4 Tricks to Having An Affordable Wedding

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An affordable wedding can be difficult to achieve with sky high prices these days, but with these four tricks you can definitely bring the cost down.

Spring and summer are the most popular times to have a wedding, and with wedding prices in the tens of thousands of dollars, it can be really hard to throw an affordable wedding.

I got married a little over five years ago, and I had a really beautiful wedding day. We had an afternoon wedding, I wore my mother’s dress, and my reception venue – although completely historic and gorgeous – was actually surprisingly affordable.

There is so much pressure surrounding weddings now, though, that I’m actually really glad mine was five years ago, before Pinterest took over the world. I really didn’t ask for anything excessive. I had a buffet and a DJ instead of a sit down dinner and a band. There are a few things looking back that I would have done differently, like booking different vendors because some were less than exemplary, but overall I’d say we made it through without any big issues.

The thing is, anyone who is married will tell you that the wedding day goes by super fast. You don’t often get to enjoy all those little details. You’re too busy saying hi to everyone to really remember it all. So, don’t worry too much about having a wedding that is over the top. Instead, focus on having a great honeymoon or saving cash to buy your first house.

Below are some ways to cut down the costs even further and enjoy an affordable wedding:

1. want an affordable wedding? Have a Nice Brunch


Having a wedding in the morning is definitely unusual, but it’s also far cheaper. Brunch food, for one, is very affordable, and all you need is a few mimosas if you want to provide drinks. I have a friend who did this because she and her husband were early birds and really felt like they were at their best early in the morning. The wedding ended, and they were on an afternoon flight to their honeymoon, after only spending $4,000 on their wedding.

2. DIY as Much as Possible


If you want to save money on a summer wedding, DIY may be the key to pulling it off. It’s a lot of work to “do it yourself” when it comes to weddings, but I know people who created their own flower arrangements, made their favors, and even baked their own wedding cakes.

I planned my wedding long distance but had I been living in the same town I got married in, I think I would have used my time (and storage space) to DIY a lot more of my wedding decorations.

3. Have a Signature Drink


Many people feel like you have to choose between having beer and wine or an open bar, but you can definitely do a combination. Have the bride and groom each pick a signature drink that they think their guests will enjoy.

Try something like a particular scotch alongside a fruity cocktail, that way people with a variety of tastes can pick one that suits them. By doing this, you skip the open bar but you still provide a little something to your guests.

An affordable wedding can be difficult to achieve with sky high prices these days, but with these four tricks you can definitely bring the cost down.

4. Skip the Band


I love the idea of a band, but I had an absolute blast with a DJ who was about 1/4 the cost of a band. I love to dance and even added on an extra hour to my reception so I could jam a little bit longer. There’s nothing I would change about the experience, and I think some great speakers and an iPod would have worked just as well.

Really, a wedding is all about celebrating the union between two people, not the expensive flowers or the over the top decorations or even the wedding gifts, so an affordable wedding is no less meaningful than an expensive one. No one will remember exactly what food you served or who you hired to do your music, not even you after a while! So, take the time to focus on what really matters and have fun with it.


How are you cutting costs on your wedding expenses or, how did you do it if you’re already married? What’s your best cost-saving trick for shaving wedding expenses? Where did you get married or, if you aren’t yet, do you have a dream spot in mind?

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Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families.


  • Kalie says:

    I agree not getting hung up on the details is huge when it comes to wedding planning. In the end they don’t really matter and you can save a lot this way. We hired acquaintances rather than professionals to DJ, arrange flowers, and do the photography (I only regret the photo decision). We skipped the favors, rice throwing/bubbles, limo, tiered cake, and found bridesmaid’s dresses at a department store. Looking back I only wish we would’ve been thriftier!

    • Cat says:

      I know it’s hard to look back and see all the places you could have saved. Sounds like you had a great party though!

  • Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way says:

    My friend just married last week and she told me that they kept their wedding simple. They DIY almost everything, like flower arrangement and wedding cards.

