Weddings are filled with celebration, happy tears, and lots of love. However, they can also leave couples overwhelmed with financial stress. If you’re feeling the pressure of throwing a beautiful wedding but are unsure how to avoid overspending, you’re certainly not alone.
The wedding industry is notoriously expensive and tricky to navigate. Without strict budgeting and savvy planning, you could easily end up spending double what you initially planned.
Follow our tips and tricks to minimize your wedding costs and enjoy married bliss without worrying about its impact on your financial health.
What’s the Average Wedding Cost?
First, let’s explore how much a wedding typically costs in the United States. In 2022, the national average wedding cost was $30,000—which is $2,000 more than in 2021. Now that wedding season is back in full swing since the start of the pandemic—with more than 2.5 million weddings planned in 2022—venues and vendors are in high demand, resulting in wedding markups.
Regardless of the pandemic, the average wedding costs a pretty penny. Wedding services are a $70.3 billion industry in the United States, and those in the industry know how much they can get away with charging couples. After all, they provide luxury services built to deliver your dream day.
Between the wedding venue, food and drink, flowers, the dress, and more, it’s no surprise that costs can rack up quickly.
Tips for Throwing a Budget-Friendly Wedding
Throwing a budget-friendly wedding is still possible. If you get savvy and plan strategically, you won’t have to sacrifice the beautiful wedding of your dreams. Shaving down costs here and there may seem minimal, but it can go a long way—especially if you set a budget and stick to it.
Plan Your Budget
Don’t let unexpected costs sneak up on you. Start planning your big day by creating an inventory of all your wedding wants and needs, and assign costs to each line item. If some areas have more wiggle room, note it. If your overall cost is getting up there, cut out some of the wishlist items or find a way to make them cheaper.
One great way to start budgeting is by referring to a wedding planning checklist. This will ensure you don’t miss any expenses that may not have come to mind. You can also download our resource, A Complete Guide to Budgeting, for more helpful tactics.
Hire a Wedding Planner
You won’t regret dedicating a portion of your budget to hiring a wedding planner. After all, they know the wedding industry inside and out, so they can help you navigate from the proposal to “I do” and beyond. According to a Brides survey, 76 percent of couples plan to hire a wedding planner or day-of coordinator.
It’s a wedding planner’s job to keep you within budget, and they often get deals with certain venues and retailers. They’ll keep the stress low, let you focus on the excitement, and ensure everything runs smoothly.
Shorten Your Guest List
You might want to throw a huge bash and invite everyone you know to celebrate your big day, but the number of guests you invite directly impacts the cost of your wedding. If you limit the guest list, you’ll spend less on invites, food, centerpieces, and the venue as a whole.
Choose a smaller wedding party too! You’ll have fewer gifts, bouquets, and boutonnières to purchase.
Cut Wedding Cake (Costs)
There’s no denying the beauty of a decadent, multi-tiered wedding cake. It may even seem worth the splurge. However, you can still get your stunning cake-cutting moment without dropping a large portion of your budget. Here are some ideas:
- Consider choosing a smaller cake and serving half slices. Between dinner and dancing, guests will probably be fine with a lighter slice of cake.
- Get a fake display cake to use solely for photo ops. Then, serve wedding guests less-expensive slices from a separate sheet cake (perhaps even a home-baked cake).
- Choose a simple design with less expensive frosting. You’ll be surprised by the cost difference between buttercream and fondant.
Get Savvy with Your Flowers
Couples often spend more on wedding flowers than necessary. Between bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces, it’s easy to splurge without expecting it. However, you can still get those beautiful blooms for less with a few tricks:
- Mix expensive flowers with more budget-friendly flowers. You’ll cut costs and still get that elegant feel.
- Use vases with unique shapes that require fewer flowers to fill.
- Decorate on a budget with more than just flowers. Surround floral centerpieces with romantic candles, votives, and other decor.
- During cocktail hour, ask someone to move floral displays from the ceremony to the reception. You’ll need fewer arrangements and get more bang for your buck.
Take the DIY Route
When it comes to DIY, you don’t want to task yourself with too much—you’ve got enough going on with the wedding. But if you can add a DIY touch to your entryway table, centerpieces, or wedding favors, you can cut down on costs and add a personal touch. Speaking of wedding favors, consider having only one favor per couple rather than one per guest.
Set Up a Honeymoon Fund
If you want to truly kick back, relax, and not worry about finances on your honeymoon, opt for a honeymoon fund in place of your registry. That way, wedding guests can contribute to your flight, resort, couple’s massage, poolside drinks, and more.
This is especially wise if you already live with your partner and have all the home items you need. Rather than getting more pots, pans, and hand towels, you can go on an affordable honeymoon.
Your Budget-Friendly Dream Wedding Is Possible
Just because you want to save money doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your vision for your wedding. Budget properly, cut where you can, incorporate DIY touches, and get the help you need to make it all possible. Your dream wedding can still be a reality.
Get started today with our Wedding Budget Worksheet.