Wedding expenses can really add up, so what’s the secret to being a budget savvy bride? Where should you put your budget? Where should you cut costs?
The average wedding in the US costs $33,391 according to a study by The Knot, not including the engagement ring.
You can plan your perfect day without breaking the bank.
There are easy ways to save money on your wedding decor, venue, and more!
The cost of a wedding can vary widely depending on how many guests you invite, where you live, the time of year, and whether you’re doing a local or destination wedding.
The Knot says that while wedding guest counts have decreased, the amount being spent per guest has increased. “Couples aim to create the ultimate guest experience with photo booths, sparklers, selfie stations, games, musical performances, wine and liquor tastings, magicians and more.”
Here are some easy ways to be a more budget savvy bride!
How to Eliminate One of the Largest Wedding Expenses
The average couple spends $15,163 on their venue, and high-spenders fall closer to $42,801.
Besides catering, paying for a wedding venue is where brides spend most of their budget. Designated wedding venues can book months, or even a year in advance, and often come with a hefty price tag.
Many wedding venues require brides to use their catering services in order to book the venue, which are often overpriced and mean even more of the couple’s budget is absorbed.
The great news is, there are many ways to cut your wedding venue expenses down by thousands of dollars!
FIND A LOCAL CHURCH OR RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION
Many churches and religious organizations are happy to rent their building to brides even though they may not advertise it. With hundreds of different churches in most cities, depending on your wedding style, you can usually find a religious building that would fit your theme—modern, traditional, and more!
The best part is, churches typically charge a fraction of what traditional wedding venues charge!
USE A FRIEND OR FAMILY’S PROPERTY
It doesn’t get cheaper than free! If a friend or family member has land that would make a nice setting for an outdoor wedding, reach out and ask if they might be willing to let you use the space for your wedding.
Not only can it make for a gorgeous outdoor wedding, and even feel more special, but it can free up anywhere from $5,000-45,000 in your wedding budget!
Why not ask friends and family on social media if they know of a great, affordable venue you could use for your big day?
LOOK FOR VENUES THAT AREN’T IN THE “WEDDING” MARKET
The label “wedding” is expensive—when it’s put on things, the label alone instantly adds to the price. If flowers are wedding flowers, they cost more than regular flowers. If a venue is specifically advertised as a wedding venue, it typically costs more.
Look for venue options that aren’t marketing for weddings. Most venues are happy and able to accommodate wedding events if you ask!
How to Save Money on Wedding Dresses, Suits, and Bridesmaid Dresses
Most brides spend between $280 and $1,650 on their wedding dress according to WeddingWire.
The average bridesmaid spends $150 on a bridesmaid dress.
Wedding attire can easily consume $3,000 of your wedding budget or more! There are a lot of easy ways to cut costs when it comes to buying the perfect wedding dress, bridesmaid dress, groomsmen attire, and the groom’s suit!
THE WEDDING DRESS
Here are some budget savvy bride tips to help you get the most bang for your buck when it comes to purchasing your wedding dress:
Choose a dress that doesn’t need alterations.
Did you know Amazon sells wedding dresses? They start as low as $34 and come in a lot of the styles brides know and love!
Buy a lightly used wedding dress online or at a local boutique.
Order early to avoid rush fees.
Buy your veil lightly used or through a discount store to cut costs.
Don’t buy your accessories from a wedding dress store.
BRIDESMAID DRESSES AND SUITS
Although groomsmen and bridesmaids traditionally pay for their own wedding attire, it’s a nice gesture to think about their budget when choosing what they are going to wear for the big day.
You can browse the big wedding chains for ideas on style and color, but we recommend when it comes time to make the purchase, find a similar option online that’s more affordable. Be sure to build in enough time to see the fit and quality in case you need to make a return or exchange.
Amazon has stylish bridesmaid dresses available for as low as $28!
A Sweet Way to Save Money on Catering
The average wedding spends $70 per wedding guest on catering. High-spenders average $154 per person.
Catering is often one of the most expensive aspects of hosting a wedding, but here are some budget savvy bride tips to help you meet your budget!
HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR WEDDING CAKE
Wedding cakes can range from $600-$1,000. If you’re a bride on a budget, consider buying a sheet cake from a local grocery store and pre-plating it so it looks a little fancier, or choose an alternative sweet.
Cupcakes, cake pops, and donuts have all become recent bride favorites for a reason!
If you know a friend or relative who is good at baking, reach out and ask if they would be willing to make your cake. They might be willing to do it for free as a wedding gift, but even if you have to pay, the price will almost certainly come out as cheaper than traditional wedding cakes.
SCHEDULE YOUR WEDDING IN BETWEEN MEAL TIMES
An easy way to drastically cut on catering costs is to schedule your wedding in between meals and simply offer hor d’oeuvres. Popular times for this are in the morning, and around 3 p.m.
Most guests will expect something to eat, so be sure to stock up on enough hor d’oeuvres and let your guests know in advance that is what will be served so they can plan accordingly.