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How to Save Money on a Wedding and Still Have the Experience You Want

As soon as you start looking for wedding inspo, you fall down a rabbit hole of over-the-top details and luxury venues. It can be captivating, but the price tags are overwhelming. All of it might leave you wondering how to save money on a wedding and still have the experience you want. As a Buffalo wedding photographer, I’ve seen marriers make all kinds of creative decisions to save money without missing out on what matters most. Here are eight of my favorite tips for your wedding!

A bride and groom smile and hold hands as they walk away from their Buffalo wedding ceremony.

8 Tips for How to Save Money on a Wedding

1. Get organized and know your budget.

If you’re not an organized person, invest in a tool that will help you get everything in one spot. When I got married, I started a separate bullet journal for planning my wedding. That ended up being important since I got married in the pandemic. I had two months to cancel a wedding and plan a 30-person backyard wedding in its place. Having all those moving pieces in one place made all the difference!

Knowing your budget is important for similar reasons. It keeps you on track. When you’re deciding how to save money on a wedding, you need to know your limits. That way you avoid all the discomfort that comes with inquiring with a vendor and deciding they’re way out of your price range after all.

A wedding invitation suite sits on a table surrounded by white wedding shoes, a bridal bouquet, and a veil.

2. Pare down your guest list.

This might be the best tip for how to save money on a wedding - maybe the only one you end up needing! Small is just simpler. Rather than making your wedding feel like a family or college reunion, invite your essential people. Make the guest list smaller, and fill the room with the people who are most important to you. Thankfully, nowadays you can live stream your ceremony for friends to catch the ceremony even if they don’t get an invite for the in-person celebration. Fewer guests opens up possibilities for smaller venues and leaves you with fewer people to feed.

Marriers pose with guests in front of Buffalo wedding venues.

3. Opt for a smaller wedding party - or no wedding party.

Having a wedding party has a lot of appeal. Who doesn’t want their best friends to have special roles on their wedding day? A lot of people don’t realize that wedding parties can be expensive. Gifts, outfits, shoes, and hair and makeup costs add up for marriers and people in their wedding parties. You can still have a big pre-wedding celebration with your best friends without investing in a formal wedding party.

A Buffalo groom walks through a field with three groomsmen and discusses how to save money on a wedding.

Brides pose with small bridal parties.

4. Choose an off-season wedding date (while acknowledging the risks).

One of the riskier ideas for how to save money on a wedding involves scheduling an off-season date. How risky that actually is depends on where you live and whether your ceremony and reception are indoors or outdoors. I’m based in Buffalo where winter weddings run the risk of postponement thanks to blizzards. Those gorgeous winter wedding photos - and all the available vendors - can be so worth the trade.

A bride and groom pose for winter wedding portraits on a snowy sidewalk in Buffalo.

5. Consider a unique time like brunch.

Just as choosing an off-season date can save you money, opting for an unconventional time of day can help too! If you have a morning wedding, you can treat your guests to brunch afterward. Imagine eating your favorite breakfast foods while everyone is still feeling fresh. It can beat the sometimes grueling schedule that comes with a traditional wedding day.

A bride puts on earrings before a brunch wedding in a sunny Buffalo home.

6. Choose a naturally beautiful location that needs less decor.

Sometimes ideas for how to save money on a wedding are as straightforward as choosing a beautiful spot that doesn’t need to be decorated. Public parks offer woodsy spaces that can set the tone for a lighthearted day. If you have a restaurant wedding, you can pick a spot that has a unique aesthetic.

Wedding portraits of a bride and a couple in a Buffalo park.

7. Have a small cake or no cake.

Here’s a little-known secret about weddings: Guests rarely touch dessert once the dance floor opens! Instead of a multi-tiered cake, opt for cookies, ice cream, or donuts. If you really want cake, you can always do a small cutting cake and a sheet cake for guests. Bakeries are getting good at making those small cutting cakes into little works of art!

A couple decides how to save money on a wedding by having a small cutting cake and cookies for guests.

8. Skip wedding favors.

Most of the time, wedding favors get left on reception tables or never picked up in the first place. Save money and precious planning time by leaving them out. Instead, focus on the parts of your wedding planning you actually enjoy.

A wedding guest points a bubble gun in the air and fills a wedding tent with bubbles.

A bride and bridesmaids dance with bubbles and LED sticks at a Buffalo wedding reception.

Were these tips on how to save money on a wedding helpful? You might also like these posts: How to Have an AMAZING Dance Floor on Your Wedding Day and Gift Giving on Your Wedding Day - Inclusive Gift Ideas for Your Wedding Party and Parents.



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