25 Brilliant Tricks to Score Free Swag for Your Wedding

These smart and savvy strategies will let you (and your wallet) add a happy bounce to your step in the weeks and months leading up to saying “I do.”

11. Book free photo services

Speaking of engagement photos, that leads us to our next point: Signing with a photographer is no small deal (here are some of the best questions to ask before booking one) and oftentimes sticker shock for their services can be overwhelming. Many photographers will throw in a free or heavily-discounted engagement shoot for singing, so enquire up front about any special offers that may be available and get hashtag planning. “Depending on the amount you are spending, some photographers will give this shoot to you at no charge.”

12. Get a free guest book

Those beautifully-bound books your guests adorn with their love for you and your beau can set you back a pretty penny. But a little savviness goes a long way: “Check sites like Shutterfly for wedding deals like free guest books. Also, look for coupon codes at sites like coupons.com to save even more!” suggests Pavini.

13. Refer a friend!

“Every vendor loves a referral, and caterers and venues are no different,” explains Redmond. “Should the opportunity present itself to refer other couples, don’t be afraid to ask for some type of concessions in return. Maybe it’s an additional hour of a complimentary bar, a few additional options of passed hors d'oeuvres for the cocktail reception, or a confections table to satisfy your guests late night sweet tooth.” Whatever it is, think about what the most meaningful freebie throw-in would be for your big day, and politely ask if it could be arranged in exchange for the successful referral. 

14. Turn those frowns upside down

But really, though. If you’re considering Botox or other minimally invasive forms of plastic surgery or deluxe facial packages before your wedding, listen up! "At the Lorenc plastic surgery office, we have treated bridal parties, and mothers of the bride and groom! We offer a 20% discount to all in a bridal parties that are treated on the same day,” says Dr. Z. Paul Lorenc, NYC Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon. “For any surgeries, we offer the same discount. Brides of all ages come in to get procedures done such as Botox, fillers, facials, etc.” Speak up and ask if you can guarantee a certain amount of business if they will throw in free treatments for the bride.

15. Maximize your wedding registry

Milk it, ladies! “You may get a free gift just for setting up your bridal registry. Some stores or manufacturers will give you dishware or other items for adding their items to your gift registry list,” shares Pavini. When registering with various stores and websites, ask about their policy and see how you can cash in on that china set or blender you’ve been lusting over.

16. Choose your wedding day wisely

“Many times, you can save up to 50 percent by simply foregoing the ever-so-popular Saturday,” says Pavini. Sure, weekend dancing is fun. But think beyond the extravagant sit-down dinner, and you may be surprised at how much farther your dollar goes.

17. Rethink your floral arrangements

As an engaged lady, you may quickly realize how much of a dent in your checkbook bouquets, flower arrangements can make. “Flowers can be expensive! It’s interesting because it seems that just because it’s a wedding, flowers are more expensive. Ask the florist if you let them choose the flowers, if you can get a discount,” advises Pavini. “Many times, florists have certain flowers in excess and need to get rid of them before they die. So, they will offer a great deal to create your bouquets or arrangements out of what they have on hand.” It’s essentially like getting 20 dozen roses for free. Or, try newcomer bloomerent.com, a flower-sharing platform for weddings, charity events and more to score incredible discounts without compromising quality.

18. Volunteer to be a video guinea pig

It's more fun and less risky than it sounds, thanks to the autopilot abilities of many pro cameras and the young talent in the wedding industry looking to get started. “Offer your wedding as a test run for video production companies trying to break into the wedding business. In exchange for shooting a video at no charge of your wedding, the video production company can use your video for promotional purposes to get work,” suggests Pavini. Win-win for all parties involved!

19. Rethink your wedding envelope size

So, that whole postage thing... yeah. It’s really adding up!  “And you will use four for every invite: Save the date, the invitation, the RSVP, and the thank you. That is close to two bucks per invite!” says Pavini. So, consider the size of your invitation: square cards require more postage  and add on an extra 21 cents each”

20. Make staff meal more budget-friendly

A little overlooked but important-to-remember newsflash: Everyone from your photographers to musicians have to eat some grub on your big day, too. “You are usually asked to provide a dinner for your musicians, bartenders, servers, and other workers of your wedding. But at meal cost of upwards of $60 a head, that can add up! Ask the caterer if they will provide ‘vendor meals; at a reduced rate. Most of the time you can save about half the cost of the meal,” recommends Pavini.

Next: 5 More Money-Saving Tricks ►

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Comments

As I'm planning my wedding, I would never consider asking a student in a college music program to play for free or for "experience and exposure." A musician in college has likely already put in at the very least 6 years of practice and hard work, so "exposure" is never fair payment. Would you ask someone in culinary school to make your entire meal for free or "exposure"? No, because they would have to pay for the food and supplies. In the same way, your musicians have payed thousands of dollars for their intstrument and music.