Ways to Save on Wedding Costs

carnation pomanderWith wedding season in full swing, and the economy still in recession, I thought it was the perfect time to share a collection of ways to save money on your wedding.  You may have seen some of these items before, but what I like about this list, is that it is all things that you can do without looking like you cut any corners…sort of like buying a preowned wedding dress.


  • Rent wedding jewelry from sources like Adorn Brides (using coupon code POWD will save you 20% on the rental)


  • Use recycled gold to make your rings. Companies like greenKarat will give you market value for your old gold and recycle it into a new ring.


  • Opt to use flowers only in key areas such as the altar where photos will be taken.
  • If you are using a church, check if they will provide the flowers (since they usually do them for Sunday services anyway).  Some churches will provide beautiful altar flowers for under $100 (with your choice of flowers).

Food and Beverage Costs

  • Save by using less popular dates/times: Jan-May are less popular wedding months, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays are less popular days, afternoons are less popular times.  Having your wedding on “off peak” times means the cost per person may be less and the required guest count will be lower.
  • Reduce the length of your cocktail hour by 15 or 30 minutes.  This will reduce f&b costs and no one will notice.
  • Serve a signature drink (made with non-premium alcohol) to save on bar costs.  Give the drink a name that matches your wedding theme to make it fun.
  • Skip the champagne toasts – no one drinks it.
  • Butler passed hor d’oeuvres can actually be less expensive than buffet style, so check with your caterer.

Décor/Flower/Rental Costs

  • Use fewer, larger tables to reduce the number of centerpieces and linen rentals required.
  • Venues like museums or botanical gardens require less décor because the spaces are already beautiful.
  • Create one main visual focal point.  This will decrease the amount of décor you will need elsewhere.
  • Use non-floral items like like curly willow branch, kale, and even fruits and veggies (artichokes, plums, acorns, apples, and bright citrus fruits) which can enhance floral arrangements at a lower cost.
  • Make a charity donation in honor of your guests instead of giving favors.


  • Order enough cake for only 75% of your guests (because so many people don’t actually eat the cake),
  • Or order enough cake for 50% of your guest and ask that half servings be plated and served.
  • A third option is to order a smaller cake (one that would serve 30-50% of your guests) for the cutting, and have the rest of the servings cut from a kitchen sheet cake. Cakes that are taller (with smaller layers) can feel large without being as costly.


  • Use only flowers in season (If you want a specific flower that may be costly “dot” your décor with it.  Don’t do it en mass…you still get the flower you want, but it won’t be as costly).
  • Avoid weddings near holidays (like Valentine’s day) where floral costs are inflated due to demand.
  • Reuse some ceremony flowers at reception…bridesmaid bouquets can make great centerpieces (especially at the head table) or are a great frame for your cake table.
  • Carnations, which are generally 1/3 the cost of roses, look very dramatic when used in large, tight arrangements.

•    Use live musicians for only a portion of the wedding (at the ceremony or reception). A single trumpet accompanying an organ can be very beautiful.


  • Don’t use square invites (postage is more for square mailings).
  • Using  less expensive paper stock for enclosure pieces and skipping the envelop liner will reduce both your invitation and postage costs
  • Themography is far less expensive than letterpress and it still looks great.


  • Use honeymoon registries to receive honeymoon travel as a wedding gift.


  • Add impact with minimal/low cost
    • A walkway lit with luminaries can be done for under $75 and provides a welcoming entrance to a ceremony or reception.
    • White holiday lights can be wrapped around trees or doorways to create a magical look.
    • Waitstaff with trays of wine and hor d’oeuvres can line the entrance to your reception and have a dramatic effect.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate with vendors.  Costs can usually be reduced or additional items/services included.