How to Save Money » Frugal Living

How to save money on your wedding

Weddings can be extremely expensive – but they don’t have to be.

When my husband and I got engaged, we knew right away that we would have a small, frugal wedding. That’s just the type of people we are. Even if we had lots of money, I still think we would have had a small wedding.

Below you will find many tips on how to save money on your wedding.


For our wedding ceremony, we rented a small park for a few hours. It was only $200. For the reception, we held it underneath a bowling alley, which I know sounds odd, but it was actually a nice space (and no, we couldn’t hear people bowling above our heads!). This also only cost us $200 for the night.

If you want to save money on your wedding location(s), try the following:

Backyard: If you have a really big, beautiful backyard (or know someone else who does), why not host your wedding there? Rent some tents and chairs and you’re good to go.

Rent a park:
Yes, you really can rent parks! For a few hours at a time, many parks will allow you to rent portions of the area for small or large gatherings such as weddings. The cost is usually extremely low.


The largest expense for a wedding is usually the food. Having a small wedding helps (we had about 40 people), but even if you’re having a larger wedding, there are many ways you can save money on food.

Make it yourself (or have friends/family do this as a wedding gift): I know this is probably the last thing you want to do, but it might be worth it if you can save a ton of money.

Serve food buffet style: Serving your guests at their table, instead of having everyone line up and get their own food is going to be way more expensive, so consider buffet style for your wedding. I personally think that a buffet style is better anyway, so people can choose things that they actually want to eat.

Offer lunch instead of dinner: Having your ceremony in the morning and then serving lunch to your guests is much cheaper than having an afternoon ceremony and serving dinner.

Have a barbecue: If you’re having an outdoor wedding, a barbecue is a perfect way to serve your meal (either lunch or dinner). Some nice juicy burgers, hotdogs, steaks, and chicken – add some corn on the cob, potatoes, and a nice big salad and you’ve got yourself a yummy meal for a great price.


If you are having a large wedding, invitations can be another big expense. Here are some ways to save money on them:

Make them yourself: All you need to buy is some card stock, ribbon, and any other decorations you like to make a great invitation. There are many free templates online that are available for you to use.

Don’t include RSVP envelopes: Instead of including a self-addressed stamped envelope with your wedding invitation, have your guests send you an email or give you a call to let you know if they can attend.

Wedding dress

I wanted a nice dress, I just wasn’t willing to fork over the money for something extravagant. So I went to a bridal shop that sold used wedding dresses ended up finding the perfect dress. With alterations included, I paid just over $300 for my dress.

You can save money on your wedding dress by doing any the following:

Buy second hand: Used wedding dresses can save you so much money. Get them altered and dry cleaned and they can often look just as good as something brand new.

Shop sample sales: Many stores have sample sales about once a year. These dresses would have only been used for women to sample in the store. Call some bridal shops in your area and ask if and when they have sample sales.

Rent your dress: Just like a man can rent a suit for his wedding, a woman can rent her dress as well. This could potentially save you thousands of dollars.


We didn’t have any flowers at our ceremony location because we had so many beautiful trees and a pond to look at. For our reception site, we only had a few vases of flowers on the tables. The room still looked nice and no one ever mentioned the lack of flowers.

Here are some ways you can save money on flowers at your wedding:

Use silk flowers: Silk flowers can look lovely (and real) if displayed properly. They cost much less than real flowers – and you can reuse them.

Shop wholesale warehouses: These places sell flowers in bulk and if you’re willing to put in some time making the flower arrangements (or get friends/family to help), you can save a bundle on your flower costs.

Use something other than flowers for your centerpieces: We used a large glass bowl with floating candles a few rose petals. It cost less than $10 per centerpiece. You can also use a cupcake stand with some cupcakes as your centerpiece. Or maybe use a tall table number, some small votive candles and a photo of the couple. These are very cheap, but beautiful ways to set up your centerpiece. You don’t have to use flowers.

Wedding cake

This delicious wedding staple can be crazy expensive. Instead of paying an arm and a leg for a wedding cake, try the following instead:

Cupcakes: We had these at our wedding and everyone said they were perfect – just pick it up and eat it, no cutlery required! Many bakeries will happily make cupcakes for your wedding, and they are usually much cheaper than a cake.

Make it yourself: Cakes will always be much more inexpensive if you make them yourself. Enlist a bunch of family members or friends and have them help you.

Have a sheet cake: Sheet cakes can look very nice when done right and they are significantly cheaper than the tiered variety. And guess what – they taste the same!

Remember that this day only comes once in your lifetime, so try not to be too Scrooge-like. Splurge on the things that matter to you and save your money on everything else.

Just because you want to have a beautiful wedding, doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on it. Spend wisely and enjoy your special day.

Do you have any tips for saving money on your wedding?


  1. Ashley

    Great tips and advice (although I’m already married), I will pass this on to my engaged friends.

    A few other suggestions…

    Invitations: You can buy the DIY kits at Michaels fairly inexpensively, and they also have a 40% off one item coupon on every week.

    Accessories (veil, necklace, earrings, etc): EBAY EBAY EBAY!! I bought lots of stuff off ebay for my wedding…veil, guestbook & pen, organza to decorate, etc.

