Couples planning their dream wedding often find themselves weighing the costs of amenities with the impact on their finances. Weddings offer an endless array of choices that may affect a couple's bottom line well after their wedding day. These special events are expensive, forcing some couples to make tough choices on what expenses they should skip.
Despite the impact of COVID-19-related protocols on large gatherings, The Knot found that the average wedding cost in 2020 still reached $19,000. For couples looking to wed in 2021 and beyond, it's likely that wedding prices may rebound to pre-pandemic levels, which averaged $28,000 in 2019.
You can save a lot of money on your wedding by opting out of offering an unlimited hosted bar, serving a sit-down dinner or inviting a large number of guests. These options may be more than you're willing to sacrifice on your special day—but that doesn't mean you can't save money in other ways. If you're planning a wedding sometime soon, you may want to consider expenses you can skip without impacting the overall feel of your nuptials.
Expenses You Can Skip on Your Wedding Day
While there are many expenses you could choose to skip on your wedding day, you may find a surprising number that will save you money without sacrificing the feel and enjoyment of your event. Here are seven.
Receiving a wedding invitation in the mail can be an exciting experience for your guests, but formal invitations can be incredibly expensive to buy and send. The total cost of stationery and postage may surprise many couples. Remove that sticker shock and opt for digital invitations instead. Online invitations may also be an attractive option for couples concerned about their event's environmental impact.
If a mailed invitation is important to you, consider reducing the total cost by providing an online RSVP. Online RSVP options can help keep wedding guest information organized and easy to access while also saving you money. Hosts can also send RSVP reminders automatically to guests who may have forgotten to respond to the initial invitation.
Expensive Wedding Cakes
Wedding cakes are often considered one of the main focal points of a wedding. But, with the introduction of doughnut walls, cupcake tiers and macaroon layers, it's clear that the traditional wedding cake has been completely reimagined—with the added bonus of freeing up some of your budget.
Consider purchasing cupcakes, mini-pies or doughnuts from your favorite local company—or talk to any amateur bakers you know who might provide treats at a discounted rate. You can even buy a cake or two from large retailers such as Costco or work with a local business that specializes in creating dreamy confections.
How to transport your guests and wedding party safely during your event is an important part of planning your day, especially if you're providing cocktails during your event. Limousine, shuttle and bus rentals may be a tempting amenity to offer, but this type of service can be quite expensive, averaging around $800, according to The Knot. Instead of offering transportation, couples may want to reconsider how they hold their event.
- Host your wedding in a venue that is close to public transit if you're in a large enough city. If you opt to do this, you may want to test this option out before saying "yes" to it.
- Hold all of your festivities at the same venue—ideally one within walking distance of local hotels. This can eliminate the need to transport your guests around town.
- Use rideshare services. Leave the driving to someone else. These companies work with couples to provide unique codes specific to their event.
Champagne for Toasting
Wedding toasts can be a lot of fun to participate in, but if you're providing all of your guests champagne, it's an expensive five minutes. Given that several of your guests may not drink alcohol, may be too young to be served, or may dislike the taste of champagne, save your money on the expense and try this instead:
- Offer champagne to only the wedding party. You can then request that the other attendees toast with the drinks that they're already enjoying.
- Hold a non-alcoholic toast for the guests and purchase one bottle for the newly married couple.
- Design a punch bowl drink and allow guests to pour their own drink if they would like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage during the toast.
Many weddings offer party favors, and oftentimes those thoughtful items find their way into the closest trash can or are forgotten on the table. Rethink the party favor and save money at the same time.
For example, instead of giving all of your guests party favors, provide custom items for a small group of your attendees. Or provide party favors just for your wedding party.
Give the gift of food. If you're known for baking or your world famous fudge, that may be an inexpensive way to show your guests your appreciation for being there on your special day.
A Live Band or DJ
Having a great DJ or live band at your wedding can go a long way toward creating a festive and fun atmosphere. But, with a DJ costing on average $1,200 and a live band around $3,700, according to The Knot, those expenses add up.
If you're not that invested in having a dance party at your wedding, using a well-thought-out playlist of your favorite music can be an inexpensive and easy way to entertain your guests.
A Wedding Photographer
One of the most difficult wedding expenses to economize is wedding photography. Those photos may be a lifelong reminder of a once in a lifetime event. But, with the quality of smartphone cameras, it may be possible to save on this expense by having your friends take your wedding pictures. Eliminating this expense could save couples $2,400 on average, according to The Knot.
Wedding Bliss Without Going Bust
There is a lot of pressure placed on couples planning their future wedding. This pressure may be self-imposed, cultural or based on the expectations of others. Ultimately, the couple hosting the event has the power to decide what is important and not so important to have on their wedding day. Be creative as you design your wedding and, if prompted, be candid with your friends and family about what you're prioritizing for your special day.