Venue & Ceremony
Costs add up, whether they’re a large expense like a reception hall, or a small one like a ring bearer’s pillow. No matter what the size, you can keep them from getting out of control by using these tips.
Have a friend officiate: If you’re not getting married in a church, doing this can save you the cost of hiring someone to marry you.
Ring bearers and flower girls optional: It’s not necessary to have a ring bearer and flower girl, especially if you’re not inviting children to your wedding. You’ll save the cost of a pillow, basket and flower petals.
Get married in a garden: With a garden as your venue, you may be able to save on rental costs. You’ll also be able to spend less on decorations, as the garden should provide a naturally beautiful backdrop.
Get married in someone’s backyard: Bring your rental costs down to zero by borrowing a friend or family member’s backyard for the day.
Have everything at one site: Have your ceremony and reception at the same place to save on rental fees, transportation, d’cor and other costs.
Reserve a spot at a state or national park: Take advantage of the great outdoors for a cheap, picturesque venue.
Rent a private room at a restaurant: Private restaurant rooms tend to be cheaper than hotel ballrooms as well as more intimate.
Get married at your college chapel: College chapels are generally more affordable than traditional ones. You may even be able to take advantage of an alumni discount.
For most couples, food is their biggest wedding expense. You want to serve something your guests can enjoy, but it’s not necessary to go broke doing so. These are a few ways to provide great food without spending a lot of money.
Buy and cook your own food: If you’re doing a backyard wedding or celebrating in a non-traditional venue, you may be able to bring in your own food. Buy in bulk and make preparation a fun, family affair.
Forget dessert, just serve wedding cake: Some caterers will add a dessert course to your reception menu, but when you’re serving wedding cake, it’s just not necessary.
Buffet to save on waitstaff: Save on labor costs by letting guests serve themselves.
Rent dinner plates: You don’t have to go out and buy plates for your wedding or even use the ones provided by your vendor. Shop around to see if you can get a better deal by renting.
Serve a single-plate meal: If you’re serving something substantial, your guests can do without multiple courses. Keep it simple with a single-plate meal of protein, starch and vegetable, plus cake.
Serve seasonal, local food: Like flowers, food tends to be cheaper if it doesn’t have to be flown in or extensively preserved.
Select a venue that lets you bring in your own catering and alcohol: A separate caterer may be able to give you a better deal than what’s offered at the venue.
Have a potluck: If you’re having a casual family wedding, ask everyone to bring their favorite dish.
Enlist the help of the ladies’ auxiliary: Couples who have their reception at a church can save money by hiring the church’s women’s group. They can provide good food at a great price, often at cost plus a reasonable donation.
Go appetizer-only: At an early afternoon wedding, your guests won’t expect a full meal. Serve tasty hors d’oeuvres and save money.