Oh, I know weddings are expensive. Out of everything, it's the money part of things that I hear my couples mention they're concerned with. Maybe it's just making sure they can pay all of their vendors on time (since most final payments are due at the same time), or dealing with the unexpected expenses of extra staff, extra hours, or not realizing they had to pay for linens separately... it all adds up and can be stressful to try to figure out. So, here are my suggestions for how to realistically save some money on  your wedding without making drastic changes to your plans or cutting out the true necessities!

  1. Reuse your ceremony floral arrangements for the reception. By repurposing these flowers, you can save hundreds of dollars on reception centerpieces! Depending on your plans, you can use the bridesmaid bouquets as centerpieces for the guest tables, the altar arrangements for focal points at the cake table, or on the sweetheart table or kings table, and any loose stems can be scattered around in different places to enhance the entire look without spending an extra dime! Flowers are expensive to begin with, but this is a great way to make the most of money you're already planning to spend. (If the average floral centerpiece begins at $100 - which is very low - you can imagine how quickly these savings will add up!).
  2. Skip the champagne toast, and limit your drink choices! The champagne toast is more traditional, but can quickly add up on your cost! Not only do you have to buy the champagne (which can vary from a cheap $8 bottle at the grocery store up to $25 or more through a caterer, and just multiply that by however much you need to provide!), but you also have to have the appropriate glassware for a champagne toast. This means an additional toasting flute on each table - which costs more money through your rental or catering service! (If champagne for 100 people costs $15 per bottle for 6 servings a bottle, that's almost $300 right there on the toast alone - not including the glassware!). Instead, just have everyone toast with what they're drinking!
  3. Do a small cutting cake, and do a dessert bar for favors! Most places allow your cake/desserts to be brought in from any vendor, so this is an easy way to reduce costs. A small cake will be a fraction of the cost of a multi-tiered cake, and you can do any form of regular desserts. Staged right (with some nice platters, cake stands, and dishes) these grocery store or homemade dishes will be the talk of the night! If a multi-tiered cake for 100 people costs $1200 (just a rough, conservative estimate) you could easily cut the cost in half for ALL of your desserts. Oh, and did I mention this also covers the favors?
  4. Limit your bar choices. There's a reason two of these suggestions go back to the bar cost! Alcohol can be a huge expense at a wedding, and for those wanting to do a full open bar, it can easily cost thousands of dollars. My suggestion for those wanting to offer beer, wine, and mixed drinks is to do two wine options (a red and white), two or three beer options (a domestic, imported, and speciality), and one or two signature cocktails (for the bride and/or groom). The mixed drink is where you save your money. Instead of having to supply or pay for a variety of mixers, liquors, and garnishes, do something that's specific to you! It's an easy way to take your bar to the next level, everyone will be talking about it and will remember it, and it saves you some serious money! The reason this saves you money if you're wanting to do a full open bar, is that when you do that, people who are there usually take advantage of it and will opt for the mixed drink rather than the beer or wine they probably have in their fridge at home. If you limit the mixed drink offering, you're still offering a wide variety of beverage choices, but saving you lots of money! 
  5. Skip the limo exit, and borrow a friend or family member's car to do your big getaway! A limo is a great way to travel in style, but unless you're driving to the airport or a long distance, it's probably just as easy to borrow a car and meet everyone at the hotel later (because it's quite likely there's an after party anyway). Plus, your pictures of the getaway will be more of your guests and your big send-off than the car you take off in, so it's not much of a photo opportunity anyway. And, you'll be so in love (and exhausted) that it won't matter how you travel! This can save hundreds of dollars easily - for a short drive and an hour of service, it'll easily be $300 or more.
Photography by Marie Violet Photography

When you take advantage of these tips, I think you'll be surprised with how you find some instant savings in your budget. Have you tried these tips? Have some of your own? I'd love to hear from  you!