There are options beyond the traditional for every decision you make. Products and services can be bought from “non-wedding” vendors, or you can take the DIY route. You can utilize items in less-than-usual ways or even skip a tradition entirely, and you can often save money along these less worn paths.
Here, in part 1, are the first 39 ideas for saving money by taking the road less traveled when planning your wedding …
1. Shop non-wedding vendors, retailers, and online sellers for potential savings.
2. Make your own traditions or skip some entirely.
3. Do it yourself if you have the resources and it makes financial sense for you to do so.
4. Think “beginning talent” when hiring vendors.
5. Choose less-expensive, non-traditional venues for your wedding and reception. Brainstorm with 76 Unexpected Wedding Reception Venues.
6. Have a casual reception on a different day than the ceremony.
7. Ask a friend or family member to become ordained online specifically to perform your wedding.
8. Adjust ingredients if there’s a dish you particularly like but it’s out of your price range.
9. Hire a food truck.
10. Buy bulk, pre-made entrees and side dishes from a restaurant and pick up or have them delivered.
11. Have custom food stations consisting of relatively inexpensive ingredients.
12. Serve breakfast no matter what the time.
13. Serve family-style.
14. Hire student servers.
15. Buy and bring your own alcohol instead of using the venue’s.
16. Have an alcohol-free reception.
17. Ask folks to use whatever they are currently drinking for the toast.
18. Toast with a signature drink instead of champagne.
19. Serve a bubbly alternative for the toast.
20. Display several single layer cakes in place of a multi-tiered wedding cake.
21. Forego a traditional cake, and serve only dessert.
22. In lieu of a meal, put on an elaborate dessert spread complete with luscious coffee and chocolate drinks.
23. Have a dessert bar or interactive station instead of cake.
24. Use unexpected, inexpensive serving dishes.
25. If there is a dollar store near you, check there for glass containers.
26. Hire a student for editing video or pictures.
27. If you are going for an eclectic look, uncover finds at charity and thrift stores.
28. Save on cake by expanding your horizons beyond the wedding bakery.
29. Buy finished florals from nontraditional sources such as a warehouse club or online wholesaler.
30. Look into having photography or film students shoot your wedding.
31. Contact media photographers and cameramen to see if they moonlight at private events.
32. Give the flower girl and ring bearer handmade signs to carry down the aisle (Some ideas are on this pinboard).
33. Make your own jewelry.
34. Order custom invitations online. See hundreds of inexpensive designs here.
35. Buy blank, printable invitations you can run through your home printer.
36. Order digital files online and print them at home or at a local printer to control costs and save shipment charges.
37. Send eInvites to the tech-savvy among your guests.
38. Make or buy inexpensive guest book alternatives. The Guest Book Ideas pinboard is here.
39. Find budding photo and video professionals who want to break into the wedding industry.
These ideas are from the Dream Wedding on a Dime; 7 Secrets for the Budget-Savvy Bride ebook.