Wedding Planning 101: Ways to Cut Wedding Costs

Wedding budgets are intimidating, I won’t lie to you. When you make a list of how much things are going to cost versus how much you’ve allotted, it can be upsetting. Pinterest has kind of ruined the wedding industry because it makes us girls believe we can have a Vera Wang gown and an explosion of seeded eucalyptus and peonies, with no price tag attached. However, have no fear! There are ways to cut wedding costs and still have your dream wedding!

Wedding inspiration on Pinterest website

In the beginning, it’s important to prioritize three things you wouldn’t mind splurging on. For me, it was photography, videography, and invitations (and of course, Froufrou Chic silk ribbon for my bouquet). My personal advice: I think photography should be on the top of everyone’s list simply because when the day is over and done, the only tangible memories you have left are the pictures. We got our wedding photos back two weeks ago and still pull up the link every day to browse through them. However, you know yourself better than I do, so if you know you really don’t care about the pictures, add something else to the list. Maybe the food is really important to you, or a beautiful, detailed 5-tier cake or a bouquet overflowing with peonies. The only person who can decide that for yourself is you!

Okay, now I’m going to tell you something no bride wants to hear but needs to. By the way, I help plan weddings on a daily basis, but I never fully understood this concept until I was a bride myself. You cannot have the high-end wedding you’re dreaming of on a $10,000 budget and expect to have 400 of your closest friends attend. Weddings, unfortunately, do not work that way. Think about it: inviting one more guest is ordering one more invitation suite (not to mention the $6 per envelope calligraphy which is all-too popular these days), one more chair (which leads to more tables and floral arrangements), one more plate of food, one more piece of cake, one more wedding favor, etc. On average, you’re paying $100 for each guest to show at your wedding, so let’s do the math. If you only cut 10 people off your list and your groom does the same, you’re saving approximately $2000. So, let’s prioritize again and think about who we really want to attend. Ask yourself: when is the last time I had an actual conversation with this person? Do I know their boyfriend/girlfriend well enough to give them a plus one? Does this person have a clue as to what’s going on in my life? Where do I see our relationship in five years? You’ll be able to start narrowing it down as you answer these questions.

Wedding in a field with guests

Ben Finch Photography

Friends at a wedding having fun

Ben Finch Photography

Honestly, creating a realistic guest list was the hardest part for Corey and I. Of course we both wanted ALL of our friends and family to come, but our budget had other plans… Be patient with each other throughout the process! Your fiancé might not understand when you first tell him, “Babe, you have [#] of people you can invite,” because guys typically don’t understand any of the wedding planning process, but with lots of thought and patience, you’ll be able to create your perfect guest list.

A few other ways to cut costs:

• Timing is everything! Think about having your wedding on an off-day, like a Friday or Sunday. You might be surprised at how much vendors will discount their services for non-Saturday events, which is why Corey and I decided to have a Sunday wedding.

• Skip the plated meal and add food buffets to your ‘must-have’ list. Plated meals require more servers, which adds to your catering costs.

• Only about 75% of your guests will eat the cake, so no need to buy the 4-tier cake for your 150 guest count. A way we cut the cost of cake was to have family and friends bake their favorite cake recipes.


Have other ideas? Leave a comment and let us know how you’re cutting your wedding costs!


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