BIG List of Tips for a Beautiful Wedding on a Budget!

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Planning a wedding?  Or do you know someone who is??  Check out this BIG List of Tips for a Beautiful Wedding on a Budget in the comments below!

I received the following question from frugal friend Loretta…

“I am getting married on April 17th, and am looking for ways to save on the wedding, and ways to save on reception decorations {i.e. tissue paper flowers, ribbon, etc.}.  I am looking to save as much money as I can.  Any suggestions??”

Got a fun Wedding budget tip, ways to cut costs at the reception, or thrifty decorating tips??

Leave a comment and share!

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    • ksbride says

      This is such an awesome idea! you can bake all your own cakes a day or two before and now you cut the price of everything down

      • Naomi says

        As a cake decorator, I can tell you that undecorated cakes freeze REALLY well! Just bake, place on a cardboard piece, wrap well in plastic wrap and freeze! Defrost fully before you frost the cake and voila!

          • Mary says

            Typically the shelf life of a frozen undecorated cake or cupcake is 30 days but I wouldn’t freeze them for any longer than 2 weeks to prevent possible freezer burn.

  1. Heidi says

    E-bay for lots of extras. Sales there have been down the last few years so sellers are hungry. U can get good deals from sellers on shipping if you buy multiple things from them. So, I suggest going there for tissue paper, ribbons, etc… (and PS I DO NOT sell on E-bay at all).

  2. Amanda says

    I searched Craigslist for decorations for both the church and the reception hall. I also googled Oriental Trader and bought A LOT of things from there at a very reasonable price. I used my bridesmaids flowers and mine on the head table (just put out empty vases and drop in there when you get there)

    • Roxanne says

      I found Iparty sells alot of oriental Trading items… Was able to get them a little cheaper with a coupon I found for Iparty and didn’t have to pay for shipping. Was nice to see the product first hand too.

  3. Sarah Schmitt says

    skip the tissue paper! It’s outta style, and expensive! For the same money you can buy yards of tulle at a discount fabric store (or even walmart). If you want thinner strips, cut it into them. Also, talk to everyone you know, ask them to ask others, you’ll be surprised how many people may just have such stuff “just in case” and you may be able to borrow it. Also, use things that go with your colors, etc, but also are easy to find in your area…a wedding near a beach area? use sand & shells in large glass holders w/ pillar candles for centerpieces (my cousin’s daughter just did that and it looked incredible). Biggest advice is just to think outside the box! If you want to use strands of pearls, look for clearance priced jewelry or trims at a fabric/craft shop. Just keep an open mind.

  4. martine says

    -not sure where you live, but we saved a bunch getting flowers at a flower market/district and then haveing a local florist (who came recommended) out them together for centerpieces (you could do yourself too)
    -printing your own invitations
    -wedding favors: buy cds in bulk, burm your own songs and print out labels for them. you can buy jeweled cases for cheap or sleeves you can decorate.
    -get a bunch of tea lights (differing heights) and use for the tables, along with stones, flower petals, or anything/nothing.
    -you can get cheap glass bowls and have floating flowers or candles as centerpieces.
    -pick flowers that are in season.
    depending where you live, you really can save a lot by getting ribbon, fabric, flowers, etc yourself. ask around and don’t be afraid to negotiate better rates.
    good luck and best wishes

    • says

      Be careful about buying cheap bowls that aren’t meant for candles, went to a wedding a couple years ago where the bowls all cracked before the bride even arrived–MAJOR MESS! Get bowls that are meant for floating candles or lots of paper towels for clean up.

      • sarah says

        if you have cheap bowls use snap stick lights in the water/ gels to make them glow no heat so no worry of cracking

  5. says

    Now, I can’t really say I have any advice… our “wedding” was borrowing two of our coworkers, driving 1 1/2 hours to the justice of the peace at the county office, dinner at some Applebees kind of place, then staying overnight in a hotel with both of us at work in the morning.

    But I do want to celebrate our 5th anniversary this summer with a delayed reception, so I am very interested in any and all tips! So thanks in advance ladies!

    Only real tips I can give is… I think it’s a lot cheaper if you can have it in your own backyard in the spring/summer/even fall, or borrow the yard of a friend or family member. If they like to garden even better, as you don’t have to pay anything for flowers and less costs to decorate… just remind the guests to be respectful. (Going to have it in our back yard this summer — we have roses and other flowers everywhere! And will be growing a big veg garden and have chickens… so possibly will be providing quiches and fritattas along with whatever potluck dishes our friends/family bring)

    Maybe ask friends and family – in lieu of presents – for help with wedding preps (baking your cake, providing food, etc) or just asking for cash/gift cards instead of the presents?

    Good luck, and hope it goes smoothly for you!

    • Kathleen Saladino says

      The cost of renting tables, chairs, and a tent can be high. Some VFW and American Legion halls are extremely reasonable and save the worry over inclement weather. We paid only $300, and they provide all the tables and chairs! Best wishes!

      • J says

        Thank you for making that point. Often people think that the backyard is the way out. If you are looking for elegance in the backyard you will have to pay and very likely at the same rate of a venue of close to. To eliminate the cost you must be open to a backyard bbq literally. Renting or paying for tables, linens, silverware, food, chafing dishes, dance floor, chairs, lights, decor, possible tents heat, and port-a-potty add up quickly.

  6. says

    I saved TONS of money on everything by doing it myself. I used fake flowers, had a friend put them together to look great for me and my maid of honor. I used potted plants as center pieces and put those little card holder pitchforks in them to put pictures of me and my hubby on them. I wore black patten leather shoes instead of spending a fortune on white ones that would have looked like crap after I walked down the aisle since my wedding was outdoors. I had my cousin take pictures because she has a professional camera, and she put the pictures on discs for me to pick what I wanted and print myself (she even made me a wedding album!) My one cousin made some cookies, another cousin and some of my mom’s older friends helped with the food. Granted, my wedding only had 50 people at it, but there is a ton of stuff you can have people do for you, and they will be glad to be a part of your big day. I just asked people and either it cost me way less, or they made it their gift to me.

    Look online for buying ribbon in bulk. Craft stores sell things at a really high rate because they have to make up for loss, because they sell a lot of it by yard and they lose lots of leftovers. Make your own favors. I went to a local candy store and bought shoelace licorice and chocolate candy hearts, and we used the shoelace licorice like tissue paper in little boxes and put the two hearts on top. Everyone loved them. Then, we put my colors in ribbon on the box and I had some friends come over and help me put them together. You pay out the nose for anything you get already made.

  7. AnneMarie Stone says

    Sign up at They have all kinds of great tips and their own “store” — I bought so many things online when they were on sale. Save a TON of $$$! Also, sign up at David’s Bridal even if you aren’t getting dresses there. Both David’s and theknot give out lots of free stuff AFTER the wedding — it’s great!

  8. Erin says

    When researching photographers, they will charge you an arm and a leg for minimal amounts of prints. So what my husband and I did was we found a photographer, that provided no prints at all and instead gave us a proof book and digital copies (WITH the copyright release) of every picture taken. So we are able to go through on our own time and choose exactly which photos we want to have prints of, and then either print them at home or take them to a professional printing place and pay a fraction of what the photography studio would have charged.

    • Angel says

      You can also Check out any local schools that offer photography, they usually have a list of recently graduates and their work on file and they usually are pretty cheap and need the experience, also Check out Craigslist for any available photographers looking for work, and just be sure to request a portfolio of their work,I have a friend of mine who does local photography and he is charging me 150 dollars for my wedding,including prints,and digital copies of every photo

  9. Alicia says

    go to they have a ‘wedding channel’ tab, LOADED with SUPER discounted items (made in China, shipped from China..) you can even get custom made wedding dress for UNDER $200. Make sure to check the reviews though to make sure you got a legite service. It will also take some extra time for shipping, so order NOW for deliver by Feb/March. Also LOTS of stores like Michael’s/Wal-mart/Hobby Lobby still have clearance wedding stuff from last year that is marked down to get out before the new stuff comes in. :o)

    • Kirsten says

      I actually got my wedding dress from here, and it was AWESOME!! It comes pre-alterd, and it was less then 2 weeks after I orderd it that I got it, and the lady that I was emailing with helped me out a lot :)

      This is also where I’m getting my bridesmaids dresses at!! Deffinitly suggest this place!!

      • lexie says

        hi. i would like to ask if you still remember the name of the seller from ali express where you got your wedding dress? thanks a lot!

  10. Laura says

    EBAY! That and holiday clearance sales. Best deal I ever got was my $1500 real Maggie Sottero dress for $90 on Ebay(don’t ever get a chinese knock off), add in $100 in alterations since I’m short and didn’t fill out the top and it was still a steal. My best friend got all the lights and candles for her reception a few yrs ago after Christmas and got some good deals. Good luck!

    • Megan says

      Ebay is a great way to save money! I got my dress on there for 89.00 free shipping and it is perfect and fits nicely! :)

  11. Sarah McDuffie says

    I have ideas for days! I saved a lot on my wedding. I had my ye on a Maggie Sottero dress but it was $1400 at the bridal store. I ended up buying it online for $500 brand new authentic. I was on the daily when planning my wedding and they have amazing ideas! Pearls Place is where I got it from but they were in New Orleans so Im not sure after Katrina if there still there. It was a bridal store but they would do online orders for way less (the mark-up is crazy on wedding dresses you paying for the experience at the bridal salon).

    I bought a lot of stuff on ebay. I custom veil that a gal made for me with crystals all over was less then $30 shipped!

    Wedding shoes I got on clearance victoris secrets they had jewels all over looked very expensive $29 bucks on clearance down from over $100.

    Rose petals can bring color to tables aisle you walk down. Instead of getting them from a florist get them from Sam’s. Pull them off the night before store them in plastic bags in fridge.

    Invites I had a girl just starting her graphic design business make for me. Again custom! $50 bucks and they looked really expensive. Try for gals who do this.

    I seriously can go on and on

    • Shannon says

      Please DO! I am getting married in a year and am at ground zero. I have only been to one wedding in my life and need to save as much as physically possible! Thanks for the ideas so far but any more are also greatly appreciated!

  12. Laura says

    I got my flowers wholesale and paid very little for them. I think each of my Gerber daisies were $1-$1.50 a piece. Also, see what your reception site has to offer for free. Mine had mirrors for the centerpieces that I could use and tableclothes in many colors. The cake is the single most expensive thing, usually $4-5/guest. Either do something small for your presentation cake and have sheet cakes to hand out the guests or do your own thing with your cake. I actually had to very delicious and pretty sheet cakes and then had a dessert table to supplement and add to the cake. My whole wedding was under $5000!

  13. says

    I am a wedding photographer, and from what I have observed (and personal opionion, of course) this is what I would recommend:

    * Don’t worry about expensive food. People want good food, yes, but it doesn’t have to be steak.
    * Get many friends to bring their Flip or other video cameras. I doubt you’ll ever look at all the video taken anyway.
    * If you are trying to go cheap, get referrals.
    * Don’t worry about chair covers and such.
    * If you hire a photographer, don’t worry about having them at preparations. Just ceremony and reception.
    * Don’t worry about a fancy venue. Someone’s nice home or large yard (with tent) can be just as lovely.
    * Don’t pay a fortune for a veil. Wedding places charge $300 for netting. Someone who sews can go to a fabric store, by some netting and a tiara-like headband and make one for you for $50 bucks.
    * Don’t go crazy over table settings. Elegant is usually better. Loading them up with glitter, plastic flowers, etc is just a mess.
    * Don’t worry about favors. I’ve seen plenty of weddings without them.
    * Unless you have always dreamed of a certain cake, you can skip the “Amazing Cakes” type cake. I’ve seen a lot of non-traditional ones, and everyone was happy. It is mainly about cutting it and feeding it to each other anyway.
    * When you buy stuff (such as tablecloths, candles, etc) use a guideline of “will I use this in my house afterwards?” That is what I did, and it helped me feel like I wasn’t spending a fortune for a 5 hour party. Also helps keep you focused.

