1. Have the ceremony on a weekday.
"My friend got married on a Monday. She saved $1200 on the venue by NOT getting married on the weekend. It was still an elaborate wedding, and at least a hundred people were there. The day didn't make much of a difference to any of the guests. When it's your close friend or family member who means enough to you, you show up regardless of the day."
2. Don't be afraid to get a little un-traditional.
My mom’s friend is a huge bookworm, so she had her wedding in the library she worked at, and used the books as decoration instead of buying flowers. She also had her bridesmaids dress up as book characters (which was significantly cheaper than buying bridesmaids dresses)."
3. Seriously, don't worry about being traditional.
"At my friend's wedding, the actual ceremony was a civil service with about 20 people. At a castle. On an island. Which was still cheaper than most venues. But that was it. That was the entire wedding. The next day, they rented a large pavilion in a local park for like $50 and hired a catering company to do a big chicken BBQ and a DJ to get people dancing if they were inclined. The entire thing was a fraction of the price of a 'traditional' wedding. Still one of my favorites."
4. Buy a larger, cheaper wedding dress and have it altered.
"I bought a designer pewter dress two sizes too big off the sales rack and had it professionally altered, saving me thousands."
6. Or, if you can, have your dress made by a loved one.
"My grandmother made my wedding dress, the fabric only cost £23 and it meant so much more to me than a dress bought from a shop."
7. Utilize emerging professionals.
"We got a great deal with our photographer because she was building her business. Since we were the first wedding in her portfolio, she charged us a third of the going rate AND threw in engagement photos. They were beautiful! Give emerging professionals a chance. They love what they do and if you’re doing them a favor, it works for everyone. (That being said, don’t stiff anyone. They’re doing a job and deserve a gratuity, photographer included.)"
8. And utilize your own talents to barter.
"I begged, borrowed, and traded to save money on my wedding. As a photographer, I was able to trade my services for vintage décor items at an antique store, flowers from a florist, discounts on rentals, and more. Think about what talents you have and how you can use them to trade or get discounts!"
9. Forgo the expensive wedding planner.
"I was my own wedding planner. I made the invitations, RSVP cards, and programs myself. I bought linens instead of renting them at a steep price increase, and bought bulk wine at Whole Foods where my brother worked and had a discount."
10. Skip the gift registry in exchange for cold hard cash.
"We didn't register for gifts, so we got all cash and the wedding pretty much paid for itself. We spent about $11k on 100 guests. We got about $8k back."
11. Approach some talented youths for their services.
"My sister really wanted live string music for her walk down the aisle. She saved a hefty amount of money by using high schoolers to play and offering them free food as payment. They sounded great!"
12. Make your own invitations and save the dates.
"The quote I received for my wedding stationery was more than £2000 for everything we wanted, so instead I ordered the blank cutouts from eBay for about £300 and made everything myself. It looked even better than the expensive stuff!"
13. Go DIY on the flowers.
"We grew sunflowers and wildflowers for bouquets and centerpieces. People thought we spent a fortune on flowers, and were doubly blown away when they learned they were from our yard!"
14. Use cheaper materials for unique and personal wedding decorations.
"I attended a wedding where they took their favorite books and folded the pages into table numbers. It was lovely and the bride told me she picked up the books for next to nothing over the course of the two years in bookshops and off Amazon."
15. Join some wedding consignment groups on FB.
"I ordered a TON of stuff off of amazon, and also bought a lot of used things on wedding consignment groups on Facebook. The wedding still was not cheap by any means, but I saved a whole lot of money!"
16. Opt for an apartment clubhouse as your venue.
"Apartment clubhouses are the bomb. I rented mine for the rehearsal and wedding. So many bonuses: We saved money, allowed to use the show apartment as a dressing room, no need to move people from wedding to reception, easy setup/breakdown, and less competition to book a date than a usual wedding venue."
17. Go halfsies with your wedding day neighbor.
"If you can connect with someone getting married the following (or previous) day as you at the same venue, you may be able to split the cost of some rentals: chairs, tables, decor, etc."
18. Skip the programs and party favors.
"Programs are always left behind or thrown away immediately and the same usually goes for party favors. If you have a lovely event and make the guest experience a priority they won’t miss the party favors one bit!"
19. Get your wedding cake from a grocery store.
"Check with a local grocery store to see if they make tiered cakes. My sister got hers from Giant for around $100 and I got mine from Costco for $60!"
20. Or, simply opt for a cookie table...
"In the Pittsburgh area, some couples will go for a cookie table instead of a wedding cake. Cookie tables originated in the Depression era when couples couldn't afford a cake, and instead would just have a ton of cookies. Usually, the cookies are all lovingly hand-baked by various family members. It's significantly cheaper than a fancy wedding cake, plus the cookies can also act as gift favors"
21. Or skip the table altogether!
"My sister made a different dessert for each table herself rather than get a wedding cake. It was fun because it forced everyone to go to different tables and interact in order to try a different dessert."
22. Have a potluck at your reception instead of using a caterer.
"We happened to have a ton of coworkers/friends from all over the world. We genuinely loved their food so we asked if everyone could make their favorite traditional dish. We rented chaffing dishes to make all the food match and had an international buffet. It was so lovely to have everyone contribute and be an important part of the day."
23. Do away with cocktail hour.
"I cut cocktail hour. After the ceremony we did a receiving line that led right to the start of dinner. It saved me close to $30 per head and we had way more time for partying on the dance floor!"
24. Choose a DJ for your reception.
"Go DJ instead of band. Cheaper and more range."
25. Or, go even more barebones with the reception music.
"We didn’t have a DJ or a Band. We made a playlist on Apple Music and plugged it in. We had brief interruptions from the maid of honor and best man, who announced the different activities and dances."
26. And finally, avoid using one simple word when booking your services.
"The biggest thing was that we NEVER, EVER used the word 'wedding' when we had to buy stuff from vendors. For example, with the flowers: if they knew it was for our wedding, they would have charged double."
Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.