Weddings are expensive. Yes, there is nothing new with this statement. You read about how expensive weddings are in every corner of the internet. Whether you’re an avid reader of fashion blogs, sports highlights, or (hello) personal finance information – we all talk about marriage.

The curse of the wedding day cost

Once you get engaged, you start to imagine everything you can do, all of the people you want to invite, and start to dream about when the big day will actually arrive.

However, what too many of us forget to consider is the cost. Budgeting doesn’t only happen for monthly and personal expenses. You need to budget for large events and trips, too. If only for your sanity.

Mention the word “wedding” to any of your potential vendors? The price will go up.

Thinking of being polite and inviting all of your cousins and their significant others even though you haven’t seen them in years? The price will go up.

So, how did we do it?

When my husband and I started to plan our wedding, we knew that nothing traditional was important to us. We weren’t interested in a large list of guests or a golf course venue. The only thing that mattered to us was that we write our own vows, and share those words with our closest family and friends.

Turns out that the small detail of avoiding tradition would be the reason we save a ton of money.

After spending just over $13,000 on our wedding and remaining debt free entering our new marriage, it’s time I share my secrets to cutting costs on your non-traditional wedding.

There are plenty of options to cut costs and trim budgets, but here are the seven ways we opted to save:

1) Forget the cake

Ninety-nine percent of the time, guests forget the cake even exists. Unless you cut and serve each piece while everyone is seated, chances are slim that the delicious dessert will even get touched. We opted for an easy snack of donuts and a small cake to cut. Every last bite was taken and enjoyed.

2)  Find a venue that sleeps your guests

By having our wedding at a location such as a bed and breakfast, we could decide how much guests would pay for rooms. With that, we could also add that amount paid for room and board to contribute to the final cost. The added stress-free feeling of no cabs after the reception didn’t hurt either.

3) Make your own specialty drink

Tons of weddings have a specialty drink at the reception that guests can quickly grab, sip, and slip back onto the dance floor with. Rather than pay for the venue to create and sell a drink for us, we made our own sangria the night before the wedding. Yes, it did taste as good as it sounds.

4) Cancel the wedding favors

Rather than wedding favors, we decided to make homemade tie dye shirts for our guests as we threw a massive kickball game the following morning. Not only could they wear them again as gym or night shirts – we saved a ton of money going DIY.

5) Have an outdoor ceremony

Rather than have our ceremony at a location that cost us, we had our ceremony in the yard of our venue. No permit was required, it was easy to get ready, and we had tons more time for photos once the ceremony was over.

6) Scrap the DJ

Turns out Apple Music has everything you could need in a wedding DJ. Most of your guests aren’t too concerned about who is playing music, as long as music is playing. The company, the dancing, and the atmosphere will far outweigh DJ Haymaker playing Cotton Eye Joe even though you specifically requested him not to.

7) Order attire online

Buying the grooms suit during an online sale? You bet it’s risky. However, it worked out so well that there were no alterations needed, and all he needed to do the day of the wedding was cut off the less than $200 price tag.

At the end of the day, weddings are all about what makes the bride and groom to be, happy. The traditional way is no longer the norm when it comes to marriage and wedding days.

Saving money on a one day event is always a good idea – and it’s an even better idea when paired with cost-cutting options that you’re actually on board with.

Alyssa Fischer claims she’s not an expert on personal finance — which is why it’s easy for her to explain financial topics without getting too intense. You can find her on her blog, Mixed Up Money, where she proves money isn’t boring (and that it’s also a little funny). You can also spend all day ranting with her about your finances on Twitter.

7 Ways our Non-Traditional Wedding Saved us Money


  1. GYM on November 10, 2017 at 9:29 AM

    Amazing under $13k for a wedding! I didn’t have a DJ either and I used Spotify I think for my wedding.

  2. Zinny on November 24, 2017 at 2:33 PM

    Such a great post! Same thing for us, we just had a sit-down dinner and a few guests (close family). We had a cake, but you can bet that we didn’t need much. My dress was equally ordered online and saved tons of money. The wedding was so good and I don’t regret it. Extremely intimate and I couldn’t have asked for better. At the end of the day, it all depends on what the bride and groom want.

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