Cheap Wedding Ideas

Money Saving Tips for your Wedding


Weddings can get pricey, but there are ways to save money with some “do it yourself” ideas and still have all the services you want! Here cheap wedding ideas for your diy wedding.

Largest costs for weddings:
(ordered from highest to lowest, based on national average)

  • Reception Site, Food & Drinks
  • Photography
  • Attire & Accessories for Couple (wedding dress, tuxedo)
  • Videography
  • Wedding Planner
  • Music/DJ
  • Flowers
  • Transportation
  • Gifts & Favours
  • Wedding Cake


Continue reading for how to save on these things!

Ways to Make Your Wedding Affordable

Prioritize your major purchases:

Write a list of the largest purchases you will be making (see sample list above) and prioritize them by order of importance to you. Not by what you expect will be the most expensive, but by what truly matters to you and your fiance.

Spend on things the things that matter most, and use the money saving tips for the other things. It’s best not to just find various money saving tips and try to save on everything you can. You can have a cheap wedding without making yourself feel cheap. Let some things be special, even if it’s just one thing….treat yourself… it’s your day!


Wedding Photography money saving tips

Photographers equipment and printing costs alone are huge. Then there are the hours of work on and after the wedding editing and sorting through the hundreds of images. You can save money on enlargements and albums but don’t penny pinch too much when it comes to the photographer – and I’m not just saying that because I’m a photographer. After your wedding day, the only things you have left are memories, your pictures and your video. These are the only two services that last a lifetime and can be passed down to the next generation. Yes, some people keep the dress… but how often are you going to take it out of the closet and look at it or show it to friends?

With that said, here are some ways you can save on your photography.

The date:
Saturdays are the most popular wedding day, Fridays and Sundays being the next most popular. (Especially on a long weekend!) If you choose a weekday, your photographer might be willing to offer you a deal, or at the very least, offer a shorter session.

The season:
May through to September are the most popular wedding months. Selecting another month will likely reduce your rate at least slightly, if not significantly.

The package:
Many photographers will offer some sort of package deals that will work out to be cheaper than if you order everything individually after the wedding. Check out the packages that are offered and don’t automatically assume that the cheapest package will save you the most money. Sometimes it is not the best if you will end up ordering more prints and albums separately after the wedding.

The prints:
Getting prints at a professional lab or through your photographer is usually more expensive than taking them yourself to get printed. While this may save you money, take note of a few things. The quality of your prints taken to your nearest 1-hour photo lab will almost surely not match that of a professional lab. If you were to compare the two side by side you would likely see quite a difference in sharpness and color. If you can, ask to see samples from your photographer of their chosen lab so you can compare prints and see if the difference in quality is worth it to you. Consider getting your enlargements and your favorite photos printed through the photographer, and get the rest printed yourself.

The digital originals:
To save money, hire a photographer that will give you the high-resolution digital files. This is not the same as the “digital negatives” (or raw files) which almost no one will give you these days. That’s ok. As long as you have high print resolution files, you can print some yourself, or make prints for friends and family without always having to pay the lab prices through your photographer.

My biggest tip for saving money on wedding photography:

Get a smaller package! Hire the best photographer your budget can afford for the LEAST amount of time you can live with.

That’s right!! Consider hiring an experienced photographer for 3 hours on a weekday instead of a “just starting out” or budget photographer for the whole wedding on a Saturday. (The price will probably be about the same.) Even just 2 to 4 hours of excellent coverage during the most important part of your day (ceremony, family photos, couple photos) will be priceless down the road.

Think about what you are going to print? Or make it into an album? Just the best photos, right? What if you take a risk on a photographer and get 80% unusable shots? Unfortunately, this actually happens. So, my best advice if you’re on a budget is to think about the moments you really NEED to capture, and what is the least amount of time you can do that in. Then hire the best photographer (the one you like the most AND has at least a few years of experience shooting weddings) for the minimum time you can. If you follow the other tips about off-season dates and times above, your photographer will probably be able to offer this. If you ask for 2 hours on a Saturday in June, for instance, I doubt they will reserve the day for you because an experienced photographer will likely want to book a full wedding on prime dates. This is not to be exclusive, it’s just because the bulk of our income comes from a very few number of dates over the entire year.

If you’re looking for a wedding photographer in Victoria or nearby, I’m one of the ones who is happy to offer you short sessions during low season and weekdays, so check out my portfolio and see if we’re a good fit!

The Reception:

A Luncheon? Dinner Reception? Cocktail Party? Desserts? The time of day you choose, or better said, the meal you choose to serve, will greatly determine the cost. If the time of the reception is not one of your top priorities, you could save a bundle by selecting anything other than a dinner reception. An Afternoon Tea reception might be nice… pastries and fruit… or perhaps a Luncheon with finger sandwiches and salads.

If it’s dinner that you want, you can save by ordering food that you can have picked up on the day and set it up yourself. Or, just order the main entrées and make the side dishes like rice and veggies yourself. Be sure to check with your venue though, as some require that you use their caterer.

