1. Have an online RSVP option so you don’t have to buy stamps for RSVP cards. You can also forgo the card if you put the URL on the invite.
2. Skip favors. They are optional and many get left behind unless edible.
3. Marry off season or on a Friday.
4. Only book your photographer for 3 hours – enough time for formals, ceremony, and a few shots right after the ceremony. If you’re okay with foregoing professional photos of the first dance, cake cutting, etc, it is a great way to save.
5. Rent accessories and pre-wedding outfits. It’s much cheaper than buying and it’s not like you’re going to wear that cute white dress every Saturday after the wedding.
6. Don’t have a wedding party. No worrying about buying (and who pays for) matching clothes, matching hair, bridesmaids gifts, etc.
7. Wholefoods cake. Any grocery store. Then you have cupcakes or sheet cake in the back.
8. Instead of worrying about china, do disposable bamboo plates. They’re compostable.
9. Put your details on the back of your invitation instead of a separate details card.
10. When you’re looking at venues, try and find a venue that does stuff other than weddings. If it’s exclusively a wedding venue, then it tends to be more expensive. If they’re also getting revenue from other public events, then they tend not to need to jack the price up as much.
11. If your family lives close together, get family to distribute invites if you trust them.
12. Do brunch so you can afford a really nice caterer (eggs are much cheaper than meat!).
13. Set up saved searches on eBay for things you need – a lot of listings for ‘wedding fairy lights’ or bulk lots of lanterns for centerpieces etc get put up on there, often for very low starting bids.
14. DIY what you can when you can. There are a lot of great tutorials out there for everyone.
15. Create a small guest list.
16. Buy an evening dress instead of a wedding dress.
17. All inclusive venues are WAY less expensive than renting a venue and having multiple vendors for your reception.
18. Use bouquets to decorate.
19. Skip chair covers. Once everyone is sitting you can’t even see the chairs!
20. Skip hired transportation. Just drive or walk yourselves to where you have to be.
21. Reuse the alter as your head table backdrop.
22. Borrow chairs from a church.
23. Shop in thrift stores for decorations, vases, and frames.
24. Buy things instead of renting. You can sell it after.
25. Make a playlist for the ceremony, dinner, and party.
26. Do save the date magnets, but do business card size magnets vs postcard size. 1/3 the cost in Vistaprint.
27. Join wedding resale groups in your area. Full centerpieces and wedding decor are for sale all the time. Other brides just want to get rid of it and make a little cash.
28. Plan a potluck.
29. Haggle where appropriate. Small in the scheme of things, but $100 is $100.
30. Craft stores like Michaels often have huge sales.
31. Check Groupon frequently.
32. Tap into you/your family/your friends’ social capital and networks and think creatively/flexibly about things. This is not to say that you should look for ways to take advantage of people, but you might be surprised what kinds of help people who love you will graciously offer you.
33. Think about what is necessary versus what is trendy. Do you need twenty signs saying which side to sit on and bride and groom and it’s unplugged and this way to the dancing? No. People know where to sit. People know who you are. And your officiant can tell people to put their phone away during the ceremony.