It’s no secret that planning a wedding can put a massive dent in your bank account. Based on a poll by The Knot, the average cost of US weddings in 2021 was $28K. Ouch! Luckily, there are many fun wedding hacks to stretch your budget, regardless of how small it is, and still be able to have the wedding of your dreams.
Remember, incorporating thoughtful touches that will bring a smile to your guests’ faces—such as an extra nice wedding favor bag—often counts more than having the perfect 5-course meal or the most impressive artisanal cake. As with all things, a little evaluation of the opportunity cost is always helpful! Here are 10 wedding hacks to help you save money.
#1. Strict Planning Makes for Better Decisions
One of the first things that you have to understand about planning a wedding is there are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of decisions that will have to be made. So, it’s essential that you keep yourself organized, make a plan, and make sound decisions rather than make choices on a whim.
Take the time to plan, set a budget (preferably one that doesn’t put you in a lot of debt), and use organizational tools to organize your wedding in a hassle-free manner (and without having to book a wedding planner). But remember to stick to your plan and budget; failure to do so could put you in the poor house.
#2. No to Saturdays, Yes to Off-Season
Saturdays are one of the most popular days for weddings, as most couples prefer a day that isn’t a workday. For that reason, Saturdays cost quite a lot in terms of venue booking, catering costs, and other vendors. So our wedding hack #2 is to skip Saturday weddings. A different day of the week can be just as special!
Sundays and weekdays are excellent options to help you stretch your budget. Also, keeping an eye on venues near you that you are interested in can also be helpful as they sometimes have unbooked dates they are keen to offer for a lower price. Who doesn’t love a discount?
And off-season weddings usually cost quite a bit less, so consider having a winter wedding or going the outdoorsy route instead of renting a banquet hall in the middle of summer.
#3. Only the Most Loved
In recent years, intimate weddings and receptions have become more popular, so shorten that guest list to only the people you love best in the world. It will make your wedding more exclusive!
Creating an A-list and being selective about who you invite is a great way to lower your per-head cost and add value for the guests you do invite. Stretching your wedding budget by reducing your guest list can provide significant savings. Definitely a wedding hack to implement!
Newer vendors with smaller businesses might be brimming with talent and may have lower rates than established caterers or florists. Word of mouth recommendations from family and friends for the best local vendors can help you make these connections and score discounts too.
#5. Use Natural Beauty As a Backdrop
Wedding hack #5 is to use nature as much as possible. Many locations such as vineyards, beaches, parks, gardens, or meadows are stunning by themselves—even without adding wedding décor.
If you choose a venue like that, you can limit your expenditure on décor and flowers by using the natural beauty to your advantage. Not to mention, rustic, outdoorsy weddings are incredibly trendy. With some wildflowers, twine, lanterns, and fairy lights, you can have an extraordinary setting that your guests will truly appreciate. With outdoor wedding venues, you also have more creative room for DIY décor elements that you can make yourself (or have made by a local artist).
Also, if you love a pair of earrings or a necklace your mother or sister has, this is the time to borrow it! And many brides rent out their wedding attire once their wedding is over, which helps to recoup some of the costs involved. Preloved and borrowed wedding fashion, decor, jewelry, etc., is a great wedding hack that will certainly help stretch your budget.
Paper waste is an environmental concern, and depending on the type of card paper you opt for, it can cost a fortune to have invitations made. Different styles cost more, but with e-invitations, you can have the invitation be as elaborate as you like with almost no cost. In addition, a multitude of free or low-cost design software allows you to design your own wedding e-vites with all manner of colors, fonts, and graphics.
There are thousands of choices online for wedding invitations that don’t have to be mailed. So this wedding hack will save you on the cost of the invitations and the postage to send the invite (plus the RSVP card).
But an even better wedding hack is simply using online platforms to keep track of your RSVPs. Your wedding website and Facebook RSVP groups work great for informing people of the venue, timings, any changes, etc.
#8. Upgrade Supermarket Cakes
An artisanal cake can be a significant drain on your wedding finances. So our last wedding hack to stretch your budget is to ditch the expensive cake! Many dessert options cost quite a bit less. These include cookie bars or small individual pieces of cake for each table.
Also, an expert hack is to use supermarket cakes and convert them into gorgeous cakes by adding flowers, truffles, chocolates, and fruit. No one will know the difference!
#9. Never Book Right Away
Doing a proper survey of all your options is always a good idea! So, avoid booking a vendor immediately after your appointment with them. Instead, allow the enthusiasm to die down (for at least 24 hours). Then evaluate how costly each vendor is and the services on which you can save money.
#10. There’s More than One Way to Cater!
You may have attended weddings that served 3-course meals with dessert, but you can go a different route here. Consider food truck wedding catering, new local budding chefs, or even a BBQ as meal options. Your guests will likely appreciate something different!