    * The bouquet. No way around it, a plastic bouquet looks tacky.
    * A nice dress. You will look at it forever in pictures.
    * If you are not good with your makeup, a makeup person. Again, you’ll look at it forever in pictures, and this is your day to feel amazing.
    * Ditto the hair… but I think a hairdresser is usually a good idea.
    * Unless you have a friend who takes good photos (and can take good ones indoors, too). A photographer for the minimum amount they will allow (for example, I won’t do less than 4 hours). You want to have good after-the-ceremony couple pictures (at least), and some bridal portraits.

    I hope this helps.

    • Jean Bates says

      As a professional caterer, event planner, and wedding coordinator for longer than I care to think about, I would like to say I agree with your suggestions. And add one thing, as long as you are marrying some one you love and the two of you are happy–it’s all good.

    • Natalie says

      Very, very good tips! I like what you said especially about the photography. It’s very important to me to have the best pictures, and you’re exactly right about the most important shots being at the ceremony and afterwards. Thank you! :]

    • Jenessa says

      Great tips, Maria – thanks much! That’s quite perfect, because I already felt the same way about a dress I liked, a good photographer, make-up and hair – and then my fiance said to be sure to get the bridal bouquet I want because it’s the “most important” and we’ll figure out unique alternatives if needed on the other flowers and decor. Love your tips from experience – thanks again!

    • Michelle Smith says

      You left this post almost 4 years ago, but I just read it and wanted to thank you. It was incredibly helpful

  14. Sadie says

    I’m getting married March 19 and have had to be on a STRICT budget the entire time as well.

    Some of my tips include…

    Order a small, but pretty cake to cut at the reception and have sheet cakes in the back to be cut up and served. Nobody will know the difference and you will save lots of money.

    Keep the reception decor simple. I have been using Oriental Trading Co, found frosted votives and rose petals. Found some very thick, linen like table cloths at Costco as well.

    Photography wise, we’re just paying for the photographer’s time and the CD rather than purchasing a big wedding package.

    We’re skipping wedding favors, since most people don’t take them anyways.

    We ordered Save the Dates and Invitations on Vista Print and saved a TON of money.

    Low lighting, rose petals and candles are a cheap, elegant way to spice up a wedding that is on a tight budget.

    Best of luck to you and Congratulations!

    • Rebecca Dupuy says

      I purchased invitations at Party City and printed them myself. I put a clip art at the top to match the theme. 200 invitatins cost around $40.00

      • Megan Lehmann says

        Thank you so much for that info! I’m planning a VERY budgeted wedding and was concerned invitations wouldn’t be an area I could DIY to save money without it looking cheap. I had no idea that party city had a wedding section, and just went on their site to check out invitations after I read your comment. I also love the idea of a photo magnet save the date and they have kits to make them 30 for $12, which is awesome!

    • Sabrina Truxal says

      Also, once you sign up with Vista Print, they send coupons. I got my invites and R.S.V.P. Cards for half off!

      • Brianna says

        I was able to get 100 save the date postcards (front and back colored) for $18 and some change! They had a 50% off coupon from their site that I used. Don’t forget that postage can cost you just as much (if not more) than the invitation. The less bulky, the less it will be to send.

  15. Erynn says

    I had the wedding at my own home on a few acres outdoors during an already decorative season (autumn), so no flowers or decorations were needed. I handmade the bouquets and boutenniers (sp?). I glued fall leaves and silk flowers to terra cotta pots from the dollar store to make center pieces and put a bottle of sparkling wine in each. Hollowed out tiny pumpkins to make tealight holders for each table. Put up a canopy in the yard and trimmed it with Christmas lights. I bought my dress on ebay for $25 (very elaborate princessy dress with a lot of beadwork). I stacked cupcakes for the cake, and topped the tier with a 6″ round cake for us to save for the anniversary. For food, we had a pasta bar. Four different kinds of pasta, 5 sauces, and a few sides, buffet style. Served 55 people for $72.

  16. Andrea says

    BE ORGANIZED!!!! Keep a binder with your budget printed out and the “essentials” for your wedding(to help you stay on track). Ask for help…ask around to see if anyone knows someone trying to start their own business or is savvy at something…ie photography, cooking, seamstress etc. Print your own wedding invitations Office suppy companys and craft stores have lots of invitations. Plan ahead as much as possible…doing as much as possible early will help you avoid spending extra at the last minute

  17. Deborah says

    My husband likes cheesecake more than regular cake, so instead of the usual cake we got Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes from Sam’s Club, who sells them at an amazing deal in both plain and multi-flavor versions (we got some of each). We went to Gordon Food Service for some of the reception decorations, and watched for prices and sales at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby for the rest. For centerpieces, we were in the season for potted gerberas, and ordered cut versions for bouquets and such from I also got my wedding dress at for an amazing deal–I had to get a seamstress to measure me properly to make sure I sent them the right measurements, but they made it to my size and I even got to choose the length of my train (I had tried on some dresses elsewhere before deciding on this route, and I recommend this, as it helped me figure out dress weight, train length, etc.). And it arrived within 2 weeks, as they had promised. (BTW, I don’t work for any of these organizations.)

  18. Liz carnley says

    I am a personal trai er and I offer discounted boot camps and personal training sessions to brides ti be in my area. Check with local gyms in your area for similar discounts. I know this isn’t a frugal tip for flowers or decorations, but looking fabulous on your big day is just as important!! Best wishes to you!!

  19. Jenny says

    Try to find places for the ceremony and reception that are free! That will save a lot! Consider a simple dress instead of a really fancy one (after all, you will only wear it once). Do as much as you can yourself or ask friends and family to help. Hiring a professional is expensive! Don’t have a catered meal at the reception, just have appetizers and/or drinks and desserts. Skip the alcohol too. I think there may be a DIY Bride magazine or website out there. Also, the fewer Bridesmaids and groomsmen the more you will save. Design your own invites and take them to a printing place. Find friends who will play music at the reception for free. I had a friend play pretty piano music in the background and it was lovely. All in all, I think my wedding was less $2,000 and it was still wonderful! Congratulations and good luck!

  20. Becky Campbell says

    I know a lot of friends who bought decorations and centerpieces for their weddings and have them put away in storage now so ask around to see if anyone has stuff you could use.
    I know it may SOUND tacky but garage sales, goodwill, the dollor store! You can find vases, candles, ribbon, etc for CHEAP and it looks good. My friend got her wedding dress on ebay for $50!
    Just do your research. If you splurge on anything make it the flowers (and costco has some pretty nice ones for cheap too). You can have a nice, classy, memorable wedding and not spend a lot of money.

    And remember…its only one day. A big day but only one day out of the rest of your entire life. Not worth going into debt over. :)

  21. Tami says

    If you have a Big Lots near you they have tons of decorating stuff cheap. We had a really pretty wedding with 400 guests for $2500. Schedule it for mid afternoon so you can have just cake and snacks instead of a meal. My mom is very crafty and fashioned a bunch of floral decorations for me. It was so fun sitting with her and talking while we wound ribbons and made all our goodies. We went with simple and elegant. Use a church – their fees are usually reasonable and most have nice fellowship halls you can use for a reception. Our church already had a ton of wedding decorations too they let us use and was included in our fee. They had lots of hurricane globes so we bought a bag of play sand at Lowes and filled them halfway and put candles in them for the table centerpieces, very pretty and simple. I had a friend who is a seamstress who made my dress for me, so that was cheaper too. My mom had bought wedding silk for me and and my sister years before so we just used that. I grew up in a very frugal family so believe me, we did everything we could to save money. But the wedding was beautiful. It was fairly simple, but that’s kinda me. I had everything I wanted and yet didn’t break my Daddy’s bank. Most importantly, remember that this day is about you and your beloved. All the decorations and details in the world won’t live up to that amazing moment when you and him speak those vows and bind your lives together. No matter what happens, keep that in perspective.

    • ksbride says

      inspiring, i am planning a wedding with 400+ and my parents are only able to put in 2000 (very grateful) so I am trying to find ways to cut down on cost. Problem is that where i live there are not too many venues that can handle that crowd so my budget has to cover 2500 for the venue. :( gotta cut costs somewhere

        • Kristina says

          Keep it simple. Keep up with Pinterest. Find some cute ideas and go with them.
          Search goodwill for those cyclinder vases- I got about 6 for less than $2. At Michaels or Hobby Lobby, they run between $12-$18 a piece.
          After stressing for months over this wedding and a great friend told me…. “It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it has to be fun and you have to be happy.”
          She is right. I am 33 days away from marrying my best friend and I am so excited! :) Good Luck!

        • Karen says

          I agree. 400 guests is an exorbitant amount. We had about 250 at our wedding and I could not visit with them all and am not even sure who was there.

    • Shannon says

      OMG I wish you could email me personally! I have a guest list of 200 and cant seem to find a place to hold that many without costing an arm and two legs! I’m not even looking for extravagance and it is so hardddd!

      • Lori says

        local schools will let you use their gym/auditorium, usually at very little cost. You will need to fill out a use of facility form, There may bve a nominal cost for custodian and/or security depending on the area. This is ALL negotiable. Also a local Armory is free or small deposit for cleaning … and they all have great kitchens, tables, chairs etc at no extra cost. Good Luck!

  22. Nicole Wall-Parvin says

    Keep it SIMPLE!!!! Also, have the wedding in the mid afternoon so you want have to pay for a “sit down dinner” and have family members help you make foods ahead of time and freeze. Also, if you have friends who have already married, ask them if you can borrow any left over things (I had SO much left from my wedding). Also, I went to a Christian store and found pre-made bulletins so all I had to do was to go to a local copy store and design the inside of it. You may also want to go to the Dollar store, they have A LOT of wedding stuff–don’t worry about party favors, you just waste money. No one keeps them and they add up! I agree w/ the above person about not using tissue paper. I also bought toile in bulk and cut it as I needed for decorations and it is SO much prettier too!! Hope this helps!

  23. Deni says

    Many good ideas here!!! I did Ebay and I bought my tablecloths instead of renting and resold afterwards. They were much better quality. I also resold all my silk flowers and garlands. I bought paper plates and cups on sale at party city, they didn’t exactly match my colors, but complemented them. We had a morning wedding of 100 guests in a small yard, and it was perfect! No cake or dancing (it wasn’t an extended reception, but it wasn’t our first wedding, no big deal to us). We had coffee, tea, juices, breakfast sweets from Costco, and my husband’s fabulous baby breakfast burritos. I couldn’t have done it without my friends’ help, and they really went all out. They set up, tore down, and decorated. Our biggest expense was the renting of tables and chairs. And believe it or not, my dress was free from my girlfriend’s donation bag.

  24. Jodi says

    I scoured Goodwill stores in my area for glass vases to use as centerpieces. We had an outdoor wedding with one long table, instead of numerous round ones and we were able to fit everyone with tables. I also bought my flowers at Giant Food Store. The florist there bouqueted them for free!! We had beautiful Gerbera Daisies for the wedding party, then put them in the vases for the centerpieces.

    • Bev says

      Scouring Goodwill for vases is an *excellent* idea. Heck, you never know what you’re going to find that’ll be useful, so pay a visit and keep an open mind!

      I got one of those cut-glass punchbowls with 18 of its 24 matching cups and a clear plastic ladle for <$10 years ago at the local Salvation Army – total impulse purchase. Heavens, never knew that folks like ginger ale/rainbow sherbet punch so. If I'm invited to a shower, I generally get asked to bring the bowl and the fixings in lieu of a gift. If I know someone who is having a shower, but not well enough to attend, will offer the punchbowl along with a recipe.

  25. Anna says

    We did an early afternoon weather so we could just have light snacks, not a meal. That saved money. We bought our catered food/cake at the same place to save on delivery costs (Whole Foods) was quite reasonable and had great tasting cakes customized to what you want.

    Find decorations (candles, real flowers, nice material) that you can reuse later or give away as favors. Michaels has 40% off coupons that really help with some wedding items and Walmart always has reasonable items.

    Have a friend be your dj – really you just need an mp3 player and someone to handle it.

    Splurges – definitely on photography – these will be your captured memories and worth every penny. Hire a company that has 2 photographers (to get best shots from multiple angles and to capture more memories) and that will give you the rights to print yourself. DO NOT hire someone who will only give you proofs and then pay A LOT to print through them. I did a photo book online through Kodak and it turned out beautifully and reasonably. I did hire a chef for a couple hours for the reception to monitor the food just so I didn’t have to worry about that detail and so that friends who were helping could still partake and enjoy the event. Do not make friends do everything since they want to relax too.

