Cents and Sensibility

5 Tips to Cut Wedding Costs

Heart inside of a nest egg.
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Maintaining a marriage may be stressful enough, but planning a wedding can be just as stressful. Take away some of that stress by keeping your pocketbook in check for the big day. Check out these five tips to save money on your wedding:

1. Put Your Signature Here

According to Anika Kai, founder of Anika Kai Events in Chicago, alcohol is the favorite for many weddings, but it’s also one of the most expensive line items for the reception. Instead of having a full bar with multiple liquor options, consider having beer and wine instead. You could also offer a few signature cocktails to complement your wedding theme. Have one that is indigenous to the amazing resort where you will be spending your honeymoon, or even an homage to what you were sipping on your first date.

2. Timing is Everything

Choose an off day and season. As we all know, Saturday is typically the most expensive day for a wedding celebration. Instead, opt for a weekday or Sunday afternoon wedding. The food and beverage minimums will decrease drastically. Also, if you are looking to cut your budget, steer clear of the May-September months. Those months are the height of the wedding season and are likely to have less bargaining room financially. Late October-April are the months where you may have more wiggle room when it comes to venues and vendors.

3. Opt for Online

Another area where you can save money is stationery, especially because couples spend the bulk of their money in this area. Many high-end designers do impeccable work; however, it’ll end up costing you $7-$20 per invitation. Save money in this area by considering an online shop to create your invitation suite. With so many great options to choose from, you won’t have to sacrifice style and class for a smaller price tag.

4. DIY with Your Bridal Party

Get your bridesmaids together and have a DIY day creating the save-the-date cards, favors and table placements. Leverage everyone’s natural talents to help make your day affordable and spectacular. If your future mother-in-law is an amazing baker, maybe she can provide the dessert for the reception or the rehearsal dinner. Is your cousin a photographer? Maybe he or she will take your wedding pictures for a family discount.

5. Trim Your Guest List

According to Michelle Newson, founder of Onederland Events in New York, don’t feel obligated to invite people you don’t know well. Also, figure out the number of guests you can afford and work from an A-list to D-list: A-list guest (immediate family and close friends); B-list (friends and family who you will feel bad if they didn’t attend); C-list (co-workers, distant relatives, and other friends who you don’t mind if they are there, if it’s in the budget); and D-list (these people are expecting to come, but you wouldn’t be disappointed if they did not come).

Those are my wedding budget busters.  Share yours in comments!

About Dr. Karen Ratliff

Karen Ratliff
Credit: Dr. Karen Ratliff

Dr. Ratliff is a certified life coach and professional educator, assisting many people in accomplishing financial, career, and educational goals.  She is also the author of “Tightening Your Bootstraps: 104 Tips to Kick Your Debt to the Curb Now.” Keep up with her budgetary advice via Twitter @drkarenratliff and her website at