How to Save Money on Your Summer Wedding

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Trying to save money on your summer wedding is a challenge, but not an impossible task if you are willing to be a little flexible in the timing and details.

Summer is a really popular time for weddings and so traditionally, vendors are not going to be offering many discounts when it comes to your wedding and reception. It’s kind of like buying flowers on Valentines Day – the basic rules of supply and demand that cause a dozen roses to triple in price on that day, apply to summer weddings, driving up the cost of everything from floral centerpieces to outdoor venues to wedding cakes. However, there are a few things you can do to save money on your summer wedding without giving up the style and substance you’ve been dreaming of.

1. Have a Brunch


Lots of people know tips about having your wedding on a Friday or Sunday but rarely do people talk about switching up the time of day. If you are a morning person, you might want to consider having your wedding ceremony and reception as a brunch.

It makes catering really easy because all you really need are a couple of breakfast food options. You can save money on the alcohol too because all people should be drinking at that time of day are mimosas (but no judgement otherwise, folks!) 🙂

Best of all, everything can be really casual, and if you are having the ceremony outdoors, a morning wedding will be much cooler temperature-wise. You should be able to have a lot of time to wind down and really enjoy the day with your new spouse too, instead of spending all morning getting ready and all evening interacting with guests. Looking back, I wish I would have thought about this. Our wedding was at 1:00 p.m. so we did have a lot of time to enjoy the day, but a brunch wedding reception would have been much, much more affordable.

2. Forget the Dress Hype


Every time I see one of those “Say Yes to the Dress” shows, I want to scream. How is it possible that these shows have convinced people that a $5,000 dress is okay? If you have it in your budget and your parents or your spouse don’t mind, more power to you.

However, if it’s not in your budget, please don’t walk out of the store with it. It’s just not worth it when you can order dresses online for far less. On eBay you can buy dresses directly from China, and they are so inexpensive you could order a few of them and just pick the one you like. Or, go to a seamstress and have them design a dress for you. I wore my mom’s dress and had it changed up a bit. I enjoyed wearing something that was one of a kind, vintage, and had a personal history. It cost a few hundred dollars to transform, and it was perfect.

Trying to save money on your summer wedding is a challenge, but not an impossible task if you are willing to be a little flexible in the timing and details.

3. When Planning a Summer Wedding, Stay True to Yourself


This is an extension of the previous point, but it’s really, really important. The wedding industry is a billion dollar industry, and it’s important to remember that. Stay true to your tastes, and try not to be swayed by what your friend or sister had at her wedding. Stick to your guns if you don’t want certain people invited, and remember what it’s really all about. Whether you had an iPod or a band, $100 invitations or $10 ones, or real flowers or fake flowers, the end result is still the same – a marriage (and hopefully, a good one!)



Are you planning a summer wedding or did you tie the knot in the summer? If so, what are some of your ideas on ways to save money on a summer wedding?





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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.


  • Thomas @ I need money asap! says:

    We saved a bit of money on our wedding by avoiding the “midnight” buffet and ordered pizza instead. It went over super well. Everyone loved the pizza after having some drinks. We also served cake and coffee. It took the cost from $1200 down to $300!
    The one thing we didn’t do is negotiate on our rates. I regret not at least asking for a few $’s off but I just didn’t think of it at the time.

    • Derek at MoneyAhoy says:

      Thomas – that’s awesome!! For our wedding, we bought a bunch of stuff from Costco and had the family prepare it for all the guests. Pizza would have been so much simpler even though it is unconventional.

    • Cat says:

      You had pizza at your wedding!? That is genius!

  • Kirsten @ Indebtedmom says:

    We had a fall outdoor wedding and we did a great job keeping it cheap, but what I really wanted to comment on is the way you ended the post. It’s so important to remember that you are entering into a lifetime together – don’t get things out of whack by focusing on one day!

  • Dee @ Color Me Frugal says:

    When we got married we knew there were certain things that neither of us cared about at all- like flowers and center pieces. So we used silk flowers and went without center pieces. No need to waste money on things you don’t care about! Nine years later I’m sure no one remembers, and we are happily married!

