It didn’t make sense to me to spend such a huge amount of money on a 5 hour wedding, so when my husband and I got married we decided to stick to a budget of $15,000. Saving on wedding costs was challenging but doable.
The wedding was amazing though, the food was delicious, and we had some amazing pictures. For half the price!
Nowadays a $30,000 wedding is considered the norm. Seriously, the national average for wedding costs is around $29,000!
The truth is that it doesn’t have to be so expensive!
Here are 10 ways I was able to cut our wedding cost in half, for the same quality:
1. Going low on the decor
My husband and I both love the show Game of Thrones, so we decided to have GoT styled wedding – because why not? We knew that to keep the cost down, we’d have to go low on the decor. Going crazy on the decor would add a huge amount to the cost but not add that much to the guest experience, so we decided to add what we could.
We used some magical elements such as the ceremony music, candelabras and antlers, and setting a custom Game of Thrones seating chart. We also chose to have a sundae bar instead of a traditional cake, which in turn saved us $150. We also borrowed some decor from the venue that other weddings had left behind, which made it look even more awesome! We also negotiated a bit on the referral price of the location, paying $700 less than normal. Win win!
Here’s a more detailed post on how we did our Game of Thrones styled wedding: Our $15,000 Game of Thrones Styled Wedding
2. Setting a food budget
Food is usually the largest cost when planning a wedding budget, and it normally comes up to more than $100 per person to serve food. After receiving several ridiculous offers for the catering, I decided to start searching on weddingbee boards and look through various threads for a lower cost wedding venue in the area where we wanted our wedding. We got lucky and heard through a venue coordinator that there was one caterer that was willing to produce food on a budget. We negotiated and eliminated some parts of the food. For example, eliminating the fresh fruit served with the dessert cut out $1.75 per person. Replacing one seafood appetizer with a different one eliminated another $1. By adjusting a few small things, we were able to get the price down to $7,000!
Another hack is using a good wedding planner with a budget planner. They make it easy to keep your spending in check and keep track of everything.
3. Buying flowers online
Instead of spending a ton of money on getting the right flowers delivered at the wedding, we hopped online and used FiftyFlowers – an online flower delivery service. In my wedding flower DIY tutorial I explain how I made the bouquets step by step. The flowers came out exactly how I wanted and were beautiful blush rose with extra greens. We bought wholesale flowers to avoid the premium added by florists, and ended up buying the Burgundy Blush DIY Wedding Flower Pack from FiftyFlowers in Medium. In total it cost me around $450 to buy the flowers and do my own bouquets and centerpieces. A huge budget win!
4. Printing on a budget
According to bride.com, a bride can end up paying hundred or even thousands of dollars for the wedding invitation suite. As you can imagine, someone on a budget is not willing to pay such a huge amount of money.
I got our Game of Thrones seating chart for literally $10 using Vistaprint. All I had to do was design the seating chart for free on Canva, and uploading a free GoT font that I found online and a free vector image of the Stark house emblem. You can also buy one on Etsy for a pretty affordable price; here’s a pretty cool one: Game of Thrones Seating Chart.
We also printed our invitations and Save the Dates on Vistaprint. For more details check out exactly how I saved so much money on invitations. I have seen some sales on vistaprint where you can literally save up to 40% on your order – great value for money!
5. Using discounts and coupons for tux rentals
My husband’s tux rental was around $130, and we used Mens Wearhouse. There were some deals that offered a rental plus you could pick out a $500 suit after the wedding for free. Just by signing up to their newsletters, I was able to find a huge amount of discounts.
Another great discount or coupon is entering contests! I took the time to enter wedding contests to help us find a photographer for our wedding – we didn’t want to spend thousands on photos. And we won! We won an 8 hour wedding photography and videography package – I still can’t believe it! So it’s definitely worth a try to enter the contests.
6. Transport: School bus!
I quick hack – instead of organising several shuttles from your guests to the destination, try renting a school bus instead. We made the mistake of hiring a shuttle thinking it would cost $400 – turns out it cost us closer to $1,000! If we had used a school bus we could have saved around $300, so consider renting one out!
7. Buying Moissanite instead of diamond
One of the best decisions my husband and I made was picking a moissanite stone instead of a diamond for my engagement ring. I learnt a few things on the road to saving money on our engagement ring; it’s cheaper if you buy under the carat mark (for example: .00 carat versus 1.0), you can save money by buying online and some styles are more expensive than others (stay away from the asscher cut!). You also always have the option of negotiating with the jeweler.
But the great thing about moissanite is that the higher rate of refraction and dispersion means that it’s actually more sparkly than diamond. So you can get a cheaper stone that actually looks nicer! Another recommendation would be not to buy moissanite at your jeweler – ours was charging $400 more for the same stone when we could get it online at Charles and Colvard. My husband surprised me by buying the stone and then proposed. For the entire story check out how we hacked our engagement ring.
8. Limit the guest list
Nice and simple, having fewer guests means lowering the overall cost of the wedding. This was pretty painful for our family, who wanted to invite more people. But we had to stay strong in order to keep our wedding within budget. In the end we invited 135 people and 95 attended. It was great because a lot of family and friends did travel to attend the wedding. Thanks to our budget, we didn’t stress as much when things went wrong – there was less pressure overall. We didn’t go into debt to pay for anything, and that helped a lot.
9. Asking for a lower price
One interesting thing I’ve learnt about wedding planning is that wedding vendors are basically salesmen when it comes to negotiating. I saved a couple hundred dollars simply by asking the vendor is they could lower the price. Try asking for a lower price – what’s the worst that could happen?
10. Keeping the wedding local and winter!
Probably the biggest hack of them all was keeping the wedding local and hosting it in the winter instead of summer. This was not only a cost saving for us, but also for our guests. If you do a destination wedding you not only have to pay for travel, but also the food and drink costs for the weekend accumulate. It helped us immensely to do our wedding in the winter – we figured that our favourite venue was $3,600 less expensive to rent out in the winter than in the summer! And we saved $1,200 just by having the wedding on a Friday night instead of a Saturday night. With just a few adjustments we were able to considerably reduce our wedding cost.
Those are 10 tips we used to reduce our wedding cost and stick to our $15,000 wedding budget – without sacrificing on quality. Our wedding ended up being amazing, our guests were happy and we had an overall a great time – especially knowing we had not splurged all our money on something that only lasted a few hours!
What are your favorite ways to cut wedding costs?