General Question

hollywoodduck's avatar

Tips for saving money when planning a wedding?

Asked by hollywoodduck (638points) January 4th, 2008

I’m getting married later this year, and after finally getting into the planning spirit, we are a little sticker shocked. Anyone have some tips on how to save money when planning a wedding? Like where we should spend the money and where we can cut back?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

7 Answers

ccatron's avatar

make stuff instead of ordering…stuff. for instance, we ordered custom fortune cookies to as wedding favors with specific phrases in them. for extra money, you could get them dipped in chocolate. for less money, we dipped them ourselves.

wedding websites like might have some ideas for creative ways to save money.

gcross's avatar

My first wedding I paid for everything. It was basically casual. My second marriage we saw a justice of the peace, just the two of us and two witnesses. Cheapest we could manage.

My niece married recently and the event was sweet and relatively casual. A family friend hosted the event at their country home, which was little more than a small A-frame with a few acres. They had porta-potties for the guests, a portable washing station, plenty of folding tables and chairs, big food trays and baking pans of bulk chicken, etc, a couple kegs of beer, and tubs of soda and juice drinks. The vows were exchanged on a small arched podium, with folding chairs for the guests. Actual seats and podium took up maybe 40×50 feet (rough estimate), and there were less than 100 guests, all told. It started in the late afternoon and ran past nightfall. They did, however, have a live DJ and dancing. She wore a beautiful, slinky wedding gown, and he wore a tux. Father of the bride also wore a tux, mother of the bride a colorful dress. Three bridesmaids and grooms. Justice of the Peace presided. Non-church-oriented. I have no idea what the total cost was, but none of the orchestrators were well off or even middle class. Pretty inexpensive, I think.

Guess the answer is to get your friends and relatives to provide all the venues, if you can, and put your money into the honeymoon. A co-worker spent his honeymoon on a cruise around the Hawaiian islands. My husband and I also spent a belated honeymoon (10th anniversary) on a week in Hawaii (four days on the Big Island and three on Kauai. Where you go and how much you spend on it is up to you, just as long as you are alone and out of contact with both your parents:)

kevbo's avatar

Draw on the talents of family & friends. My sister & bro in law downloaded all their music from iTunes, burned them to CDs and used his cousin’s sound system (the CDs made good wedding favors, too. His dad painted a sign at the foot of the drive
leading to the site. His green thumbed aunt put together centerpieces. If you’ve got a brewer in the family, have them brew a batch (maybe pay for an equipment upgrade). Just a few examples.

zina's avatar

well, as above, big costs are often venue(s) and food—so anything like a free or cheap space (family or friend’s yard, local community center) or potluck, uncle who cooks, or bulk food from Costco or a cheap restaurant will save lots of money.

as you’ve probably noticed, all that depends on the size of your wedding.

of course if you’re planning on a fancy dress, a big diamond, an expensive band, or buckets of flowers, than those will be big too. otherwise there are a lot of smaller costs, so i guess i’d recommend focusing on the biggest ones rather than scrimping and worrying about officiant fees, shoes, candles, etc—at least in the first stages of planning.

there are several books on the topic, which you can browse through in a book store and see if any would be useful for you to buy—such as Priceless Weddings under $5000 (which my cousin, whose California wedding was under $5000, swears by)

there are also lots of websites devoted to this or with lots of DIY ideas –,,, and you can google for plenty more. i found this one – – particularly interesting because it breaks down the average budget, and you can look by city (a HUGE difference). i was surprised at first to learn where all the money goes, and looking at more detailed break-downs in books really helped us establish a more complete and accurate budget.

we didn’t want to exclude people who wanted to come, and we didn’t want to have people fly from around the country just to have one afternoon together, so we’re currently working on exactly these issues in planning our relatively big-group weekend-long celebration…..

so we decided on a few things that were high priority to us (the people, good music, good food) and removed or seriously cut back on the less important (general formality (which affects everything from invites to clothes to linens), mainstream locations, flowers, expensive rings, expensive honeymoon).

and don’t bend to all the social pressure you might face!! just say no!! =)

boffin's avatar

Elope….Your still married, it’s legal and you saved money. If you want a bunch of gifts? Then have a reception (shameless plug for freebees) after you two have run off and got hitched….

jordangerous's avatar

A lot of reception halls will give you a considerable discount for booking a Sunday instead of a Friday or Saturday party.

cwilbur's avatar

Focus on what matters. A wedding is a ceremony where you and your beloved affirm your commitment to each other in public view; the reception is the party where you celebrate this commitment. Neither needs to be a spectacle; a brief ceremony in a public park, followed by a pot-luck picnic dinner, certainly qualifies, and I’d bet you could easily pull that off for under $500.

You don’t need spectacle – especially if it means you start your new partnership in debt, or puts a financial strain on your family.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther