Saying, “I Do,” Without The Debt

Call it a benefit of the Great Recession: the average cost of a wedding has dropped 30 percent from a high of $29,000 in 2007 to today’s mere $20,000, according to The Wedding Report. If you or someone you know is headed down the aisle sometime soon, here’s how to save even more.

According to an article on MSNBC, one money-saving key is to refrain from mentioning the word “wedding” when getting quotes from various service providers.  That includes rehearsal dinner venues, reception halls, florists, musicians, and more.  One Boston television station contacted 11 venues asking for quotes for a wedding reception.  Later, they called again, asking about the cost of hosting a retirement party on the same date.  Eight of the venues charged more for the wedding reception.

The article also suggested getting married in the wedding off-season (November 1st – March 31st), use “non-traditional” retailers (think Costco for favors, flowers, and even rings), and provide your own music via MP3 player.

Recently, I asked for other money-saving wedding ideas on Twitter and Facebook. Among the many great ideas Dawn and her husband used for their wedding reception, they:

  • Held their reception at the home of a relative
  • Bought various items on eBay (veil, tiara, flower girl basket) and at Costco (beverages)
  • Scheduled their wedding for early afternoon so that reception food consisted of heavy appetizers instead of a full meal
  • Made their own wedding guest favors

Jan, who has helped several children with their weddings, recommended:

  • Opt for a stand-up buffet instead of a sit-down meal
  • Offer beer, wine, and soft drinks only (no open bar)
  • Hold the wedding on a weeknight

Erin wrote with several money-saving ideas used at her own wedding, including:

  • Designing her own wedding programs
  • Having a relative make wedding favors

What money saving ideas did you use at your wedding or see at someone else’s wedding?


5 Responses to Saying, “I Do,” Without The Debt

  1. Chris DeGraff June 2, 2010 at 10:39 AM #

    Our daughter had her wedding last December & due to limitations with her husband’s leave (he’s a Marine), it was planned & pulled off in less than a month. We did a very small wedding with only about 40 people (family & a few close friends) & then did a reception a few days later. We held down costs by only doing appetizers & not a full sit-down dinner. And did it all without incurring any debt.

  2. Matt Bell June 2, 2010 at 8:47 AM #

    What a great collection of money-saving ideas, Gigi. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Gigi June 1, 2010 at 12:14 PM #

    I recently got married in Oct 2009.

    I’m a graphic designer so I created my own invitations and used a custom email address for people to RSVP. I used local printing contacts to have my invitations printed for cheaper.

    I had an aspiring cake designer make a small cutting cake and then purchased a large sheet cake from Sam’s for the guests. Only cost me $35 and it fed 120 people. I used the fake flowers from my bouquet to decorate both cakes.

    I had a friend who does flower arrangements for her church create my bouquet and MOH bouquets. I made the bootineers and MOB corsages myself.

    I bought clearance guest book and then decorated to match my fall theme.

    I spray painted dead branches from my yard for adding height to my centerpieces.

    I downloaded all the music off iTunes and burnt a cd for the church to play over their sound system.

    I held the wedding ceremony and reception in the same room. I used round tables and chairs so that there was no change over bw the two.

    I bought items off craigslist for outside decorations.

    My mother and father and I made direction signs with left over items from my parents remodel.

    I borrowed fabric from a friends wedding to drape along the ceiling.

    I only spent $8000 total which was mostly in cash except $1500 on my dress which I got with 0% interest credit card and I have the last $300 to pay in July before the back interest is applied.

    And best part of all, people said I had the most beautiful wedding they had seen….oh and I married the love of my life!

  4. Matt Bell May 27, 2010 at 8:49 AM #

    Megan – Great ideas. I like that — Dad’s “newish” car!

  5. Megan May 26, 2010 at 2:04 PM #

    had wedding dress made overseas during a business trip (approx $200)
    made own favors
    limited alcohol service (waiters offered wine 2x only)
    family provided entertainment/games (and did a great job)
    no limo, used Dad’s newish car
    photographer offered 600 prints included in the price
    no videographer
    had a friend who is a prof. DJ for a reduced price (this is NOT a place to skimp, though, a lame DJ can spoil the reception)

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