7, save here so you can spend elsewhere! (the groom is a different story… he is in more photos than the groomsmen)

For Melisha’s wedding, she ordered all her flowers “by the stem” delivered from a flower shop.  They came in buckets, and a friend of hers did the arrangements for the reception tables. It saved them hundreds!!!

Remember… think about times when the church is going to already be decorated for something that you can take advantage of that time (see Christmas timing tip above.)

Get married outside and you’ll have so much of nature’s beauty around you that you won’t even need to have flowers. Or, choose a location, like a park, that already has beautiful flowers near where you’re going to tie the knot.

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The Cake

Rule of thumb is that the more height, the more money. Ultimately, it takes more labor to build a taller cake.

Have a Small Cake – When I got married, and we went for cake tastings… Our local grocery store, Publix, was truly a contender. Have a wonderfully decorated, yet smaller cake set on risers for display that’s used for cutting, and then have a sheet cake in the kitchen for serving.

Have a Faux Cake – Another money-saving trend becoming popular is to have a gorgeous faux cake! The top layer of the cake is actual wedding cake and the rest is frosted cardboard.  Again, guests are served the sheet cake from the kitchen.

Frugal Cake Choices:

  • Choose a cake on risers vs layered
  • Buttercream over fondant
  • Unfilled over filled
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Many brides think only about the invitations themselves, but save-the-dates, programs, table cards, place cards, and thank-you notes are other potential needs before, during, and after the event.

Plan ahead, and have one vendor print everything at once.

Don’t let the US Postal Service tack on extra charges for odd shaped cards!

And adding additional frills to envelope exteriors will also up the postage, so stick to simple, standard size envelopes to avoid paying more.

Do you really need individual place cards? Have one beautifully printed table seating chart near the front door of the reception hall and then one list on each table. No need for individual separate cards.

These days, invitations really don’t need two envelopes, and multiple cards for ceremony and reception details can often be overwhelming (and easy to lose).

Also, consider a postcard for save-the-dates and response cards so you don’t have to pay for envelopes and higher priced stamps.

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The Dress

Find out the dates of well-known annual sales, also called “trunk sales”, there you can snag a $2,000 dress for $249, or the sample sales at your favorite Bridal Store. You can save up to 70% on gowns, headpieces, veils, and shoes at a sample sale.  Look for the touring list on your favorite designers’ websites, or get on the mailing list at bridal gown salons.

Visit BridesAgainstBreastCancer.org Gown Shows – Based out of Sarasota, this company gets donated dresses from tons of designers. Then they hold shows in select cities (Orlando & Palm Beach Gardens in July, or Jacksonville in Sept) in which you can shop and buy right then. You will pay a fraction of the true cost, and all the proceeds go to fighting Breast Cancer. The admission is a $5 tax deductible donation BridesAgainstBreastCancer.org.

Are you a Military bride? – Military brides can get get a free wedding dress (there is a nominal $20 processing fee) through the Brides Across America program.  To qualify the bride or the groom must have been deployed within the past five years or have an upcoming deployment. View the schedule when they will be in your town and fill out the qualification form.

Look for a vintage or consignment store that carries wedding ceremony dresses. Most of them have only been worn once!

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More Tips to Save Money on your Wedding Ceremony Reception

Always remember to negotiate with your wedding vendors.  Vendors would rather be booked at less than their listed rate than be sitting idle. If you shop around you will have plenty of prices with which to negotiate a lower rate for your own reception.

Lastly, get wedding insurance. Unforeseen circumstances arise that may cause you to postpone or cancel a wedding ceremony  reception and many vendors do not offer refunds.

Wedding insurance will help recover your out of pocket costs and give you security so you can have the wedding of your dreams with less stress.

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FREEbies for Your Wedding Registry

Did you know you can get immediate FREEbies just for registering at certain places?

When I was getting married (yes, it’s been over 15 years), Dillard’s gave me a fun jewelry box. I still have it today!

Here are some other examples I’ve seen.

  • The Container Store will give you a FREE Portable File Tote.
  • Create your Target Wedding Registry and they’ll send you a 15% off coupon the week of your wedding to save on your remaining registry items.
  • And at JCPenney’s, you’ll get a FREE 8×10 portrait with no sitting fees.
  • Amazon will also give you a bonus discount for anything not purchased from your registry.

It’s fun to get FREEBies simply for signing up for your wedding registry!


Your Turn: Have any other great tips that you utilized to save money on your wedding? Leave a comment below!