Weddings are beautiful, sweet celebrations that many people dream of having from a young age. The perfect outfit, a beautiful venue, skillfully crafted food. As we get older and the time to actually get married approaches, it becomes clear that, well, weddings are expensive. For many people, the list of wedding day necessities grows so long that the budget no longer has room to stretch. But, fear not, because you don’t have to break the bank in order to have that day you’ve always dreamed of! 

Here are seven ways to save money on your wedding day: 

Decide Who Makes the Cut

Unfortunately, we know this can be tough. Your guest list is full of people you want to be able to celebrate your wedding day with! However, when considering overall costs, more people always equals more money. If you’d like to be able to afford a few more “luxuries” on your big day, a few difficult, but necessary cuts may do the trick. People you remain in close contact with should probably have priority over distant relatives and friends from long ago.

Think Outside the Venue Box

It’s typical of a wedding: ceremony in one place, travel somewhere else afterward for the reception. But with two locations comes a bigger price tag. And not only do you have to trek to the next location, your guests do as well. So, if you’re looking for budget-friendly and convenient, a great way to save money on your wedding is to consider looking for non-traditional venues! Restaurants, parks, museums, galleries, even a beautiful backyard are just a handful of the unique, affordable venues at your fingertips. 

Choose Off Season For the Win

Summer and early fall, aka wedding season, are infamous for holding coveted, prime wedding day spots. Lots of couples try to book during these times because it’s the easiest time for guests to travel. Saturdays, a wedding day favorite, are difficult to obtain as the competition for venues (among other wedding day necessities) is fierce. So, to avoid the frustration and trouble of trying to book during peak times, search for dates that are considered less popular. A weekday in the winter months may not seem ideal at first, but chances are you’ll get cheaper prices for things like venues, food, and flowers! Who says winter is any less beautiful than a summer day?

Re-Evaluate the Wedding Party Circle

It can be tempting to have family and all your closest friends in your wedding party. After all, who wouldn’t want their loved ones by their side on their big day? Similar to your guest list, making cuts in this area may be tough because no one wants to hurt feelings. However, being more selective will save you money when it comes to costs related to hair and makeup, any necessary travel accommodations, and floral accessories like bouquets or boutonnieres. If you and your partner find it hard to choose, maybe leave out the flower girl and opt for a member of the wedding party to be ring bearer. 

Get Runway Ready, Budget Style

You want your wedding day to be perfect, so naturally you want your outfit to be perfect too! In today’s world, finding an outfit is simple and can be done in a variety of ways to save money on your wedding day. Dresses and suits can be rented, purchased from an online retailer, or even sold for a cheaper price during trunk shows and sales. Of course, keep an eye out on social media as well. Let the search commence, as it’s guaranteed you’ll find something you and your wallet will love! 

Eat Smart

Having a sit-down meal catered and served for your wedding day can add up depending on the caterer and food you choose. A buffet option gives your guests a wider variety and adds a bit of a casual, self-serve feel. Yet, it may wind up costing a good chunk of money. On average, depending on if you choose a plated or buffet meal, it could cost anywhere from $50-$100 per person. Add in a proper tip for the caterer and this quickly eats into your budget. Some potentially cheaper alternatives: hire food trucks (a fun, modern reception addition), channel your inner chef and make your own appetizers and let a caterer do the entree (or vice versa), or order from a restaurant you and your significant other love! 

Drink Smart

When you’re planning on having alcohol at your wedding, a bar can be a great expense, especially if it’s open. If spending thousands on a full bar just isn’t you, but you know you’ve got a boozy crowd, there are creative ways to satisfy all needs! Get creative with your partner and come up with a few signature cocktails to offer guests in place of a full bar. Or, serve liquor during a designated time in the reception, then offer lighter choices like beer or wine for the rest of the night. If possible, consider stocking the bar with alcohol that you provide, which allows you to be in total control of the cost and selection.