    • Cat says:

      So true. I think we had really small centerpieces – no need for the giant stuff! See I can barely remember lol!

  • Marie @ 724 Credit says:

    We were married at our house yard (we have a big yard) on a Valentine’s Day. It was a simple yet memorable wedding. We did a great job on keeping it cheap. The party happened in our house. So, we saved a lot in times of transportation, the reception, the place, and etc. We just rent gowns to spend less. And every food was prepared at home. It took cheaper to make your own food than to do catering.

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    I would never think of having a brunch reception, but it sounds awesome! Brunch cocktails are my favorite and it is definitely a cheap way to entertain! And I am a big fan of staying cheap on the wedding dress. I got mine from David’s Bridal WAY back in the day, I got so many comments on it and then I gave it away after I had my son and realized no one else would probably wear it. It is crazy to spend lots of money on a dress that will likely be worn once.

  • Will says:

    My favorite part about all this AM stuff is you’ll actually get to enjoy the day. Instead of spending it stressing out, you won’t have time because the show must start early! After all that, you can have an evening with your wife/husband instead of staying awake far too late with family/friends and then not having any time to yourselves.

  • Average Joe says:

    Great ideas. As a dude who spent 10 years disc jockeying weddings (hey, it paid for college!), I’d say this: Trim your guest list. The best weddings I attended were cut to the bone. That let people enjoy their closest friends and have a fantastic party. They could make it look extravagant because they were planning for 30 instead of 200.

  • Raquel@Practical Cents says:

    I’m a fan of spending less on weddings. Mine was about $10,000 including the honeymoon. We kept it low by including only close family and friends that was about 60 people. I paid about $200 for my wedding dress. I also had very few real flowers. I think I ordered about 3 arrangements for a few tables and also my bouquet. I did not order flowers for each table. I was just not into spending too much money for just a few hours.

  • E.M. says:

    The brunch idea is great! I’m much more of a breakfast person than I am a dinner person, if that makes sense. Staying true to yourself seems to be a common struggle; in the midst of my co-workers wedding planning, her brother got engaged, and they had a much larger budget than she did. She was getting jealous and considering things she wasn’t before, just to make sure her wedding would be more fun. Not good!

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    We had our wedding in mid-September, so “kind of” still the Summer time frame. I think one way to save is to pick the things you care about and pick the things you don’t care about. Then REALLY try to save money on the things you don’t care about by cutting costs as much as you can. DIY is always a good way to go, as long as you have the time.

  • Michelle says:

    We just had our summer wedding. It was expensive! My main tip would be to barter if you can. It is harder to barter in the summer months though because that is wedding season so vendors are a little less likely to want to negotiate.

  • Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter says:

    I’m getting married in about 2 weeks, and we found a few ways to save. One thing I didn’t save on as much as I had wanted to, was a wedding dress. I had all the plans in the world to buy used, buy online, rent, or do whatever I could to save that cash, but when it came down to it, the dress I loved was the one I chose and it cost almost $500 over my “budget”.

  • Sarah Park says:

    How to Save Money on Your Summer Wedding

    We had our wedding 2nd week of May 2011 and it was not so expensive. We invited my family and my husband’s family, co-workers and few friends because our wedding was a budgeted one. We started at 3pm until 8pm including church and the reception. We save a little bit because we did not buy expensive flower and the decoration was so simple. For me, what matters most was our wedding and not literally with the flowers and decor. If possible keep it simple so that you can save a lot.

  • iou says:

    We’re having a summer brunch wedding in 2015 and it probably saved us $10,000 as opposed to an evening affair. I’m much more a morning person anyway also – mimosas? Yes please.

  • Paula says:

    When my daughter got married, they married in March, she did the flower arrangements and table decorations. We as a family went to Costco to get the food and did it ourselves. We had wine and beer kegs which helped a lot. Our venue (a business oriented hotel) let us bring our own food and drink, and they had a kitchen to heat up food and refrigerate food also.

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