Wondering how to save money on your wedding? Our team has pulled together some budget friendly tips from their own bridal days and also what was WORTH splurging on!
How To Save Money On Your Wedding
Are you in the process of planning your wedding and looking for budget friendly tips? Since we're a frugal group around here, I asked the PPP Team to dig deep back into our memories and recall what we did to save money on our weddings. Some of these photos are going to date us…. eeeek!!
We asked each member of our team these 3 questions:
- How did you save money at your wedding?
- Did you splurge on something that was worth it?
- What wedding gift was your favorite (just for fun)?
Planning a wedding on a budget takes some creativity and help from friends – but it's not impossible! Figuring out where your priorities ARE and where they're NOT will help you decide what areas to save in and where you may want to invest more. Here are some ways our team remembers saving and splurging on their big day…
💐Wedding Registry Tip: If you set up an Amazon Registry for your guests to shop from – whatever is LEFT on your registry you can purchase for 20% OFF! So go ahead and add all the stuff you need for setting up house – so you can buy it on sale at some later date.
Save – We saved on our photographer but looking back I regret that a bit ~ our photos were taken in the church gym (and the 3-point line is in the pictures right below my dress in all of them!)
Splurge – My splurge was on our music. I've played violin since I was 9 and always dreamed of having a quartet at my wedding, but hiring four people to play would have been way out of our budget. Instead, we hired a harpist who played at the wedding and reception, and it was just perfect and something that meant so much to me. It was probably my favorite thing about our wedding… other than getting married!
Gift – My favorite gift was this Waechtersback Celebration plate – it says “you are special today” and we bring it out for all sorts of occasions when I want to make the kids feel special on their birthday, or for good report cards, etc… I don't know if these “special” red plates are still a thing – and eeek looking at that price I'm sure noone spent that back when I was getting married! – but I do love that thing 🙂
Wedding Decorations on a Budget
Save – We saved a lot by using my sister in law's wedding decor, we picked flowers from one of my husband's cousin's property for the center pieces and had family bring sides. I also got my dress for less than $300 at a wedding dress store in the mall. Who knew?!
While not married myself, I recently helped with my sister's wedding!
Save – She saved the most on her decor and venue. She decided to have her wedding on a Sunday because the cost of the venue was much less. For the centerpieces at the reception she used a bunch of beautiful candlesticks that we found on clearance after Christmas, and she had a friend DJ. My sister and mom were the “wedding planners” (the special events coordinator at the venue was also super helpful on that front – no charge!). She also ordered her veil and crinoline underskirt online for a fraction of the cost.
Splurge – My sister did splurge on her wedding dress. (She really loved it though, and looked like a princess!).
Save On Wedding Food
At the age of 19 and 21, and with $3 in our pockets, we relied on help from literally everyone in our circle to make a wedding happen!
Save – I bought my dress off the David's Bridal $99 sale rack. (And loved it!) For food, my family set up a giant deli platter and everyone brought side dishes to round it out, pot-luck style. Our flowers were silk arrangements donated by a friend who'd renewed her vows recently. My mom's friend made our cake as my wedding gift. My brother DJ'd and played cd's we had burned playlists onto. A nice couple from church printed out our invitations. We were too happy to care if it wasn't the fanciest!
Splurge – I didn't splurge on anything because I couldn't – but if could go back I WOULD have splurged on a real photographer. A friend of a friend took formal pics and they were't great. Luckily we had asked everyone else to do candid shots and share them with us!
If you have enough money to hire a photographer – do it! Or you might get pictures like this….
Gift – My favorite gift I received was a large nativity set. Our wedding was December 18th, so right before Christmas. It was so thoughtful for our first Christmas together!
Save – One of the ways that we saved for our wedding was that my grandmother and aunts made the food for our reception rather than having it done by a caterer. This also allowed us to have a few family favorites served!
Splurge – We did splurge on the cake – I wanted a large cake with tiers and a fountain. (It's totally not as fancy as it sounds – you can see a pic below)
Save On The Wedding Venue
Save – The biggest item we saved on was our venue. We opted to get married on a Friday evening, which was half as much as a Saturday. The wedding and reception were held in the same room, saving on one location verses two. It was wonderful and easy for everyone to come to the wedding right after work. We really saved a bundle by booking on a Friday evening AND by combining the two venues.
Splurge – My biggest splurge was on flowers for myself and the venue. I’ve been madly in love with flowers for over 45 years and chose a bouquet of roses and lilies, two of my favorites. We also had two huge florals to serve as the backdrop for our photos and ceremony. This was the one item I felt comfortable splurging on (but I secretly wish I had splurged on a photographer.)
