Weddings are expensive. Most of us have a budget and it’s so easy to get lured away from it when you see the gorgeous gowns, amazing wedding cakes, and incredible venues that could all be yours – for a price. In talking to our brides and grooms, we hear a lot of feedback about how to save money on wedding costs, and many of those tips we hear often. Here are 8 ways to save money on your big day, tried and tested by real couples.

Get married on a day other than Saturday

Saturdays are the most popular, and therefore, expensive days to get married. Plan your shindig on a Friday night or have a classy Sunday brunch affair and save big.

8-Ways-to-Save-Money-on-Your-Big-Day3Photo credit: Priscila Valentina Photography via The Pretty Blog

Serve desserts other than wedding cake

Those fancy 4-tier wedding cakes are beautiful and pricey. Consider foregoing the cake altogether in favor of an equally-delicious cupcake tower, or assorted desserts. Or, order a mini cake for yourself and your honey to cut, and serve guests from a large sheet cake.

8-Ways-to-Save-Money-on-Your-Big-Day2Photo credit: Traci J Brooks Studios via Fab You Bliss

Offer a few choice drinks

One of the priciest wedding costs is the alcohol. If banning the booze just isn’t an option, cut costs big time by just serving wine and beer. Liquor, especially top shelf liquors, are very pricey. You can also serve a few signature cocktails to your guests and save money while also putting your own personal stamp on your bar menu.

8-Ways-to-Save-Money-on-Your-Big-Day1Photo credit: Suzuran Photography

Choose a venue where you can bring in your own vendors

Venues often make more money when they partner with certain food, drink, photography, and rental vendors.

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Photo credit: Studio Impressions

Shop in advance

Give yourself plenty of time and shop at local thrift stores and garage sales for secondhand items like photo booth props, assorted vases, or even a wedding gown.

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Photo credit: Brad and Jen

Skip the favors

Favors are nice, but most often they just get left behind at the end of the night or thrown out later. Let your memories be the favor of the evening and save money on the mini photo frames. If you are set on some kind of takeaway, encourage guests to fill up a little box of candy or desserts from the sweets table to take for the ride home.

8-Ways-to-Save-Money-on-Your-Big-Day6Photo credit: Danelle Bohane

Use props other than flowers

Fresh flowers are beautiful and also very expensive, especially if they are flowers that aren’t in season at the time of your wedding. Before you have birds of paradise flown in for your affair, consider the cost, and the carbon footprint you are incurring for your wedding day. Get the look of fresh flowers with beautiful silk stems, or use props like lanterns and floating tea lights for a dramatic and beautiful look.

8-Ways-to-Save-Money-on-Your-Big-Day5Photo credit: True Photography via Mod Wedding

Be your own DJ

Create your own playlist and have a friend run the laptop. Ask an outgoing friend to announce the wedding party’s entrance and daddy-daughter dance.

8-Ways-to-Save-Money-on-Your-Big-Day7Photo credit: Fete