wedding rings

The 5 Worst Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding


Looking for places to cut some corners and save a few bucks on your wedding? We get it! Weddings are expensive. But if you cut the wrong corners, you could end up with disaster on your hands. Here are the things you should never skimp on when you’re looking for ways to cut down on your wedding expenses.

1. Have a Backyard Wedding

It might seem at first like that $10,000 price tag for a venue can easily be beat by simply having the wedding in a backyard, but once you do the math, you might think otherwise.  What will you need to import to make the backyard suitable for a large wedding?  Most likely you’ll need, at the very least, tents, and tables and chairs.  You’ll probably also need a restroom trailer, and unless you have a home with a catering kitchen, you’ll probably end up paying additional fees to the caterer.  By the time you add all that up, you may well be paying more than you would have for the venue (many of which include basic rentals like tables and chairs). 

Better way to save:

Look for an all-inclusive venue like Westfield’s Golf Club that includes items such as tables, chairs, and linens in the venue cost.

westfields golf club wedding reception
Westfield’s Golf Club – tables and chairs included. Photo by Beauty of the Soul.

2.  DIY the Décor.

We’ve seen some pretty great DIY décor, even florals, but consider the cost.  First, there’s the wholesale cost of whatever materials you need.  After that, you’ll need to spend precious time tying, gluing, cutting, and crafting, in addition to all the other things you’ll be trying to do before your wedding.  Finally, who will set all that up on the day of the wedding, and clean it up after?  Even when DIY saves you a few bucks, if you try to do too much you may find the cost is being able to enjoy your wedding day.

If you choose to DIY something, choose something that isn’t mission critical.  Good DIY projects are things you can enjoy working on together, like the personal photo board we featured in this Persimmon Lake Real Wedding, and which won’t be missed should you need to abandon ship.   

Better ways to save:

Keep the decor simple. Skip large floral centerpieces and go for greenery and candles instead. Use a venue that provides its own arch and other ceremony decor.

Greenery and bud vases in place of floral centerpieces. Photo by Lindsey Jane.

3.   Skimp on Food

Catering is one of the most expensive parts of a wedding, but on behalf of guests everywhere we urge you to please, please not cut costs by skimping the food.  Nothing will leave people miffed as much as going hungry at a wedding because there wasn’t enough food!  Poor quality food is also a no-no. 

Better way to save:

Consider one of the area’s popular food truck or budget caterers, such as Mission Barbeque or Fireside Pizza.

Fireside Pizza of Maryland will set up a pizza buffet for your guests. We’ve tried it and it’s delicious.

4.  Skimp on Important Vendors

What is really important to you?  Photographs and/or video?  Great music?  Make a list of the non-negotiables; the things you really need to be great.  Then get great vendors for those things.  Most of the time, you really do get what you pay for in the wedding industry.  Skimping on the photographer will make a notable difference in your photos, and the wrong DJ can absolutely ruin your vibe.  If it really matters to you and could ruin your day, then that is not the place to save. 

Better Ways to Save:

To make sure you get the best vendors for the important things, consider skipping the things you don’t really need and which won’t make a big impact. For example, skip wedding favors, which most guests leave behind. Cut down on paper goods by eliminating things like menu cards and programs. Don’t do a champagne toast. If a cake isn’t on your dream list, have the caterer make you a small display cake and bring sheet cakes for the rest.

Elegant Lollies created this gorgeous display cake for our disco-themed styled shoot.

5.  Skip the Planner

Yes, planners cost money, but that’s because planners are worth money.  A planner can help you maximize your budget in a way that might pay for itself and then some. They’ll also give you access to their tried and true vendor network, and make sure you get the best possible work for your money.  In our opinion, you can’t afford *not* to have a planner.

Better Ways to Save:

Ask your planner! They will make sure you get the most bang for the buck.

So How Can You Save Money on Your Wedding?

Start with your budget and design you wedding with the budget in mind.  Can you do without a wedding party and invite fewer guests?  In general, the smaller the wedding and wedding party, the less expensive.  Can you get married on a weekday, or a Sunday?  Venues tend to be considerably less expensive on off-peak days and times of year.  Also, take the time to look at what’s included in the venue rental.  Many include tables and chairs, which will save on rentals.  Others may include linens and tableware as well, a ceremony arch, and even décor.  These are all things you won’t need to pay for if they are included in the venue rental. 

Pinpoint what’s important to you and skip the rest.  If flowers aren’t a priority, then use a reliable budget florist like Rick’s Flowers, or a service like Something Borrowed, and stick to just the wearables and bouquets that you need.  Forego large arrangements for simple greenery on the tables. If you don’t care about photography, then get the smallest photography package you can find – get some great portraits, but forego the getting-ready photos.  Don’t need a giant cake?  Many caterers will provide you with a small, decorative cake to display, and then bring sheet cakes to serve.  Skip the small things that won’t enhance guest experience, like favors and champagne toasts.  Guests probably won’t even notice.  The best way to save is to spend only on the really impactful items, and skip or minimize the rest.