Young couple looking for ways to save money on their weddingAs you know, the business of weddings is a multi-million dollar industry and as you start planning your wedding, you’ll find that you can spend money on things that you never even knew you wanted. It could take quite a bit in order to accomplish that perfect look you may have been dreaming of your entire life.
 
You may find that you could spend as much money as you have (and then some!) to achieve your dream wedding, but it may not be practical financially. Starting your life together with debt can take a while to get out from under, so we’ve put together some money-saving ideas to help you have the day of your dreams without the nightmare of going into massive debt to pull it off!!
 

1. Where to Say “I do”

As you start to look around for venues to hold your wedding and reception, you will probably learn that rental fees for some can be much higher than you may have expected. Don’t be put off by the fee until you fully understand what’s included in the price tag.
 
If your venue includes things like tables, chairs, specialty tables, and wedding coordination, it may be worth every penny. Be sure you understand all the terms of your contract and that there are no “hidden” fees before signing. Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Some venues offer packages, and you may not need every element of the package that best fits your event. Sit and talk with them and see if they are open to either swapping a service or lowering your price accordingly. This conversation will help you understand how it will be working with that venue leading up to and including the day of your event.
 
If you think that a backyard wedding will save you money, you may be right. But remember, with a wedding at Aunt Jeannie’s house, you may end up spending more on the rental of all the things you need delivered than you would by having it at the right venue. You will also have to think about things like cleaning and setting up ahead of time, cleaning up afterwards and making sure you have enough bathroom facilities to accommodate your guests.
 

2. When to Say “I do”

Having a wedding in the evening then providing drinks and dinner to your guests is a standard way to plan a wedding and reception. But a great way to save a few bucks is to consider having your wedding much earlier in the day.
 
If you start your ceremony at, say, 10 am, you can serve brunch instead of dinner, and begin your honeymoon by 4 pm! You can also consider an “off day” for your nuptials. Choosing a Sunday morning or a morning during the week can certainly save you big, but you have to balance that with how many of your guests will be able to attend.
 

3. Micro Wedding

Having a large wedding may be a thing of the past for awhile. Consider inviting your closest friends and family for a smaller wedding. Then, you might look into video services that can record the whole day and share it with your friends.
 
You can also ask your venue if their Internet service is fast enough to offer live video streaming so that your friends can “be there” with you. With fewer people at your wedding, your costs in all areas will come down.
 

4. Your Photographer

It is tempting to have your photographer on site the entire day, snapping away from the time you first wake up to the very end of the evening. But if you plan well, then you can save money on this service too.
 
Think about every part of your wedding that you want to capture. If you can have a family member or friend capture the more intimate moments, then your photographer can come a little later in the day. Provide a list of moments that you want to capture to help your photographer understand just what shots you’re looking to have them take.
 
When that list of photos has been taken, you can relieve them for the day. Sometimes the difference between a full-day photoshoot and half a day can make a substantial difference in your budget.
 

5. Decorations

As with any special occasion, you will be able to find decorations that will turn your wedding into the beautiful day of your dreams. But be careful, because these costs can add up fast! Check with your venue and see if they have décor that you can rent at a reasonable fee.
 
There are also lots of great DIY ideas that can save you big. You don’t have to buy big expensive floral arrangements for your table settings. You can use items that are not flowers at all and add them to simpler flower arrangements and still achieve the elegant feeling you want.
 
Thrift stores are an excellent source for old books, old lanterns, and other rustic but elegant looking items. Try stacking a few old books together, wrapping lace ribbon around them, and tying with a bow on the top. That can be a lovely look as part of a centerpiece or even on its own. Save your old wine bottles and add a little lace and a few flowers to create another elegant addition to your centerpieces. You can use the corks for table seating assignments as well. Get out there and see what you can find to repurpose!
 

6. Catering

If you can keep your menu simple, that will certainly help the bill at the end of the night. Here are a couple of additional ideas that can help cut costs.
 
Consider a cocktail reception instead of providing a big, sit-down dinner. If you offered beer, wine, champagne for the toast, and one signature drink (and this is not mandatory) and passed appetizers, you will save money in all kinds of ways.
 
Whatever you do, make sure that you are not paying top dollar for bottled water! Sometimes, you can end up paying $5 to $10 per person just in water alone! Bring your own filtered water or negotiate with your caterer for the best budgetary results.
 

7. Say “Yes” to a (Second-hand) Dress

Your wedding is a very special occasion, and your picture will be taken more than at just about any other time in your life. You’ll want to be sure to achieve just the right look and have just the right dress. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to spend thousands of dollars on a new dress.
 
In fact, you can find a dress worth thousands of dollars for a fraction of the price at thrift and consignment stores. You can also opt for a less traditional “wedding dress” and find a dress that is elegant and makes you feel like a bride without the bridal price tag. Boutiques are also a great place to find elegant dresses without spending too much!
 

8. Wedding Fairs

Wedding Fairs are a great way to accomplish a few things at once and you may just have a good time doing it! Bring your best man, maid of honor, your parents, grandparents, siblings too! It can be a fun way to involve your family in your planning.
 
Many wedding fairs happen in January, some in October. It depends on where you live but it can be a worthwhile way to spend an afternoon for a few reasons. Not only will you be able to find multiple services that you may want to use, but you’ll be able to save money by using show discounts. Most vendors will offer a special price to you for their services if you see them at the show, and those discounts can add up to hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
 
You can also enter to win dozens of prizes. It’s always recommended too, that you show up super early. Often times, they’ll have a giveaway for their first 50 or 100 or 200 guests. Sometimes really great prizes like matching wedding bands.
 
Most wedding shows have an entrance fee but some are free. The entrance fees are usually pretty low, between $10 and $30. Be sure to check all of the details of the wedding show when you buy your tickets so that you don’t miss out on opportunities to save money!
 
Sierra Nevada Foothills Events Venue
If you’re looking for a modern, well-equipped, and easily accessible destination setting for your big day, you’ll fall in love with The Foothills Event Center and the possibilities this unique space offers! Our indoor, climate-controlled venue provides plenty of room for dinner and dancing the night away, while your party can spill outdoors onto the patio to enjoy the evening under the stars.
 
Learn more at Weddings.FoothillsEvents.com. Call us at 530-271-1000 to schedule your complimentary, personalized tour of our venue, centrally located in Grass Valley.

Amanda Rodgers
Written by Amanda Rodgers

Amanda assists with all aspects of the Foothills Event Center’s concerts, parties, celebrations, fundraisers, weddings, and other events. She observes our events as they happen, to ensure the clients and event attendees have a seamless event.