Wedding Cost-Cutting Ideas

Every bride who’s not as fortunate as Catherine Middleton or Vanisha Mittal would want to check out cheaper options for every wedding element she and her groom-to-be have to spend on. After all, no couple would want to start a married life with thousands of dollars in debt. Such as state would be truly miserable and can possibly lead to divorce, as financial problems is one of the major reasons why couples divorce nowadays. Of course, nobody would want that. Every couple dreams of a happily-ever-after marriage.

Most couples usually have a budget to start with. Others may have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on their wedding, but many also have a budget that may be $5,000 or below. Practical couples, for instance, may opt to save some of the budget so they can buy some household necessities that wedding guests have failed to give them, such as a washing machine or an oven.

How can a couple possibly save so much and still have the wedding of their dreams? Below are ideas on how to cut down on wedding expenses, have the wedding of your dreams, and not ruin your other dreams.


  • If you have plenty of time and hands to help, DIY almost everything you can possibly do.
  • Sign up for a wedding registry to get gifts that you really need/want, and not a dozen toasters.
  • Cut down on the number of attendants you will have to save on the number of gifts that you need to buy for them.
  • Cut down on your guest list too. Invite only the people who really mean something to you and your groom.
  • A civil wedding at the court house is free and can help you save on expenses such as officiant’s fee. The fees for the paper works will be all you’ll need to spend on.
  • If you insist on a church wedding, there are actually some churches that do weddings for free. Find one and have your wedding there.
  • Check out bridal magazines. They usually have lots of ideas on how to cut down on wedding expenses. They may also have some discount coupons and raffles that may be worth trying.
  • Don’t settle for the first vendor you meet. Instead, keep on looking around well ahead of time so you can compare prices and get the best offer. Don’t forget to get other brides’ opinions too.
  • Sometimes, the location of your wedding and where you buy stuff for you wedding affect your expenses. You may consider a destination wedding. In the third-world countries, for example, you can have a grand, lavish wedding for less than $5,000.
  • Check out certain newspapers that have discount coupons you can use when purchasing at craft stores.
  • Visit your local dollar store and see what items you need that they have and that you can buy in bulk, therefore, at a much cheaper price.
  • Another good place to look around are those garage sales. You may find almost new items at very cheap prices, such as table linens, vases, eating/serving utensils, jewelry, and, if you’re in luck, even left-over craft materials, such as beads, ribbons, etc., that you can use for your favors, decorations and other accessories.
  • Remember your friends who had their own weddings recently. They may have purchased stuff for their weddings that you might need for yours. Use the “something borrowed” excuse.

Bridal Attire

  • Do you have a family member/relative or good friend who has good sewing skills? Maybe you can ask that person to do your dress. Or if you have good sewing skills, the better! Wedding gowns are VERY expensive, but beautiful white fabrics aren’t.
  • Observe the “something old” tradition. It can be your mom’s wedding dress or shoes or jewelry, so you don’t have to spend on either of that.
  • If you want a ballgown type, use nice and tasteful fabrics only on the outer layer of the gown. You can have your petticoats in a lot cheaper fabrics and nobody would care.
  • Make your gown as simple as can be to cut on fabric costs too.
  • If good sewing skills are nowhere to be found among the people you know, then you simply have no choice but to go shopping. If you shop early, you may be able to find a nice white dress during mall sales. Bear in mind that a white dress is less expensive than a wedding gown. They usually place a more expensive price on a wedding gown just because it is classified as a wedding gown and not just a white dress.
  • If you have to buy a gown, check Ebay, thrift stores and second-hand stores. Nobody will know the actual cost of your gown, as long as it’s clean and well-pressed and you carry it as though it is from Vera Wang.
  • Another option is to rent a bridal gown from a bridal shop. You’ll wear it only once anyway.

Hair and Makeup

  • Have your hair and makeup done by a family or friend who’s good at it.
  • If you are good at doing your own hair and makeup, then do it yourself.
  • Months before, look for a hairstyle that you want. Practice doing it so when the big day comes, you can do it yourself.
  • If you want to do it yourself but don’t want to be too stressed on your wedding day, choose a hairstyle that is very simple and not require you any special skill to do it.
  • Instead of buying a new one for yourself, borrow a nice, bridal-looking barrette, tiara or hair comb from a family or friend. There can be someone you know who have recently bought and used a nice hair accessory to another wedding, prom or formal special event. You can always use the “something borrowed” reason.


  • Sign up for a free wedding website. Then put all other necessary information about your wedding in there, like directions, list of wedding party members, menu, registry, etc. Then all you need to send out is a simple invitation card for politeness’ sake and none of those other things. You can just add a note where they can find your wedding website. This will help you save a lot on paper and printing.
  • If you have a computer, make your own invites. There are some websites that have wedding invitation templates that you can use, just in case you are not a very artistic and talented person in making invitations.
  • There are also DIY invitation kits sold in malls that are quite good and inexpensive.

Reception Venue

  • Have your reception in your backyard, or the backyard or house of a family or close friend, so you don’t have to pay extra for reception venue.
  • Some public places can be possible reception venues, such as a local park, clubhouse, or pavilion, and if not free, they would charge only a very minimal fee.
  • If you’re getting married in a church that has a fellowship hall in the same compound, that’s a very good place to have your reception also. If not, the church may have a wide backyard or garden. Take advantage of those things.


