Paying for a Wedding 101: 12 Different Ways to Afford Your Dream Day

And check out the wedding party here! There's so much interest and contrast!

Did you know that the average wedding in the United States costs $33,391? That’s more than the average price of a new car!

But when you factor in all the costs associated with a wedding like hiring catering, renting a venue, decor, and entertainment, it’s easy to see how it all adds up. So, how do people afford weddings? Are there any secret tricks?  

It’s no surprise that paying for a wedding can be expensive. Check out these 12 different ways you can choose from to help you afford your dream day!

After all, paying for a wedding shouldn’t be stressful. It’s your special day!

1. Plan an Afternoon Ceremony

If you have an afternoon wedding, you’ll save big-time on catering. After all, you won’t need to offer your guests a full lunch or dinner.

Instead, create a lovely reception with drinks, cake, and refreshments. Your guests will feel treated and you won’t break the bank.

2. Choose an Off-Season Date

May, June, August, September, and October are the most popular months for weddings. By getting married outside of this time frame, you’ll get a discounted rate from almost any venue.

3. Skip the Favors

Wedding favors are a common way for brides and grooms to show their appreciation for their guests. It’s a sweet gesture, but unless you’re giving your guests gift cards, chances are they won’t use the contents of a favor bag.

Skip the favors and find another (more affordable) way to say thank you to your loved ones.

4. Packages Aren’t Always Best When Paying for a Wedding

Once you’ve chosen your venue, they’ll probably offer you a package deal. This could include catering, a cake, floral arrangements, furniture, decorations, and more.

Although it’s tempting to get all your wedding needs from one source, it may not be the cheapest option. Before you accept a package deal from your venue, contact vendors separately to see where you can save.

5. Ask Your Friends to Pitch In

Setting up for a wedding is a lot of work. And hiring people to help with the set-up can get pricey.

Instead, ask for help from your friends and family (the wedding party comes in handy here, too).

They can help set up the ceremony and reception areas with chairs, tables, decorations, and centerpieces. Not only will this help you cut costs, but it will also help your loved ones feel like a bigger part of your special day.

6. Advertise in Exchange for a Discount

Wondering how to pay for a wedding with no money? Well, you may be able to snag a sweet discount by advertising for your vendors.

Although it may sound tacky, you don’t need to make an announcement for them after the best man’s speech. All you need to do is leave tasteful business cards in a prime location for your guests to grab on their way out.

7. Be Specific and Ruthless with Your Guest List

Without an exact number for your guest list, you’ll end up with extra catered food, extra alcohol, and empty seats. And you know what this means: wasted money.

Avoid this altogether by making sure that your guest list is specific and up-to-date.

And to save even more, remove as many people as possible. It may sound harsh, but it will save you tons of money. If there’s anyone on your list who you’re not that close with, take them off.

8. DIY as Much as Possible

Money doesn’t grow on trees. But neither do cute table place cards!

If you don’t want to break the bank but you want your wedding to have charming, personal touches, make them yourself. Try your hand at calligraphy to make signs and cards, and buy your own flowers to make centerpieces and bouquets.

You may just surprise yourself with your own creativity and handiness.

9. Look into a Loan

If you’re super strapped for cash and unsure of how to afford a wedding that you’ll love, you may want to look into taking out a personal loan. A loan is a simple way to get money quickly, and you can repay it over a series of months or years.

If your credit score isn’t where you’d like it to be, don’t stress. Look into bad credit loans to find a lender that’s right for you

10. Forget About Save the Dates

How do people pay for weddings? By not paying for excessive snail mail!

“Save the date” cards are cute, but they’re not necessary. In today’s modern world, it’s easy to communicate your engagement and wedding plans to your loved ones via emails, texts, and social media.

Save your hard earned cash for your wedding invitations and ditch the save the date cards. If you have a long guest list, it could save you hundreds of dollars.

11. Hire a New Photographer

If you’re wondering how to pay for a wedding photographer on top of everything else, don’t panic. Just find a newbie!

Although experience is an important prerequisite for anyone you hire for your big day, taking a chance on a budding new photographer will help you cut back on costs in a major way.

In fact, going with the no-name option could save you thousands of dollars.

12. Look for Used Options

What do people do with all the specialty items and decor from their weddings? They either trash them or sell them.

Find the people who are selling their used wedding day items to snag some sweet deals. And since the previous owners only used them for one day, they’re likely to be in great condition.

Enjoy Your Special Day!

Use the twelve tips above to create both an affordable and magical day for you and your partner. After all, paying for a wedding shouldn’t be stressful.

To save the most money possible, remember to DIY and to ask for help from friends and family. Ditch “save the date” cards and look into off-season or afternoon wedding options for a massive discount.

Want more help planning your big day? We’ve got your back. Check out our guides and tools page for tons of information to make your wedding perfect.