• Sarah Doolin

Wedding Cost Cutting Tips

If you're anything like me, you love to save money. Whether you have a tiny budget or a sky's-the-limit budget, cutting costs where you can is always a good idea. It allows you to maximize the bang for your buck on the things you really want.

1. Be Selective About Your Guest List

One way to cut down on the lightening of your wallet is to trim the guest list. You don't reeeallly need to invite that third cousin you haven't seen or talked to since your last family reunion or the girl who invited you to her wedding three years ago and then fell off the face of the earth. Be selective in who you invite to keep costs down.

When Ryan and I planned our wedding, we first talked over what was most important to us. Ryan is the biggest social butterfly you will ever meet and I have a large, close extended family. We decided that we wanted to spend our money on a big guest list. In order to do that, we needed to scale back on other parts of our wedding. If you, like us, aren't willing to cut back on the people, read on to find out other ways you can stretch your budget!

2. Change Up The Timing

If you've done any research on venues, you know that Saturdays are often the most expensive day to get married. Why not take advantage of the cheaper prices on a Friday or Sunday? Or if you don't have a lot of out of town guests, you could even consider doing an evening during the week. Talk about cutting costs!

Consider not planning your wedding around a dinner. You can have a 1pm wedding (like we did!) and skip both the lunch and dinner meals. Or maybe try a 7pm ceremony and make sure to let your guests know to eat beforehand.

3. Make Creative Menu Choices

No matter how big or small your guest list, food can make your budget skyrocket in the blink of an eye. If you're willing to get creative with the food you serve or don't serve, you can save some major money in this budget category.

Do you know the cheapest meal of the day to cook? Breakfast! Even if you aren't having a morning wedding, you can have breakfast for dinner. One fun idea is a waffle bar! Ask friends and family to borrow their waffle makers for the day, make up tons of batter, add fresh fruit, syrup, and lots of whipped cream to a toppings station and voila! Your very own self-serve waffle buffet!

If you followed my suggestion above and have moved your time of day to not include a full, sit down meal, you can instead serve small snacks or hor d'oeuvres. Ryan and I provided chips and salsa as well as a candy bar for our guests to munch on while mingling and waiting for the grand entrance.

Years ago, I attended a wedding of less than 100 people where the mother of the bride had called on her friends to provide a potluck meal for the guests. These lovely ladies brought different dishes and desserts and we had a family style meal after the wedding. It was cute and personal - plus you could ask for the recipes and have your own wedding cookbook to use later!

4. Use Non-Traditional Venues

Your venue is likely the biggest line item in your budget right now, and that's okay. But if you want some other options, you're in luck!

Check out public or even national parks in your area. Renting a pavilion is much cheaper than you might think. Keep in mind though, nothing will be provided for you there so be prepared to bring anything you might need.

See if anyone you know or even a friend of a friend has a house, backyard, or other property that they would let you use for a small fee or even for free. Social media is your friend here. Don't hesitate to ask! Most people love weddings and helping people, you might be surprised at what you find!

If you are having a religious ceremony, check with your church or place of worship to see if they offer discounts to active members.

5. Use Your Resources

Like I said previously, people naturally want to help and be part of your big day. If you haven't already been inundated by calls and texts asking how planning is going, don't worry, you will be soon. Take advantage of people's offers to help.

Ryan MC'd one of his dear friend's wedding so she didn't have to hire a DJ. He was able to attend and enjoy the ceremony and then jumped into using his strengths to pump up the guests at the reception. He still talks about how much fun he had helping them out.

No matter what you decide to do, know that there is no wrong answer in planning your own wedding. Go forth and save some money!



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