15 Ways to Save Big on Your Dream Wedding

Here are 15 ways to avoid starting your "happily ever after" in a sea of debt.

8. Keep your flowers in season


Just as fruits and vegetables have seasons, so do flowers. For the cheapest arrangements and the freshest buds, let the time of year guide your floral decisions.

That may mean tulips or irises in the spring, while June brides may be better off with roses and peonies. Choices may be more limited in the fall and winter months, but sunflowers, lilies and orchids may all be good options.

In addition, you can buy your flowers wholesale and make your own arrangements to save even more money.

9. Buy a used dress


I know — you’re wondering how I could even suggest this. But a wedding dress is a major expense — the average bride spent more than $1,469 in 2015, according to The Knot.

You can save 50 percent or more by buying a used dress. Your local bridal boutique may have a consignment section or you can shop online at websites like Nearly Newlywed, PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com and Once Wed.

For more ideas on how to save, check out our other tips to save on your dream dress.

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10. Have a Friday or Sunday wedding


Saturday is prime time for weddings, but you may save a lot of money if you buck the trend. Hold your grand affair on a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon, and you may find that vendors charge significantly less.

11. Look for cheap venues


The best venue for your wedding isn’t necessarily the nearby resort. Here’s a list of 10 cheaper and better wedding locales.

If the reception will be elsewhere, find a location that offers a discount. For example, if you belong to a church, you may be able to use the parish hall for little or no money.

Likewise, if a family member belongs to a union or fraternal organization, he or she may have access to an inexpensive hall.

These halls may be of the “plain Jane” variety, but you don’t need a fancy room to have a good time.

12. Rethink your reception food


Food can be one of your biggest expenses. Rather than a traditional sit-down, plated meal, investigate other options that may be cheaper.

  • Dinner served family style
  • Appetizers and cocktails after a Friday night wedding
  • Brunch for a Sunday wedding

13. Rein in the open bar


Having an open bar will leave you with a huge tab at the end of the night. However, if the thought of a cash bar seems tacky, find a happy medium.

Offer the open bar but keep it stocked with limited choices. It’s your wedding, and there’s no need to provide your guests with every form of liquor known to man. Consult with the bartender to find what’s most popular, but offering a red wine, a white wine and a couple of varieties of beer may be plenty.

Another way to rein in your alcohol costs may be to buy your own beer and wine at a wholesale club such as Costco. Then, at the end of the evening, you can return anything that is unopened.

14. Serve sheet cake

barbara & frank's wedding

The Knot says that in 2015, couples spent an average of $575 for their wedding cake — a cake, I might add, that many guests probably didn’t even eat.

Cut your cake costs by serving up sheet cake instead.

No, I’m not suggesting you have sheet cake on display. Pay for a small, beautifully decorated cake for you and your loved one to cut and share. Then, back in the kitchen, have a sheet cake cut up and put on plates at a serving station for guests to help themselves.

15. Have a fall or winter wedding


Finally, June may be the most popular wedding month, but fall and winter brides may save the most money.

By some estimates, you can save 20 percent to 30 percent by holding your nuptials between November and April, which is the wedding off-season. However, avoid Valentine’s Day, when prices may go back up.

How did you save on your wedding? Let us know in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save

Maryalene LaPonsie
Maryalene LaPonsie
After 13 years as a staffer for a Michigan legislator, I decided it was time to quit the commute and work from home instead. For the past three years, I’ve been penning ... More

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