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Three Easy Ways To Save Serious Money On Your Wedding

The cost for the average wedding is approaching $30,000. That’s serious money. Assuming you want some cash left over for important stuff — you know, like a place to live — here are three easy ways to dramatically slash costs on your wedding day.

save on your wedding, 3 ways toGetting married soon? You’re in good company. The average age for an American’s first marriage is 29 for men and 27 for women.

But don’t be one of the crowd when it comes to this statistic:  The average wedding costs just under $30,000, a record high according to wedding-planning website The Knot.

Take it from someone who has been happily married for 12 years – spending that much money on one day of life is insane. That kind of money should only be spent on the things that will make your marriage long-lasting and happy.

That said, who doesn’t want to throw a good party to celebrate love?

So I asked Jessica Lehry Bishop, aka The Budget Savvy Bride, to help identify some places where you can save money.

Skip the Fancy Invitations

Engraved, paper wedding invitations from a stationary store cost an average of $659, according to the Bridal Association of America.

If you really want to save money (and want to do your part to keep the world green), invite friends and family with electronic, paperless invitations.

E-invitations have come a long way since Evite. Paperless Post offers high quality designs for free, or a nominal fee.

But if you’re one of the Peggy Posts of the world, and believe online invitations are solely for informal affairs, there’s another alternative for inexpensive, paper, snail-mailed wedding invitations.

“DIY is always a good way to save money, especially on paper goods,” Jessica says. “There are so many great resources out there with inexpensive templates — one of my favorites is Download and Print, where you can download really nice wedding invitation templates that you can edit yourself!”

Templates start at $18. You can print out your invites at home, or use a high quality, color printer at Fed Ex for around 50 cents per page, depending on the paper used.

Rent Your Wedding Dress

I bought a pink dress for my wedding because I thought I’d be more likely to wear it again one day. Guess what? I never did.

Other friends have worn black or blue dresses to their weddings. Same thing – they never put the dresses on again.

Whether you choose a white dress or one with color, you’ll likely only wear it once in your life.

So why spend $1,281 (the average cost of a wedding dress) on it?

Rent one instead. “If you’ve got your eye on a designer dress that’s available for rent at a fraction of the price – I’d say that’s a no-brainer,” Jessica says. “With sites like Rent the Runway, it’s easier than ever to get the designer look for less.”

For example, Rent the Runway will loan you a $1400 Nicole Miller gown for $225. They also offer veils, jewelry, and bridesmaid dresses.

Limit the free booze

Plying each guest with food and drinks will cost an average of $66 per person. “An open bar can dramatically affect your budget,” Jessica says. “Stick to wine and beer only, or add in a signature cocktail to avoid the price tag that an open bar typically comes with.”

Pinterest has tons of boards dedicated to wedding signature cocktails.

Think long and hard about how much food to serve, and how guests will be served. “Consider serving  heavy hors douevres to keep costs down,” Jessica says. “Another thing to consider is the way the food is served. Passed appetizers or plated dinners require more prep and service staff than a buffet table, but could lead to lower cost for food per person.”

What other cost saving wedding measures have you heard of?

Published or updated on July 29, 2014

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About Patty Lamberti

Patty Lamberti is a freelance writer and Professional-in-Residence at Loyola University Chicago, where she teaches journalism and oversees the graduate program in digital media storytelling. If she doesn't know something about money, you can trust she'll track down the right people to find out. You can learn more about her at And if you have any story ideas, or questions about money etiquette that you'd like her or an expert to answer, email her at


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  1. Catherine says:

    The two things that made a big difference for us in terms of wedding costs were having it on a Sunday and paying vendors in cash when we booked them. Our venue was a whopping $1,500 less on a Sunday with a $3,000 decrease in the spending minimum over a Saturday. Our photographer gave us a 20% discount for Sunday, and added two extra hours of shooting (more than enough to cover pre-wedding photos) for paying when we booked. Our DJ did the same thing.

  2. Rose says:

    Just don’t invite so many people! Limit your ceremony to immediate or close family only + a few close friends. Every small wedding I’ve ever attended elicited feedback from guests about how meaningful it was, how intimate, how much a reflection on the couple, and how special. Each guest feels truly honored to be there for your moment, and you actually can visit with everyone who attends.

    To appease the wider group of family or friends, you can have happy hours or family hosted events in homes as extension celebrations. This also cuts down on people paying to travel to your wedding.

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