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Cheap Wedding Ideas – 36 Genius Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

Calling all budget brides! Let’s face it – weddings are expensive and you could use all the cheap wedding ideas you can get, right? Using these genius ways to save money to save money on your wedding will allow you to save thousands.

It’s Wedding Wednesday again here and we’ve been making our way through my Ultimate Wedding Checklist. Today I’m pulling out the whole kit and caboodle and sharing all of the brilliant cheap wedding ideas with you. 

Once you got engaged, you were probably thinking to yourself and instantly Googling ‘ how to have a cheap wedding ‘. Well, you’re in luck because I’ve rounded up 36 ways to save money on your wedding.

When we were planning our rustic vintage & burlap wedding,  we were constantly looking for cheap wedding ideas.

Anything that could cut costs here and there because let’s face it – weddings are EXPENSIVE. The average cost of a wedding is $25,764 (source: Cost of Wedding) but I know you can do it for a lot less!

With these cheap wedding ideas, you’ll be able to save thousands! I’d love to hear any other ways to save money on your wedding in the comments.

This cheap wedding ideas post contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend anyway! Read my full disclosure here.

Try these genius hacks to save money on your wedding! You'll love these cheap wedding ideas!

36 Genius Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

Let’s see those cheap wedding ideas!

1. Pick an off season to get married.

With “wedding season” (July-September) usually comes more expensive prices all around. Need more help choosing your wedding date? Read this article.

2. Choose an off day or time to get married.

If you are trying to squeeze the budget, you may ask yourselves, is it cheaper for us to get married on any other day or time but Saturday evening?

Daytime weddings with lunch served are considerably more affordable. Many venues and vendors may have discounted prices for off-day weddings, be sure to ask.

3. Develop and stick to a wedding budget.

You’ll be less likely to spend money you don’t need to if you have a budget written down. More tips of determining your wedding budget can be found here.  Sticking to a budget is one of the most important ways to save money on your wedding.

4. Consider hiring just a day-of coordinator instead of a full wedding planner.

What’s the difference? I explained it here. 

5. But remember, hiring a wedding planner may actually SAVE you money in the long run (and they save you a lot of time!)

Vendors often extend discounts or extras to clients of wedding planners.

6. Make your own wedding planning binder

Make your own wedding planning binder instead of buying one. I show you how to make a DIY wedding binder here!

7. Make your own bridal party proposal gifts.

Here are some great ideas! 

two round tables with white tablecloths, each with rustic style centerpieces and table numbers. both tables have white folding chairs around them

8. Consider mismatched centerpieces.

I purchased a lot of my table decorations at thrift stores! Every table was different and unique. Read more about how I chose my wedding style here. 

close up of the rustic centerpieces of a wedding dining table, with items including a metal watering can, small vases, and gold goblets

9. Buy your decor on after Christmas sales.

Christmas is JUST around the corner. I got a lot of my decor pieces on a deep discount (like 70-90% off!) at after Christmas sales.

Seriously I got plastic champagne flutes for 90% off at Target after New Years’ Eve, table cloths for 70% off at Target after Christmas…(they weren’t even Christmas-themed), mercury glass candles 75% off at craft stores like Michaels and JoAnn after Christmas.

This is one of my favorite ways to save money on your wedding. (And if you’re wondering, YES those are mercury glass ornaments sprinkled on my head table!! Those big mercury glass candles were after Christmas finds too!)

10. Choose a venue that allows you to bring in your own caterer.

This will give you added flexibility to choose who you want and get a caterer that is reasonably priced. I shared more tips about how to choose your wedding venue here. 

11. Look around for different kinds of caterers.

We ended up choosing one of our favorite BBQ restaurants. They were much more reasonably priced than other caterers that specialized in weddings. This is a hidden gem among cheap wedding ideas!

Speaking of caterers, here’s 45 questions to ask your wedding caterer. By asking these questions, you’ll know just what to expect and know ALL of the costs for catering upfront.

wedding guests during a reception, most are seated at tables

12. Consider a smaller town or suburb outside of the city.

We ended up getting married in Vista, which is about 50 minutes outside of Central San Diego. We saved money by getting married outside of the city.

13. Choose a venue managed by the city/county.

We chose an adobe that was run by the city. They were VERY reasonably priced because they weren’t first and foremost a wedding venue. We also looked at holding our wedding at local parks, which were reasonably priced.

14. Select a venue that has some infrastructure already set up for weddings

or includes some items you can use (like tables and chairs). Although I mentioned that city parks are a great reasonably priced venue, it can really add up quickly if you have to rent tables, chairs, linens, bathrooms, etc.

strips of cloth and lace tied to and hanging down from a string similar to a clothesline
a small table set for a wedding ceremony, with a cross, wine, bread, and a bible on it

15. Keep your wedding ceremony decor simple.

Here’s some great creative wedding ceremony decor ideas. I made my own super simple ceremony backdrop by just tying lace and strips of fabric to a piece of twine (see above).

