Skip to content

​9 Ways to Trim Your Wedding Costs

A destination wedding is a big event, but it doesn't have to be a staggeringly big expense. If you are working within a specific wedding budget, consider these 9 cost saving strategies:

1. Choose any day but Saturday. Instead of centering your festivities around a Saturday ceremony, plan for a Sunday afternoon, a Friday evening, or even give everyone an extended weekend by selecting a weekday ceremony. If you set your date far in advance, most of your guests can still make their travel plans. And by avoiding the wedding industry's busiest day, you can save significantly on the venue, the food and entertainment, and most other services.

2. Start shopping early. The farther ahead you shop for all your wedding needs and services, from gowns to gift bags, the more opportunity you have to find sales, and to lock down lower vendor prices. Plus, having a lot of time to shop helps you learn what's offered and what's a fair price for the many services and elements you want.

3. Make a deal. If you really like a vendor, but want to spend less than they are asking, see if you can negotiate a better price. If you are polite in your request, explain why you are asking, and respect their position, you can often negotiate a bargain that will leave both you and the vendor happy with your arrangement.

4. Have your wedding and reception at the same spot. This is easy enough at many wedding destinations. And you'll save not only the expense of hiring 2 locations, but also the cost of paying all your wedding vendors to travel from one location to the next, not to mention the cost of transporting your wedding party and important family members. An added benefit – no worries about guests getting lost along the way!

5. Revise your flower expectations. Rather than paying for a lot of expensive and fragile exotics in your bouquets and floral arrangements, ask about flowers that are in season and local; they will usually be much more affordable. You can trim even more by using greens as well as flowers to fill out the arrangements.

6. Craft the drink menu. Instead of an open bar, consider offering a specific selection of beverages that match the menu and the venue: perhaps a brand of beer on draft, plus a brand of wine or champagne, plus a signature cocktail.

7. Skip the big sit down dinner. Schedule your ceremony and reception at a time of day when guests don't expect a meal. Heavy hors d'oeuvres and a dessert buffet will keep everyone happy when they're not dancing. Alternatively, if your wedding theme is already informal, ask your venue or caterer whether they can do a lower cost, less formal meal such as a pig roast or a barbecue.

8. Keep track of the small expenses. You may think it's no big deal to pay an extra dollar or two per plate for an extra flourish on the tables, or to pay a delivery charge to have the florist deliver all the centerpieces to your venue. But if you keep adding on those "no big deal" charges, the overall cost of your wedding will soar. Read the fine print on all your vendor agreements to screen out extra charges. And whenever a vendor offers you services you haven't asked for, be sure to ask right up front what the charge is for that extra service.

9. Be careful with do-it-yourself budget wedding projects. Yes, the internet offers hundreds of DIY ideas for saving money on your wedding. But don't go overboard, especially for a destination wedding. The last thing you want to be doing the day before you leave is rushing around trying to finish those DIY projects. Save the DIY efforts for wedding elements you can complete well in advance, and that you know you will enjoy doing yourself.

The more you plan ahead and manage the expenses of your wedding, the more you will be able to enjoy the day, without worrying that you've broken the bank.

Don Fuchs July 28, 2015 Wedding planning tips