    Double the use of bridesmaids flowers and put on the wedding cake table for decoration and pictures.

    Definitely do invitations yourself or ask a creative friend to do it as your gift.

    Favors – we made it personal and did something nice, but inexpensive. Instead of doing photos through Jones soda company, we just printed black & white pictures of ourselves and pasted it over the picture on the bottle – we chose colors that matched our wedding colors. A nice, practical favor that people will enjoy but also personalized of ourselves.

  26. Renee says

    For my reception I made all of my own decorations and favors. For the centerpieces I bought round clear vases from Joann fabrics for around $2 each and then I bought this floral gel stuff they sell that you soak in water and it fills up the vase and I dyed it my wedding colors with food coloring. Then you just poke either one flower or a votive candle into the gel and it looks very pretty.

    I also made tulle bags that were filled with hershey kisses for the table and I printed out a picture of my hubby and I in the same size as the bottom of the kisses and then glued them on.

    We made a “candy bar” with different glass containers filled with candy in our wedding colors and the guests could fill decorated bags with the candy. I also found various wedding themed pic frames at dollar stores and set out pics of my hubby and I on different tables.

  27. Meghan says

    For your dress, look at boutiques and even 2nd hand stores- they often have designer dresses off the rack for $200 or less- much cheaper than a chain store- then go to a recommended seamstress in the area to fit your gown to perfection! I am a seamstress myself and have saved some brides even thousands and still gave them the dress of their dreams!

  28. says

    We borrowed so many things from friends- ring pillow, my veil, my purse, jewelry, even the tulle we used to decorate!

    We made our own bouquets- I bought DOZENS of roses wholesale and each of the bridesmaids assembled her own bouquet (simply a dozen red roses tied with ribbon) the day before the wedding, we did the boutonnieres too. I found instructions online and bought some roses a few weeks ahead to practice since I had never done one before- it was totally easy. We bought our ribbon and supplies online for next to nothing. We also made our own ribbons and bows for the church and reused them for the cake table, etc.

    A friend made our wedding cake as her gift to us. I found the topper online for about $5.

    We also found a photographer who was willing to do the photo shoot and then give us all of the digital images rather than forcing us to buy prints through him. He happened to include all of the proofs and our album as well. We bought most of our prints through Costco and assembled our own albums for our parents. Often if you ask around you can find someone who does photography as a side job and who will be willing to work with your budget.

    We got married New Years Eve, so the church and reception hall were already decorated for Christmas and didn’t require much more. I bought candy for our favors on Christmas clearance (dove chocolates) as well as our candles and some white lights.

    If I were getting married again I wouldn’t serve dinner. Food was the biggest budget buster. I would do a dessert buffet- if you really want to go cheap have some family and friends make the desserts for you! We did wine only- we found an affordable wine and bought several cases of it. Alcohol is expensive so you could skip it and save even more. We also provided sparkling cider and iced tea.

    You can skip the reply card and provide an email address and/or phone number for your RSVPs. It’ll save on the printing costs and postage.

    We printed our own programs, etc at my husbands work (they gave us permission). I punched the holes and put the ribbon on them myself. They were beautiful. I also printed the tags, cut them out and tied on the ribbons for all of our favors with a few of my bridesmaids. I’m sure I bought all the ribbon online.

    We also got a credit card with rewards as soon as we got engaged and charged EVERYTHING on it (paying the bill in full each month)- it paid for two tickets to Italy just a few years later.

    I too could go on and on…

    I’m sure your wedding will be beautiful and unique if you are willing to invest the time to do it yourself!

  29. says

    Start at the dollar store (you’ll be surprised what you can find..including fake flowers)
    Next hit Walmart, Target, K-mart etc. (ditto on the above)
    Get your dress at an antique store or off the sales rack (I spent $100) and then add embellishments
    Make your own veil (its easier than you think and can be done for under $20)
    Have your ceremony in the morning and then your reception at lunch (its half the cost of dinner)
    Go on a cruise or to the Poconos for your honeymoon (they both include meals and entertainment)
    Hire a by the hour photographer for the wedding then put disposable cameras on the reception tables (you get lots of fun photos that way)
    Wishing you many happy anniversaries!

  30. says

    I’m an ordained minister and I officiate at a lot of weddings and also attend (some of) the receptions. I am sooooo bored with how cookie-cutter and unimaginative the weddings and receptions have become. There is no law that says you have to have party favors for every guest, a full portfolio of professional photos, a hotel reception OR a brand-new dress. If you live in a major metro area, there are dress rental places, or look on Craigslist, eBay or even Goodwill. A good dry-cleaning and no one will ever suspect it’s been worn before. Have a few professional photos done at the wedding and recruit a friend (one who does good work) to shoot the candids at the reception. A fondant-drenched bakery cake is pretty but one baked with love by a friend or relative will TASTE so much better. If you’re being married at a church, inquire whether there is a “church lady” who usually arranges flowers for Sunday services; she would be thrilled to take a few hundred dollars (plus cost of flowers) to arrange everything for church and reception (these are often older women on fixed incomes). I like what Holly said: you can have professional perfection or you can have people pitching in, doing things they love to do because the love you and want to make your day special. But please, don’t cheap out on your officiant: they’re trying to make a living and they generally charge a fraction of what your cake or flowers would cost. Sorry — I just had to say that!

  31. Chelsea says

    I used fake flowers, did my wedding and reception in the same place, bought a ‘used’ (never actually worn) dress, made my invitations, did a potluck bbq for the reception, OH and i bought all of my bridesmaid dresses from a little mexican shop here in town that specializes in quincera (not sure thats how its spelled) dresses. also a friend of mine who was a guest who takes amazing pictures took all of our pictures….in total i spent $1,500.00 on the wedding and reception combined. Good luck and congrats! oh yeah and i found my cake topper online for 30.00 and it was BEAUTIFUL it was one that could be used as decoration after the wedding.

  32. Lisa says

    I know this is the day you want to be a princess. Unfortunately, I cannot agree with spending money on a 4 hour event. Take the money you would spend on the wedding, invite only your closest loved ones and have a location wedding/vacation. Or, take the money and put a deposit down on a house. (You can still wear the dress and the veil at a location wedding/vacation.)

    I wish you great joy in your future. :)

  33. Gramma Rocks says

    Linzie said it in 1 word ~ “Elope.” I wish we had…our best man offered us $500 to drive to Las Vegas from Southern California and get married, because he didn’t want to wear a tux 😉 My fiancee didn’t tell me until later, just told him no. We would have spent so much less, money we could have used within the first 2 months after marrying, as we had to move.

    That said, borrow what you can. I borrowed our ring bearer’s pillow from a good friend. It was handmade and very special to her, but she let me add some adornment to it that was easily removed. I also made my own headpiece and veil.

    Also, use something functional as your centerpieces. Make fudge or candies and put them in small boxes for the favors and stack them, perhaps. Or make flower suckers, stick them in styrofoam in a pretty planter or bowl.

    For flowers use single roses or other long-stemmed flowers, instead of full bouquets. You can also put single big flowers in bowls of water.

    For food at your reception skip a full meal and serve appetizers. Ask friends to make them and you’ll save even more. Or skip food and have a cake and punch reception.

    Make gifts for your bridal party instead of purchasing them.

    For your cake pick something you and your husband-to-be like. My cousin and her husband like cheesecake, so they purchased different flavored cheesecakes, placed them on pedestals, and had a beautiful, unique cake.

    Whatever and however you decide to personalize and decorate for your wedding, do it in your style, not what someone tells you it should be. Have fun, and enjoy creating, you may be advising someone yourself one day!


  34. Sara says

    This website has a lot of cheap wedding-y items. I order from them all the time, tulle and ribbon. Reliable, but read the fine print and give yourself plenty of delivery time unless you want to spend a bit on shipping. Here in the tri-state area, wedding are huge to-dos, usually all inclusive at a banquet hall. I got married at a place near a marina with an amazing view of the harbor. Normally about $200 a head, but we paid $85 a piece for a March wedding since it was off season. We ended up having an 65 degree day!

  35. Ashley says

    I got married in the winter…one because I always dreamed of a winter-themed wedding, but it ended up being a huge plus because it’s the down season for weddings so I got the pick of the litter when it came to vendors. They were also willing to haggle with prices because discounted business is better than none at all. I cut corners by making all my own centerpieces and favors and went to a flower warehouse in my hometown with my bridesmaids the morning before the wedding and made our bouquets ourselves. Super cost-effective, plus a great bonding experience. Good luck! :)

  36. Angela says

    Find a good cook and an organized person to help them cater the wedding – finger foods are easy.
    Try to book a venue on the same day as another bride and share the decoration and flower budgets. Order white flowers and make the bows the color of each wedding. Just change bows between weddings.
    Fake flowers for family but go for the real for the wedding party.
    Some churches in my area allow you to have the service and recption there for free -save on venue and decorate it to your liking.
    Pre-recorded music for part of the event rather than live throughout.

  37. Evelyn says

    1. Print your own invitations. Office supply stores carry really nice invitations. offers a lot of personalized stationary items free (just pay shipping). For instance, I just ordered 250 free business cards from there. I put nothing on them but our family name and will use them as gift tags. You could order them with just a design on them, the bride and groom name and date, and use them as place cards or to go with your wedding favors.
    2. If you are going to have music at the reception, consider renting a sound system and having a friend play the music for you rather than hiring a DJ. You can burn your own CDs of your favorite music.
    3. Put together a slide show of your favorite photos to play on a screen during the reception. Costs nothing and will be sentimental and entertaining.
    4. Purchase valentine candy after Valentine’s Day is over and use it to make favors. You can get really pretty heart-shaped candies for almost nothing on 2/15.

  38. Karen says

    I got married in sept and we paid for everything. I got my dress on sale and brand new for 100. You can get veils and accesorys like tiara and jewelry cheek on eBay. I did no additional decor at he reception n for flower make sure to use what is in season it tends to be less expensive. Most craft stores have coupons and you can get stuff at a better price. On wedding photos just ask for then all digitally. Ask a friend to do video. Most stuff can be gotten online at a better price. For favors I did small boxes and put kisses in them . Spend the money on what is important.

  39. Jodie says

    BORROW and ask!! Lots of people have things you can borrow…a veil, center pieces, lights, trays, archway…when we got married we were asked to leave our lights up for the next wedding a week later and a 50th anniversary…they were well used. We borrowed an archway from a neighbor…took it out of his yard and we decorated it with lights and tulle. $$stores have bells and stuff like that if you want something like that. Ask people to bring things…for the gift opening we asked aunts and cousins to bring muffins. Most don’t mind. You can also use someone else to bake your cake…so many people have lots of talent and do beautiful work…bakeries charge you a fortune.

  40. Bridget smith says

    Boy have you opened a can of worms? I personally need more detail. Like what area you live in? What are your colors? What kind of wedding to you want? How big? What kind of budget?
    As for the dress, pick it first and foremost. But remember that the more expensive is not always better. As for bridesmaids, dont make them pay for their own stuff. That is absolutely mean when women to that. So, don’t go too cheap, but just go with more of a theme with your brides maids.
    Get as many people who you are already close to, to help you. Photo’s, flowers, food, settings, a place.
    Many local parks do not charge and if they do it is not much, but you do need to sign up. Also, the lawns of places can be cheaper than the building. Ask around and if someone has a great piece of property, they will rent out their out door space for way cheap if not free (even churches charge these days).
    Plan ahead and keep yourself lists!
    I have a lot more if you want to email me at [email protected]
    Congratulations on the hardest, second more rewarding thing you will do with your life.