Gift – My favorite gift and one I still use 14 years later, was a muffin tin. This was my absolute favorite gift from a friend who knew, that my new husband called me muffin. She pasted photos of my husband and I in each tin, which made us smile when we opened it. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gift.
Well, my wedding seems like it was a lifetime ago as we will be celebrating 30 years this June!
Save – My savings for our wedding was a single venue for the wedding and the receptions (as in same room) so that we did not have to pay to decorate two spaces, but only one.
Splurge – I am so very grateful that we invested in a quality photographer, but even more so a videographer. We even paid extra for the videographer to interview members of our family and some of the guests. Watching those interviews is such a precious time for me each year especially since some of the most important people in them are no longer with us.
Gift – As far as gifts go, the money was the most helpful as we took it and purchased a couch so we would have something to sit on. (you can now do this on the Amazon registry and it's so helpful) But, my most meaningful one was set of crystal glasses that had belonged to my great grandmother who had passed away since our engagement. My grandmother (her daughter in law) wrapped them up for me but put a card in it with my great grandmother's name and signature.
Save – I think we managed to save the most money on the venue. We got married in our church (which was free) and then chose to have our reception at Country club and got married at an “slow season” at the very end of March, which really cut down on the cost!
Splurge – Our biggest splurge was our fantastic photographer and the amazing videographer!
Save On Your Wedding Dress
Save – The dress I ended up buying was the very first one I tried on! It happened to be a sample that they were phasing out so I saved soooo much money by purchasing it right off the rack! Plus it was fun to discover that my dress had been featured on the cover of Bride's Magazine that year (ummmm 1987) and I was able to get a copy of the cover as a keepsake. 🙂
Splurge – The one thing we splurged on was a professional photographer. My daughter was married a few years ago as well and that was one thing that she had high on her priority list too. It's definitely worth it if it's in your budget.
Gift – We were so blessed to receive so many thoughtful wedding gifts. My in-laws gave us a vacuum, which at the time didn't seem very exciting, but that Kenmore vacuum from back in the day lasted us nearly 20 years! I've heard these Shark vacuums are awesome so I'm keeping that in mind for when the rest of my kiddos get married.
Save – I was so lucky to be able to wear my sister-in-law’s dress and my sister’s veil. It was so special & saved me a lot of money. My best friend’s mom saved and dried all of the flowers from her garden. We sprinkled the beautiful petals down the center of all the tables – and it kept the decoration budget low.
Splurge – We splurged on a videographer. I'm so happy to have those video memories now!
Gift – My favorite gift was a cookie jar that is still on our counter (we actually store gum in it, not cookies).
Wedding Budget Tips & Takeaways:
Here are our team's tips for how to save money on a wedding, in a nutshell! I'm sure there are sooooooooo many tips we didn't get to – but I'd just love to hear yours in the comments. 🙂
Dress: Save on your dress by borrowing from a friend or family member – or taking advantage of the David's Bridal $99 sale. Also check out local department stores, as Shannon was pleasantly surprised by her inexpensive dress there!
Photographer: We all pretty much agree that a good photographer is worth spending some money on. However, if you don't have much to spend, hire a student of photography or enlist photo-savvy friends/family to take the best pics. Ask on Facebook Marketplace or a local Facebook Buy/Sell page for recommendations – and then thoroughly vet them by asking for a portfolio of work.
Flowers: Use Sam's Club or Costco for bulk floral orders that won't break the bank. Pick your own from a friend's property, or even use re-purposed silk flower arrangements. Always try to choose seasonal flowers for the best prices.
Venue: Book on a Friday or Sunday to save money – as Saturdays are the most popular (and pricey) days of the week for venues. To save money (and time decorating) consider having both the wedding and reception in the same location.
Food: Have family and friends bring a side dish to the event to add a personal touch as well as save money. If a big, fancy cake isn't important to you, have a small bride/groom cake for pictures – and then opt for a cupcake tower (or even donut tower!) for the guests.
Music: Choose a friend or family member to DJ, or hire a musician to play rather than a group.
Decor: Ask a recently wedded friend to borrow their decor to supplement what you have.
Invitations: Print out invitations on cardstock or watch for coupon codes at sites like Shutterfly
Planning a Hawaiian Honeymoon? Don't miss our 17 Secrets to Planning a Hawaiian Vacation!
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