10 WAYS TO CUT COSTS AT YOUR WEDDING (PLUS: TOP 2 WEDDING REGRETS)

We get it. Weddings are expensive and things add up quickly. You want to save money while also having the wedding of your dreams. Here’s a list of 10 ways you can save money when planning your wedding.

1. Invitations. 

There are hundreds of options to choose from so finding an invitation template on Etsy shouldn’t be too hard.

There are hundreds of options to choose from so finding an invitation template on Etsy shouldn’t be too hard.

Invitations can cost a lot! One quick and easy way to reduce the price tag of invites is to go to Etsy and look for invitation templates that you like. You’ll pay a small, one-time fee to download the design, and from there all you have to do is add your information and print them at a local printing shop! One thing to be aware of when printing your invites is to make sure you print them on matte photo paper. Professional invitations are made with matte paper, so using glossy paper or regular photo paper will be lower quality and your invites won’t look quite as nice.

2. Videography.

This is a tough one. Of course, you want to document your wedding day in every possible way, so it makes sense to hire a videographer… Right? Well, there’s another way to get a thorough wedding video that many people don’t think of. At the beginning of the day, ask your family, bridal party, and/or guests to record short, “home movie” style videos on their phone. Have someone gather everyone’s videos and compile them into a movie that you can treasure, without a price tag that makes you sad.

3. Coordinated apparel.

If you have bridesmaids, groomsmen, or family members wearing coordinated clothing, you want them to look great. What you don’t want is to spend an arm and a leg getting those coordinated clothes. Go with neutral colors that everyone has in their closet already, or that can be re-used for other occasions. To integrate your wedding colors, add items that accent and embellish the neutral colors. For men, try going with khakis and a white shirt with a matching tie in your wedding colors. Ties cost less than $50 and add a pop without breaking the bank. For ladies, try going with dresses that are simple colors like gray, navy, or burgundy. Add colorful flowers to accent the dresses and you’re ready to go!

4. Food.

Renting a dress will save you a lot of money.

Renting a dress will save you a lot of money.

Is it possible to cater your own wedding? YES! It can be easy to do and will definitely save you money. You have a couple of options for doing your own food. The first, most obvious option is to skip serving a full meal and serve lighter things like donuts or crepes. This takes away the pressure of footing the bill for a full meal for all of your wedding guests, which can add up really quickly. Going along with that, you can always ask your friends and family to help prepare food beforehand! You can prepare finger foods and set things up buffet-style. You can also make baked goods, freeze them, take them out the day before or day of and they’ll taste fresh. This option should be used with caution though, because as much stress as you may be feeling leading up to your wedding day, your friends and family are likely feeling that as well. Make sure not to overwhelm people with too much to do, otherwise you risk having stressed out friends and family… which would be no fun for anyone. Another option you have is to find local restaurants who do catering and book with them. In Utah, places like Kneaders and Goodwood offer quality, inexpensive catering. All of these are great options and will definitely help you keep some money in your wallet.

5. Dress.

You can have a smaller cake made for just the bride and groom and feed guests sheet cake.

You can have a smaller cake made for just the bride and groom and feed guests sheet cake.

Renting a dress is a FRACTION of the cost of buying one! You use your dress for one day, and although it’s a super important day, it’s still just a day. When you think about it, it doesn’t make much sense to spend thousands of dollars buying a dress you’ll wear once and keep in storage for the rest of your life. Maybe if you’re a crafty person you could use your dress to make clothes for your children someday, but aside from that there’s not many uses for a wedding dress besides getting married in it. There are many rental options. You can look at online classifieds, such as Facebook Marketplace or, if you live in Utah, KSL Classifieds. You can find local stores that rent out dresses by doing a quick Google search. These stores will let you try on their dresses and give you the “Say Yes to The Dress” experience while also saving you money. There are online stores that rent out dresses as well— check out Rent the Runway, Little Borrowed Dress, and Vow to Be Chic. Most rental stores rent out designer dresses, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a dress that you love for a price that you love.

6. Music. 

Instead of hiring a DJ, rent a speaker system or use one at your venue to play a Spotify playlist. There are tons of pre-made options to choose from, or, if you want to go for a custom sound, you can compile your own list to play. This takes out the middle man and is a simple way to save money.

7. Frames.

At your reception, you’ll probably want to have some pictures framed and placed around for your guests to see. A SUPER easy way to cut costs with this is to get some frames from your local thrift stores and paint them all one color. This looks really cute and will save you lots of money. Picture frames can be surprisingly expensive!

8. “Wow” Piece.

Instead of having extravagant things everywhere you turn, choose one piece to really stand out and make it the centerpiece of your reception. Maybe it’s a floral hoop, a geometric arch, or a greenery wall. Whatever you choose, there’s probably a place you can rent it. Again, check local classifieds and do some Google searching to find wedding decor rentals near you. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save!

9. Venue

There are SO many options for venues and many of them are cheap or free. Outdoor venues are beautiful and often cheaper than indoor venues. Check your local parks and see if you can rent a pavilion or area to use. Oftentimes this will cost a few hundred dollars, rather than a few thousand you’d pay for a “established” venue. Also, backyard weddings are great! If you do choose to use an outdoor venue, make sure you have a tent or some sort of shelter, just in case it rains. Another great tip is to look for places that are non-traditional. Places like libraries, greenhouses, and Air BnBs can make for great venue locations that are full of character. Get creative and you’ll definitely be able to find a venue that is both inexpensive AND fits what you want. Be sure to contact the owners of any location you plan to use and see what their prices and rules are. And remember: you can make anything beautiful. 

10. Cake.

There are many ways to cut costs when it comes to your cake. The most obvious is that you can make your own rather than having it made for you. If you choose to do this, make it a week before, stick it in the freezer, and pull it out the day of your wedding. It will taste fresh and you won’t have the pressure of baking it so close to your wedding day. Making it ahead also gives you time to perfect the recipe and allows for mistakes to be made without rushing things. Another option is to have a small cake made, but feed your guests sheet cake rather than the actual wedding cake itself. This allows you to have a bakery-made cake while still staying inexpensive AND feeding your guests. Something that is becoming more popular is forgoing cake altogether and serving things like donuts or cupcakes instead! This is often a cheaper option, even if you don’t make them yourself.


So… Now that you know the 10 ways to cut costs at your wedding, what are the things that you shouldn’t try to do cut costs on? There are two things that brides frequently regret skimping on. Those things? 

abhansenphoto-TRW-florals

Florals and photography. 

These are two things that you probably already have an idea of what you want the end result to look like. These are also two things which require professional knowledge to do well. 

With florals, there are SO many things that a professional has to know. They are skilled and know things like when the flowers were flown in, how long they’ll live, if they freeze well, how long until they wilt, what the right fridge temperature is, and so much more. Even though making bouquets may seem like a simple and easy task, this is one thing that brides frequently regret skimping on.

Lastly, when it comes to photography, a professional is the ONLY way you should go. This is debatably the most important part of your entire wedding budget and you don’t want to spend it on someone who will produce mediocre photos. Photographers do more than point at something and press a button. It takes years of experience and hard work to gain the knowledge it takes to photograph a wedding, and skimping on a photographer means risking your day being captured poorly. Even if your BFF or your Uncle Bob has a fancy camera, that doesn’t mean that they can take good pictures (sorry). There are wedding photographer horror stories everywhere— don’t let your wedding become one too.

If you let a friend or relative with no professional experience do your florals or photography, you’re setting yourself up for the possibility of letdown, which is not what anyone wants to experience when it comes to their wedding. Leave these two things to the professionals and cut costs elsewhere so you can afford the photographer and florist of your dreams.


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