  41. Karen says

    My husband and I were just married last May and enjoyed a very inexpensive but personal wedding in my parents’ backyard. We played Pachabel’s Cannon going down the aisle, and our own CD mixes for the reception.
    –The bridesmaids wore dresses and shoes from Target and jewelry I made. The flowers doubled as centerpieces in vases at the reception.
    –Dollar Tree is a great place to find party supplies like cups and plates and matching napkins–start there.
    –Our baker was a woman I found that was selling cupcakes at a craft show to promote her own business. Under $100 and the best wedding cake any of us had ever tasted (and beautiful, too). I found a very pretty cake topper at Walmart.
    –My husband is a chef and made all the food, but you can have a few family members each make one large quantity signature dish and rent or borrow warming chafers. Have an aunt or cousing make a large fruit basket made from a watermelon filled with chunked fruit.
    –I found an invitation/thank you kit at Michaels with a CD and the stationary. Mine was on clearance for $20.
    –Three relatives took pics with their digital cameras and put them on a CD for me. Between all these pics, I have a really nice album I put together, and I sent a wallet-size pic of the two of us in the thank you card.
    –The honeymoon was at a B&B in a historic tourist town. We explored the town together and –since it was still off season–we had the whole place including the hot tub to ourselves for most of the few days we were there.
    I’d have to say that I did it all the traditional way the first time–the church, the hall, the DJ and open bar. Honestly this wedding(my 2nd) was much more special because of the family component–my family was involved and everything was personalized.

    Good luck with your very special wedding!

  42. Meredith says

    A friend of mine had her wedding at a park where they accept donations. The Italian Garden was so beautiful with the spring flowers so she didn’t purchase flowers except for her bouque. The photographer was from the local paper. Her dress bought at consignment which originally was $80, but was able to talk them down to $33. Her food caterer was a friend of a friend who set up and served food for a reasonable price. Her cake…Strawberry Cheesecake…She had the wedding she wanted and all under $1,500. Oh yeah, and after the ceremony she & her husband rode off in a horsedrawn carriage. So check your local parks (especially one with an Italian Garden since they have columns & beautiful statues), local paper, friends who know friends who cater, consignment shops, and for reception decor I’d check thrift stores for donated items that are still in packages brand new. Check party stores clearance racks. Find a Dollar Tree store…you can make just about anything with all the things they have there. Happy Hunting and Congratulations!

  43. says

    Why not use the best kept secret in the wedding industry that is being put together unnoticed by a little ministry in Napa. There is a small non-denominational church in Napa (actually it is in Calistoga,California 94515). Which is famous for the Calistoga bottled water, wineries, mud baths and SPAS!

    The Pastor (he’s a lot like Robin Williams in the movie “Licensed to Wed”) and his wife heard so many times from couples on a budget THEY COULD NOT AFFORD A NAPA WEDDING. They decided to create a wedding package of their own and called it the Best Budget Napa Wedding Package EVER!

    What makes this so incredible,is that all proceeds go to the church children’s ministry, NOT THE OFFICIANT. The church congregation is 99.9% poor grape pickers and are not part of any large denominational ministry. The church purchases Christmas Toys, English lessons tutors, Food and Backpacks with school supplies with the proceeds of the ceremonies. You can see photos at the ministry’s website at

    Last year, weddings made possible to donate:

    1. Intimate Mountaintop Wedding Ceremony overlooking the scenic Napa Valley or Gazebo Ceremony (see photo)
    2. Custom Wedding Vows (Couple keeps)
    3. Marriage Ceremony (Non-Denominational)
    4. Two wedding photos (emailed to you)
    5. Sign and file wedding license.
    6. Ceremonial toast (non alcoholic cider)
    7. Church certificate of marriage
    8. Tax-deductible receipt
    All this for a requested $299 Donation.

    The pastor wants everyone to know that: COUPLES MUST OBTAIN WEDDING LICENSE FROM ANY CALIFORNIA COUNTY CLERK: He strictly limits packages to only 7 “Budget Packages per month: You can contact him directly at (916) 834-1496 or Email him:[email protected] or see the website at

    A $50 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your date.


  44. Nina says

    Definitely spend money on a good photographer. The pictures will be the things you will always have to remember that most important day. But don’t feel that you have to purchase the biggest or most expensive package of pictures. Instead have them give you the copyright to the pictures and you can use a web based photo service like Then you can order prints and even make your own photo albums for much cheaper. They give you free prints just for signing up. Periodically they will send you “coupons” for free shipping or other discounts. I have even received “coupons” for free photo books. I have gotten 2 of these coupons and have ordered nice hardback books of our honeymoon and wedding showers. I only had to pay shipping which was about $8 a book. I also ordered our “Save the Date” cards from them. They also have invitations as well as other stationary. And you can use your photos to make them personal.

  45. Becky says

    Here’s stuff we did for our wedding:
    -We found small, cheap metal pails, filled them with rocks, put a couple fake gerber daisies in them, and wrapped a piece of pink ribbon around them for centerpieces/favors.
    -Plastic white table cloths…also cheap!
    -My photographer friend’s gift to me was free pictures (I didn’t ask though, he offered and wouldn’t take any money from us!)
    -My mom and her friends made all the food (granted we only had about 30 or 40 guests).
    -We had the wedding and reception at a state park, so it was only about $50 to rent.
    -I even got my dress at Goodwill (I’m positive it was brand new!) for $20! My mother-in-law cleaned and altered it.

    Congrats, by the way!

  46. Jennifer says

    I entered a Free Wedding Essay Contest and won! I found a nice banquet center at a local retirement home – since we don’t drink. I decorated the tables with all different centerpieces in red black & white. I went shopping right after Christmas and New Years and was able to find really cheap red candle holders. I cut out circles in nice Black & White wrapping paper – from Target- after Christmas and used those for the centerpieces with candles on top. I used alot of candleholders we already had and decked them out with ribbon -black & white polka dot & stripes – I also got 75% off from Christmas. I put temporary tattoos on the white swans with redhots wrapped in black tulle to add a more personal touch.
    We’re getting married January 23rd and I’m really excited about the reception.

  47. Jessi says

    I know of a reasonably inexpensive very good photographer if you need name and number …I got married in June 2006 and the photographer was really good and he charged us about 500 dollars but he did my bridals, invitations and wedding and reception he is professional.
    I also used fake flowers from Michaels and built bridesmaids and Maid of honor and my bouquet with a hot glue gun and some supplies from the craft store and they were really pretty I was impressed with them. I thought I would hate them. We also had our reception at a city park for a 50 dollar deposit it turned out really nice. Let me know if you need numbers.

  48. Sandy says

    I recently help my best friend get married, and we made all the flowers, the cake, and all decorations. I do know that Dollar Tree stores have wedding items, as do Wal-Mart and other low budget stores. My favorite homemade item had to be favors for guests. I took a picture of the couple and shrank it down to fit a very small space. Next I placed them on a regular white sheet of paper, evenly spacing them, and printed it so that they each fit the miniture Hershey’s candy bars, and wraped the photo around the candy, taping with double sided tape. It takes a little time to make them, but they were really cute. I bought the candy bars in bulk at Sam’s Club. I also used items in the flowers that were special to the bride, like small hummingbirds, and wrapped the flowers in old hankerchiefs belonging to our grandmothers. As for the cakes, I used rolled fondant, also bought at Wal-Mart, and added fresh flowers as decorations. One of the cutest things I have seen to date, though, is for the bride and bridesmades, as well as flower girls, to be bearfooted. Especially if it is a wedding out doors.

  49. says

    ok, so its been almost 30 yrs since we got married, but i could do it again the same way..i HAVE NEVER REGRETTED not having a huge wedding. i bought a beautiful white PROM GOWN at the mall on sale for 60 bucks…white lace ‘dyable’ pumps that i didnt dye..had a floral comb made for my hair…only invited 45 people and had an italian familiy style dinner at a very nice italian restaurant in a private room. i only had a maid of honor and best man, and told them to wear whatever they wanted. pics were taken by my mother in laws employer [who luckily is the biggest photog in the area] for next to nothing. favors were little wine bottles and we had our wedding date put on ribbons for less than 15 bucks. the only thing i would have done different, is i think i would have had a big bbq instead and invited more people, and ditched the restaurant. our ENTIRE wedding including gown and suit cost less than 500 bucks..and i have NEVER felt like i missed out..i have a wonderful husband.

  50. Tamarak says

    Go to dollar tree both that we have here has a huge wedding selection. U can also o to their website and there is tons more stuff they donthave online. Best wishes.

  51. Michelle says

    My best advice is to borrow what others have used. For my wedding, we borrowed the vases we used in the centerpieces from someone we know that used them for their wedding. People love to help out and are thrilled you asked them. I also shopped for silk flowers online and found them much cheaper than at craft stores, but those work too. I also made my own bouquet. I just got the flowers I wanted and then wrapped them in ribbon and hot glued beads to it.

    Just remember, don’t stress about everything being perfect. Something is bound to go wrong, but just enjoy it! My wedding cake melted at my wedding, but it was still the best day! Good luck with everything!

  52. Lori says

    When it comes to your invitations and paper needs I have two words. VISTA PRINT! I’m getting married September 17th and we are having about 100 guests. We saved so much money on our invitation suite through vista print. It cost us a total of $150 for all the invites, rsvp cards, information cards, place cards, thank you cards and Save the Date magnets! Also vista print always runs offers for free items which we are using for signs at the wedding, etc.

  53. Dani says

    we had a frugal wedding (less than $2000 including invitation, dress, flowers, pictures, music and all), and people (5 years later) still talk about it.
    Ask your friends and family (who are talented in something) to help out with one thing. We bought red roses and white ones for me at a wholesale flower shop and a couple of friends did the arrangements. we live in Nashville, so finding musician/singer friends was not a problem (cost FREE) we even had a harp player and mandolin player friend of a friend. print your own invitation, ribbon a small picture and you are done. cake, we went to Sam’s club and ordered 3 cakes, decorated with red and white roses (icing), it looked awesome and the cost was only $12 per cake…we used 3 white cake stand (of different hight). Oriental trading had lots of stuff we used for party favors and little things here and there. Michaels craft store for tiara and veil ($20-30 for both?)
    Pictures where taken by 2 friends who are into photography. We had more pictures than we wanted :) If you know someone (or several different ones) who has a catering business or restaurant, they may cut you a good deal.
    Again, ask your friends and family to “help” with their talents instead of or as a wedding gift.
    Remember frugal is not cheap. you can have a beautiful wedding without the outrageous cost.

  54. Heather says

    I got married last April (great month to get married! :) ) and had a simple, beautiful and easy wedding. I think we spent maybe $1,500-$2,000 on everything including our rings, dress, church, food, invitian/replies, stamps, etc.


    If you have an AC MOORES nearby, sign up for their rewards card. You get 1 point for every $1 you spend. After you reach a certain amount of points then they mail you a $10 gift card. It’s nice because, if you’re going to be spending the money there anyway it’s nice to have $10 “free” bucks to spend. Remember that both AC MOORES & Micheals will accept Jo Ann coupons, plus you can always get on their websites and print out a “40% off” coupon to use instore.

    Sign up for free on and use that as you spend time browsing the web for wedding planning ideas to earn free bucks, which you can collect and then get free gift cards once you reach however many bucks you need. I used my points for Amazon giftcards to buy various items for my wedding, plus I also had enough to put towards to lower the cost of our bedding set for our home.

    Buy items that will go on sale soon after Valentine’s Day – This is a REALLY good idea, if you want any sort of heart decorations! :) I did that last year, it was great!!! Got some really good deals!

    Ebay & craigslist are both also good money saving sites. We bought our cake topper off ebay after hours of searching for just the “right one” and when we got it we knew it wasn’t exactly the colors that we wanted, so we bought our wedding color theme flowers, lace, etc. and re-did it into what we wanted.

    Do you have an Ollies where you live? We bought our invitations there for $5 each and that was for a box of 50 invitians and reply cards with envelopes.

    Friends are wonderfully talented and sometimes you never know their hidden talents until you begin asking around!

  55. Shaunalei Hayden says

    I got married 2 years ago and was on a tight budget. I decided to do ALOT myself. I order flowers from Costco and then watched a video on how to arrange them myself. They turned out great. The place where my reception was held was an historic building in our downtown area. Now I know that now everyone has the option for this, try to pick a place that is beautiful on it’s own so you need less decorations. I only used table centerpieces with flower petals that I took off of the flowers that I made myself. I bought small mirrors and placed underneath my centerpieces. It made them look bigger and brighter. Walmart, Sams Club, Costo and most bulk stores have a bakery that make awesome cakes! We got plastic cups made as favors and while they weren’t the cheapest and easiest thing to get, we used them during the reception for people to drink out of, so that took away the cost of getting glasses for people to use. Then they can take them home and it’s less to clean up. If you are looking for bridesmaid dresses always get everyones at the same place. Businesses will usually give a group discount when they are all bought at the same place. Check on Craigslist for recycled wedding decorations. I know personally I have tons of stuff leftover that I bought and didn’t use and have sold some of it on there.

