The allure of extravagant wedding celebrations and opulent ceremonies often overshadows a less glamorous reality: the hefty price tag. As the average cost of weddings continues to climb, couples are increasingly feeling the financial strain of planning their dream day. So how can you create a gorgeous celebration without breaking the bank?

Kris Labang, the owner of Hawaii Wedding Photography, gives ten crucial tips that can help couples save money.

Borrow A Venue

Consider reaching out to friends or family members who may have a suitable space for hosting your event. ‘Backyard weddings’ might be looked down on by some, but they can offer a charming and intimate setting without the hefty price tag of traditional venues. Or, you might get lucky and find a friend who’s willing to lend you their barn or a spot on their land, either for free or for a significantly reduced price. Kris says, ‘Borrowing a venue not only saves money but also adds a personal touch to your special day.’

Rent Your Dress

Instead of purchasing a wedding dress that you’ll only wear once, consider renting one for the occasion. Renting a dress not only saves money but also promotes sustainability by reducing textile waste. Many bridal boutiques and online rental services now offer a wide selection of designer dresses available to rent at a fraction of the cost of buying new. By choosing this option, you can still look stunning on your wedding day while being mindful of your budget and the environment.

Reuse Your Florals

Ask your florist or coordinator if they can reuse ceremony florals at the reception. If they say they can do it, this will save on your flowers by reusing the floral setups at the ceremony on your guest tables or your sweetheart’s table. Kris says, ‘This will of course depend on what kind of setups you order from the florist, but if set up right they can just transfer it over from the ceremony site and save you a little.’

Be Firm On Your Priorities

Identify your wedding priorities and allocate your budget accordingly to ensure maximum value for your investment. Focus on what matters most to you as a couple, whether it’s photography, entertainment, or cuisine, and allocate your budget accordingly. By allocating funds strategically, couples can splurge on must-have elements while finding creative solutions for areas of lesser priority. 

Get DIY-ing!

Incorporate do-it-yourself (DIY) elements into your wedding decorations, such as handmade centrepieces or personalised wedding favours, wherever you can to achieve significant cost savings. DIY projects allow couples to infuse their personalities into the wedding while staying within budget. 

Explore DIY projects that align with your skills and interests, and if they are willing you can enlist the help of friends and family to bring your vision to life. Kris says, ‘Just remember time is money, so make sure what you make on your own is worth the money you save. It doesn’t make sense to spend eighty hours on something only to save a hundred dollars!’ 

Negotiate Package Deals 

Take advantage of your negotiating power when working with vendors by seeking package deals or requesting discounts. ‘Many vendors are open to customising packages to accommodate couples’ budgets, so don’t hesitate to negotiate,’ advises Kris. ‘Consolidating services through package deals can result in considerable savings across multiple aspects of your wedding.’

Be Ruthless With The Guest List

Refining your guest list to include only close family and friends can lead to substantial savings on catering, venue, and other per-head expenses. While it may be challenging, limiting the guest list allows you to prioritise quality over quantity, ensuring a more intimate and memorable experience for everyone involved.

Investigate All-Inclusive Venues

Simplify the planning process and maximise your savings by selecting all-inclusive wedding venues that offer comprehensive package deals. These venues often bundle essential services such as catering, decor, and accommodations at a discounted rate. Kris says, ‘Opting for all-inclusive venues not only streamlines logistics but also helps couples stay within their budget by eliminating the need for multiple vendors.’

Look At Photo/Video Packages

Many times the best results come from vendors who work very well together, so it’s only natural that two companies offering related services will easily form packages together. The only downside is that depending on how the video or photography company works, you could end up with a photographer or videographer who hasn’t produced any of the pictures or videos the company uses to market. 

You’ll need to ask to see pictures or videos of a previous event from the actual person who will be shooting your wedding so that you know exactly what quality and style you’re paying for, and make sure that the photographer and videographer you like will be the ones turning up on the day. If you want to feel more comfortable you can ask for an agreement in writing. Kris says, ‘In my opinion, the best combo packages come from husband and wife teams or two separate companies that often work closely together.’

Look At Getting Married On A Weekday

Weddings usually happen on a weekend when everyone is most likely to be available – but if you can swing a weekday wedding you might be able to negotiate a small discount. This is because there is a chance that a vendor may not have a lot of work during the week, and venues tend to be cheaper on weekdays. All vendors may be open to this unless they do a lot of destination work.

As couples navigate the complexities of wedding planning, it’s essential to remember that a memorable and beautiful wedding doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. As Kris puts it, ‘With careful planning and smart decision-making, couples can create a beautiful wedding that reflects their love and commitment without overspending.’

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