10 Tips to Help Save Money on Your Wedding

**This post may contain affiliate links. I may be compensated if you use them.

Valentines’s Day was last month and if you and your significant other got engaged, then I congratulate you. I remember my wedding day like it was yesterday (okay maybe not every detail), but I do remember that planning was stressful at times. I’m a pretty relaxed person, but a lot of planning goes into a wedding and there’s also a lot of expenses that will keep even the calmest person awake at night.

The estimated cost of a wedding in Canada is $31,685 with an average guest size of 128, this according to a report done by weddingbells.ca in 2014. If your heart skipped a beat there, you’re not alone; wedding costs are expensive and they only seem to increase every year. The good thing is that there are quite a few ways to save money on your wedding, and it won’t require you to sacrifice too much on your big day.

save money on your wedding

Rings

It might be too late if the proposal has already happened, but the cost of rings are insane if you’re buying at a name brand store. Instead, go to a jeweler who can make you a custom ring – you’d be surprised how many people offer this service. The best advantage of purchasing a custom ring is that you can choose the materials including the size of diamond, so you can create a ring that fits your budget. If you need some inspiration check out Blue Nile.

Dresses

The second-hand wedding dress business has become huge online. There’s a ton of sites out there offering massively discounted dresses that have only been for in theory one day. You can also buy dresses off the rack at a deep discount, you just need to make sure it’s close enough to your size so you can get it altered.

Flowers

The cost of flowers can be pretty reasonable if you’re smart about it. Boutiques that specialize in wedding flowers will always charge more, so will ones that are in the nicer areas of town. If you purchase from a wholesaler they’ll most likely give you a much better price. You also want to pick flowers that are in season locally since they’ll be much cheaper than importing them.

DJ

When we were looking for a DJ, I could not believe what some of them were charging. The majority of DJ’s that specialized in weddings had packages started at $2K. They would try to sell us on how it would be a giant party and how they had fancy lights, but I found that to be excessive. There are a lot of good freelance DJ’s out there with wedding experience at a fraction of the price.

Shop around

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a hall, photographer, or caterer, be sure to shop around and to meet with at least 3 of each type of vendor in person to see if they’re the right fit for you.

Don’t be excessive

You can save money on your wedding by not being excessive. Do you really need a wedding video, chocolate fondue fountain, and paid entertainment? I also find it odd that some soon to be bride and grooms buy each other expensive wedding presents. Is that really necessary?

Get everything in writing

One thing that drove me nuts when I was planning my wedding was all the costs that you think are included in quotes but never are. Many halls and vendors I spoke would say that could do certain things and implied it was included in the price, however when it came to signing the contract everything seemed to be extra costs. Negotiate everything into your contract and get it in writing.

Invitations 

Wedding invitations can easily cost $6+ each, it may not sound like a lot but it certainly adds up. You can save money on your wedding by ordering pre-designed cards or by sending out e-invitations. Alternatively, you can also have a friend design the cards for you and just take them to a printer.

Limit your guest list

At the beginning, I wanted to invite everyone I knew, but I quickly realized that the costs would be a bit excessive. You could argue that guests will usually “pay for themselves” with their gifts, but that’s only relevant if they’re giving a cash gift. Plus wedding costs keep going up and there are other costs when you have a big party, so there’s never a guarantee that you’ll break even.

Destination wedding

This may sound a bit weird, but destination weddings are pretty inexpensive. When you book a wedding at a resort, they’ll usually provide everything for you including your photographer. Your guests will usually pay their own way so all you need to do is worry about your own costs.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

7 Comments

  1. Nicholas on March 17, 2016 at 3:08 PM

    Good article!!
    As someone who is currently planning a wedding this fall. I agree with most of the points.
    The key word is ‘within reason’, which I feel is a reoccurring theme in most of the articles on your blog.
    I feel wedding industry often blind you by making it very personal. Sales pitches often include “this is your best day of your life”, “once in a life time”, or ” for a very special day” it emphasize you to ‘spare no expense’ mentality.
    I’m not trying to de-romanticize the idea of a wedding, but I am finding wedding industry thrive in selling you the illusion that you should pay for the best of the best with top dollar. Which I find most of the stuff very excessive for a party in one day of your life, also overwhelming on top of other stress that comes with planning of a wedding.

    • Barry Choi on March 17, 2016 at 3:12 PM

      Nicholas,

      Oh we had the same experience when we got married. Small add-ons increased our budget so fast. In the end we had to make some hard choices just to keep our wedding within reason.

      Honestly, if we had to do it all over again, we’d do a destination wedding or elope. The money saved could be used for a down payment or investments.

  2. Stephanie on March 22, 2016 at 4:58 PM

    A seemingly odd tip is to actually not mention the word “wedding” when shopping for certain items, such as the flowers or the cake. Saying you are getting married automatically increases the price tag!

    • Barry Choi on March 22, 2016 at 5:02 PM

      Stephanie,

      I went to a wholesaler that usually specializes in gift baskets. They were much cheaper than florists that focused on weddings.

  3. Imprint Weddings on April 20, 2016 at 9:29 AM

    Overall you present some good tips. As a wedding planner in the Toronto area I encourage all couples to set a budget and try to stay within its limitations. I’d like to elaborate on a few of your points here: 1) Flowers – you can’t buy from a wholesaler unless you are a registered business, so this isn’t an option for the majority of couples. A good florist will deliver beautiful, quality florals and keep to your budget. 2) DJ – I’ve yet to meet a decent DJ who will charge less than $1200. That’s a minimum. A good, professional DJ can’t be underestimated. They read your crowd & keep your guests on the dance floor. If you want your guests to have a good time, invest in a good DJ. 3) Destination weddings might present good value for the bride & groom but they ask an awful lot of your friends and family. For your guests a destination wedding is expensive & time consuming.

    • Barry Choi on April 20, 2016 at 9:34 AM

      Imprint weddings,

      I agree that you get what you pay for. In regards to wedding DJ’s, my experience was that many were trying to up sell which made their prices incredibly high. With flowers, it can be an expectation thing. I wouldn’t go to the most expensive neighbourhood in the city for a florists, they naturally charge higher.

  4. Tim Yaotome on January 7, 2019 at 6:28 PM

    I find it awesome that you said that hiring a DJ for a wedding would cost at least $2,000 dollars. Aside from them, is hiring a band another option? My cousin asked me to find a person who can perform their favorite old classics live to slow dance to during theirs.

Leave a Comment





Get a FREE copy of The Cost of Travel

Subscribe now to get your FREE eBook and learn how to see the world without spending a fortune