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Want to save money on your wedding?
Of course you do! Who doesn’t?
Even if the sky is the limit for your wedding budget, you still don’t want to needlessly overspend in places where you can save.
If you want affordable, not cheap wedding ideas, tips, and ways to save big, you’re in the right place. Today we’re outlining our favorite, tried-and-true ways to save on cheap wedding ideas that guests won’t notice since they’re affordable but they won’t look discount at all. Enjoy!
Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
1. Put your priorities first on the list.
As we mentioned in our podcast on wedding budgets, your largest percentage will always go towards your venue and food + bar first, since those are essentials and important to spend well on (good food = a must).
Now, here’s where the saving money part comes in: put your budget towards the things you really care about next, and spend a little less on the rest. For instance, pick a band instead of a dj, but spend less on wedding favors. Or choose one less entree and a smaller wedding cake, but add a photo booth setup.
2. Cut your guest list without guilt.
The biggest way to plan a budget wedding is to invite less guests. The more you invite, the larger your costs are; by cutting the guest list, you can eliminate extra costs and stay on track. We go in depth about your guest list and how to cut it easily here.
3. Go cheap on wedding favors.
Do guests expect a wedding favor? Yes. Is it essential? Traditionally, yes. But do they keep the favor forever? Probably not. That’s why edible wedding favors are so popular: they’re relatively cheap wedding ideas and guests eat them. That’s it! No having to hold on to your favors out of obligation for years. And you won’t spend a ton of money on them. We’ve made a huge list of cheap wedding favors to save money on your wedding.
These are UNDER $2 each!
And these are one of the best tips for affordable wedding favors: UNDER $0.53 each!
4. Keep your wedding flowers simple.
Opt for traditional, in-season flowers to save money. Move your ceremony flowers to the reception to reuse them as head table or cake table decorations. Buy smaller bouquets for bridesmaids or go easy on the bridal bouquet in terms of size. Buy your flowers wholesale, or make your own centerpieces. These are all cheap wedding ideas your guests won’t notice at all, yet you’ll see the difference in your budget!
In addition, don’t overbuy on flowers: know what flowers you’ll really need with our wedding flowers checklist.
5. Choose personal bridal party gifts.
Give your bridal party gifts with meaning rather than focusing on extravagance. A gift to say thank you is essential, but spending a ton of money isn’t a requirement. The gift should thank them properly (we’re not saying go cheap on gifts, but rather find personalized gifts with meaning) and something they’ll enjoy for along time. Instead of filling a giant bag with tons of gifts per person, for instance, just pick one or two things to give to each attendant that will mean a lot. Check out our lists of curated groomsmen gifts and bridesmaid gifts for some ideas.
For even cheaper gift options, try 14 Cheap Groomsmen Gifts Under $20 and 20 Most Unique Bridesmaid Necklaces Under $20, as well as these cheap bridesmaid robes + cheap bridesmaid pashminas, popular gift ideas. If you have groomsmen that don’t drink, we made this awesome list of 25 Best Non-Alcohol Groomsmen Gifts.
6. Ask bridesmaids and groomsmen without giving a gift.
In addition, did you know you can ASK bridesmaids and groomsmen to be in your wedding, without a formal “proposal” gift? :) It’s true. And turns out, it’s free and just as memorable. It’s one of my favorite cheap wedding ideas because you’re already giving gifts as a thank you, you don’t necessarily have to give gifts twice.
7. Try cheaper wedding invitations.
You can see suggestions for where to buy cheap invitations; in addition, try things like printable wedding invitations to save. Some couples go the route of email wedding invitations (it’s true). Others are opting for emailed save-the-dates (also true). If stationery is wreaking havoc on your budget, those things will keep it in check.
8. Make a free monogram.
If you’re trying to make the details in your wedding cohesive, a wedding monogram can help. You can use your monogram on stationery items like table numbers, programs, or favor tags. You can create a free monogram for your wedding here.
9. Skip the top-shelf liquor.
You’ll save money by cheaper options and most guests won’t even notice the difference. And if a guest wants a top-shelf item, he or she can order it from the bar and pay cash. In addition, you can serve just beer and wine instead, resulting in even more cost savings.
10. Skip the champagne toast.
Did you know you can make the champagne toast solely for the bride and groom, the entire head table, or for the ENTIRE wedding reception? And yet, guests can just as easily toast to your wedding with a drink of any kind, not specifically champagne? If you want the easiest of the cheap wedding ideas, skip the venue’s champagne toast for the entire wedding guest list. Instead, just have it for you and your spouse or the head table. It’s no biggie, honestly.
11. Use a coupon when possible at craft stores.
If you go to Hobby Lobby to buy some wedding decorations, ALWAYS check the weekly ad and see what’s on sale. If the item is not currently on sale, you can ALWAYS get 40% off of that item with a coupon from their website. You don’t need to cut it out, simply download it to your phone and show it to the cashier when you’re checking out.
I never shop at Hobby Lobby without a coupon (get the coupon here!), and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I’ve bought sconces and farmhouse-style artwork and would never pay full price! :) The coupon also works online and sometimes they offer free shipping! You can shop here.
12. Buy cheap bridesmaid dresses + wedding gown.
The key here: not cheap in quality, cheap in price. Have bridesmaids choose any formal dress from a store in a particular color (navy or black is really easy to do for this, as there is always a perfect color match). Or, choose these bridesmaid dresses UNDER $50, which can be worn a variety of ways. Convertible dresses like these are very popular right now because bridesmaids save money and can re-wear the dress. Win-win.
Now, your wedding gown: it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money to rock the heck out of it! ;) Check out the following for inspiration: 12 Most Beautiful Wedding Dresses Under $500, 14 Cheap Wedding Dresses Under $100, and 30 Best Wedding Dresses on Etsy Under $800. You’d be surprised at the custom dresses you can find and buy online… one of the best tips for an affordable wedding.
13. Rent groomsmen tuxedos or suits at the same time.
If you rent the tuxes or suits all in one group, you almost always can score a huge discount, as well as the groom’s rental for FREE. You can usually do this at David’s Bridal in their menswear section.
14. Pick inexpensive wedding rings.
You can spend a TON of money on a wedding band or choose a cheaper option and still find a ring you absolutely love. It’s up to you, since you’ll be wearing it.
For traditional wedding rings, we recommend finding them on Etsy, since you are buying directly from the maker and can usually get a really awesome deal. Plus, no two are exactly the same, you’re supporting small business, and you’re getting a really beautiful ring.
15. Choose a smaller wedding cake + add sheet cake.
A smaller wedding cake with fewer tiers and frills costs significantly less. How will you have enough cake for guests? Simple — have your baker make a sheet cake kept in the back! No one knows the difference, honestly, but your budget certainly will. And cake is still cake… it all tastes the same!
Another sneaky way to save? Use a fake cake to display — and sheet cake cut for guests. These fake cakes are beautiful and no one will even know it’s not real.
Plus, once you add your own wedding cake topper, you’ll personalize it + make it your own!
See? These affordable not cheap wedding ideas will make a big difference when figuring out your final budget. If you have any suggestions to add, let us know in the comment box below!