A quick Google search for “wedding planning on a budget” will give you plenty of advice on how to cut costs for your big day. From fake flowers to digital invitations and weekday ceremonies, there are many ways to save money on your wedding.

You might even be surprised by how some couples are saving money. Keep reading for five creative ways to rein in your budget and save money on your special day. 

Skip the Wedding Party

Photo by Ivan Samkov

Originating in ancient Rome, wedding parties are a longstanding tradition and a common occurrence at most ceremonies. You’ve probably been to more weddings with a wedding party than without — but that doesn’t mean it’s a necessity. 

In fact, you could save a lot of money by not having bridesmaids or groomsmen. Think about all of the costs that might be associated with a wedding party:

  • A bridesmaid or groomsman “proposal” gift
  • Bachelorette or bachelor parties
  • Rehearsal dinner meals
  • Pajamas or getting ready outfits
  • Breakfast on the day of
  • Transportation to and from the venue
  • Thank you presents

Research from The Knot shows that the average wedding party size is four members on each side, so multiply each cost by eight for an average price estimate.

Opt for a Morning Marriage Ceremony

Who doesn’t love brunch? While afternoon and evening weddings are popular, brunch weddings are a growing alternative — and for good reason. 

Since the ceremony and reception are earlier in the day, venues may be cheaper as the event is during off-peak hours. Brunch weddings also tend to be shorter in length, which means you will spend less money on a photographer, videographer, or entertainment. 

Food and drinks are typically cheaper, too. Instead of a steak dinner, open bar, and traditional wedding cake, offer an omelet station with mimosas and Bloody Mary’s followed by a donut tower for dessert. 

Rethink the Wedding Cake 

Save money with a wedding donut stand
Photo by Amanda Vick

Speaking of wedding cake… there are many ways to have your cake and pay less for it, too. While a five-tier cake is beautiful and makes a statement, it comes with a hefty price tag. 

Instead of a fancy cake for everyone to share, consider a mini cake for you and your spouse to enjoy. For the guests, offer a dessert buffet or keep it simple with a large sheet cake. Love to bake? You could also make a few simple cakes at home (or enlist help from family and friends). A box of Betty Crocker’s Triple Chocolate Fudge cake costs less than two dollars and will delight your guests all the same. 

Ditch the DJ

Save money without a wedding DJ
Photo by Zane Persaud

If you’re looking to trim costs, wedding entertainment is a big category to consider. The average cost for a wedding DJ in 2023 was $1,700. The good news is, you can still have great music with or without a wedding DJ.

Use a music streaming service like Spotify to build a wedding day playlist with your favorite love songs and party beats. On your wedding website, ask guests for their favorite songs and add them to your playlist. This is also a surefire way to get them on the dance floor! 

For the day of, ask a trusted friend or family member to be in charge of the playlist so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Go Minimal

Save money with a simple wedding dining table
Photo by Nils Stahl

It’s true what they say: the devil is in the details. When it comes to saving money on your wedding, you can cut costs by eliminating small things like table decorations and elaborate seating chart guides.

How many times have you thought about a friend’s wedding and remembered the tablecloth, seating card, or dinner plates? You’re likely thinking about how sweet the vows were, who you danced with, or what you wore. While decorations can add to your wedding aesthetic, they are just that: add ons. Guests won’t remember the quality of your napkins or if you used disposable cups versus glassware.

Instead, focus on your venue. If you book a beautiful venue, it won’t need much in terms of decorations. Ask the venue staff what standard decorations are available. You can likely rent table linens, chairs, or plate settings from them at a large discount or maybe even for free. 

For decor, collect wedding photos from both sides of your families to sprinkle throughout the reception hall. This is a nice way to take up space while honoring your loved ones and even providing entertainment – for free!

Prioritize Your Must-Haves

At the end of the day, it all comes down to priorities. If you’ve always dreamt of a large bridal party and a fancy wedding cake, you should budget for those items and find other ways to save money. Try not to compare your wedding to anyone else’s and don’t spend extra just to hop on the latest new trend. 

Rachel Kauffman is a Detroit-based content writer, bookworm, and cat mom to two feisty felines.