I mean, come on – who doesn’t like to save a bit ‘o money?

Especially when you’re planning a wedding!

So – check it out – DnK’s list of 21 ways to save money planning your wedding…..  All of the pictures {minus 17 and 10 – since they are from the suggested website} are from weddings we have done – all things that can actually be done and save you a few big ones on your wedding day.

It’s not that you have to do everything in here – but maybe some ideas will spark new ideas for you : )

They aren’t in any special order or ranking – but just enjoy scrolling through the pictures and get inspired!


21 – Boutonnieres – not every has to have a boutonniere. Be creative! Let the florist make one for the groom, then have all of the groomsmen, dads, grandpas, etc have ones you make ahead of time. They don’t even have to be floral! Antique pins, buttons, old watch faces – you name it! Get creative! One boutonniere can easily cost $20 – say you have 6 groomsmen, 4 ushers, 2 dads, 2 grandpas, 2 readers, 2 musicians – we’re talking 18 boutonnieres! SAVINGS=$360

20 – Cake – simple is often better.  {and can look better too!}  I know it’s really tempting to go over board once you’re at the bakery, you’ve tasted the yummy cake and are all sugared up.  You see all these pretty pictures of cakes with elaborate fondant flowers and you have to have it. But – even a simple and small fondant flower can cost $3.  Multiply that by 100 flowers and you’re looking at $300 – for fondant flowers that only the kiddos will try and then eat too much of, get a sugar high and fall over on the dance floor….  So why not go for a simple design, with real flowers on top – most florists {if you ask nicely} will just bring the left overs from your bouquet and stick them in – for free! SAVINGS=$300


19 – Manicure – nicely painted nails do look nice on your wedding day; but let’s be honest – even getting those pretty white french tips the day before will crack, chip and peel come picture time.  So what’s the deal then?  Natural nails – as in, the ones you where born with – not some hyped-up acrylic version – look just as nice with a sleek clear coat.  Plus, they don’t distract from anything either.  Don’t get me wrong – I do like me a nice white french tip – but, natural with clear is honestly just as beautiful.  {just don’t forget to clean the dirt out from under your nails…..} SAVINGS=$40

18 – Marriage Counselingnot only is marriage counseling a good thing – but can save you some money too.  Oftentimes when you hold your ceremony at a church – the fee you pay to use the space {and/or to hire the officiant} also covers marriage counseling {don’t know? just ask!} When you live in Minnesota and your Priest/Pastor/Minister signs your Educator’s Statement – you get a reduced fee on your marriage license application! SAVINGS=$75


17 – Go DigitalI know not everyone’s grandparents are using email these days – but I’ll bet that the vast majority of the people on your guest list do.  So instead of a Save-the-Date, how about you save a tree and go digital with your Save-the-dates!  You can check out websites like pingg.com for great ideas and help with your digital Save-the-Date.  But great aunt Martha doesn’t have email? Just give her a ring – she’d love to hear your voice anyways : )  SAVINGS=$400

16  – Mass Programming – Every wedding ceremony follows some type of format – but many people already know what that is.  So we’ve got two options here – option 16a – one chalkboard or poster-printed sign laying out the order of things for people to see when they walk in. OR option 16b – print out half as many programs as you expect guests.  Then, have the ushers ask, “Would you like to share a program?” Half the programs can make a big difference!  SAVINGS=$200-$400

15 Something Borrowed – You know what really can cost a lot? A veil.  I thought I had found the perfect one.  Oh it was so beautiful.  But not so beautifully priced…. It was $385.  So, I went to the craft shop and purchased just the right veil material and color for me, some beautiful beading {with some bling in it!} and the special metal comb to get it to stay – all for $45 big ones.  Yeah it took some elbow grease and a $10 bottle of wine – but I made it myself.  And believe me, that savings right there was worth it.  I am sure that the same $385 veil would be shoved in a box all wrinkly somewhere just like the one I made is : ) SAVINGS=$330

14 Get Twiggy with it – Don’t get me wrong – florists do an amazing job with centerpieces.  But why not try something of your own too?  Instead of having the florist make one, $50 centerpiece for each of your 25 tables, maybe just have her do one for ten of your tables.  Then be adventurous.  Go on a hike, collect a few awesome, all natural branches/twigs and trim them up to fit in whatever awesome containers you choose. Or like in the picture below, cut them into rings and put a mason jar atop!  Mandy and Corey were lucky to find a tree that grew into a heart shape!!  Heck – don’t want them to be brown? Spray paint um! SAVINGS=$750

13 Get Made-up – Yes we all want to look our best the day of – but did you know that you can get your make-up did for free?  Where you might ask?  Da mall. Bare Escentuals does complimentary make overs.  Why not just go in the day of your wedding?  Afraid they’ll mess up?  Go in test it out, come back the day of with any tweeks or suggestions!  You know your girls will come with you anyways and probably buy a lipstick or gloss.  Still feel guilty?  Bring them in some muffins and I am guessing the make up artists won’t mind ; ) Otherwise, find a friend that is good with a brush and have them do it for ya! SAVINGS=$150

