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10 Easy Ways to Save on Wedding Costs

April 23, 2015
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The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. last year was a jaw-dropping $31,213 (excluding the honeymoon), according to online wedding resource The Knot’s 2014 Real Weddings Study.

Thankfully, there are lots of ways to cut that price tag without sacrificing your special day. If you find yourself getting ready to tie the knot, here’s how you can have your wedding cake and eat it, too.

1. Reuse decorations from friends

Reusing is probably the oldest trick in the book, but it’s an effective one. Consider borrowing centerpieces, candles, picture frames and other wedding essentials from your friends and family. With wedding season upon us, there’s probably someone you know who’s gotten married recently. Ask around.

2. Skip the traditional RSVPs

In the digital age, traditional RSVPs are virtually nonexistent. Rather than pay for RSVP cards and postage, let your guests respond online instead. Make use of a wedding website, include an email address on the invitation or provide a phone number for those you invite to call or text their response.

3. Limit the ‘plus ones’

Guest lists can get lengthy when you give every attendee a “plus one” invitation to bring someone along. Cut the number of guests at your wedding by giving plus ones only to those invitees who you know have a spouse or significant other. This will reduce your headcount, and therefore your cost. Another benefit? Plenty of singles on hand for the bouquet and garter toss.

4. Spring for fake florals

Flowers are another area that gets expensive at weddings. There are bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids to buy, not to mention flower arrangements for the tables. Save money on expensive roses, lilies and the like by selecting artificial flowers instead of the living variety. Artificial floral arrangements can be rented as well. Either way, you won’t have to hire a florist. Plus, you can hold onto your bouquet as a keepsake for years to come.

5. Opt for Sunday over Saturday

When picking a wedding date and venue, don’t forget to keep the day of the week in mind, too. Getting married on a Saturday may be traditional, but it can also be expensive. If you’re comfortable with breaking the norm, you’ll find that some venues offer discounted rates for ceremonies held on Sundays.

6. Get crafty

You probably already know wedding planning can be stressful, but despite its hectic nature, it can be fun, too. Carry out your favorite Pinterest inspirations by crafting your own wedding decorations. If you opt for the do-it-yourself route, you can save on everything from your centerpieces and place settings to your guestbook.

7. Trim your menu

A substantial portion of any wedding budget is the food. If you’re operating on a budget, consider choosing less costly dishes for your entree. Or for an even more noticeable difference in price, don’t serve a main course at all. You can always limit your menu to appetizers and beverages.

8. Keep it in the family

Before you start hiring outside vendors for your big day, take a survey of your family members and friends. There may be someone in your family or circle of friends who can handle your wedding’s photography, videography, officiating or other duties. If so, they’ll likely charge significantly less than an outside company. Or, you could ask for their services in lieu of a traditional wedding gift.

9. Prep yourself

Brides are the center of attention on their wedding day, but prepping themselves for their wedding day can be costly. From salon appointments to spa visits, the bills can start to stack up. Brides who feel comfortable in their own abilities can skip the professional hair and makeup and get ready by themselves or with the help of family and friends instead.

10. Look for sales

Finally, our money-saving wedding guide wouldn’t be complete without encouraging you to look for deals. No matter which wedding component you’re shopping for — from the decorations to the all-important dress — try to time your purchases according to retail sales. Start browsing early so you can compare prices between stores.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyNerd and on Google+.

Image via iStock.