Ten Tips to Save Money on Your Wedding

According to The Knot, the 2021 national average cost of a wedding is $28,000.

However, you don’t need to break the bank to make your day memorable. When it comes to saving money on a wedding, it’s all about knowing your priorities and wisely allocating your wedding budget. Making a list of your priorities and setting a budget should be step number one of wedding planning.

With 35 years in the wedding industry,  our VP, Jay R, has rounded up a dozen expert tips to help you save on your wedding.

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Wedding Cost-Cutting Tips

1. Decide How Important Location Is To You

You have dreamed of the perfect wedding at the perfect place, but can you afford it?

We often see our clients spend 80% or more of their budget on the venue and caterer, leaving little for the rest of the wedding costs. Look at your whole wedding vision before committing to a venue. Ensure you leave enough money for the right entertainment, photographer, and floral/décor.

2. Find A Caterer That Does Double (Or Triple) Duty

If your venue doesn’t come with tables or chairs, seek out larger, established catering companies. Many will have acquired most of these and usually rent them at a discounted rate when you secure their services.

Plus, since they’re already coming to your venue, they often waive a transportation fee. They may even have their own linens!

3. Remember It’s TGIF For A Reason

Why not pick a Friday or Sunday date?

You will have a better choice of dates, and almost all vendors will offer add-ons or discount their prices on these dates. The only exception will be Sundays that fall on holiday weekends.

4.  Ask Yourself Who You Really Want There

It might sound obvious, but don’t invite people you don’t want at your wedding.

Caveat: If your parents are contributing a significant amount to the wedding, you will want to work with them to make sure their top guest picks are invited. 

If you’re stuck, ask yourself questions like: will this person be a part of the future I share with my spouse? Do we see them playing a pivotal role in our future life together? If the answer is no, leave them off.  

5. Make the Most of Your (Happy) Hours

Bar packages are often a great source of confusion. A general rule of thumb: your reception should be an hour longer than the bar package you purchase.

For example, if you buy a 4-hour bar package, your reception will be 5 hours long. Most clients think that the bar package should last as long as their reception, but you don’t need the bar open the entire time.

Our Suggestion: close the bar for a half-hour during intros, toasts, blessings, etc., then re-open, and then close again a half-hour before the end of the night. Boom! We saved you $1500 on average. Don’t tell the venues we told you this tip (wink, wink).

Graphic of suggested wedding timeline

6. Say No to Wedding Favors

Skip them! 

The perfect alternative is to do a photo booth (or the ever-popular Mirror Booth). Not only are the photos themselves a perfect takeaway, but all SSE photobooths include digital copies that can be treasured for years to come.

7. Let Them Eat Wedding Cake

But keep it budget-friendly.

Save money by having an artisan cake for only the couple on display. Keep a large sheet cake in the back for serving your guest. They’ll be none-the-wiser!

Fun Idea: Do a “Mom, Grandmas, and Aunts Cake Potluck.” What the heck is that? Your beloved family members bake their favorite cakes for you and you display them all on a table with signs saying “baked with love by Auntie Laura.” You can even include recipe printouts next to each one.

Not only are the recipes a fun takeaway for your guests, but it makes for a meaningful keepsake for you!

8. Go Easy on the Wedding Centerpieces

Centerpieces are a great place to control costs.

Your centerpieces are the first thing that guests will forget after your wedding. Lavish centerpieces can cost up to $500+ when you factor in natural florals and other rentals.

People want to be able to see across the table. The best thing you can do for your guests is light the room with a cozy ambiance. This can be achieved with uplighting around the room and a short candle arrangement in the middle of the tables.

9. Charge Up the Energy, Not the Table

Yes, chargers are pretty. But don’t you want everyone to be too focused on the lively conversation and delicious food to pay attention to what’s under their plate?

Much like the centerpieces, your focus should be on creating a fun experience where people are talking (read: looking up at one another) or out on the dance floor. 

10. Minimalize the Personalized Wedding Decor

Skip the monogrammed napkins, cups, etc. Dispose of anything disposable!

You can reallocate these funds to personalize your guest book or other mementos you and your partner will cherish for years.

Save money by getting creative with how you look at your wedding “must-haves.” The reality is that most of the things you think you need aren’t required for an amazing night.

Cutting all of the oversized centerpieces means being able to afford your favorite cover band or the region’s best wedding DJ.

Simplifying your towering cake could mean affording incredible up-lighting that transforms your venue into something magical. 

Skipping dry, flavorless cookie favors turns into sending your guests home with hilarious photo booth printouts.

Selective Sound Entertainment has been in the Cleveland wedding business for over 30 years.  Set up a consultation today and we will walk you through these and more tips for creating an affordable yet incredibly memorable wedding.