And Still Have an Amazing, Luxury Wedding Experience
Weddings have gotten really expensive, haven’t they? When I got married back in 2018, it was bad enough, but ever since the pandemic, it feels like the cost of weddings have skyrocketed! The average wedding in Raleigh, NC (where I’m based) is now over $30,000! I’m going to guess you don’t have that kind of money just lying around…or if you do, you need to use it for a car, a house, or student loans. At this point, you may be considered just eloping! Okay maybe you don’t have to go that extreme just yet. While I can’t eliminate all of your wedding day expenses, I’d love to help. So here I’m letting you in on ten tips to help you save money on your wedding!
Why Do Weddings Cost So Much?
You may be wondering, why does it have to all cost so much? Good question! Here’s the thing…wedding vendors have to charge more because the cost of running our businesses have gone up. There is the cost of goods, of gear, of bookkeeping and software subscriptions, marketing and advertising, and not to mention how much a small business owner has to pay in taxes! Plus, there are only so many weekend days we can work in a year without burning out. It’s not like we’re being hired to work a wedding 5 days a week.
How to Save Money on your Wedding
1. Order your invitations online and keep RSVPs online.
Online print shops such as VistaPrint and Minted cost less than custom stationers. While I love the work of a custom stationer, they certainly cost more and may be a good place to save money as the invitations don’t affect the feel of your wedding day itself. On the invitation, ask guests to RSVP through your wedding website. That way you save money on an RSVP card, and the envelope and postage for that card.
2. Keep your guest count small.
Every additional guest at your wedding adds anywhere from $50-$200+ per person. That’s because for each guest you’ll need: an invitation, a meal, drinks, a chair and table setting, and a favor. Plus, if you keep your guests count small you may be able to book a smaller venue.
3. Choose an off-day for your wedding
Venues usually charge more on Saturdays. Fridays and Sundays may be cheaper, and weekdays even less than that. I know Saturdays are more convenient for your family and guests, but that is why venues can charge more. If you hold your wedding a different day of the week, the people who care the most will still make the effort to be there.
Still looking for a venue? Check out my favorites in the Raleigh-Durham area here!
4. Do your own hair and makeup
If you are good at your hair and make-up, consider doing it yourself on your wedding day! You can look up YouTube videos for instructions and do trial runs at home as much as needed! If you aren’t great with hair and make-up yourself, do you have a friend who is? Ask her to help you!
5. Serve a buffet instead of a plated meal
Buffets often cost less than plated dinners, as less catering staff is needed. The food still tastes great in buffet style, but you get to save a ton of money!
6. Skip the liquor
Consider serving only beer and wine at your bar, as liquor costs much more. Added bonus: this may keep your wedding from getting too rowdy! Alternatively, if alcohol isn’t your thing, don’t feel pressured to serve it. You could skip the alcohol all together; however, keep in mind some venues have a required alcohol minimum on Saturdays that you must pay, even if you don’t serve any.
7. Keep your wedding cake small
When you think wedding cake, does a towering three to five tier cake come to mind? The truth is, most wedding cakes are smaller these days! You can have a small one or two tier cake (still decorated beautifully) that you cut, but serve guests from a sheet cake instead. Another option is to serve another dessert such as cupcakes or donuts instead of cake!
8. Find your décor through Facebook resale groups
Most brides don’t need their décor after their wedding is over, and so they have begun to sell items over Facebook Marketplace or wedding resale groups. You can find all sorts of decorations there, including vases, frames, signs, and more!
If you live in the Raleigh-Durham area, check out this wedding resale group here!
9. Reuse bridesmaid bouquets as table centerpieces
Do you have a ton of bridesmaids? If so, you can place their bouquets in vases as table centerpieces during the reception. Even if you only have three bridesmaids, you can save money on floral arrangements for three tables! I recommend bridesmaids place the bouquets in vases immediately following reception introductions. That way they get to be used for portraits and then enjoyed again during dinner.
10. Choose a DJ over a live band
Typically DJ costs less than a live band. Plus, a DJ can play music from a large catalog of song originals instead of just a few covers that they’ve rehearsed.
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Megan is a wedding photographer based in Raleigh, NC who specializes in capturing warm, timeless photographs of your wedding day that you can enjoy for decades to come!