16. Consider buying your wedding dress off the rack. 

Off the rack means that you buy the ready-made wedding dress that you try on at the store, rather than having one custom-made in your size. It’s can be a more budget-friendly route and a great option for a quicker engagement. Read all 15 of my tips for wedding dress shopping. 

17. DIY bouquets for bridesmaids.

I purchased baby’s breath in bulk from Costco (we got a couple of these delivered). Since I had 10 bridesmaids and the average cost of a bridesmaid bouquet is $50-90, this saved us over $500. Talk about cheap wedding ideas, right!?

All we did to make these was wrap bundles of baby’s breath together using twine and then tie a bow. They were so simple to make!

five women sitting in a row in white and tan dresses, holding small bouquets of baby's breath ...with text overlay that says... DIY Baby's Breath bridesmaid bouquets to save 500 plus dollars

18. Ditch flowers on every table as center pieces.

Floral centerpieces can range from $30-$100 and we had about 13 tables, so this saved us over $400+.

Instead of buying floral centerpieces, we used a combination of vintage books, vases filled with extra baby’s breath and dried wheat, potted succulents, mason jars, and other knick-knacks.

a simple table centerpiece decoration with wheat in a glass bottle vase, baby's breath in a larger vase, a book, a jar, a thin slice of a log, and the table number one.

19. DIY your Groomsmen Boutonnieres

Make the boutonnieres with the baby’s breath, twine and burlap. The average boutonniere costs $10-15 and we had 7 groomsmen plus Logan, so this saved us $80+.

a woman affixing a boutonniere to a man in a dress shirt and tan vest ...with text overlay that says... DIY burlap and baby's breath boutonnieres to save money for budget wedding

20. Take advantage of all the perks of wedding registries.

I’ve summed up tons of different stores perks and policies here to help you answer the question “Where Should We Register For Our Wedding?”

21. Create your own wedding website.

You can learn all about how to create a wedding website to wow your guests here.

22. Use your wedding website to track RSVPs

Use your website to track RSVPs rather than paying for postage to have them mail back RSVP cards.

Postage is 47 cents at the time this post was published. I’ll do the math for you. That’s over $70 bucks with a wedding size of 150 (not including the costs of printing.

Almost everyone on your list has a computer and knows how to use it, right? The small number of those people that might not, like older family members, you can just ask if they are coming.

23. Send your save the dates via email

Send save the dates via email (or even text message!) using a website like Paperless Post, greenvelope, evite or pingg.

a table with a white tablecloth and place settings for a wedding reception with rustic centerpieces including bottles, jars, baby's breath, wheat, and wooden accent pieces

24. Borrow decorations wherever possible.

I borrowed tons of decorations from family and friends. All the wood rounds on the tables were from a friend that she had used in her wedding.

The vintage books on the tables were my mom’s, Logan’s mom, and my Grandma’s. What wasn’t DIYed or purchased at discount was definitely borrowed.

25. Consider paper plates and plastic cutlery.

Now I totally realize this isn’t for everyone, but my wedding was casual. We served BBQ and it was outdoors.

The caterer was going to charge A LOT more for glass plates and silverware, so I opted out of that.

Another reason I didn’t want them is that I absolutely HATE when people tap the glasses and you want to kiss, haha. I guess I worked at way too many weddings hearing that ALL.NIGHT.LONG.

a bride in a white wedding dress holding a greenery bouquet, and her ten bridesmaids wearing various dresses in shades of tan and light brown, each holding a bouquet of baby's breath

26. Have your bridesmaids dress in mismatched dresses in a similar color scheme.

This allows them to get their dresses wherever they want on their own budget.

a groom in a white dress shirt, tan vest, and black tie with 6 groomsmen all in white dress shirts and black ties, seemingly laughing and joking around together

27. Allow your groomsmen (and groom) to wear clothing that probably already have in their closets.

We did white button-down shirts, black ties, and tan pants. (Logan wore a tan vest). Most people have these staples.

28. Ditch the favors.

This is definitely one of the easier ways to save money on your wedding. Seriously no one will notice if you don’t have them.

29. Make your invitations (and save the dates) yourself and get professionally printed. 

I designed mine using Photoshop Elements (a cheaper version of Photoshop that I already had on my computer), but Canva is a great free online site that works well too! I worked with a local printer to get them printed.

30. DIY a menu sign rather than have individual menus printed.

I love this one. 

31. Make you own ceremony sign to replace printing programs,

like this one. 

two wedding guests on the dance floor holding each other and laughing happily

32. DIY your DJ.

I didn’t do this, but thought about it a lot. It ended sounding like a lot of added stress that I wasn’t comfortable taking on. Here’s a good post about how they DIY’d it and she included her playlists to keep people dancin’! 

33. Keep it small.

If I was the only one involved in planning my wedding, it would have been about a 1/3 of the size…hehe, but we’ve had bigger families and slowly the guest list grew and grew.

According to ValuePenguin, the national average wedding cost per person is $213 (as of 2019).

Remember that stat as you put together your guest list (more tips on how to start your wedding guest list here).  If you’re really budget-constrained, try to keep it as small as possible.

