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  • How to Get Married Without Going Broke

  • Did you know that the average wedding in 2012 cost $30,000? You read that right – thirty thousand dollars. I got married in 2008 for a grand total of $5,000 (including a 1-week vacation to Cuba). This is not as good as my friend Kerry’s $239 wedding, but I still think we did pretty well, considering what the average wedding cost.

    Wedding on a Budget.

    Get Married Without Going Broke

    How to Get Married Without Going Broke


    One thing my husband and I decided before the wedding was that we would pay cash for everything. We would not go into debt to get married. We paid for the wedding (and honeymoon!) by ourselves and and did not go a single cent into debt to get married – which we are so proud of ourselves for.

    If you’re looking for ways to save money on your upcoming wedding, please, let me teach you how to get married without going broke.

    The Date

    • Don’t get married on a Saturday. It’s the most expensive day of the week.
    • Get married during the off-season (November – April is cheapest).

    The Invites

    • Make your own invitations. Instead of including an RSVP card, ask guests to RSVP by phone or email.
    • Don’t invite every single person you know. Cut your guest list back as much as possible – only invite those that are closest to you.

    The Location

    • Have a backyard wedding. It’s cheaper, less formal, and more familiar.
    • Have the ceremony and reception at the same place to save money (and time) on travelling.

    The Dress


    Wedding Dress

    • Buy used. Most dresses have only been worn once and with some dry-cleaning and alterations (if necessary), you can save a bundle.
    • Rent your wedding dress. It’s not like you’re going to wear it again, anyway.
    • Shop sample sales for a wedding dress. These dresses are only used in the stores as samples and will cost much less than brand new.

    The Decor

    • Shop Ebay, Craigslist, Kijiji, consignment shops and yard sales. Buy used wedding decor whenever possible.
    • Borrow decor items from your friends and family.
    • Use something other than flowers in centerpieces. Flowers are expensive.
    • If you must buy flowers, make sure to only buy flowers that are in season.

    The Food


    Wedding Snacks

    • Have a buffet dinner instead of serving multiple courses by the plate.
    • Have your ceremony in the morning and serve lunch afterwards, instead of dinner.
    • Have cupcakes instead of a wedding cake. They are cheaper to have made (make them yourself to save even more money).
    • Skip the champagne toast. Rarely does anyone drink the champagne.
    • Buy your own booze (if your venue allows it, or you are having a backyard wedding). Return the bottles to get cash back.

    The Photographer

    • Hire a student photographer that has a good portfolio. Check references.
    • Book your photographer early. Many offer discounts for booking in advance.

    The Entertainment

    • Hire a DJ instead of a band. They are much cheaper. Plus, you only have to feed one person, as opposed to a group.
    • If you must hire a band, hire students. Oftentimes, they are very talented and will cost you much less than an established group.


    Please don’t spend $30,000 on a wedding. You don’t have to. There are a ton of ways that you can get married without spending copious amounts of money – and you can have an enjoyable, memorable (in a good way!) wedding to talk about for years.

    Please share your money saving tips for weddings in the comments!

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    23 Responses to »
    How to Get Married Without Going Broke

    1. Robin B says:

      I got married in my livingroom, in a borrowed white dress (I had bought a blue one for 9.99), my son was my best man, my brother gave me away. We only spent 300, and that included all the food-which we made ourselves. I wouldn’t have changed it for nothing in the world. 12 years later we are going great & strong.

    2. Ruth Cooke says:

      Good post!

      I did a post last week on this very topic, if folks want some suggestions to even outdo Kerry (Squawkfox for those who don’t know), whose posts on this topic are also great)!

      The one thing you mentioned that I didn’t was having a morning wedding–I wish we’d thought of that last year when my son was getting married–sandwiches would have been so much easier than the supper buffet we prepared!

      I absolutely agree with your last paragraph–save your thirty grand for something more lasting, like the down payment on your house, or to help offset the costs of raising your first child. (Kerry has an eye-opening post on that, too…)

    3. Andrea says:

      You can go with fresh flowers if you do it right. I went with full bouquets in vintage crystal vases for centre pieces. I collected as many vases from family members as I could and put a small piece of tape on the bottom with their initials and the rest I shopped. Round at second hand stores and garage sales. I ended up only spending $20 on vases. The flowers I purchased at the farmers market. I talked to the vendor and made a bulk order with him and managed to get a great deal. I paid at total of $250 for all the flowers for my entire wedding. This includes my bouquet, 3 bridesmaids bouquets, the corsages for the guys, and about 25 full bouquets on the tables. The flowers were not cheaper flowers either. I had roses, lilies, gerber daisies, and orchids.

    4. manuela says:

      My dauther just got married and only paid under 300 for the photographer. The photographer is 17 years old and she is saving to go to school in Australia. The girl was awesome you can find her on facebook at sierra’s photographer. There you can see some of her pictures.

    5. amy says:

      We were married 20 years ago. My dress was worn by my grandmother for her wedding in 1936 and required minor alterations.(cost $300) Selected appropriate bridesmaids gowns from a country type store. The men all wore basic suits of the same color and style. We were married in a college chapel with reception in their hall. Flowers were a wedding present. Another friend’s mother made our cake as a gift. One sister-in-law did my hair and make-up. My other sister-in-law and her husband took care of the photos and video. Alcohol was not permitted so we bought sparkling grape juice.

      We didn’t need to skimp on the food and we still had it in August. The whole thing was less than $10k including transportation and niagara falls/baseball honeymoon.

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