12 iMusic – It probably comes at no great shock that using an iPod can save you money – it’s not that uncommon. But then  you miss out on the lights – right?  Well, most DJ’s offer the option to just have music during the dance {and charge an additional fee to play music during dinner.  so hook up the iPod, sit back, relax, eat and let the awesome lights begin at the dance : )  SAVINGS=$100

11 – Vroom Vroom -  Every loves a good getaway car – but those getaways can get spendy.  So take a hint from Harmony, a bride of ours from July 2009.  They saw a beautiful classic car park on a street in Duluth, wrote a quick note asking if the owner would be will to transport them on their wedding day and left their contact info.  In a place like Minneapolis, there are a plethora and variety of classic cars. Offer a payment that you’re comfortable with – you may possibly have to do some negotiating, but you certainly can save big here!  SAVINGS=$650

10 Honeyfund – Let’s say you already have pots and pans – or your ma is giving you her semi-used Pampered Chef set.  So you have some wiggle room in your wedding registry and you want to add some gifts.  Oh wait – you still need plane tickets to Jamaica for your honeymoon?  That’s what Honeyfund.com is for. It’s a free honeymoon registry.  Get your plane tickets covered – or even that uber romantic dinner you’re wanting Wednesday night of your honeymoon {maybe even on the beach!} or scuba diving? Okay – let’s just start with getting those tickets covered….. SAVINGS=$900

09 Open Drinks – No, no, not open BAR.  There’s a difference.  Many people agree that you should have an ‘open bar’ but everyone can agree on how expensive it can be.  So why not find a happy medium? Say – open drinks?  Limit the types of drinks sold by picking personal favorites of the bride and groom.  These can be traditional drinks {say the groom’s college favorite: Captain and Coke} or ones you two make up!  They can always pay homage to the theme/feel of the evening. Based off of color, theme or just overall ‘feel’.  Let’s say with an open bar you have 200 guests that are drinking, spending an average of $16 – that’s $3,200.  But if they are charging you $6 a piece on your drinks – that saves $4 a person! SAVINGS=$800

08BYOP – Build Your Own Plate – aka – Buffet.  I know that ‘buffet’ in some crowds can have bad connotations. But – consider this.  I really want more mashed potatoes.  But my date over here does too.  We’re in a bind….. But wait!  It’s a buffet.  No need to freak out.  You see?  Buffet – pronounced: buh-fey – meaning: a line of food where people can have as many mashed potatoes they want.  Okay, okay – I convinced you.  So now for the real good part?  The price difference can easily be $5 per person!  SAVINGS=$1,250!!!

07Handi-Hangers – So everyone l.o.v.e. loves these new crafty hangers {as do I!} So why not get your crafty on and make them on your own??  Don’t scoff at your self too soon – we’ve had 4 brides do this so far this year!  So save the money and have some fun! SAVINGS=$100

06 Go Karats! – Okay – so – go nuts is more fun – but we’re really talking Karats here!  With myKarat your friends and family can send in their unused or broken gold jewelery to GreenKarat.com and you get store credit for a ring!  Say a nice, standard platinum band for the groom! SAVINGS=$500

05 Photobooth Fun! – Who doesn’t love a fun photobooth – and who loves a free photobooth?  Ask your photographer if they’ll put one together for you!  Some already do ; )  SAVINGS=$1,000

04 Sing-a-long with Friends – Many people know musically talented folks – but let’s say you don’t – eh? Well ask around – or think about that amazing singer and your best friend’s wedding – guess what? It was her cousin.  Ask her for her cousin’s info and call her up!  SAVINGS=$300

03 Designated Guest Counter – When the guest count is off – you still have to pay.  You said 250 guests? Shoot…. Only 240 came.  Those missing 10 guests could cost you $300+ Solution?  Find that friend. You know – the one who you love for so many reasons but especially because they are so stinkin’ organized. Ask them to do you a big big favor and help the week before your wedding by getting a hold of those stragglers and make sure you have your count as accurate as possible.  This one is hard to pint point on how much it can save – just know it’s worth it!

02Get yo’ vintage on!! – When we got married I feel in love with this hair piece….it was beautiful. It also was over $200.  I didn’t have much time to think {we had a short engagement}  so I just went without.  But I wish I would have gone vintage….. You’d be surprised what awesome broaches, pins, goodies you can find from grandmothers and aunts.  SAVINGS=$200

01 Last but not least – Photographers : )  Call me biased – but there are still ways you can save on a photographer. Figure out what is most important to you in a photographer.  Do you care if you have one or two?  If you have two, do you want 2 photographers or 1 photographer and an assistant?  Husband and wife team, two gals, or two guys? Do you want an album or rights to the images?  There are so many options it can be overwhelming.  In the end – I’d advise you not just to go for some gimmick but go for what fits you best.  Your photographer will be with you on your day more than any other vendor.  Your photographer will be by you more than your parents that day.  You want to find the people you click with – not the one that is just $200 cheaper.

{Yup! That’s us! DnK – thanks to Scott and Hannah for taking this!!}

So how much did we save??  Well, not including the last tip on photographers or the ‘designated guest counter’ {which may balance each other out} on this said wedding – we saved…… drum roll….




That’s a great photographer, videographer AND a few albums!!


Happy saving : )

21 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding was last modified: December 1st, 2011 by DnK Photography