  56. Donna Weathers says

    I got married just over 2 1/2 years ago and we had a BEAUTIFUL wedding on right around $3000 total. I think my best tip would be for the photographer. We found ours on Craigslist. There are a lot of people who are just starting out or who want to add to their portfolio and are willing to do the work for very cheap or even free. We got ours for free!!! You still have to do your do diligents because you dont want some strange person hanging around your wedding and you also want to see any pervious work they have done, but its for sure a way to get wedding photos on a budget. Good luck!

  57. Kristi says

    We got married in August the peak time to get married ! But we saved a ton of money. Here are a few things we did:
    1.) I bought my dress on sale – they were no longer going to carry that style so I saved big time !
    2.) We kept flowers simple. The bridal party had gerber daisy’s and the Maid of Honor had 5 gerbers and the other girls only had 3. On the tables we bought cheap glass bowls and put the wedding colors in glass stones at the bottom and then floated a flower on top. And parents and grandparents had a single rose.
    3.) I bought the ladies dresses at J.C. Penny’s They were on sale ! We found cute little sundresses in the wedding colors. They only cost $35 and it was something they can wear again. Along with that My shoes were from Target – and the girls shoes were from Payless. We got the men’s outfits from Kohls – on sale ! It was simple guys wore a button down tan shirt. With dress pants and a tie. It was so hot and since we were not going for anything fancy the guys rolled the sleeves- it looked nice. My husband put a vest on to stand out. And then all the guys wore shoes and belts they had. It’s nice because this is something the guys would wear again too. So total cost for the guys was about $50.
    4.) We had catering drop off the food and then friends of the family served it. This is the easiest way to save $$$.
    5.) We had the wedding at a family member’s house.
    6.) We bought our invites at Michael’s craft store and printed them at home- No one could tell .
    7.) We held the wedding on a Friday – helps a lot to cut down the guest list and the get cheaper prices on food, flowers , and location.

  58. says

    If you will use silk flowers, Hobby Lobby or Michaels, shop there during their half price weeks, bought all of my daughters ribbon, tool, flowers, cups, plates everything for half for her wedding. Also to save on cake, if you don’t have to have a large wedding cake, make a smaller one and the have sheet cakes, they can be pre-cut and put on plates to be put on table or served, also cuts down on the line. Borrow what you can.

  59. Cgirl001 says

    If you have a Michael’s or a Joann’s Fabrics or an A.C. Moore-type craft store, they usually have 40% off or 50%-off-one-item type coupons in the newspaper or online either through their e-mail newsletter or on I bought ALL of my decorations/supplies/invitations/save the dates/etc. from Michaels at 40% to 50% off this way and saved a bundle. Sure, I had to hit up each Michael’s store in our area per day (there are 3)and sometimes even drag my then-fiance with me since it was one coupon per customer. I must have made 100 visits in the months leading up to our wedding, but it was worth it to know how much we were saving!!

  60. Christine says

    Couple of ideas, tried and true:

    Have the wedding/ reception during brunch time or mid afternoon, so food can be light refreshements.

    Contact a local cake decorator (be sure to look at their portfolio before hiring) who is trying to get their business up and going. A hobbyist cake decorator could work too, much more affordable than a bakery.

    Set out disposable cameras as party favors so that guests can take pictures and send them to one another (yourself included). This can help to keep the professional photography poses to a minimum without compromising on capturing the moment.

    Bird seed in tooling/ with a little ribbon to tie it, instead of rice. It’s more humane to the wildlife. Rice will swell in the bird’s stomach and cause them to die. Can also do little bubbles for a cute send off, just as lovely!

    Serve non-alcholic beverages for guests. Alcohol can run the bill up really quickly and it really doesn’t add anything to the event. Another great reason to do a brunch/ late morning event.

    Eliminate the DJ and keep the reception simple, a time to mingle and eat together is fine. There’s no written rule that there has to be a dance, etc. Play beautiful background music instead. If you have a talented friend who can play piano or violin, even better!

    Have the rehearsal dinner hosted by friends. They can dress up as waitstaff in bow ties, white dress shirts and black slacks. The ambiance can be really sweet with red checkered table cloths and candlelight – like an italian villa or french cafe.

    A wedding can still be very classy but inexpensive. Oh, and one really big tip: keep your guest list small and intimate. Only your closest friends and family. Co-workers are very understanding about the desire for a small, private ceremony.

  61. Kate says

    Wow, there are a lot of great ideas! A few more that might not have been mentioned or that I second…
    *Skip the favors. I don’t remember any from weddings I’ve been to!
    *Have 1 little cake that you cut for photos, and big sheet cakes in the back for people to eat.
    *Search for bridesmaid dresses at stores like Macy’s, Dillard’s, etc. Also white prom dresses could be nice, simple wedding dresses.
    *If you have assigned seating at the reception, put the people’s names and table #s on 8.5×11 sheets of paper and put in nice, cheap frames. Saves you from having to buy all those little place-cards and get them printed or write on them.
    *For our table settings, any table that had a bridesmaid at it just had an empty vase to put their flowers in as the centerpiece. The other tables had cranberries & votive candles (Christmas-time wedding), very nice and inexpensive.
    *Check out your local grocery store for the smaller boutonnières /corsages. We gave our grandmas and moms single roses during the ceremony… half-price from our grocery store compared to the florist!
    Have fun!

  62. barb says

    My suggestions: If you have friends who have talents, ask them to help out in lieu of a gift! We had a friend who is an excellent photographer take all the photos, and I had a close friend who does cakes make the cake. We wanted vanilla layers, with chocolate layer on top, raspberry jam between the layers and fresh sugared fruit on top. My friend called my Mom and used her homemade raspberry jam. It was delicious and people still talk about how good our cake was! It was her gift to us. Check your local grocery store floral department. I got my flowers from Hardings (a chain in Michigan) and they were beautiful and reasonable! I used the table decorations that were available at the restaurant where we held the wedding and reception (got married out on the deck, reception in a large banquet room inside with room to hold wedding if weather tanked). Wedding was in the afternoon so we had a gourmet picnic type buffet. Use an ipod loaded with music vs. a DJ. We went to a wedding in October that had a large fresh fruit table/kabobs instead of a cake. The bride had a couple of friends who created it for her, and others who did party platters for the reception. Just think about what YOU want and not what all the magazines tell you you want. I wouldn’t worry about favors unless you really want to-people are there to share your special day not to get silly trinkets. I spent most of my time visiting the guests instead of worrying about details-just remember it’s really easy for the ‘bride’ to get lost that day. You don’t want to have your first real experience of your wedding to be in the photos!

  63. Christine says

    A cute idea I saw at a reception for nice centerpiece: a glass bowl with a fish in it. They did an outdoor reception with a fun playful theme. This fit their personalities.

    I personally did mirror tile with small sets of oil lamps. The oil in each was colored and matched out wedding theme colors of royal blue and silver. This atop white table cloths. Party favors were little parchement paper scrolls with a verse of scripture written on each. Each had a silk bow wrapped around them. Our auntie grew orchids and had one for each guest as a party favor too.

  64. susan says

    My daughter just got married in August and we saved a ton of money doing alot of the items ourselves.
    We bought tulle at Hobby Lobby using 40% coupons for weeks – and sometimes if there is just ends on a bolt they will throw them in for you. we knotted them together where needed and no one knew they were pieces. We used the tulle for church decorations and put hand made bows from the tulle on every other pew. The floral arrangemnent used at front of church were rented. Check wiht your florist or local rental place – they don’t tell you they rent floral arrangements at the florist because they want you to purchase big fresh arrangements that you have no use for later.
    We used bouquets for table centerpieces at reception. The throw bouquet my daughter used was her cake topper – small bouquet of fresh flowers.
    She had a small cake for pictures – saved top layer and instead of serving cake just had a dessert bar. Not many people eat cake but the dessert bar was made by us and everyone LOVED it. We did brownies and cookies. The grooms’ grandmother made pies and then we had donuts on a cupcake tower tray. She loves donuts and we got a deal by ordering quite a few dozen.
    Place card holders for tables were also the favors – caramel apples we made ourselves.
    Her gifts to attendants were flip flops with fabric tied on them in wedding colors she did herself which served as a nice relief from heels they wore. she did purchase each a cloth make up bag (bought in bulk off website) had them monogramed and put tissues, mints, chap stick inside.
    Ring bearer pillows were made from my wedding dress by a friend.
    Instead of an expensive limo our bus service had a trolley that you could rent for a fraction of the cost of a limo. It took bridal party and parents to reception venue.
    If you have a bar – do not have large options – a friend served as bartender for tips and a meal.

  65. Kirsten says

    I agree with Maria the professional photographer.
    -Skip the favors, if they are provided, most people just leave them behind.
    -Simple is the key for decoration, use light! It is amazing what a tree or potted plant with a strand of lights can do.
    -I found a local cooking school and hired them to cater. I got great reviews for the filet mignon with stuffed shrimp and it cost me less than pasta at professional caterers. They did a great job because it was a grade to them.
    – The dress, look for sample sales or trunk sales, you can get a great deal. Or look for a nice bridesmaid dress in white, they are cheaper and sometimes what your looking for.
    -For alterations, look to get it altered in the off season (usually over the winter, before prom/wedding season) it is usually 1/2 the price.
    -for a cake, i enjoy weddings that do cup cakes, sheet cakes or even ice cream sundae bars.
    -For invites, i found simple ones online for cheap, then used vellum paper to print the inserts and tied them together with a piece of ribbon. Got lots of compliments on that.
    -In general, your guests and yourself will forget about most details, they will remember if they had a good time and you will remember through photos.
    – instead of seating cards, type up the list in a nice format, take it to kinko’s to print it large (like portrait size), get inexpensive frames and dried flowers and make a seating scroll for a 1/4 of the price.

    Do a budget and stick with it! (you can make one easily on excel) Record every purchase and determine what is important and spend the money there.

  66. Christine says

    What to do with those centerpieces after the wedding? I was at a wedding where they had a penny taped under a single chair at each table. Whoever managed to be sitting at that chair when they did the “give away” was invited to take the centerpiece home with them.

  67. says

    Referal are a great way to save some money. Also realize you don’t have to go mainstream. Most of the vendors at the wedding shows or have huge advertisments everywhere…have to pay for that, and they do that by charging you extra. As a photographer in Boise, ID I can offer my wedding customers the same quality of photos but with a price ticket usually more than half of what the big guys do. Good luck, I hope this helps!

  68. rose b says

    This is what I did to help a friend with her daughter’s wedding. She went to the bakers and order plain round cakes with white frosting or what ever color your you want went to the dollar store and bought silk flowers in color you want decorated cake with the also did the flowers for the men, women, table, even the bride’s bouquet.. the cake we took empty box and wrapped them in wedding paper also found at dollar store and stacked the cake we put white x-mas lights all over the table we found a water fountain with a surface big enough to hold one of the cake get your crafty friends to help and get your baker friends to bake the cakes and save even more money good luck and have a happy life

  69. Sandra says

    I am getting married in November and my wedding budget is $3000. First, May-September and popular wedding months, avoid those if possible. Same with Christmas and New Year’s. Have your wedding on a Friday (we are) or Sunday, Saturdays are more expensive. You can also do daytime/afternoon wedding for some savings.
    For the ceremony, do you belong to a Church? You may be able to have both the ceremony & reception there for a really low price. You can also have it at a local park or beach, the permits range from $35-$200 depending on the number of people ou plan to invite. Which brings me to the point of how many people are you inviting? Only invite those close to you. No need to try to be “nice” and invite someone just because they invited you to their wedding. Every person is an extra mouth to feed. Depending on your state and/or county, have someone close to you ordained for a day & perform the ceremony. I am having my brother obtain an “officiant for a day” certificate from San Diego County and marry us.
    Do you belong to any clubs or organizations? My father in law is a former police officer and we are having the reception at a hall in he shooting range for the Police Department. Yes, strange but it’s the right price:free. we are making the best of it by calling it a “shotgun wedding”. Having Mexican food catered and we are buying our own alcohol. Bevmo tends to have a 5 cent sale, buy your wine/Champagne there. Also, Walmart has wine for like $2 and its not bad at all.
    I am wearing my mom’s wedding dress, it’s in perfect condition and will make it more meaningful. For decorations, it has been mention already, go to Oriental trading Co. and Dollar Tree. You can buy in bulk from them online. Get friends and family involved, that can be their gift to you and it will make the occasion even more special. Congratulations!

