Unless you’re in the top 1% living the good life, you probably find yourself constantly looking for ways to save a money on your upcoming wedding. But where do you start? What items should you cut first? The tricky part is knowing exactly how much you can save for each line item, not that you can save money in general. Great…you saved 10% on centerpiece flowers, but you could have saved 60% if you just did a little extra homework. Dang it! With this breakdown, you’ll be in a great position to reallocate budget to wedding items most important to you, or even the honeymoon, or the down payment on your new home! We also threw in some fun wedding ideas to reallocate budget towards.
60% to 70% on Display Fillers
Save money on wedding flowers through fillers and greenery. These items are direct causes of going over budget on decor and displays. Start with Bear Grass and compare that to more eclectic fillers. See the difference for such a minuscule item?
Budget Reallocation: Cuban cigar roller.
60% on Music
Save money on the wedding reception via your musicians. Wedding bands are expensive because a band is composed of multiple performers who all need to be paid for their time. But a DJ is always just one person and they all have greatly differing rates. If a band costs $5,000 then a DJ will likely cost $2,000 but you can find them for $1,000 depending on how long you will need their services. Music selection is a big deal at weddings, so take you time making the right choice.
Budget Reallocation: Uber credits for the guests that drink a lot.
50% to 60% on Centerpiece Displays
A commonly overlooked budget breaker is the centerpiece floral display on each table. Lower displays can save up you to 60% on this line item. Do you really need them to be eye-high? The guests at the table probably want to see across the table anyway to the other guests.
Budget Reallocation: Drone Videography.
30% on Food Costs
Save money on wedding food by brunching. A Sunday morning wedding can lead to 30% in food cost savings if you elect to do a Sunday brunch self-serve spread instead of a fancy dinner with waiters. Everyone loves Sunday brunches and they are so much fun to decorate! Just be sure to not under budget for the Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar.
Budget Reallocation: Fireworks.
30% on Liquor
Serving only beer and wine can net big savings on your wedding budget. Do the families have low standards with booze selection? Just go with a nice selection of wine and beer and call it a day. You’ll be thankful for not over indulging with a large bar section when it’s not necessary. But don’t cheap out on champagne for the toast. Even though you can save a lot by just getting a bottle for the bride and groom to drink at the wedding, that’s pretty tacky. Everyone wants to be part of the wedding toast, and cheers-ing beer and wine glasses are kinda lame.
Budget Reallocation: Upgraded honeymoon package.
25% on Seasonal Bookings
Everyone wants to get married during the warmer months. But our old friend Supply & Demand from Econ 101 says that will be more expensive. So if you book your wedding venue for the winter months, you can save up to .25 cents on the dollar.
Expert Tip: Southern California and Florida aren't cold from December through March. Destination weddings don’t always require a passport. Get where we’re going with this?
Budget Reallocation: Horse carriage for bride and groom.
20% to 30% on Catering
Save money on wedding catering with simple buffet style serving full of light healthy items and less heavy gourmet dishes. Food can be your largest cost, so 30% savings on food can be an enormous way to save.
Budget Reallocation: Rolls Royce limos for the fam.
20% on Decor Setup
Decor can be a HUGE cost at your wedding if you want fancy flowers everywhere the eye can see. But if you aren't having a traditional sit-down dinner, you should elect to cut back on the centerpiece flower displays and just do a few nice displays in key areas.
Budget Reallocation: Pony rides, inflatable castle, or a magician for the kids.
20% on Photography
Save money on the wedding photography by having only one professional photographer. Is your name Jennifer Anniston? It has to be a huge wedding to justify multiple photographers. You’ll have hundreds of fun amateur photos in addition to the professional ones anyway.
Budget Reallocation: Extra champagne for the dance floor.
15% to 20% on Cake
Save money on the wedding cake by going faux! Having a tall and beautiful wedding cake makes for great pictures. But a 3 or 4-foot wedding cake is expensive. But who says the whole things needs to be real cake? You probably never realized it but many of the wedding cakes you posed with probably had faux layers. Coordinate with the cake chef which layer the bride and groom will cut in front of the guests and then make the rest of the cake a tall fancy prop. Flat cake sheets will be in the kitchen ready to serve for those who want cake, baked at much cheaper rates.
Budget Reallocation: Extra spending money for the bachelorette party.
15% on Fancy Food
Electing to do food stations instead of served dinners can save you a ton money with this pricey wedding line item. Food stations always go over well too because everyone can choose on the spot what they want to eat, and Uncle Sal can go up as many times as he wants.
Budget Reallocation: Better rehearsal dinner venue.
15% on Tasty Liquor
Do you need top shelf spirits for your guests or will house liquors suffice? Appropriate liquor sections and options vary greatly amount families and the type of wedding you are trying to have. Put a lot of thought into this one before you make a decision.
“Top Shelf” can mean a lot and have large cost variations. The trick is to select quality brand names that most guests associate with fine quality. How much is a case of Stoli vs. Kettle One vs. Gray Goose vs. Belvedere? Because honestly, any one of these can be considered “top-shelf”.
Budget Reallocation: Hotel Room blocks for those that want to party all night.
10% to 20% on Weekly Time Slots
Save money on the wedding venue by booking your wedding for a Thursday night instead of the traditional weekend days and nights can save you up to 20%. In general, Saturday night is the most expensive time slot for a wedding. So if having your wedding on a Saturday night really isn't that crucial, pick something else and save big!
Budget Reallocation: White doves.
So what weddings items have you isolated for cost savings? While all of the above are great ways to save money on your wedding, it doesn't stop there. This is just a helpful breakdown for how much you can save at most per item and then reallocate from there if you want. The reallocation is the most important part though because it allows you to add fun items to you wedding that you previously couldn't afford. After all, no one likes to drive to and from weddings, especially if they are going to have some drinks. Parents don’t want to watch their kids every second either so why not leave them in the kids entertainment area. And how awesome would it be to have fireworks and a drone running through them?