  2. nikki

    great ideas 🙂 we did a lot of these things, and my wedding dress only cost me $40!!! That was my favourite deal ever lol

  3. Cassie Howard

    great tips ashley! ebay is awesome for stuff, i actually bought richards wedding tie from there and the silk flowers for the centerpieces. i forgot about the DIY invitation kits at michaels, thanks for point that one out!

    nikki – OMG. $40?!!?! crazy! crazy good that is… 🙂

  4. Jayleen

    Hi thank you for this article I am currently ingaged and just bought my wedding dress second hand it’s so cute I’m kinda curvy and short I’m only 5’2 I was shocked when I found a modern wedding dress second hand for $50 and I don’t even need to get it alterd and it’s the perfect length just need to wear it with my white heels that I got for $5 at the same store

  5. Cassie Howard

    Congrats, Jayleen! 🙂

  6. Jayleen

    Thank you I’m so excited

  7. Lesley B.

    I’m so happy that I came across this wedding section! I did a search, figuring Cassie would’ve covered asome kind of frugal wedding tips at some point 🙂 My wedding’s next June, so I’m glad I found this now, so I can start with the saving!!! Thank you!

  8. Jessie

    I have a couple of tips to save money on you wedding. First I got my wedding dress off the sale rake and my girls friend out of Sears clearence center (white grad Dress) only $30. For my center pieces I had ice crean glasses and bought cut flowers and maked it my self. At are local womens prison yes prison. They have a flower shop and they made my bouquet and it was half the price. We made are own wine. Made the brides maid dresses. There are lots of ways to save money just do not buy at wedding shops, get the ideas and then look at other places to get something the same or similiar. At wedding shops they up the price x3 like buubles are like $3 a bottle but you go to a dollar store the same bottle is .50 so look around and do not get stuck in the wedding shop glits and glam.

  9. Kelly

    I just got married 4 months ago and we were able to save money on invitations by ordering them online. We bought from They have an amazing variety of good quality invitations with all the matching envelopes, save the dates, reply cards and programs that you need. They ship super quick too!

    Also, consider having your wedding in the off season. We were able to get an off-season discount with our photographer by having it in December.

  10. Tammy

    My daughter got married in September. 150 guests. We did our own food (with help from friends). We had BBQ chicken breasts (bought on sale at Safeway and BBQs the day before, slathered in sauce, and reheated), BBQ salmon (thanks to do friends who BBQd between wedding and reception), buns from an organic local bakery, and lots of salad (pasta, greek, green, potato, curried rice, and fruit). It was very colorful and delicious. Dessert was cupcakes baked in little jars made by the brides sister. Sprakling apple juice, lemonade, punch, coffee, and tead to drink. Total cost for food was under $10/person.
    If you live anywhere near the border and want a new wedding dress shop in the States.
    We made homemade caramel chocolate pretzel sticks (like the ones at Starbucks) for favors, homemade invitations, and garage saled for centerpiece items.

  11. Erin

    To save money on our wedding (it’s in 6 weeks), we are doing a cocktail reception. The cost for tables, linens, cutlery and tableware, plus centrepieces was going to be over 2700 – that cost is gone.
    Also, I really wanted fancy designer shoes for my wedding day – I had a pair in mind and they were at Holt Renfrews – After Christmas, I scoured the kijiji ads for unwanted HR gift cards – I saves $135 on the shoes.
    I don’t think you have to go totally DIY but decide where you want to spend and where you don’t.

  12. Lindsay

    At our wedding the most expensive thing was the venue. Our guest list was 364 sto wer needed a hall to almost that many people. It was a $ 1000 incl paying two people to easy my food and make sure no one damaged the place(venues policy).
    My mom and I made 14 big lasagna s ahead of time and cooked turkeys and ham and just reheated the lasagna and had tons of sides and did a buffet. Guests brought desserts. Wedding cake was made by a friend. Got weddingdress and tuxes at the same place and got major discounts for that. Made bridesmaid dresses and flower girls dress. Made our own favors and invites.
    It cost us $ 4000 … For everything 13 yrs ago.

  13. Manji

    For our wedding we used a fake cake. I know that sounds weird but it looked so real. We cut a small piece out of the sheet cake we served the guests for the pictures. I also had a fake bouquet that I bought from Micheal’s using one of there discount coupons in their flyer.

  14. Sara

    I got married last fall and we did it small, simple and cheap! But you wouldn’t have known it was as cheap as it was. We opted for a private ceremony with just our parents and had a luncheon for 50 close family and friends the following day. We splurged on things that mattered to us ( like wedding rings, photographer) and saved by making my own invitees, ordering paper lanterns online and renting table cloths. My dress was simple and inexpensive, about $100. I ordered cupcakes instead of a cake, as well as my shower cupcakes and got a deal for ordering both from the same baker. After the wedding I sold the centerpieces I had made ( dollar store candle holders and fake flowers on sale at Micheals) and the paper lanterns on kijiji and made back some of the money I had spent. In the end it was a great party and everyone had fun. To us the marriage has always been more important than the wedding day.

  15. Joana

    I am going to get married in 5 months and to save money, I made my own wedding invitations, my wedding favors and I bought my dress on sale.

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