There's no denying that weddings are expensive. The average U.S. wedding costs about $28,000, which involves many years of savings for most people. Affording to invite everyone you want might look like an impossible task… but what if I told you that it could be done?
During the wedding planning stages, you started removing things that are important to you, but the costs don’t seem to go down. You’re worried that by getting rid of important elements of your day, you won’t be able to entertain your guests or give them the full experience you dreamed of.
There are ways in which you can include everyone without going out of your budget. By following our 5 tips combined, you can save over 14.000 USD on your wedding day. The second tip is going to have the biggest impact on your pocket.
I suggest you read these with an open mind. From inviting everyone you’d want to be there to going paperless, we did the research for you. Let’s begin.
Saving Tip #1: Skip the physical wedding invitations
Wedding invitations are gorgeous… but let’s be honest. They are more of a formality these days than anything else. It is a way to prepare your guests and show them how much they mean if they could come. It's also a sign that you're planning on having a good time with them.
But, there are ways in which you can cut down on the costs of your wedding, without cutting down on the quality.
Did you know that the average couple spends $590 on average on wedding invitations only? That’s not even the worse part. Many couples have to re-order invitations because they ordered “just enough” and forgot to include a few people on their list. The numbers go up quickly when you have to order a few extra ones without buying in bulk.
What can you do to save money?
It’s 2022. Go ahead and replace them altogether. Your pocket -and your guests- will thank you for it. You can opt for a wedding website, digital invitations, or even an RSVP or “Save the date” email.
How are these cheaper than the other alternatives?
- First of all, wedding websites are 100% free. Some great examples of this are Joy or TheKnot, which offer full-featured platforms at $0. The best part about these, is that you can design your own, using their templates. Quick, easy, and free.
- Second, physical cards often require some sort of aided design process. It could be a calligrapher ($2 to $5 per envelope, according to The Knot), or something as simple as buying an Etsy template for $10.
Saving Tip #2: Invite as many guests as you want
If you are planning a traditional wedding, you may be wondering how to invite your guests without breaking the bank. You want everyone to be able to celebrate with you, but it can be tough when some of your guests live far away or are unable to attend in person.
Luckily, there are many ways to make sure that everyone feels included and gets a chance to be there on your big day. A great option is to have many of your guests attending in person and do a live stream for everyone else. This way, all of your friends and family can watch the ceremony from wherever they are.
Why would I invite them to a live stream?
There are many reasons why someone might be invited to your wedding virtually: they live far away, they are too ill, or they simply aren't a priority on your guest list.
How much could I save?
Since live streaming is very affordable, you could save thousands of dollars with this method. Anywhere between 1150 to 8700 USD, considering that you can save on invites, catering, transportation, and even a videographer.
Use EventLive App (it works on any phone or tablet) to stream your wedding to a private page and invite unlimited people to attend. It costs under $100 so it will help you stay within your budget.
What are the benefits?
- Your family and friends will be able to attend, wherever they are
- You can watch your wedding replay the very next day
- You can ask any of your friends or family to do this for you. It is extremely simple, and you only need a phone and an internet connection to make it work.
- Every guest costs, on average, 307 USD. In some states, it can go over $450 (New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and a few others). I’m sure you’d like everyone to be there, but live streaming can help you save thousands of dollars.
- Feeding people is becoming more expensive every year. Most couples spend between 1800 and 7000 USD on catering alone (plus tips!).
- You can save an extra 1800 USD by replacing a wedding videographer with a live stream recording
- Invite as many people as you want, while guaranteeing that the important ones, such as grandma or the ones in another state can be there with you
What are the disadvantages of doing this?
Some people might feel hurt if they're only invited virtually because it would mean that they're not important enough to you. On the other hand, if you're on a tight budget and can't afford a big guest list, then inviting them to watch is the best option.
One way you can sort this out is to plan it as a virtual wedding, with only close family and friends attending in person. This way nobody should feel offended, and you could still have the wedding of your dreams while staying within budget.
Saving Tip #3: Buy polaroids!
Use them for the cocktail hour and reception instead of booking your photographer for the full day
We consider photography vendors one of the most important parts of your wedding day. If you haven’t already, you might soon realize that hiring a professional tends to be expensive, and we’re here to alleviate that cost.
How should you do this?
First, find a photographer whose work you love, and have a small interview with them. When the budget conversation arrives, try discussing how to book them for the most important stages of your wedding day, such as the wedding ceremony, newlyweds photoshoot, and family formals.
Most photographers will give you the option of hiring them for 4 to 5 hours, instead of a full-day package that tends to last 10+ hours, depending on your timeline.
For the periods of time where your photographer won’t be working, I’d recommend you to get some polaroid or disposable cameras, multiple packets of film, and hand them over to your guests.
Encourage them to capture everything from their point of view and make sure that they place them in a basket at the end of the night.
Will I save money by doing this?
Professional photography prices range from $3000 to $4000. If you can reduce that by 30-40% and then spend a couple hundred dollars on cameras and film, you will still save 1000+ USD on the lower end.
You’ll get hundreds of fun photos, and many that won’t make the cut. If you’re a DIY bride and you’re not too worried about pristine image quality for the cocktail or reception, this is an effective way to save big money on your wedding day.
Saving Tip #4: Downsize your Wedding Cake, or replace it altogether
The future of weddings is changing, and so are wedding cakes.
While we used to see 3-tier cakes with intricate designs at almost every wedding, now it's more common to see a simple cake for cutting and then other desserts for eating.
People are choosing to save money by removing their wedding cake from the budget, and for a good reason: they are expensive. Cakes cost on average anywhere from $500 to $800, but they can go much higher than that.
According to WeddingForward, each cake slice can cost as little as $1.50 (for a very affordable cake), and up to $12 for a higher-end one.
At the end of the day, it's not just about saving money… it's also about trying something new to surprise your guests.
How can I save money?
Replace your wedding cake with more affordable options, such as muffins, cupcakes, desserts and other sweet treats.
Some brides opted for a donut wall to delight their guests without going out of budget, and the reactions are even better than the -usually expected- wedding cake.
#5: Save money by skipping Saturdays
The cost of weddings can really add up. If you're looking to save money, consider getting married on a weekday, or even on Sunday!
Depending on the venues you’re considering, you can save up to 30% of the total price by choosing a Friday evening on Sunday wedding. Some venues offer Monday through Wednesday events as a more affordable option too.
What are the benefits or potential savings?
- Vendors are usually available on these dates, as they tend to be fully booked for Saturdays months in advance
- It’s good for smaller, intimate weddings
- You can save as much as 30% off the total price, but this might result in inconveniences for some of your guests.
What are the disadvantages?
This is something you have to consider, depending on the style of wedding you’re looking for, and the group of people you want to be able to attend. If you’re looking to have a big wedding and especially a lot of people, you might have to stick to Saturdays.
Some of your guests will not be able to take time off of work, or even move across states to attend a weekday wedding.
Also, while the savings are real for most venues, prices might be the same during peak season.
Conclusion & Final Tips
Planning a wedding can be costly but with certain tips, you can save money.
By choosing to downsize services and implement others, such as a live stream, you can quickly and efficiently stay within your budget. You still get to celebrate without spending too much money on food and unnecessary elements, such as costly invitations.
To close today's idea, I want to remind you one last thing. A wedding is a once in a lifetime event. It is important to document it accordingly. There are many ways to do this - from choosing a photographer that you love, to going for a live stream you can keep instead of an expensive video production. There are many ways in which you can save money, so choose the ones that make you feel good about them.
You won't regret having everyone on your wedding day, even if it's sitting in their homes, watching you say "I Do".