12 Recession Busters for Budget-Conscious Brides: From Wedding Venues to the Guest List, Ways to Cut Wedding Cost

9 years ago

You can’t turn on the TV without being blasted with news about the tumultuous economy. Job losses. Plummeting stocks. A real estate market that continues to tank. It’s enough to make any girl get the jitters. And as if the recession wasn’t enough, you’ve got to plan a wedding! What if you can’t afford the wedding you really want? Be a savvy bride and check out these high-impact ideas on how to slash your wedding costs.


  1. Invite fewer guests. Cutting back your wedding guest list to include only those who are close to you will make a significant difference in your wedding cost. You’ll save on reception costs such as centerpieces (you’ll need less), food, drinks, favors, wedding cake (smaller is cheaper) and wedding venues. You just might find that the savings will mean you can splurge on the things that really matter to you. Besides, given the recession, there’s a good chance that some of your friends and distant family might actually feel relieved that they don’t have to come up with hundreds of dollars in travel expenses and wedding gifts.
  2. Have the ceremony and reception in one place. Many small wedding venues such as inns and bed and breakfasts can accommodate both the ceremony and reception. Chances are you’ll have less of a rental fee – and you’ll save money on transportation and decorations. IntimateWeddings.com has a growing list of small wedding venues that can accommodate both.
  3. DIY. Thank heavens for DIY culture! With a few clicks of the mouse you can learn to make just about anything. There’s a plethora of websites on how to make everything from bridal centerpieces to edible favors. Bridal forums and DIY wedding books are also great resources for how-to info. The earlier you plan the more time you’ll have for DIY wedding projects.
  4. Be Resourceful. Maybe your uncle is a concert pianist. Why not ask him to play at your ceremony? Maybe your sister-in-law is a graphic designer. Why not request her help for invitations? Does your aunt bake raspberry cheesecake to die for? Ask for her help with the dessert table. Generally, friends and family are happy to get involved. Just make sure you show heaps of gratitude for their assistance. (Chocolate chip cookies will warm hearts. Don’t be skimpy either!)
  5. Haggle. Negotiating with vendors is one way you can save big. Don’t be afraid to come out and ask potential vendors if they are willing to come down in price. Be realistic in your expectations (don’t expect a vendor to slash prices in half), but don’t be afraid to tell them that their current prices don’t fit in to your wedding budget. You’ll find that many vendors will find ways to accommodate you because the last thing they want is for you to run to their competitor.
  6. Opt for an Ipod wedding instead of a deejay. Create a playlist of wedding songs on your Ipod and play them at your wedding. You will have to rent a sound system and make sure you delegate someone to set it up for your big day. Not only will you save money by having an Ipod wedding, you will have complete control over your playlist.
  7. Serve only wine and beer. You can save money on your beverage expenses by offering only wine and beer. That way you can still have an open bar, but not have your liquor expenses get out of hand.
  8. Choose an off time. Instead of getting married on Saturday, have your wedding on a Friday night or Sunday – or during the week. Also, consider having your wedding off-season. (November 1 to April 30.)
  9. Skip the wedding cake. There are so many delicious and beautiful options out there aside from a traditional wedding cake. What about wedding pie, cupcakes, or cheesecake?
  10. Skip the Fancy Rehearsal Dinner. Is it necessary to have an elegant rehearsal dinner? If not, why not have a more casual dinner. Why not go out for Chinese food or order a pizza. What about a backyard barbecue?
  11. Buy Secondhand. Craigslist, eBay and Kijiji are great sources for secondhand wedding items. Everything from centerpieces to wedding dresses can be found at these popular online marketplaces. You can also use Craigslist to find photographers, bartenders and other wedding professionals who are willing to work for a reasonable rate.  Just make sure you check out their references. If they’re too cheap, you might get what you pay for.
  12. Use Alchemy. Etsy Alchemy that is. Etsy Alchemy allows buyers (it’s free to join and anyone can become a buyer) to post requests for custom handmade items. Buyers state how much they will pay for a completed project. Sellers bid on the opportunity to create the goods. Requests for wedding invitations, as well as save-the-dates and thank-you cards are among the most popular, but you’ll also find requests for veils and headpieces, as well as wedding dresses, rings, favors and cake toppers.

 Christina Friedrichsen is the author of Intimate Weddings: Planning a Small Wedding that Fits Your Budget and Style and owner of IntimateWeddings.com, a website dedicated to small weddings. She launched IntimateWeddings.com to help brides with everything from creating an intimate and meaningful ceremony, to how to tell people they are not invited. The site also has a wedding venue finder that currently lists more than 1,000 small wedding venues throughout North America.  

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