  • If you have family or friends who have amazing culinary specialties, you may request them to donate a dish of their expertise for the reception. It can help decrease your food expenses.
  • Wedding cakes are also expensive. If you can bake it yourself or get your mom, relative or friends to do it, the better.
  • Your wedding cake can be your dessert at the reception.
  • If you have to buy the cake, get it at the grocery’s bakery section. They sell it cheaper than regular bakeries do.
  • Check your backyard for something you can harvest and possibly turn into a dish. You might have lettuce and tomatoes that you can turn into Caesar’s salad. Or apples you can turn into apple pies.
  • Have a potluck buffet.
  • Make enough gluten that you can use as meat extenders in your meat dishes. Flour, the main ingredient of gluten, is a so much cheaper than additional amounts of meat.
  • Have a mid-morning or mid-afternoon reception. In this way, you’ll only have to serve lighter refreshments, such as cakes and punch, and not main meals.
  • Alcohol is not a necessity at a wedding reception. You don’t have to serve wine to everybody.


  • Use natural decorations, such as potted plants from your garden, if the wedding would be indoors.
  • Check those Christmas decors you have stored in the attic. There might be some stuff there that you can use as decors, instead of buying new ones. Christmas lights, for example, can make the venue look a little more dramatic.
  • If you can have your wedding around the Christmas season, you might even not need to decorate anymore, as lots of Christmas decorations are already present.
  • Keep the decorations simple but tasteful.
  • Get your wedding party to DIY the decorations a week before the wedding so you will not have to spend extra on service fee.
  • Choose a wedding theme that can help cut costs on your wedding expenses. For example, you can have a picnic style reception where you’ll have blankets or table clothes on the grass, without tables and chairs. Then you won’t have to rent tables and chairs. A country/barbecue style wedding is also an inexpensive wedding theme.
  • Instead of buying or renting vases for flower arrangements/centerpieces, you can collect clear empty bottles from sandwich spreads and tie a lovely ribbon around each clean bottle.


  • If you are planning to buy your flowers, bear in mind that artificial flowers are cheaper than real ones.
  • If you have a garden with beautiful flowers in it, you can hand pick some so you don’t have to buy. If you don’t have a garden, check if you have a relative or friend who has and would be wiling to give you some flowers for your wedding bouquet, etc.
  • Grow your own flowers. You will have to check your calendar in doing this, to make sure the flowers will be ready a day or so before your wedding day.
  • If you plan to have your reception in your backyard, plant flowering shrubs months ahead, if you don’t have flowering plants in your backyard. By the time your wedding day comes, they will be in bloom and you will have live, growing flowers as natural decorations. You won’t have to worry about buying flowers for decorating the place.
  • If planting a flowering plant is impossible, instead of having complicated and expensive flower arrangements as bouquets, you can have a single flower tied with a pretty ribbon to hold as your bouquet. Many weddings have had single flower bouquets and have looked elegant and stylish as well.


  • Potted plants or tiny flower arrangements as wedding favors can double as table centerpieces. If you prefer a different wedding favor, choose something that can double as table centerpiece so you don’t have to spend extra.
  • Sugar almonds are among the cheapest wedding favors. You can pack five sugar almonds in each organza bag as your bonbonnieres.
  • You can compose a nice poem, a small recipe collection, or a list of nice inspirational thoughts that you like. Print them in nice, inexpensive paper and you can give them away as favors.
  • Check out the dollar stores. They have many cheap items that can turn out to be really nice favors.
  • Plant seeds, packed in small nice paper bags, are also popular cheap wedding favors.
  • In your computer, layout a nice cute bookmark with the couple’s picture, date and venue of the wedding, a simple nice inspirational quote and words of thanks. You can even personalize them by adding the name of each guest to whom you are going to give it. Print them on your printer on nice board papers. You can give them away as favors and they’re guaranteed to cost a very small amount.
  • If your budget simply cannot accommodate even the cheapest favors, you can even do without them. Wedding favors are optional and not compulsory at all.


  • Record your choice songs on an Ipod, MP3 player or a CD so you don’t have to hire a band.
  • You may have a good friend who has wonderful hosting skills. Then you won’t need to hire a wedding host.
  • Check who among your family/friends/guests has nice musical talents. That can serve as your entertainment at the reception. Then you won’t have to pay for talent fees.
  • If you should have some games at your reception, try to have some which don’t require so much props. Give away very simple, inexpensive gifts, like a framed picture of the newly wed couple complete with autographs of the bride and groom.


  • Choose venues (for wedding ceremony and reception) that are close to each other, or if possible, have both at one venue to save on transportation expenses.
  • You don’t have to rent a limousine to bring you to your wedding venue on your wedding day. Someone you know may have a nice white car you can decorate with flowers and ribbons that will serve as your bridal car. Someone who cares would be glad to be your driver for the day, then you won’t have to hire a chauffeur.


  • Almost everyone has a digital camera nowadays, so ask your family and friends to be your photographers/ videographers at your wedding. Have them download the pictures in their computers and email them to you, to save on printing. Later on, you can print only the ones you really like. You can also have your online album for all your guests to enjoy.
  • If you really want artistic photography but can’t afford it, maybe you can ask a friend or family to self-study artistic photography a few months ahead. They can practice that skill in other events or everyday life, so that when your big day comes, they’ll be almost as good as a professional photographer.