Tips for Tying the Knot Without Breaking the Bank

Sarah Compo

It’s estimated that the average American couple spends a whopping $33,391 on their wedding—and that doesn’t even include the engagement ring, or the honeymoon.

Simply put, weddings are expensive. The good news? By thinking outside the box, you can save cash and still have the day of your dreams. As a day-of event coordinator, I’ve seen my fair share of smart, money saving ideas. Here are some of my favorites:

Skip the Saturday wedding: The most popular day to get married is Saturday. For lower rates at venues and with vendors, ask about availability on Fridays, Sundays or the day before a holiday that most guests would have off—like the Fourth of July.

Tie the knot at the end of the off season: By planning your wedding for November, or January through March—with the exception of Valentine’s Day—you can save between 20 and 30 percent.

Fake the cake: Tiered cakes and those with fondant can be costly. Save cash by having your baker only make a smaller cake for you and your significant other. Then, purchase a sheet cake to serve to guests.

DIY flowers: If you’re crafty you can save a substantial amount of money by purchasing flowers in bulk—whether online, or from a local grocery store’s floral department—and making bouquets, boutonnieres and other flower arrangements on your own.

Shop secondhand:  Almost everything you need for your wedding can be found secondhand for half the price—and double the charm! Soirée NNY recently heard from a bride who scoured thrift stores and garage sales to purchase place settings for her 180 guests, everything from plates to flatware. The result was a savings of over $1,800. Also—don’t be afraid to use social media to help in your search for wedding décor. A simple Facebook post could connect you with recent brides looking to sell décor or other items from their wedding.

Widen your search for a wedding gown: Check out websites like PreownedWeddingDresses.com and OnceWed.com where you can find gently used—and often times, unworn—wedding dresses. Also, searching for dresses that aren’t specifically wedding gowns—for example, bridesmaids dresses in champagne, ivory or similar hues—and then adding your own special embellishment can help save cash.

Don’t let the bar burn a hole in your pocket: It’s no secret that booze is one of the biggest wedding expenses couples face. Often times, they will conserve cash by having a limited bar with beer, wine and a signature cocktail or two for guests. If you’re going this route, it’s also a good idea to have the bar stocked with a few other bottles, based on what you’re your wedding party and your immediate family likes to drink.

SARAH COMPO is the owner of Soiree NNY. To contact Ms. Compo for event services or additional information email info@soireenny.com.