The Wedding Planner:

Nowadays there are hosts of websites online to help you plan your wedding, so I hardly need to tell you about them! Especially if you’re having a small wedding, I’m sure you can take this on with a couple of friend or a family member yourself, right? I mean, you’re here to read about saving money on your wedding… so I assume it’s not going to be a $50,000 event that needs a wedding planner. Or is it?


The Couples Attire:

The wedding dress can vary greatly in price. You could find something perfect for under $200… or you could find yourself trying on dresses over $2000. Some brides purchase dresses that aren’t specifically “wedding” dresses, and save quite a bit that way. The more obvious thing is to seek out sales, or look for a second hand wedding dress. This could turn out well if you can shop around, since wedding dresses are pretty much only worn once, a second hand one could look as good as new. Just be aware, cleaning a wedding dress could cost up to $250, so stay away from ones that look good “if only it was cleaned”. You won’t know if it will come clean, or if it is actually stained.


Again, as with any part of your wedding, you decide which things are most important and which things to save on. Many people have video cameras and can record your wedding day for you even if they are not professionals. Of course, it won’t be the same as a professional video, so take that into consideration when deciding if you should ask one of your relatives to tape your wedding. Also, take a moment to think about if the video or the photographs are going to be more important to you in the long run. Hiring a videographer that boasts two or more cameras may sound like a good thing, but it can be a photographers nightmare. Some videographers often get in the way of the photographer during important ceremony moments, and ruin an otherwise perfectly good shot.

The Music:

There are several options for music; a DJ, a live band, or a friend or relative with a laptop/mp3 player and some speakers. Each one has pros and cons. For instance, a live band will likely cost you the most money, but could be something very meaningful to you and your spouse. A DJ will be more expensive than asking a friend to bring his or her music along, but they will probably have all the songs you want. Extras like smoke machines and lighting on the dance floor add up too, so pick and choose what is most important for you. If you opt for bringing your own music, you might want to join a music download site prior to your wedding, and fairly inexpensively download any songs you like. A note on disco lighting: it can look really cool on the dance floor, but it can also ruin a large portion of your dancing photos. The lights are totally unpredictable and impossible to calculate the images exposure.


Usually there are several different types of flowers and flower arrangements at a wedding. List out the ones you will have and remember that you don’t have to order all your flowers from a florist. You can save a lot by just ordering your bouquet from the florist and getting the rest of the flowers you need from a local grocery store (or somewhere like Costco), or getting them in silk and making the arrangements yourself. The centerpieces on the tables, the corsages, the bouquet to toss (if you have a separate bouquet for this) and the flowers to decorate the church could all be done yourself with real or silk flowers. If you’re really ambitious, you could even make your own bouquet.

Another way to save money is to ask your florist which flowers are in season. Like fruit, some will be in abundance during certain times of the year, and scarce other at other times and they will be priced accordingly. You could be spending way more (or way less) for your chosen type of flower just because of the time of year.


Is arriving in a Limo important? For some it is, others it’s not. You could rent a nice car for a day, or rent a sports car that you’ve always wanted to try out, and drive yourself to the wedding. This could work out to much less than hiring a limo and a driver.

Gifts and Favours:

This is a great one for the do-it-yourself brides. The party favours can be anything you want, and really don’t have a standard cost. Some ideas are:

  • a small flower arrangement or plant, when set at the placements would double as table decorations

  • mini candles in sachets, or tied with a ribbon

  • sachets made with lavender or potpourri. You can make them with lace and put any type of dried flower in them, they smell nice and you could attach a small flower.

  • Tree seedlings – wrap in paper to disguise the pot or soil. A nice gift that will last and be remembered

  • Instead of buying a trinket that will be tossed in a drawer (or consumed in the case of candies), a donation could be made to your favourite charity. This is a new trend among brides that is having a favorable response. You could have little gift card notices on the tables and your MC could say “Instead of party favours the couple has made a donation to ABC charity.” Donations always get a round of applause and no one will think you were too cheap to buy chocolates.

  • Which brings us to the obvious choice that you’ve probably already considered. Candies and/or Chocolates. They can be fairly cheap too. Especially with non-wedding chocolates like Hershey’s Kisses or other chocolates not specifically labeled “for weddings”.

The Wedding Cake:

The main cost in the wedding cake is not the cake itself, it’s the labour in decorating the cake. A smaller cake takes less time to decorate than a larger cake and so is less expensive. It’s not less expensive because it costs less in ingredients, it may well do, but not by a significant amount. You can usually save a few hundred dollars by ordering a small cake that is beautifully decorated to have on display, use for photos and the ‘cutting of the cake’ and then also have a larger plainly iced (not decorated) sheet cake in the kitchen that you use to feed the guests. After the official cake cutting, have the cake taken into the kitchen with the other cake, and then serve out the plain cake. No one will even notice! This way you’ll have enough cake for everyone and don’t have to purchase a large wedding cake for several times the cost.

Thanks for reading! Happy Planning!

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