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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!) during 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 that 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 up front.
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 ran 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.
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 tied a bow. They were so simple to make!
18. Ditch flowers on every table as center pieces.
Floral center pieces can range from $30-$100 and we had about 13 tables, so this saved us over $400+. Instead of buying floral center pieces, 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.
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+.
20. Take advantage of all the perks of wedding registries.
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
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. What wasn’t DIYed or purchased on 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 because 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.
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.
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 (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.
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 planning my wedding, it would have been about a 1/3 of the size…hehe, but we’ve have 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 up front with your family that you are trying to keep it small as well.
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!
35. Just say no to open/full bars.
Cost Helper.com says that the average cost for bartender service at a wedding reception is $2,800, that 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 half way…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.