  • Miriam says:

    Hopefully one day soon, the idea of spending enough to put a downpayment on a house for a wedding will be over. When my husband I married 25 years ago, it was a second wedding for both of us, we both still had kids at home and not a lot to spend on a wedding we wanted to be special.

    So we did what worked for most of our best parties – we made it potluck. My daughter made the desserts but the guest brought the dinner. It was one of the best meals we have ever had and wedding meals are usually just so-so anyhow because that’s the way it is with catered food. Instead of a dj – we used one of those 5 cd players and arranged the music ourselves. (what does a dj do for you except put in the cds?)

    We were lucky to find a venue we really liked who was willing to ‘handle’ the onslaught of potluck food and lay it all out for us (they did a terrific job) and of course it was served buffet.

    We had 100 guests and we all had a terrific time and our out of pocket expenses were less than $2000 most of which went to the venue. Of course this was helped by the fact that since my husband (and many of his friends) was in AA, we had a dry wedding. Didn’t miss the booze at all.

    I have since helped 3 other people get married this way and each was a success. This is the way people used to get married – make it a community affair.

    • Cat says:

      How fun a potluck sounds like fun – Hope you got to enjoy some leftovers!! I actually loved the catered food at my wedding but then again I’m from Louisiana and if there’s anything Louisiana people can do, it’s cook. 😉

  • Emily @ evolvingPF says:

    I totally agree that I’m glad I got married before Pinterest!

    When I reflect on my wedding, I’m amazed that we ended up spending as much money as we did (about average), given how many frugal tactics we employed. I shudder to think how much we would have paid without those tactics. But what was important to us was having two mid-size receptions, and catering adds up. I’d say reducing the size of the guest list is one of the best ways to spend less on a wedding, if you can stomach it.

  • Rachel says:

    My wedding met my expectations and was my dream wedding. However it didn’t break the bank.
    Our decorations were bought around Christmas when they went to 70% off. Our colors were Christmasy type colors so we purchased then. But depending on color scheme and timing buy after holidays. We used coupons for the candles.
    We didn’t serve alcohol. Not something everyone feels they can do, but we weren’t even of drinking age yet so why have alcohol. My family is not big on alcohol either and some may have taken offense to alcohol.
    We got married on an off day. Our venue was about 40% cheaper to get married on a Tuesday then the weekend. Most our family was local and it worked for us.
    Our venue offered the tables,chairs, place settings etc for no charge.
    Our audio equipment was provided, so my cousins sat and would pick music off a music string site. They thoroughly enjoyed it.
    We did fake flowers, and no one could tell.
    My biggest cost savings though was my dress, it was my dream dress and was found at a garage sale for $10, my shoes cost more. And dry cleaning still kept it under $100.
    Those were just some of the ways we kept it lower cost.
    Also booking a venue early can score a discount or a lower locked in price.
    Also we went with a caterer that was not on the approved list, meaning we spent a little more, I did the math it was still cheaper to pay that fee then the approved caterers.
    Just be aware that there are ways around a lot of the high costs.

  • Kelly @ Money Millennial says:

    I would recommended focusing your wedding “dreams” to main things that you care about, like food or venue. Once you picked out what is important, it will be easier to see where you can save costs on the things that do not matter as much.

    • Cat says:

      I think that’s a great idea. If you’re big into music then spend a lot on that and save on the other parts – good point!

  • Petrish @ Debt Free Martini says:

    These are some really great ideas. Stalking Pinterest can give you some really great DIY ideas for your wedding and I agree with the ipod for music. My daughter just had a birthday and I downloaded music instead and used an ipod and it was a hit. I don’t think I would ever hire a DJ ever again for any occasion.

  • Kate @ Money Propeller says:

    I had also read before that having a brunch marriage would definitely save you a bunch of money. It’s really unusual because usually marriages are during on afternoon, so if you want to have an affordable wedding, try to have an early wedding!

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    I definitely did not have a frugal wedding, but I have often thought that a brunch wedding would not only be frugal but a lot of fun. Who doesn’t like drinking during the day?

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