7 Big-Ticket Items to Save Money on During Your Wedding & Reception

This post may contain affiliate links or links from our sponsors. Read our disclosure policy here.

Spring is just around the corner, and along with warmer weather and blooming flowers comes  wedding season. If you’re one of the twitterpated souls planning your big day, you might be looking for some ways to save a little green.

There are many different ways to do this – more than we could possibly fit into this article – but we are going to give you 7 big ticket items you can save on when planning your wedding.

Before you get too deep into planning your wedding, you should meet with your partner and make a list of what needs to be done. The list doesn’t need to be all-inclusive or go into all the fine details. Its purpose is simply to help you uncover any areas you are or aren’t willing to cut corners on.

As you jot down your ideas, keep in mind the amount you could potentially save might be significant if you are willing to do some things yourself instead of paying for them to be done by others. If you have friends or family who are willing to pitch in, you could save a bundle by having a DIY wedding, after all DIY is all the rage right now! Once you have your list together you will have a good starting point for looking at ways to save money on your wedding and reception. Here are 7 big ticket items you might be able to save money on for your big day.

Peach Head ShotAndrea and I were married in 2008 and our wedding cost just under $20k. It lasted a whole 8 hours and we ended up paying for it for the next 3 years of lives with interest tacked on. If we could go back in time, we would have easily had a beautiful $10k wedding that didn’t follow us around for 3 years. We learned the hard way and now I am begging you – don’t you make the same mistake we did! Debt is not a great way to start off the happiest time in your life. I promise you, it’s not worth it.


Here are my Top 7 Ways to Save on Wedding Costs


Guest List

This tip is pretty obvious, and it’s usually at the top of every list of money saving ideas you will see if you do your research. However, a good way to handle this list is to divide it into two parts: guests who you must invite, and guests you would like to invite. This will also give you a basis to decide where to have your event. You can always add to the invitation list, but you can’t really disinvite someone later.

The guest list is where a lot of brides find themselves feeling “suckered” into spending too much money. Brides feel a lot of pressure to invite people to their wedding because of family etiquette and other wedding “rituals”. My suggestion, and what I did myself, was to ignore most of these rules and only invite those you truly want to spend your special day with. It is, after all, your day.



The location, or venue, of your wedding is one place you could get really creative.

Depending on your taste and theme, you can hold your wedding and reception almost anywhere. One popular idea where I’m from in Kansas is to have a western or country style wedding located in a historic barn.

Another popular option for weddings in all parts of the country is having an outdoor wedding. If you think you might be interested in an outdoor wedding to save money, be careful. Maybe brides who’ve had outdoor weddings have warned that they ended up costing more than the indoor locations they had also considered.



Your choice of date could have an impact on the other items on your list, so you’ll definitely want to make this decision as soon as you can. Generally speaking, if you can allow more than a year to plan your wedding, you should have greater success getting the date you are hoping for. And, if you are open to choosing a different day of the week, such as Friday instead of Saturday, you might have even better results of getting your date and saving money.

Another way to save money when it comes to the date of your wedding is to choose a wedding date outside of the traditional “wedding season” of late spring through early fall. Late fall and winter weddings can be just as beautiful as spring and summer weddings with a much lower cost.


Catering & Bar Service

If you plan to serve a meal at your wedding reception, this is one area that can add substantially to the cost of your big day. One way to save money is to consider skipping the big “traditional” meal and instead have hors d’oeuvres and finger foods.

Depending on the time of day your wedding and reception is held, it might not be necessary, or even make sense, to serve a big meal anyway.



Flowers and decorations another big-ticket item that can get expensive at a wedding. If you are having a church wedding that’s close to a holiday, you might not need to purchase as many decorations.

It’s also worth asking if your wedding and reception venues have decorations that they’d be willing to let you borrow or rent. Of course, you can also go the DIY route and make decorations for the wedding and reception yourself too. There are plenty of ideas and tutorials online you can reference to guide you. Even simple decorations can be beautiful if they are done right, and you don’t necessarily have to have live flowers.


Invitations & Programs

The internet has made it easier than ever to save on invitations and programs for your wedding. You can easily compare prices for many online print shops and then decide which one will best serve your needs. It will also be a lot cheaper to design your own via a sample found online than to hire an invitation designer to do it for you. You can also find supplies for DIY wedding invitations and programs in many hobby stores.


Wedding Attire

Not everyone is willing to cut corners when it comes to their wedding dress, but there are some options if you still want to save money on it. One option to consider is buying a used, vintage dress. Some vintage styles are coming back around and these types of dresses can offer a unique flair to your wedding and save you money. Another option it to update and wear a family heirloom. Just be careful about altering a family heirloom without asking permission first so you don’t step on any toes.

Of course, some of these ways to save money on your big day are limited by the amount of time you have to put toward doing the tasks on your list. Hopefully these 7 ideas will get you started off on the right foot and with a spring in your step. Remember, it’s your day, so it’s really up to you.

Kayla Signature



If you Like it, Please Share it!

As always, I first want to thank you for reading this blog because this means you are reaching for awesome with your money! I will keep putting content out there for anyone to gobble up and implement right away, however if you could help me out by sharing this post on your favorite social media platforms, it would mean the world to me! Just click on any of the social share buttons at the top or bottom of this post and you’ll be giving me a virtual fist bump, high-five, and a pat on the back. Thank you again and again!

-Chris Peach



  • The guest list is probably the biggest variable in a cheap or expensive wedding. A large list means a larger venue & larger reception, etc. Although the decorations & attire might be equally as expensive, depending on the couple & family. We kept our wedding guest list small to immediate family only, it made some people mad, but they got over it eventually. Money aside, having a large & ornate wedding can also be real stressful. Weddings should have some fanciness to them, but I don’t think we all need to emulate a “royal” wedding.

    • Yes on all accounts! I kept my guest list small too and I think it made some people mad, but it was my decision to make.

  • Some people will take it personally but since it is your day and it’s not worth the emotional exhaustion to please anyone, let alone everyone and the most variable expense is the guest list you are going to have to make difficult decisions. But life isn’t always easy. I had a beautiful wedding for $5000 and no debt. It felt amazing and I had never felt so free. I had to cut the guest list, adapt to a different venue, supply the alveoli, thank goodness gor Costco and even make my own decorations. And it is oh so worth it! All debt free!

    • Awesome! I’m so happy that you were able to have a budget wedding with no debt. That’s great!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to save more money and pay off debt?

Great! Grab the free budget mini course where I will give you a budget and show you exactly how to use it! The same budget I used to pay off $52k in debt, save money and build wealth!



Scroll to Top