How to Save Over $5,000 on Your Wedding

RelayRides blogger Amanda L. Grossman shares some surprising tips that will help you save thousands of dollars on your wedding.

Do you know what the average wedding costs? Prepare to be gob smacked. While data varies from survey to survey, it appears that the average US wedding costs is between $25,000-$30,000!

You might think that this is what other people spend on their wedding and that you would never do such a thing. You are probably correct. However, what you will learn early on in your planning process (I know I did!) is that wedding costs can get entirely out of hand pretty quickly. So even if you budgeted $7,000 for your wedding + honeymoon, you may end up having spent $10,000+ before all is said and done.

And the crazy thing is, in wedding world, people consider being only $3,000 over budget as walking away with a good deal.

Because of this ability to go way over a budget when planning one of the biggest days of your life, it is best to play some good defense to begin with by cutting costs wherever you can right out the gate. Let me show you how.

Book a Photography Student

One of the biggest cost-saving measures we did for our wedding came from a tip in the book Bridal Bargains (highly recommended reading for any bride-to-be): we hired a photography college. This was a win-win situation, as the student used our wedding to buffer his resume and we only had to pay $250 for the entire day (included a $50 tip). An added bonus is that we walked away with a CD of all of the photos, plus complete rights to be able to print them out cheaply for whatever use we wanted.

You can do the same by settling on a price you’d like, and then contacting the photography department head at the local university to your venue to ask for a recommendation of one of the best students in their program.

Pick a Location that is More Than a Location

When you look for your venue, be sure to pick one that offers more than just being the location. For example, we saved over $100 on flowers because our venue was a hotel/restaurant and so they automatically provided fresh flowers daily on each of the tables (they even may let you pick the color for that particular day). Because of the venue type, they had linens and beautiful silverware on hand which cut down on our rental needs. The host also was willing to change CDs and announce us plus the first dance and father/daughter dance so that there was no need for a DJ (and a beautiful patio for dancing, so no dance floor rental).

See how much money you can save by keeping these inclusions in mind?

Plan Your Wedding in the Off-Season

People like to get married in the summer months. But if you get married in what is considered the “off season” for weddings, then you stand to gain more flexibility in your date selection as well as a decreased price. We personally shaved $1,000 off of our venue price for having our wedding in April in PA…and it turned out to be a beautiful, 70-degree outdoor wedding.

Check Out your Local Grocer’s Bakery for the Wedding Cake

No, seriously. My mother suggested that we do this, and I thought she was crazy. But then I went to the Acme with her and looked at the gorgeous selection of cakes (as well as tasted one) and walked away with a cake to feed 70 people for under $200. The icing was real, the design was sentimental and gorgeous, and nobody could tell that it had been made in the back of a grocery store.

In fact, we took the top layer on our honeymoon and gobbled it down in a matter of days!

Set Up a Honeymoon Fund Registry

Going on a honeymoon is such a fun experience, and I encourage you to include this within the budget of your wedding. How can you do that? First of all, think about setting up a Honeymoon Fund Registry as part of your gift registry, and ask others to put money towards the honeymoon of your dreams. Secondly, think a bit smaller with a few luxuries. For example, could you do a long weekend getaway within a few hours’ car ride and rent an affordable luxury car from someplace like RelayRides to elevate the experience? RelayRides offers car rentals that are 40% cheaper across the board, with unique selections for honeymooners that you might not find anywhere else, from a corvette convertible to Jaguars. There are also 285 listings at airports around the US where people will actually come to meet you and drop off the car (way to add convenience and a bit of decadence to your first days as newlyweds!).

Who knows what emergency might pop up in the days before your wedding (such as having to rent outdoor tents for over $1,000 when you thought they were included in the price of your location, true story of a friend of mine)? Having a little buffer in your budget by using the tips above can only help you start your married life off right.