  70. Sandra says

    I forgot, we are doing Save The Date e-cards from and invitations from Vista print. Also, bought an arch from Michael’s with one of their 50% off coupons, only spent $20. I’ve been shopping the Thrift stores for Center pieces. You will find beautiful unique items and it wont hurt when guests take the centerpieces.

  71. Regina Crooks says

    Think back to the weddings you have been to and what do you remember? Do you still have and cherish the invitation? Print your own, it’s easy. Decorations for each table don’t have to match exactly, just be in the same theme, ie. vases from thrift stores that are the same size and color. After holiday clearance is a great source. There is still xmas ribbon out there that is wedding perfect. There will be lots of heart things after valentines day. We did a small wedding cake to cut and baked our own sheet cakes to serve. We did a variety of flavors which was a hit. Cristmas icicle lights are wonderful and cheap right now. Friends may have enough to loan.
    Seeing pictures taken by photographers vrs friends at weddings (often the friend pictures were as good or better) plus after 6 months most are put away to gather dust, we opted to have friends take pictures. Just make sure to have a list of shots you want and someone designated to make sure they happen. We asked frinds to bring cameras and take pictures for us. They emailed them to us. No cost to them and we have all the wonderful pictures we could possibly want and very little cost.
    After being at weddings where we didn’t know many people we decided we wanted guests to have fun and not be bored. We added extras to the wedding ceremony such as telling stories about each other and other things throughout the wedding to make it fun and interesting. We went for a feeling instead of just a look. We had a kids corner with toys and got everyone out to do the hokey pokey with a lot of urging from us. We had a table with pictures of each of us growing up, the story of how we met and pictures of things we had done since meeting. Our decorations were simple, the food home cooked and yet we had so many people tell us this was the best wedding they had ever been to. Don’t worry about picture perfect but make it about you. 10 years from now the (perfect)details will be fuzzy anyway but you will remember those things you did to make the wedding yours.
    Do make 2 identical notebooks of everything that is to happen at the wedding and who is to do it when. Give them to 2 trusted people to help make sure it flows. Include extra copies of vows etc. I said 2 because mine was misplaced and we had to wing a few things.
    Good luck. Make the wedding special in the ceremony, about you and most of all have fun. It will never be perfect. We had some big disasters(totally forgot to cut the cake) but when I tell people they just remember they were having fun and didn’t even notice what I thought were disasters.

  72. Heidi Zook says

    Go to the dollar store! I got regular platic tablecloths for $1 each at Dollar General. I also got pretty glass heart-shaped dishes deep enough to float candles at Dollar Tree for centerpieces. We did fake flowers instead of real, and I bought the food for the reception when it was on sale and froze it until we needed it. If you don’t need matching bridesmaids gowns, look on clearance racks after holidays. You can still find dresses in the same color but different styles. We saved lots of $ last summer!

  73. Jennifer says

    First, Congrats!

    I am a wedding consultant, and love helping others in their planning. The best advise I can give is:

    1. Set a budget! Sit down & write down what is the most important to you and your groom… from there begin designating where the most money is to be sent. You will find that alot of the little details (that cost lots of money) is not important or necessary.

    2. Plan a fun reception! One of my favorites ideas is a late wedding with “breakfast-styled” reception! Breakfast is inexpensive and everyone enjoys it. Another idea is a 10:30am wedding with a cake & champagne reception. Many couples do this so that they can have a smaller, more casual party in the evening! The reception and photography is where the majority of your budget will go.

    3. Do what is best for you both! Finances can cause stress in families- trying to plan and please everyone is tough! In all the things that have happened,and things do go wrong, know that the only thing that matters is that you and your groom exchange your vows before God! Everything else can fall apart, but in the end, you will be happy because you married your best friend! Focus on a “happy financial ceremony” that makes you both HaPpY!

    Best of luck… and happy planning!

  74. Elizabeth says

    Make your own invitations! You can buy the kits at Wal-Mart, Hobby-Lobby but Office Max has a large selection. I did this for my neice and they were beautiful. For extra nice ones, use a hole puncher and tie a coordinating ribbon at the top and use a velum overlay. It’s easier than you think.

  75. Erin says

    The dollar store has battery tea lights that actually work and will last the whole night. I used them in my carved pumpkins and they worked great. My cousin had a “mad hatter tea party” sort of themed reception where she found different brightly colored plates and place settings, she found most everything at garage sales, estate sales and bargain stores.

  76. Loretta says

    Thanks everyone for your advice and comments. You have all given me a lot of things to consider and I appreciate your input. The things I have already done to save money are: I already have the food lined up by my soon to be MIL and her friends, printing my own invitations; my niece is going to take our pictures for us, my other niece is doing my hair and make up (she is a cosmotologist), not wearing a ‘real’ bride’s dress (this is my second marriage) but a beautiful embelished bridesmaid dress, and only having one attendant. I think I have done pretty good so far.

    Do have to admit though, the thought of eloping sounds pretty good too! :-)

    Thanks again!

  77. Heidi says

    We all have talented friends and family. What is best to give and get is the gift of time. Have a friend go flower shopping with you and as they’re wedding gift to you, they construct your flowers….make your cake, prepare food, programs invitations and the list goes on….

  78. Satirah says

    My sister was married in December and we were on a really tight budget. We ordered flowers from Sam’s and put the flowers and bouquets together ourselves the day before. I used to work at a flower shop and I have to say that the flowers I order from there are just as good as anything we ever got in a the shop. For around $260 we had enough roses, hydrangea, carnations and alsoromeria to make 13 center pieces, 10 flower arrangements to put all over the chapel and reception, 10 boutinees, 4 bouquets, and still had a bunch of flowers left over. we bought the vases at the dollar tree and at thrift stores. We found some cheap fabric that we liked and used stitch witchery to make fabric squares to go on each table. We bought a bunch of odds and ends things off craigslist. We had all the girl buy their own dresses, just requested that they be the same color and the same length. My husband is a minister so he did the ceremony. we used a ton of candles in different sizes and shapes that we found on craigslist to put all over the stage and that is what we used for decorations in the chapel. we used a lot of things that we had around the house to decorate with, like lamps and candle holders. We also took a bunch of picture frames that we had around our houses and we put engagement pics of the couple and put one at each table. It didn’t really feel like you had walked into a reception. It felt like you had walked into someone home. Instead of party favors that people will forget about this time next year, get your free pictures from sutterfly and give one of your engagement pics to everyone. We also make our own invitations and programs.

  79. Jill says

    I borrowed a dress from my little sister and had the wedding in an Elk’s lodge, where the Ladies of the Elks (Does?) did all the decorating (in my colors) and catoring (great food). The hardest part was addressing all the envelopes! My dad had a band so that took care of the music. Altogether it was a $500 wedding! And everyone had a great time.

  80. Kristin says

    I am getting married in April as well! First of all CONGRATS!!!!

    Here are a few ways I am saving money without saving grace on my wedding

    *DRESS- my grandma knows how to sew very well so we will be making all of the dresses and vests for the wedding. BIG SAVER!!! I am not even asking for anyone to pay for anything.
    *SHOES- all the girls are wearing flip flops that I added gems too…they do not look like they fell into a bedazzeler…they look very nice. just used hot glue and everything looks great!!! i spent less than $20 for all of 8 pairs!! however I made the purchase in the winter so they were all mark downs.
    *GUYS SHOES- here is where I spent alot of money. My Fiance wanted to wear converse. i took into consideration that the girls were all getting dresses, jewelry, shoes, hair, make up and nails for themselves. where the guys are going to be wearing their own black pants and white shirts and they were getting vests. So spending a bit more on shoes for them (which I bought at Kohls and got Kohls cash and used a 30 percent coupon)were worth it for the guys
    *CENTERPIECES- I was looking for something simple yet elegant and decided on wine glass candles. I purchased all the wine glasses (about 40) from thrift stores for about $15 and will just be getting the candle wicks and wax from hobby lobby or some other craft store.
    *flowers- I purchased my bouquet from WALMART!!! they are silk flowers but they look pretty good. I got 2, one for me…and one for the bridesmaids/MOH. i broke up the second one into 3 and tied ribbon around it. i also added a few small flowers i got from JoAnns for $2.
    *i also purchased silk rose petals from oriental trading for a good price.
    *CAKE- my uncles mom used to be a cake decorator! so we are making a small 3 tier cake for ourselves and the wedding party and family. we are also making a bunch of cupcakes for the guests that way we dont have to spend forever cutting the cake. we will be putting fondant cutouts on the cupcakes to spruce them up “)
    *CAKE TOPPER- i have a friend who is a sculpt major and i asked her to make one for us. its going to be a surprise! i am super excited.
    *MUSIC-since my wedding will be in my backyard, i asked a friend who is a pianist to play for the ceremony. for the reception, i will have a mix on my IPOD for dinner and dancing.
    *hair/makeup/nails- i am a cosmetology major so my beauty school friends are going to take care of me! i know this is special circumstances so i have a few tips…. ask friends!! if you cant afford the salon, friends who know how to do make up are great, or places like sephora often do free make overs if you want to look into that. hair is easy to curl, so down is always a great option to keep it simple and cost free! nails, if you want the artificial nails, press ons are not too expensive if getting your nails done at a salon for $30 to $40 is too much. otherwise, a nice polish is always classy.

    my biggest word of advice however is COUPONS!!! always look for a coupon before you buy something. every penny counts!! anything you can save is definetly worth it. also when ordering online, be patient, most places have “buy $$$ and get free shipping”. dont just pick things to get the free shipping, you might not use it just because you thought you would to get a good deal.

  81. says

    I’m a big couponer, don’t forget to check on Ebay for coupons for anything you need. You’ll find coupons for almost everything there. Just a heads up!

  82. Emily says

    My husband and I did the wedding ourselves and saved lots of money in little ways. But the two biggies I can think of were:
    – We hired a photography student to do our pictures. She was very professional and was only a fraction of the cost of a professional. She got to build up her portfolio and we got CDs of all of our pictures.
    – Instead of using traditional tableclothes we covered our tables in white butcher paper (SO much cheaper and fun!). We placed markers on the table and told the guests to write us a message or draw us a picture. The results were great! The guests enjoyed coloring and my maid of honor made us a scrap book with some of the best pcitures and notes.

  83. Dana says

    Whatever you chose to skimp on or cut, do NOT skimp on the photographer. Hire a professional. Just because your cousin/sister/whoever has a Canon or Nikon doesn’t mean they know how to use it nor can edit the photos after the wedding. You only get one shot for wedding photos! Let the professionals do their jobs. And make sure you get the rights to your photos.

  84. says

    I myself do own a invitations company Just starting out and i help brides on any budget. No matter if they go and get the Invitations and i can design it for them and get it printed I really don’t charge a lot of money as i did my own Wedding on less then 2 grand. No one could believe i pulled that off. If anyone has question or wanna talk you can Email me or call me. Everything is on my web page. Look at Oriental Trading- Martha Stewart Wedding website has some Fantastic ideas for budgets. Even The Knot also Just do alittle searching on the web and that can help out a lot I planned my wedding for Dec 10th 2005 and started the process in in the middle of October. So i did it in 2 months or so Be Creative.

  85. Joy says

    I’m planning a budget backyard fall wedding in my home. My boyfriend and I have a lovely home and life together with our 2 year old twins, and thus have other places we want to spend our money rather than an over the top extravagant wedding! I am very crafty and have OCD :) so I’m doing everything myself to save money. Making things yourself is not only rewarding and cost effective, but you’ll really get the result you’re looking for. We’re foregoing flowers and using wheat bouquets instead. Very fall, and very modern. By having the event at our house, it will be intimate and all we’re buying is the tents, which is cheaper than renting them. We’ll have to rent chairs and tables. We’re also having heavy hot and cold hors d’oevres, a candy bar, and wedding cake. Everyone has done the crappy sit down dinner and buffet, so why not lavish yummy foods everyone will really enjoy on the guests?? No DJ as this party…it’s an Ipod. Basically, the name of the game is, researching online to find the touches we wanted, and then researching the cheapest way to achieve them.

