Cutting Corners

One of the questions I hear asked the most when it comes to planning a wedding is “how can we cut costs?”. I am all about getting the hard conversations out of the way and talking numbers. Determining your budget for your wedding is priority number one when it comes to effective planning. First, look at your savings and determine how much you and your soon-to-be spouse can afford to put toward your wedding – every single aspect of it. If appropriate, talk to your respective parents about what, if anything, they’d be willing to pay for. The sum of these figures should be your absolute maximum.

You should also build in a buffer for last-minute or unknown expenses, (think: additional tables, guest showing that didn’t RSVP, and staff tips) . In a catered facility, exact drink costs will be a wildcard as well – Depending on the extent of these unknowns, your buffer could range from 5% to 30% of your budget, so keeping that in mind while having those not-as-fun money talks is a good idea

Okay. You have made your budget, you’ve looked at where you want to spend your money and what vendors are the most important for you to splurge on. Now lets talk about some ways where I have personally seen couples get creative to save some of their hard earned cash and spend money where it counts.


Flowers are expensive, and that is no secret. If you decide on a color scheme for your wedding, you can reduce your floral budget by relying on seasonal, locally available flowers to match it. Though costly tropical flowers like orchids might look stunning, avoid them or get creative in how they are used. One of my favorite ideas was a couple that used GORGEOUS orchids in pots (typically 20/each at a local market) as centerpieces in a garden setting to avoid costly arrangements and still display the bride’s favorite flower.

In addition to using seasonals, you can save money on your wedding’s flowers by doing the following:

  1. Use colorful natives to achieve an eye-catching effect with fewer flowers
  2. Supply your own vases
  3. Use flowers from your own garden (or your friends’ gardens)
  4. Opt for only greenery- a chic option that I have seen utilized more and more frequently in recent years.


Envelopes, stamps, programs all add up. You can send electronic invitations for free with Joy, a wedding website that also lets you manage your guest list (including those tricky plus-ones) and track RSVPs. .Emailing your save-the-date reminders will still help you save on stationery and postage. You can significantly reduce paper waste and save money by asking guests to RSVP online. A typical wedding website costs just $20 to set up and maintain for a year, so if your guests are tech-savvy, definitely go this route. For older guests who might not have Internet access, have your parents or maid of honor accept RSVPs by phone. Going fully paperless not quite your style? Wedding invitations are easy to do-it-yourself. Tap a design-savvy friend or buy a downloadable template on a site such as Etsy.




Not all wedding dates are created equal. If there’s more demand for a given date, there is a good chance that you will pay a higher price for a venue. You could score a discount for choosing a less popular month, such as January or February. Saturday hands down the most popular day for weddings, but it’s also generally the most expensive day to get married. You can likely reserve your venue at a lower price if you hold your wedding on Sunday thru Thursday.


Quick tips for whittling your guest list: Make it an adults-only fete and tell mom that no, she isn’t inviting her coworkers  (making cuts categorically is less likely to cause rifts); and when it comes to couples, invite spouses, fiancés, and live-ins only. Keep the numbers down for your wedding party as well: Fewer attendants means less money spent on bouquets, boutonnières, presents, and transportation to and from the ceremony to the reception.


If you’re trying to trim your budget, favors are an easy thing to eliminate that guests are not likely to notice, let alone miss. The cost of these trinkets and treats can really add up, especially with larger guest lists.

Do you have any tips or thoughts on keeping your wedding budget on track? I would love to hear them!

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