Be sure to be upfront with your family that you are trying to keep it small as well.

a plate stacked high with small cupcake sized pies in the foreground, with various other desserts unfocused in the background

34. Do small homemade desserts at a dessert bar instead of cake.

Having worked in the banquets/weddings department at a large restaurant for many years, I worked at TONS of weddings, and honestly, there was SOOOO much cake wasted.

We had a family member do the dessert bar for us with a sampling of all sorts of different desserts and then we had a small cake for the cake cutting.

Another idea is to do a candy buffet. This post has some great candy buffet ideas!

a bride and groom cutting into a small two tier cake with white icing and succulents on top

35. Just say no to open/full bars. 

Cost says that the average cost for bartender service at a wedding reception is $2,800, which can double or triple in larger cities or resort areas!

I’ve seriously worked at weddings where they spent $10k on alcohol.

An alternative is to just serve beer and wine.

Another great tip from Zola, is to ask the champagne toast glasses to only be filled halfway…most people don’t finish the toast glasses anyway. Check out their post for 10 ways to cut alcohol costs. 

36. Make tables bigger to cut down on table linen and decor. 

Our venue provided the tables so we didn’t have a choice on our table sizes, but I think this is one of the best ways to save money on your wedding that I’ve heard.

Weddings don’t have put you out of house and home. By following the cheap wedding ideas, you can save thousands. Simply by getting creative, prioritizing, and taking advantage of steals and deals, you can have a budget wedding.

Did you get inspired by all of these cheap wedding ideas? Which one was your favorite? Do you have any more ways to save money on your wedding to share?

Let us know in the comments.

a table with rustic decor including bottles, jars, and wooden accent pieces ...with a text overlay that reads... 36 ways to save money on your wedding

If you loved this post of cheap wedding ideas, be sure to check out these articles for more budget wedding tips!

How To Create A Wedding Website That Will Amaze Your Guests | What To Include On Your Wedding Website | Creating Your Wedding Website on Minted | DIY Wedding Website | Wedding Website Tutorial | Make Your Own Wedding Website | How to Build Wedding Websites | Build Your Wedding Website |
How To Create A Wedding Website
Creative Wedding Ceremony Decor
How To Make A Wedding Binder | DIY Wedding Binder | Wedding Planner
How To Make Your Own Wedding Binder

9 thoughts on “Cheap Wedding Ideas – 36 Genius Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

  1. For save the dates use an engagement photo and edit it with details in a photo app and have them printed as pics at Walmart for 10 cents each . Use matte for better looking pics.

  2. Wonderful Post! Thanks for sharing these amazing tips with us. This is the post I was looking for. I really enjoyed reading this post and found helpful tips for save money on a wedding. I am glad to found this post. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Found some good tips here. Thank you. I made all 100 of my wedding favors for about $45. 100 packs of flower seeds on Amazon for $35, a pack of brown cardstock to print your names and wedding date, mine also said “plant seeds of love”, cut out, staple card to seed packet, cover staple with a small ribbon bow in your wedding color, voila! 35 cents each plus a little extra for the cardstock and ribbon.

  4. Cakes are expensive. You can buy a beautiful 2 tier cake at Sam’s Club for $40 for cutting of the cake pictures, and then buy 1/2 sheets for $15 to serve the guests. No one will know the difference. Can save hundreds this way.

  5. We are having a family-only wedding (26 people total) which will take place at a local town-owned Recreation Area which has a lodge. The rental fee for the lodge was $100 which goes back to our town. We are getting married in October at the peak of fall foliage colors so the outdoor scene will be lovely but because it is New England in the fall the indoor area is a must! My mom is going to officiate so we will get her a nice gift as a thank you, but do not have the added cost of hiring a JP. She obviously knows us well too which is an added bonus!
    Because of our small wedding size we will be able to have our post-wedding dinner at a local (and favorite) restaurant and all of my guests will therefore be able to order whatever they want for dinner. We will have beer and wine (and soft drinks) provided with a full bar available to anyone who wants to pay for hard liquor. This alone saved us a TON!
    We are trying to spend our wedding money locally and with small businesses so our favor is a piece of fudge from a town chocolatier, and we will have a local woman who owns a commercial bakery make our small, two-tiered cake.
    I went to VistaPrint for our Save-the-Date cards and Invitations which also saved us a lot of money. Finally, I bought my dress at JJ’s House (an online, European store) and though the shipping was expensive ($45), it included whatever I bought that day. That said, I got my dress ($86), silk bouquet, boutonniere, veil, and hair accessories for a total of $180 (including tax and shipping)!
    Our “big splurges” will be with the photographer and my fiancé’s custom-made suit for the day. He has always wanted one, and who is to say that the bride’s outfit needs to be more expensive than the groom’s? Our photographer will be about $850 plus tip for a four-hour session so aside from the restaurant bill, that is our next-biggest expense!
    It IS possible to have a lovely, heart-felt wedding with the people you most love and who are happiest for you! We may have sacrificed on number of people on our invite list, but the most important people will be there to witness me marrying my love! 🙂
    Good luck to everyone! Here’s to long and happy marriages for us all!

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