Getting Married? Cut Costs for Your Big Day

wedding-budget-savingsPrime wedding season is almost upon us, and if you are getting married this year, you are likely in full planning mode.

Weddings are notoriously expensive and it is easy to get carried away with extras (that add up quickly). It is essential to set a budget and to stick to it very closely. Here are some hints on how to do that:

Keep the Guest List Small

When it comes to compiling your guest list, be ruthless, as this is easily one of the biggest cost centres (and opportunities to whittle down your budget). From food, to drink, tables and seating- every head means more cash coming out of your wallet.

Stick to close family members and good, lifelong friends. Avoid the temptation to invite acquaintances, distant cousins or work associates. This is not a family reunion, nor is it a business function.

Combine Reception and Ceremony Location

There can be savings to be had if you stay put in one spot and opt to have both the ceremony and the reception in the same location. You may only have to pay one rental fee.

If that is the case, be mindful of scheduling (i.e. don’t have loads of unplanned time for guests between the reception and the ceremony). If you are serving snacks and/or open bar, this can be a time that people fill up (and run your bill up).

Bar the Bar

Speaking of the bar, one way to seriously reduce your wedding budget is to have a cash bar for the duration of the reception. Alcohol is a major cost centre in a wedding budget.

If you do decide to host a bar, only do it for part of the evening (usually before or during dinner). Also limit it to house wine and beer, rather than having numerous cocktails available, which tend to be pricier.

Re-Think the Calendar and the Clock

Who says that you have to have a traditional Saturday afternoon ceremony and then a dinner reception to follow? Many reception halls have peak and non-peak times and days of the week and costs that reflect that.

Furthermore, consider changing the time of day that you get married to the morning or early afternoon, so the meal that you serve could either be lunch or a champagne brunch.

The food costs (and appetites, likely) along with alcohol consumption will be much lower for those meals and times of day. Instant savings!


Have a cocktail reception instead of a full dinner and dance, with a wide variety of nibbles and drinks. This can be much less expensive than a full meal, and just as memorable. Make sure you don’t schedule this type of wedding over a traditional meal hour, or guests will be hungry and disappointed that they are not fully fed.

Either schedule before or after dinner, and note on the invitation “selection of appetizers and drinks”


You can save loads of money by enlisting some friends and lending a little DIY elbow grease for the flowers. Buy flowers that are in season, first of all to save right off the bat.

Farmer’s Markets (if the season fits) are get places to find pretty, tied bouquets that will look lovely in a simple glass vase as table centrepieces or as decorations.

Get Sneaky with the Cake

Buy a simple, small tiered cake for you and your new spouse to cut and for picture purposes. Purchase (or make) a far less expensive sheet cake and store in the back. Have the kitchen staff cut and pre-serve on plates, or enlist some friends to help.