  86. says

    Consider buying used wedding items such as decorations accessories and your wedding dress. This will help save hundreds or even thousands on your wedding. Craigslist is a good resource as well as our site Good luck and congratulations!

  87. says

    I purchased signs, customized wedding mint tins and bridal party gifts on Oriental Trading post for under $200. I am so impressed with that site and the product I recieved. We purchased long thin strips of tulle and a few other decorations at the local dollar store. If you have a Hobby Lobby near you they are awesome too. I just have shopped around and used all of the Michaels coupons from Frugal Girls too! I think I have saved about $100 using their coupon! Good luck to all future brides! Best advice ever? This is YOUR wedding, make it fun and when you begin to feel stressed out take a break and refresh yourself! This is just the beginning of your wonderful future together!!

  88. Tammy Burgess says

    My niece started her planning very early and used the weekly 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby to buy some of her items…it was on her way home from work and she was able to stop once a week, by wedding time she had plenty of carriages for her party favors. My son just got married and our family prepared the food, my sister-in-law and her friend decorated the tables, a friend from church made the cake, and my cousin made the bouquets and bows for the chairs and her husband performed the ceremony. If you have a large group of friends…USE THEM if they are willing…and they in turn will do the same when it is their turn for a celebration.

  89. ~Cat ~ says

    My wedding was for sure a budget wedding! It was almost like a game to see how much money I could save and still have a fab wedding. I bought my dress from the prom dress section at a Macy’s that was going out of business…$18.00! My bra cost more than that! My sister and I made my veil with the help of Hobby Lobby and Google, it was beautiful. We held the wedding at my parents house. It was Irish themed. Every table was named after a differant county in Ireland. My sisters and I made Shamrock ornaments with beads for each guest. I also did my own flowers because I used to be a florist. The food was served by people I hired ( high school kids). My bar was ran by a few newly 21 year olds who just wanted to party, but also enjoyed their tips. I had a DJ. Photos were done by a friend (this is recommend NOT doing!). We also rented tables/ linens/ and a tent in case of rain. With around 100 people, we made it happen for right around $7,000. Not too shabby!

  90. says

    Well since I am getting married in 4 months, this is super helpful. We are on a super tight budget since I am still a college student. I found my dress at Salvation Army! I knew I wanted anything but white, and since we are getting married in October, the cranberry color was perfect. It fit like a glove, and cost me less than 20.00! Since I had my student ID on me, I alos got 20% off.
    At the end of fall, into early JAnuary I scoured Walmart for clearnace floral. I had my eye on what I wanted for centerpieces, and they were eventually marked down to 1 each. It is a small ceramic earn with fall foliage and mini pumpkins in it. I alos cleaned out their fall floral bushes to make other floral pieces. For cake we are doing 5 individuals ones I make, 5 flavors with a simple monogram topper on one cake. My sisters are helping me with food, which will be simple italian family foods. For “favors” we are making caramel apples in leaf print bags. My invitations I found in a clearance bin at Walmart, a brown themed, for 10.00 for 25. I dig through clerance racks, bins, thirft stores. Our wedding for 75 is going to come in less than 1,000.00 I have friends who take professionla quality photos to take pictures, my fiance asked his good friend ( a dj) to dj, and I am trying to score the apple orchard as a location. If not, there is a lovely park with a gazebo in our area that is free to use.

    It is possible to do thing lovely, without busting your budget. Get creative and call in all your friends.

  91. Shannon says

    For my centerpieces I bought 8 clear square glass plates, and 8 clear square glass bowls and set up the bowls upside down with the plates on top for a cake stand. I had 8 cupcakes on each plate with a small candle in the middle. I bought the dishes pretty inexpensive at Bed, Bath, and Beyond with coupons. We have been married almost 5 years and still use those plates and bowls as our everyday dinnerware. I didn’t want to waste money on cupcake stand rentals or purchase so it saved a lot of money on centerpieces.

  92. Colleen says

    I am getting married next spring (2012) and looked at this for help. I found things that are very helpful and others I completely disagree with – for personal reasons, lack of savings, or simply I don’t want to appear cheap.
    1. Elope – none of your family or friends will be there… I have a huge family and this is not an option. Recently my cousin had a destination wedding to cut costs, but he shared with me that after having a reception at home, they ended up spending waay more by basically paying for 2 receptions.
    2. Flowers – how important are they to you? For my bouquet I’m making a brooch bouquet (google it or find one on Then, I’m getting bridesmaid bouquets at my local grocery chain and adding in some brooch flowers. Remember, live flowers die, if you put them together yourself they might not turn out well or last long. Plus, you’ll need to spend how much time the day before your wedding putting them together?? Also, remember to research if you can have flowers/decorations at your ceremony site (many churches won’t allow it).
    3. Minister – have a friend that you couldn’t include in the wedding get there license online. They will do the wedding for free and forever be a part of your special day.
    4. Church/ceremony site – my fiancé is not baptized, so we had difficulty finding a church that would allow us to get married there. So, we are renting a pavilion at a beautiful city park – for much less!
    5. Party bus/transportation – contact local bars with shuttles instead of a limo or car service. I booked an old style trolley from a bar for about 60 percent of the cost elsewhere nd much cooler transportation.
    6. Caterer – hire a caterer! Even if you have it at your mothers house. Otherwise, do you want your mom, aunt, or whoever stressing over the food days before, hours before, as well as DURING your wedding and reception?! I don’t think so. Plus, if anything goes wrong – it’s on you.
    7. Cake – get what you think is nice. I think 3 tiers look good, but generally that is not enough for my 200+ guest list. So, I’m requesting smaller slices. Many people often skip the cake anyway, or only eat half.
    8. Music – this and photographer are where the money should be spent. Entertainment is what everyone remembers!! Don’t feel the need to get a band, but definitely research and attend events for the music beforehand. Also, seek out local bars for good bands. But, remember, if they don’t have wedding reception experience, it could be problematic. At the same time, there lack of experience could help you get a better deal and them a new business ventue.
    Another good point, setup a playlist on your iPad or iPad and make sure a friend somewhat keeps a watch on it. You may get a “rock band” as I did, but can fill on during dinner and on their break with other musical genres.
    9. Photographer – hire a professional! My sister had a friend offer to take the photo as a gift. But, after she took some family photos, she wanted to be a normal guest. Now, my sister has about 4 pictures of herself and husband on their wedding day and says it’s her biggest regret! Also, print pictures/views that you want taken and GIVE THEM TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER. That way, you’ll be sure to get all the shots you want.
    10. The best advice I can give… NEGOTIATE! – if you are already using the photographer, they may stay another hour fo an extra $30 – it’s not like they’re heading to another wedding. Reception sites are expensive! I am getting a discounted rate because I offer use of any/all of my photos for their website since they don’t have many that show how great the venue is. If your bar is with caterer, sometimes you can do exchanges, such as cut the salad and get an extra hour of bar for free. I’m in sales, I know that the owner of the company ( if you have the opportunity to speak with them) would like to get more money out of you if you are already using them for the day (or the person onsite, such as a DJ, would prefer a bigger tip and stay longer). Just mention and ask. You never know if you’ll get a deal if you don’t t least ask for it.

    Good luck!

  93. Michelle W. says

    A couple of years ago my hubby and I got married for fairly inexpensive :). Some things we did:

    *We got married in January, so I was able to take advantage of the after-Christmas sales at the major stores and buy some decoration items(like white Christmas lights) for up to %70 their regular price.

    *We opted for a small cake for the “cutting” cake and had a dessert bar for everyone else. We got things like cookies, cupcakes, and cheesecake from local bakeries and Costco.

    *We didn’t have a lot of flowers. I had the local supermarket florist put a simpler, but still beautiful, bouquet together for way cheaper than the other florists I checked with. I also bought a boutannier, and two corsages from the supermarket and we got a couple bouquets of roses from Costco to finish it up. I think it all didn’t come to more than $150.00 for all the flowers.

    *I went to the bulk food section at the grocery store and bought our favorite little candies (red Swedish fish) in bulk. I then bought clear mini-treat bags from Wal-Mart and bagged them up myself for favors. I printed our own labels from the computer to close them up. Everyone loved them!

    Our wedding was beautiful but simple – good luck!

  94. [email protected] says

    I got my invites at target and am going to print them myself. They are simple and very cute! I got 100 invites on clearance for $15! Also, for wedding favors, try to use something you can incorporate into the reception decor. We are doing wine glasses with our names and wedding date on them, filling them up with sand and putting tea light candles in them. It’s a nice gift for your guests and adds ambiance to your tables. You can get personalized wine glasses for about $1.15 each online.

  95. Lindsay Earl says

    im getting married soon as well and was looking for cheap wedding ideas. i found 18 of the same vases at the DI for 50 cents each and im going to use them as my center pieces with flowers in them and a ribbon on the outside! they all look the same some are off by a hair but no one will tell because they will all be on separate tables! you can find a lot at the DI. also go to and they have a lot of ideas as well on how to make stuff for really cheap! :)

  96. tisah says

    While I am not married nor engaged, but I am working on it lol. I do think that having your wedding at a church can be a cheap alternative as well. Sure the large churches have reservations and deposits, but a lot of the little ones don’t and church attendance is down so even the big ones might work for you as well.

    For your dress go to your local Art Institute college and work with a student designer. Offer to let them keep the bridesmaid outfits to use as their final project in return for making the dresses.

  97. Amelie says

    Another good way of saving some money is by cutting the cake yourself. We decided to skip the greeting line at the beginning and just serve the cake to our guests ourselves so we can thank them for coming and also cut down on cost. Obviously works best if you have a small wedding party though (ours is about 50 people).

  98. Darcy says

    I am getting married in 2 weeks–EEK!
    Here is what I have found for our wedding:
    *Reception and Ceremony in the same venue- a building on the fair grounds– this saved money on the venue b/c churches cost a fortune
    *borrowing centerpiece vases and table clothes from friends
    *printed and put together our own invitations- i even when to the post office to see what size the envelope had to be for normal postage
    *borrowing a veil from a friend
    *bought converse all stars for my shoes- more comfortable and fit my personality– lesson here- buy shoes that YOU like, not what is the norm
    *hire a high school/college kid who is studying photography for the pictures- ours cost 150.00 and we get all the copyrights and the cd
    *price match at craft stores
    *look for deals if you are getting favors- we got custom guitar picks (my fiance is a guitar player) and i think we spent 120.00 total for 300 picks- i waited til there was a sale and free shipping
    *forgo the tuxes- our guys are wearing dress shirts and ties. the only one wearing a suit is the groom, my dad, and his dad.
    *instead of cake do something different like a dessert bar (where everyone brings a dessert) or a cookie bar- we are doing a cookie bar and i have been baking 1-2 batches at night and freezing them. we will have a small cake for the cake cutting.
    *check out local printing companies for programs or invitations. most of the time they are VERY reasonable.
    *keep it simple!

    • Darcy says

      AND– I forgot this has been our best friend. I already had a Prime membership (89.00/year) and got free two day shipping on a lot of items. I bought the guys’ shirts (20.00 each), their ties (10.00 each), and our wedding rings. My ring only cost 120.00 and it was originally 300.00 + i got free two day shipping. My fiance’s ring was 50.00 and originally over 300.00 as well. We saved A LOT of money using Amazon.

  99. P.Chu says

    I went to art school and there were LOTS of students who were studying photography and would be very happy to accept a job as a photographer. The price is most likely to be A LOT less and the majority of time they want the experience and photos to add to their portfolio. You can always request a CD with all the pictures and print out the ones you want at a local Kinkos (negotiate and make sure that all this is in the agreement between you and the photographer!!) What better than to have someone who is taught to make their models and pictures look good?
    Hope this helps!

