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Top 12 Money Saving Tips for your Wedding

Weddings are a special life event, and spending some money to create a memorable day is absolutely ok! But, we all have different needs, wants, and budgets that factor into creating our dream wedding. 

After years of helping couples curate wedding menus and services to fit their tastes and budget, we’ve picked up some money saving ideas along the way. Read on to discover our top 12 tips for saving money on your wedding (or event)! 

1. Start with prioritizing the things you really want

Prioritizing can be the most difficult part of the entire process so start here and get it out of the way! 

There are many methods you can use to prioritize the elements of your wedding so you can figure out where to save money. Here are a couple to consider.

Method 1 – A Comprehensive List:

If you’re a highly organized person who likes to consider every possibility, try making an exhaustive list of everything you want your wedding to include, from clothing and shoes to flowers, and signature cocktails. Then, go through the list and highlight the 5-10 things that are most important to you. Those are the items to devote a larger percent of your budget to. For everything else, you can choose lower priced vendors, items, DIY them, or cross them off the list entirely.

Method 2 – A “Must-Haves” Only List:

If the idea of thinking about every possibility is stressful, just create your top priorities list and don’t worry about the rest! Focus in on what really matters to you. You simply don’t have to have a DJ, wedding flowers, or a rehearsal dinner. Just because some people include these things, you don’t need to if they aren’t important to you.    Deciding what you really want before you start the process will make staying on budget and simply saying no to unnecessary expenses easier. 

No matter what method you use to set priorities, you can use our budget and vendor organization spreadsheet to get started on your needs, wants, and budget: Wedding Budget and Vendor Spreadsheet

2. Choose Off-Peak Months

Many venues and wedding vendors have off-peak pricing, and if you don’t feel strongly about the time of year that you get married, this can save you a lot of money.

Consider getting married in January, February, or March for the best off-peak deals.

Winter wedding couple

3. Choose Any Day Other Than Saturday

Saturday is still the most popular day for a wedding. However, if you give your guests enough notice, they can likely attend your wedding other days of the week. If you’re willing to get married on a weekday (Monday-Thursday), the savings can be substantial!

4. Limit the Bar to Beer & Wine

If you want alcohol at your reception, consider limiting the selection to beer, wine, and other non-alcoholic choices. Many bartenders have budget-friendly packages if they only have to serve beer and wine. You can save even more money by opting for self-serve drink stations and eliminating alcohol altogether.

5. Go paperless

Electronic invites don’t just save on paper waste, they are also potentially free! Plus more and more couples are choosing to go paperless for invites, save-the-dates, and replies, so you’ll be in good company.

6. Be Your Own DJ

At Upohar we’ve worked with numerous couples who have opted to completely eliminate the cost of musicians and a DJ. With inexpensive bluetooth speakers and tools like Spotify, we’ve seen couples curate their entire wedding music experience. Most guests know what to expect at weddings and having someone announce each and every part of the day isn’t always necessary. If this sounds like a great money-saving idea for you, check out this more in-depth article on How to DJ Your Own Wedding

7. Go with buffet, food truck or drop-off catering

Many affordable venues don’t include catering in their price, so you’ll need to book your own caterer. This happens to be something we know a little bit about! If you need full-service catering with staff and clean up, a buffet meal is usually more affordable than a plated meal. Buffets allow guests to pick what they really want, and eliminates the need for guests to pre-select their desired meal. 

Another affordable wedding catering option that many people don’t consider is a food truck caterer. Food trucks are self-contained and require fewer staff to provide meal service. Many venues have perfect spots for food trucks to park. When we cater with our food truck, guests get their meals quickly and we can serve up to three completely different meals! We can also butler appetizers during cocktail hour. 

We’ve also found that many venues allow for drop-off catering, which is likely going to be the most affordable option. With drop-off, everything you need is set up, including the food, signs, place-settings, and serving utensils. Cleanup is not included so you’ll need to make sure you get that part covered. If your venue allows this option, it’s a great way to get the food you want at a lower price!

8. Use disposable place settings

When it comes to place settings, disposables are going to be more affordable than rentals. China, cutlery, and glassware requires delivery, more staff for set up and clean up, pick up costs, damage waivers and cleaning fees.

With lots of elegant eco-friendly disposable options on the market, this can be an easy place to save money.

Upohar Catering Elegant Disposable place setting

9. Look for Venues with Robust Inclusions

When considering venues, make sure you pay attention to what is included, and what will cost extra. Some venues are very bare bones when it comes to necessary inclusions. For example, you need tables, chairs, tablecloths, and someone to set them all up. Don’t assume that your venue covers all or any of these things.

10. Be willing to DIY as much as possible

DIY Wedding Favors Whoopie Pies

You can save thousands of dollars if you’re willing to set up rentals and décor, and DIY other elements.

This is a great option for couples who love DIY projects and don’t mind doing the work themselves, or enlisting friends and family to help with the process. 

11. Consider wild or homegrown flowers

Flowers can be a huge expense but there are alternatives. We’ve worked with couples who have friends and family with fields of wildflowers or large gardens and have been able to pick their own flowers.

Pair those with inexpensive or second-hand vases and you can save a lot of money.

DIY Floral Centerpieces

12. Opt For Small & Intimate

Micro-weddings are becoming increasingly popular, and many venues have affordable packages specifically for this category of reception.

Start your guest list with just your closest friends and family, rather than making a long guest list and then attempting to cut it down. 

sage green table runners on wedding table

Bonus Tip: Adjust Your Expectations!

If you’re envisioning a Pinterest-perfect wedding that includes everyone you and your fiancé know, you’ll likely end up spending way more money than you want or need. On the flip side, you might think you can pull off a wedding with just $2K, which is underestimating what you would need for a basic, DIY wedding.

Try aligning your expectations with reality by educating yourself on average costs in your area, and then fine-tuning your budget using the tips above and our budget spreadsheet tool. This will help you create a wedding that fits your budget and style. 

Happy Planning!

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