Bride on a Budget: 11 Tips for Keeping Your Wedding Affordable

December 04, 2018

11 creative ways to plan your dream wedding without going into debt

According to the average wedding cost in the United States in 2017 was $25, 764 (not including the honeymoon), and is expected to rise in 2018. A news report from CNBC regarding a study conducted by Student Loan Hero revealed that three quarters of engaged couples that plan to get married in the next year are taking on between $10,000 to $50,000 in debt to cover wedding bills.  

Hear this from people who care, both about the success of your marriage and the future of the economy: starting your marriage with that much debt is not the smart move.

And yes, clearly, you know that, and you would prefer not to, but the risk typically introduces itself when rationality gets silenced by desperation. We get it, ladies - you’ve been dreaming of your big day since you were five playing with dolls and teacups in your room. You want this day to be everything you’ve always wanted it to be. Most couples plan on sticking to their budget, but they also want their day to be perfect, and there are so many factors you may not have thought about that go into a wedding. Expenses add up quickly.

So is it possible to get the best of both worlds, to have your wedding cake and eat it, too?Is there a way to have a magical wedding day without sacrificing the things you want most or struggling financially for the next ten years?  The Kadlee team thinks so- with a lot of creativity and a little bit of flexibility!

We’ve come up with eleven tips you may not have thought about that can help you can spend less:

Tip#1 – Attend any bridal shows/expos you can!

Bridal expos are typically held at large convention centers and are designed to give you a chance to make face-to-face connections. Because there are hundreds of vendors at these events competing for your attention, there will always be great deals and special discounts on services that you won’t find online. You don’t necessarily have to purchase anything at the show - you could obtain contact information and then shop around online to make sure you’re getting the best price. As an added bonus, you could also personally meet your photographer, videographer, caterer, florist, etc., which might make you feel more comfortable about trusting them to handle your wedding.  

Tip#2 – Find talent in unexpected places!

If you live within a few hours of a university or institute, reach out to their fine arts or culinary department to see if they have any students that would be willing to provide their talent at a discounted rate in exchange for the experience. Many music performance majors, photography or film majors, or aspiring chefs would be grateful for the opportunity. While they may still be developing their skills, they had to meet certain quality criteria to be accepted into their respective programs. If you’re hesitant about their abilities, you can always arrange a meeting or interview and have them provide a sample of their work. This can potentially save you hundreds of dollars!

Tip#3 – Ask for help instead of gifts from your family and friends & get married by someone you know!

If anyone in your family or your friend group has musical or technical talent, ask them to be involved in your wedding instead of getting you a gift! That will save you cost on professional services and also make your ceremony more intimate.

If you are weighed down by the stress of all of the DIY projects or small tasks you have to complete, consider enlisting your bridal party, close friends, or family members you trust to help you out! There’s strength in numbers - if you are looking for an item but want to bring cost down, involve them by asking them to see what they can find! Often they may have connections you are unaware of, or even just more time to research low-cost options. You can also save time and money by throwing invite addressing or flower arranging parties.

Having a friend marry you rather than hiring an officiant will also help keep costs down. They can often obtain a certificate online for free or for a low fee, and you get to have them play a special role in your big day!

Tip#4 – Plan a destination wedding!

You may already be shaking your head no, but hear us out! We get it if you want to get married in a place that means a lot to you, like a childhood home, but if you don’t have a local attachment, and especially if you have a large extended family you’re not particularly close to but feel obligated to invite, destination weddings are an extremely affordable option! They are actually often much cheaper overall, even when travel expenses are factored in, because less people will be willing to travel. You get an exotic memory and beautiful scenery for photos, as well.

Tip#5 – Select a public/outdoor venue!

If you would rather hold the wedding closer to home, consider having it in a state/county park or a public beach! While outdoor ceremonies can be a gamble, depending on where you live and what time of year it is, these venues are much cheaper to secure and often provide great backdrops for photos as well.

Tip#6 – Book for an off-day/morning/night!

Saturday is the most expensive day to have your wedding (especially Saturday night). If you plan your wedding for a Friday night, or Sunday morning, afternoon, or evening, or even a Thursday evening, you could potentially save big on the venue and the vendors! Just be sure to send your save the dates early so your guests can plan ahead.

Tip#7 – You don’t have to invite everyone!

We get that there is tremendous social pressure about who to invite to your wedding. If you and your fiancé have a huge friend group, or large families, or extensive work connections, it may be really difficult to narrow it down, but the more people you invite, the greater the price tag, and likely, the greater your stress level. Perhaps set a cap limit before you even begin to list guests you’d want to invite. Try to focus on who would make it the most enjoyable and don’t invite many people because you feel obligated to. Sometimes the most intimate weddings are the sweetest!

Tip#8 – Hire a family-owned restaurant!

Catering can be one of the most expensive parts of any wedding, especially if you didn’t follow Tip #7 and have a couple hundred people to feed. One creative way to help bring this cost down is to contact a local family-owned restaurant and discuss pricing options with them. While they may have a smaller staff, often they will take greater care in the details, and go the extra mile to make your day special since they aren’t used to catering weddings. You may have more control over the process, and they will definitely charge you less than caterers.

Tip#9 – Avoid large, expensive floral arrangements!

This is another part of your wedding that can be extremely costly. You can end up paying an  astronomical price for centerpieces and bridesmaid bouquets, but the hard truth about flowers is that they don’t last. Shop hard for good deals on flowers: roses are affordable all year long and carnations are relatively inexpensive as well, and shorter flowers cost less. Many florists will charge less for just delivering the flowers if you don’t tell them it’s for a wedding (you could arrange them on your own).

You could also find an alternative to floral centerpieces such as candles, branches, glass, antiques, birdcages, books, balloons, photos, etc. Another option would be to purchase fake flowers - many of your guests won’t know the difference and you can make them yourself for a low cost ahead of time! And if you’re willing to wait until the last minute and have a smaller wedding, you could have your bridesmaids go to a local farmer’s market the day before or day of, which would be much cheaper than hiring a florist.

Tip#10 – Hire a wedding planner!

Most brides-to-be are under the false impression that a wedding coordinator will cost them more money, but at the end of the day, the amount of connections they have and deals they can negotiate within their network will end up saving you hundreds, as well as saving you stress. Just check their credentials and make sure they have an experience level and recommendations that you are comfortable with trusting!

Tip#11 – Save on the bridesmaid gifts

You really want to show your bridesmaids that you’re grateful for them and you care about them, but especially if you have a large bridal party, purchasing any presents in addition to all you’ve already spent can be a burden! Kadlee can help you out with this; we offer customized satin robes that they can wear when you’re all getting ready together, and they’re so much cheaper than other robe options- they start at just $15! They’re comfortable, classy, and you can choose from a variety of color schemes and customization options. It’s a keepsake gift your bridesmaids will really love, and it’ll help you spend less and enjoy your day more! Visit to see all the robe options and other gift ideas like slippers, tumblers, jewelry, and more!

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