  100. Kathy Conley says

    My daughter fell in love with this one dress that was over budget. Then we found one similar but with a smaller train in the bridesmaid section. It was perfect. We were able to order it in Ivory and saved several hundred dollars. We found several veils and fluffy slips at Goodwill for super cheep and a train to add to the dress. We took it to a tailor to add the right kind of hooks so that she’ll be able to remove the train for the reception.

  101. kelly bere says

    I recently hosted a DIY, surprise wedding reception for my son and daughter-in-law. I Rented a community room/hall from a friend who lives in condo community …. cost $175.
    We had a country fair theme. We borrowed a popcorn cart, a snow cone maker and cotton cotton candy cart.
    I found a couple of young chefs from our local culinary school who prepared us appetizers of cocktail sized pogo dogs, slider sized pulled pork sandwiches and mini pizza. We had the party during the day so a “boxed” lunch of up scale fried chicken, potato salad etc was served. The chefs were thrilled with the notoriaty they received and the cost of the meal etc was about a quarter of I would have paid otherwise.
    For drinks we kept it simple, lemonade and iced tea in borrowed urns and wine and beer on ice in wash tubs. We used real, borrowed wine glasses to save on plastic and a friend acted as bar tender.
    For desserts I asked a few of my close friends and family to bring a dessert and we had an old fashioned pie/dessert tasting contest with the bride and groom as the Judges …. lots of laughs and fun. ( I even made the winners old fashioned ribbons )
    The sweetheart table was a kissing booth (my hubby built a simple structure) where you paid to give the bride or groom a kiss.
    All the decor was made by myself, everything from hanging pompoms to banners and signs. The table decor was white table clothes ( which I gathered at second hand stores ) and the table centers were tin cans with tissue paper flowers and a paper butterfly. The party favours were home made pinwheels and toilet paper rolls covered in scrapbooking paper and made into pillow boxes, filled with candy.
    I even bought my Daughter-in-law a dress off ebay (which she loved) since they traveled a long distance and wouldn’t bring anything appropriate for an afternoon party.
    All in all the whole party cost around $2000 for 85 people and it was a huge success. Many people came up and told me it was probably the best party they had ever been to and most importantly my daughter-in-law told me it was the best day of her life!

  102. says

    For food check with culinary schools. They might be a lot cheaper.

    I got all my wedding plates,napkins ect.. at a dollar store. They were beautiful.

    I made my own head piece from a kit I bought at Micheal’s. All I had to do was glue the fabric (included) to the head piece.

    For wedding jewelry you do not need to spent a lot of money. You can get some beautiful pieces at Clairs and Wal-Mart.

  103. Jonna says

    I am getting married in september and the tip I would give you to save loads of money would be to do alot of DIY projects, I got a ton of free votive holders when my grandmother bought candles at bath and body works so I decided to decorate them myself, alot cheaper then buying already decorative ones, I decorated my own flip flops I blinged them out bought those at oldnavy for 2.50 it cost less then $10 to do theses you can buy them for $30 or so online already done, I am doing my own food saves from paying a catering service I am even doing my own Music at the reception I couldnt see paying $500+ to have someone play music on their laptop when I can do the same thing I have really nice stereo system I got at a black friday sale a couple years ago. I shop at micheals alot as well I havent bought anything with out a couple or if it wasnt on sale.

    • Amber says

      I work at a michaels- even if you only come in to use the weekly 40% off coupons, it is REALLY worth it to give them your email when they ask at checkout… why? we use it for rewards points for loyal shoppers. We have events year-round that reward you with higher coupons; i once checked out a lady that had a 70% off everything coupon from her email because she came in a lot- and they send you coupons for the invites and online scrapbooking stuff at my design@michaels online

  104. Maria says

    Love the idea a few ppl gave of trying …. I found so many good deals there for decorations. has beautiful dresses that can be used for the Maid of Honor/Bridesmaids. I haven’t fully made up my mind yet but I think that’s where I’ll be getting mine (getting married in June 2013). The Maid of Honor dress I’m looking at is $58 and the Bridesmaids dresses are $30. They are light blue lace with a light grey bow sash.

  105. Kara says

    I am in the process of planning a wedding and trying to save as much money as possible. One suggestion I have is Vistaprint for the invitations. I used to find some fonts I like and made the invitation myself. I checked and found a voucher that was $17 for $70 worth of credit to for Vistaprint. Then I went through, which was doing a promotion for Vistaprint that gave me 50% off invitations and 14% cash back on my purchase. I ended up ordering 100 invitations, 100 postcard RSVPs and I did the 250 (that was the smallest option) business cards that I put the host hotel info and our wedding website. I was able to use the same graphics throughout to tie them all together. I spent $77 total and that was with $26 towards the rushed three day shipping because I want to get them sent out asap and need time to fix any errors if that occurs. For my save the dates, I used a picture that I took and then added text. I had a 100 free 4×6 photo coupon for Costco and printed them like a picture with a matte finish. You can find the coupon in their frames, which run a $14 for a set of three. Always happy to pass on savings to others! Hope that helps.

  106. Amber says

    I LOVE the idea of making smaller cakes for centerpieces- we even are changing the flavors for each table(instead of #s, the table will have a name), so guests can interact more as well- use an ipod with a wedding list on it instead of a dj all night- just make sure your venue has a sound system compatible. Since mine is a vintage country theme(im from SD btw), its easy to incorporate a lot of stuff we already have laying around into wedding stuff; mason jars, wine bottles, pallets, and re-styling my mother’s wedding dress for my old. also- I got all of my bridesmaids stuff from debs. I know that sounds tacky, but they have a lot of lace dresses and cute shoes, and I only spent a total of $50 on 3 dresses and 4 pairs of shoes during their clearance event. the dresses arent matching- never wanted to be.. but if you NEED them to be, they can order them in for you, even if they are clearance items

    • Amber says

      Oh, and we used Vistaprint’s free business card and personalized stamp for the stationary monograms and return addresses, and created a business card-sized save the date(you can add a picture to them for $10 for 250 cards)

  107. Peggy says

    Have a few friends ready immediately after the wedding to grab all those flowers and decorations used at your wedding, and zoom them over to use at the reception. Saves a lot of $.

  108. Kristine says

    My husband and I got married on 8/21/10. Best advice, don’t get over your head. Shop around, we did all of our labels on our own computer for the invites (staples clear with Microsoft word templates and fonts). The place where we got married did not provide place cards. 110 guests, used Michael’s 50% off coupons to purchase the place cards and use the template provided end cost $3.76 for 110 place cards which looked professional. Vista print for any other labels you may need. Purchased small boxes, and filled with homemade chocolate (michael’s) from wilton molds. Our theme was lucky, our song was lucky (Jason Mraz) as I had just became cancer free 2 months prior to our wedding. My tiara and necklace and earrings, retail cost over $300.00 found and ebay store who carried the same line as my tiara, contacted her directly and she ordered all the pieces. $135.00 with free shipping. If you don’t plan on wearing your veil the entire night and it is only going to be used for the reception. Check out the Ebay stores. Custom made veils (mine was accented with diamonds and tear drop crystals $23.00 with free ship) not the $200.00 in the bridal salon. There is so many ways to save, you just have to look. My husband and I paid for our entire wedding and honeymoon with no help.

  109. Laura says

    If you are doing an outdoor wedding, make your own potted flowers for the wedding decorations. My step-mom did it for us as her contribution and then the wedding party and family got to take them home as a great favor! She used the pots that look like clay, but are really some sort of foam. No one knew they were the cheap pots! We even planted some of the perennials in our garden as a reminder of our wedding day. Also, you can buy flowers in bulk and use them to make simple elegant centerpieces, decorate your cake and make your own bouquets! We spent $350 total for 8 dozen organically grown roses for 2 bouquets, the cake and 15 centerpieces and several other decorations for the reception! We weren’t crafty enough to do the boutinnieres and corsages though, but I bet some of you out there are!

  110. Cathy says

    Do it yourself!!! You will be amazed what talents your friends and family have. My brother in law made my bouquet, my sisters and I made the rest of the flowers, we did our own bird seed bags, my sister made my wedding cake and my husband’s grooms cake, you know the bleeding armadillo one from Steel Magnolias, We made our own pew bows. Also when did people start giving out favors for coming to their wedding? Skip it, it’s ridiculous, the day is about celebrating the union of 2 people, i don’t need to go away with a party favor! And save the date cards aren’t necessary either. We didn’t have any of that and our wedding was great. Everyone who needed/wanted to come was there. Also plan it to where you don’t need to feed a meal, cake, punch, finger foods is all you need.

  111. Elizabeth says

    1) instead of spending a ton of money on a wedding cake, we are ordering 17 chocolate cakes from Portillos (Midwest restaurant) and decorating them individually for our tables center pieces. It’s going to cost about 400 total – but for cake and centerpieces? Pretty awesome.

    2) going to make our save-the-date cards 4×6 pictures we’ll design ourselves and have printed at Walmart for .15 a piece.

    3) look at different honeymoon websites. We’re going to Disney world and they have a website where you can register and people can individually pay for your trip through increments of money. Since my fiancée and I already live together and we have everything we need, it will be nice to get our honeymoon paid for. :)

  112. Amber says

    All those little “must have” extras that the venues and Dj and photographer offer are not must haves! I was adamant about not having staged photos of my wedding day. I wanted candid moments and I found a great photographer who did just that. She also gave me a discount since she didn’t do before pictures. She only photographed the ceremony and reception. Plus I don’t have to order my pictures through her which saved a ton.

  113. Baylie says

    im 18 and getting married in excited..these tips have helped bc we are so young and dont have alot of money….

  114. says

    I found that moving your wedding date to a Friday or Sunday will save you THOUSANDS of dollars. I saved almost $3000 moving my wedding date from Saturday to Sunday.

  115. says

    Sam’s club has unbelievable deals on flowers. I have worked for 3 major flower companies and was completely content with not having flowers at my wedding because of the cost. Sam’s Club has wholesale prices with free delivery. The reviews are too cute as most people post pictures so you can see how they used the flowers. Sam’s also has centerpieces if you don’t want to diy and also flower packages that come complete with corsages, bride bouquet, etc. Of course they also have rings but I really didn’t see a huge difference in pricing for the rings.

  116. Rachael says

    My Wedding was $500.00 all together, wedding dress (search term formal white dress, the word wedding jacks up the cost, way, way up), (homemade) veil and gold rings included.
    Looking back on it there are some things that I would have done differently.
    We were in the Military so the Chaplain was not allowed to take money. Base facilities are often free. We just did homemade cake and Koolade punch (I would do that differently) we didn’t do reply cards or formal invitations in the end the extra cake and punch were way less than the reply cards. I wish I had hired a photographer or videographer because my pictures are crappy and in the end the family member who offered to help was a horrible photographer, thank God for the pictures my in-laws also took. Given that I was pregnant and it was in a hurry I wouldn’t change up the budget so much. I am glad that I did a family pay your own way dinner at an affordable buffet in town for my family and close friends (the only restaurant in town that was in keeping with my family’s budget). I am happy that I kept it to the people that mattered to me the most so that I could spend my day with the people I loved the most. What is most important in the end is the commitment between a couple and not the amount spent on the wedding. If I had time to plan and had not lived in the barracks, and did not have allergy concerns I would have grown my own flowers in DIY painted pots. I would have had tulle swags on the pews and a wedding arch rented because it turns out they are much bigger fillers than you think. If you buy the right arch all you need is one swag in the center and you are done. I tried making my own ribbon roses but they ended up costing way more than the fake flowers would have cost. My grandmother has asthma and I wanted to prevent her from having an attack. I would have done a Styrofoam cake frosted with bondo (auto department) and painted and just done the top with actual cake to save on time right before the wedding and served sheet cakes. People always eat less wedding cake than you expect.

  117. Tressa says

    I am doing hot pink with silver accents as my colors and I always see the cute silver candle holders and the pink tulle etc in the wedding section, well after Christmas I went to Hobby Lobby and Michaels and bought the exact same materials (in my pink and silver colors) at 70-80% off in the Christmas clearance section. Basically I did my entire reception space for what it would have cost me to do two tables at full price! I got tons of pink and silver tulle rolls and silver candle holders and plates like I wanted, without having to break the bank. I also bought the small white and silver gift bags on clearance to use as my favor bags. Total cost: approximately $1,600 I paid: $250 after tax.

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