101 Ways to Save Thousands on Your Wedding

Don't break the bank! Follow our guide to all things financially savvy.

  • Finding Your Venue
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    Finding Your Venue

    Many public spaces, like parks or the local village green, may be available to rent at a low fee. However, if the space is not equipped to handle events, you’ll have to rent everything from napkins to tables and chairs. Check out our complete guide to wedding rentals, and make sure you come out ahead!

    Photo Credit: Tanja Lippert Photography

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    Finding Your Venue

    Choose an unusual venue, such as an aquarium, a zoo, a gallery or an historical site. Site fees are not high and you’ll save on décor because the venue already supplies ambience. But the same caveat goes as for public spaces: Figure in what you’ll have to spend on rentals.

    Photo Credit: Gabriel Boone Photography

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    Finding Your Venue

    Hold your ceremony and your reception in the same place. You’ll save yourselves multiple site fees as well as transportation from one location to the other. Learn other unexpected wedding costs to look out for 

    Photo Credit: Arte De Vie

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    Finding Your Venue

    If you belong to a community organization or to the military, you may have access, at low cost, to a venue belonging to them. Check out gorgeous photos from military weddings ►

    Photo Credit: Stephanie Brauer Photography

  • Finding Your Venue
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    Finding Your Venue

    Don’t forget your alma mater — these usually rent for a few hundred dollars. Check out 5 ways to include your alma mater in your wedding ►

    Photo Credit: William Innes Photography

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    Finding Your Venue

    Depending on your venue, you may not need to decorate extensively. If you marry outdoors at a winery, for example, there’s not much you’ll need to add to the gorgeous vineyard backdrop.

    Photo Credit: Carol Irvine

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    Finding Your Venue

    Rent a vacation home. Even if the owners charge you a week’s worth of rent for the day, it may still be equal to or less than renting a traditional reception venue. Find your dream venue type ►

    Photo Credit: Sofia Negron Photography

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    Finding Your Venue

    If a family member has a scenic property, find out if you can hold your wedding there. One couple held their wedding on the Wyoming ranch where the groom had grown up. Unique and cost-conscious! How to plan a backyard wedding ►

    Photo Credit: Christian Oth Studio

  • Finding Your Venue
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    Finding Your Venue

    If you’re a city-dweller, leave town for your wedding. One Boston bride saved more than $50 per person by holding her wedding in Burlington, Vermont.

    Photo Credit: Lina Jang

  • Finding Your Venue
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    Finding Your Venue

    For a garden wedding, look into renting an historic mansion; many of these have gardens that are included in the deal. You may find, as did one couple, that the mansion they rented had no time limit, and the fee was less than half a hall rental. Stunning ceremony décor ideas ►

    Photo Credit: Alison Duke Photography / Wedding Planner: Colin Cowie

  • Finding Your Venue
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    Finding Your Venue

    Determine early on what you can spend and stick to it. One rule of thumb: Food, beverage and venue should come to half of your budget. See the typical budget breakdown in your area ►

    Photo Credit: Ira Lippke Studios

  • Finding Your Venue
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    Finding Your Venue

    What about a destination wedding? Because the guest list will be smaller, a wedding away may cost less than a traditional event held in your hometown.

    Photo Credit: Colin Miller Photography

  • Finding Your Venue
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    Finding Your Venue

    Think small. Check into bed and breakfast venues in your area, and place firm limits on your guest list.

    Photo courtesy of Villa Poggio Bartoli

  • Finding Your Venue
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    Finding Your Venue

    When you’re deciding between an indoor or outdoor space, figure in the cost of a tent rental — if it rains, a tent is worth every penny. 

    Photo Credit: Samuel Lippke Photography

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    Finding Your Venue

    Look for reception packages. Holding your event at a venue that provides catering and food-service items will save you quite a bit of money on rentals. 50 ways to cut catering costs ►

    Photo Credit: A Bryan Photo

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    Finding Your Venue

    Create a comparison chart to track what’s included in the price for each venue you’re considering. One company may not include linens and the cake, for example, while another company does. How to negotiate with vendors ►

    Photo Credit: iStock

  • Rehearsal Dinner
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    Rehearsal Dinner

    Save on your rehearsal dinner site by throwing a backyard barbecue or a picnic in a local park — both of which will cost you less than a dinner in a restaurant. (These may be more fun too!)

    Photo Credit: Lovebird Photography on Bridal Musings via Lover.ly

  • Post-Wedding Brunch
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    Post-Wedding Brunch

    Accept a post-wedding brunch at a relative’s home as a wedding gift. You may find that in lieu of a gift, a friend or relative will be thrilled to host this event in their home.

    Photo Credit: Shawna Yarbrough & Damion Hamilton

  • Time it Right
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    Time it Right

    Trim the length of your reception. Even doing three hours instead of four or five will save you money. Trust us, everyone will enjoy themselves just as much. Check out the traditional wedding reception timeline ►

    Photo Credit: Matt Andrews Photography

  • Time it Right
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    Time it Right

    Consider the season — you’re likely to get a better price for a venue in January than you would for the same spot in June. 100 ideas for winter weddings ►

    Photo Credit: Sorensen Foto