Cutting Costs For Your Wedding – A Real Life Story

When I first got engaged I started watching a lot of wedding shows, looking at wedding statistics and I was frankly stunned by the copious amounts of money that couples spend just for one day. The average price of a wedding in 2011 is over $20,000 and once you start looking into estimates, it can easily be priced out over that. Having to dish out this much money out of my own pocket certainly wasn’t my idea of celebrating the beginning of our love together (who wants to start out their marriage heavily in debt?) but I didn’t want a cheap wedding either. So how can you cut major costs but still have the wedding of your dreams?

The Reception
One of the easiest ways to skim on wedding costs is to keep your wedding small. Since you will probably be footing the bill for food and drinks and a percentage of the final amount on tips, the smaller you keep the wedding the better. If you don’t want to invite extended family members or not-so-close friends, simply invite immediate family only and then if confronted later as to why so-and-so didn’t receive an invitation, state that it was for family only. The average amount of guests to a wedding is close to 175 and by cutting that down to 50 (or even smaller) you can be saving yourself thousands of dollars down the road.
If there are not too many guests you may want to reserve a space at your favorite restaurant, many of them have banquet halls available for up to 50 people or so which wouldn’t cost you extra money to rent out a hall just for that occasion. This would also save you money on catering as well as extras such as centerpieces, linen rentals etc.
Today, due to the expansion of global outsourcing, you can get almost anything you want made in a different country for a much cheaper price. The average dress price is between $1000 and $2000 and custom made dresses generally start around $2500. If you don’t want a second hand dress, you can outsource your work to another country such as China, send a photo of the dress you like with your measurements and you can get it at a fraction of the cost (this is also a great idea for bridesmaid dresses). Tuxedos are expensive as well (as are proper suits in general) so it might be better to rent one for the day. Total price of renting the tux/suit and outsourcing your dress can be under $400.
Wedding photographers generally price for $2500 and up but you can post an ad up looking for a photography student and you’ll find bidding prices closer to $200. By having a student photographer, not only can you get good quality photos at a great price, but you will also be helping them in their future career by helping them expand their portfolio.
Invitations and Flowers
When it comes to having the invitations of your dreams, you can easily print them off at a local printing store and add a personal touch to it yourself such as a bow or ribbon, plastic jewels etc. With a large number of guests, doing it yourself can save you hundreds of dollars. When it comes to flowers, try to choose flowers that are in season and be creative to save even more money such as having your bridesmaids hold fans instead of bouquets.
Other Tips and Tricks
When it comes to creating your perfect wedding, for some couples it may be better simply to elope. There are many eloping packages available for a fraction of the cost and you can enjoy a more intimate gathering. Destination weddings have also become increasingly popular as of late due to the great packages you can get – a great price and minimal planning on your part.
No matter what you decide, there are many ways to cut costs but still have the elegant wedding of your dreams. By using these tips, I had saved $1100 on my wedding dress, $585 on my flowers, close to $2000 on photography and thousands on my reception and still had an amazing wedding and great photos to remember it by.
Staz Johnson blogs passionately about cutting costs, financial management and investing tips. For more information, check out her website at or become a Facebook fan.