Bride and Groom Portrait in Livermore, CA

How To Spend Less Money On Your Wedding

It’s every bride’s dilemma: How to fit into the wedding budget and how to spend less on your wedding?

No doubt the cost of a wedding is significant nowadays and the fact is that it will only get more and more expensive each year. According to a recent survey, the average wedding cost in USA is $28,000 while in Los Angeles metro the average cost is as high as $39,000. The most expensive nation wide wedding market is New York where the average price of a wedding is $68,000. So no wonder the wedding industry is estimated to be a $31 billion dollars industry annually.

If you are trying to plan your wedding without breaking the bank but don’t feel like something important is missing, here are few ideas to help you stay on budget. These are by no means all the possible ways you can spend less money on your wedding neither they are to be followed by everyone.

So let’s go over the list of 10 things you can do:

1. Pick Your Wedding Day Wisely

In the wedding industry, supply and demand matters. When venues, vendors, dresses and flowers are in high demand, you should expect to pay more. It is no brainer that the summer months are the most expensive time of the year to get married. The high demand for everything makes it more expensive.

So one way to reduce your wedding bill is to consider getting married in off peak season. Why not get married in March - April or September - December. Here in California, the mild weather allows for all year round perfect conditions for both indoor or outdoor weddings.

2. Fun Over Perfect

Many brides focus their entire energy into making their wedding perfect. Some get so engaged into micro managing every vendor and obsessing with every little detail that they miss the main reason why they are having a wedding: FUN. That’s right, having fun with their husband and families.

So why not try to have fun instead of a perfect wedding. Your husband and wedding guests would remember you having fun and being full with joy and excitement on your wedding day. No one actually remembers, the perfectly arranged flowers and the most expensive champagne a modern man can afford.

Wedding Dress at St. Reggis Hotel in San Francisco, CA

3. Shop Smart

There will be so many items you would need for your wedding. And there will be so many vendors, stores and services to provide them. But doing some of them yourself would save you money. For example: wedding invitations, flower design, table decorations. There is nothing better than seeing your own creativity and art skills being complimented by your wedding guests.

And while you do that, visit few DIY wedding sites. There are plenty of information and projects to draw inspiration from. You will be surprised how much you can save by shopping at craft store instead of a specialized wedding shop. See one the DYI weddings I have photographed for: DIY Wedding Ideas

4. Budget Your Wedding

Decide on the overall wedding budget and have a breakdown for each major item as: flowers, drinks, venue, photographer, videographer, DJ, etc. Committing to the overall budget and the budget allocation for each item is important. Vendor’s prices would vary and there will be always upgrade offers, which is the slippery slope to overspend on one item and underspent on other.

As a rule of thumb, plan to allocate at least 10%, better 12% of your overall budget for your wedding photography. The memories of the pretty flowers, tasty food, elaborate drinks and fun party would fade away quickly, but the photos your wedding photographer would take would remind you of your special day for years to come. It’s the wedding album you will open and remember exactly how you felt and how much in love you were.

In a nutshell: Know your budget and stick to it. Upgrades will be offered but you will always be able to find a vendor to match your budget.

5. Skip The Dinner

Usually, the most expensive wedding items are the venue and the dining cost. One way to spend less would be to settle down for a regular restaurant rather than a wedding venue and start the wedding earlier. This way instead of the more expensive dinner you can offer your guests a simple lunch or even afternoon reception with cake and sandwiches. Sure will not be the most elaborate dining experience but believe me, your guests would not love you less and would not have less fun on your wedding because of that.

6. Get Less Coverage

Many wedding photographers offer packages with different wedding coverage durations. Some have an hourly rate as well. Picking the right coverage could save you some expenses as well. Don’t take it that you must buy the package as offered. Do you really need to capture the whole 2-3 hours of dancing and party action? Could the first dance be sufficient instead?

If you are not sure how much time to allocate to each part of your wedding, consider reading: How To Prepare For Your Wedding Day guide I have created my my clients. Focusing on what matters in life is a good rule to follow on your wedding day as well. Consider limiting by few hours the photography coverage during the party hours. If not at least tailor it to fit your wedding schedule and duration.

Wedding Flower Decorartions at DIY Wedding in Livermore, CAWedding Flower Decorartions at DIY Wedding in Livermore, CA

7. Skip the Wedding Album

Many wedding photographers include and require that you order a wedding album as part of your package. The price for these albums usually starts at $1,500 and can reach up to $5,000. This is not a pocket change for many brides. You can opt out of the wedding album and order it after your wedding when your finances are back in order or after you pay down the balance on your credit cards you maxed before your wedding. Or you can look for a photographer who would sell you the high-resolution wedding images so you can design and order your own album after the wedding.

8. Skip The Second Wedding Photographer

Keep in mind that having a second photographer comes at additional cost. There are many experienced wedding photographers who prefer to shoot a wedding by themselves and are capable to provide coverage without the help of a second photographer. In many cases, the second photographer would get the same images but from a different angle. If you are not sure that is really necessary or if the primary photographer you are interviewing prefers to work alone and you like his or her work, go ahead and nix this extra cost. I also hope that you will be reviewing photographer’s portfolio and a whole day wedding coverage, prior to hiring him or her, so you will be able to see if he missed any moment by shooting the wedding solo. More on some: Tips For Choosing Wedding Photographer.

9. Replace the Cake

Many couples decide to have small desserts instead of the traditional multi layer wedding cake. First having multiple dessert choices gives the guests many option to chose from and second there is less throw away leftovers after the wedding. Replacing the wedding cake with mini cakes can save you money you can spend on other more important things like: your honeymoon or wedding pictures and album.

10. Trim the Guests List

We saved this one for last. It’s the hardest one to do, but take a stance and stick to a number of guests you will invite to your wedding. This would go a long way to keep you on budget. Disciplined approach, some might say even ruthless trimming of extra guests will not only save your money but also make the planning easier. Smaller guests list means smaller venue and less coordination of guests placements.

You will not be able to invite everyone on your list and would it really matter. The wedding is all about you having fun with the closest family and friends. Very distant relatives could see your wedding pictures instead.

Pre-Wedding Portraits at Allied Art Guild in Menlo Park, CA


I hope this information is valuable for brides, grooms, their families and everyone who is involved into planning or coordinating with a wedding photographer. If you find this article useful, help your friends who are thinking to get married by sharing it with them so they can be prepared and know what to expect.

If you have any questions or feedback for this article, feel free to Contact Us

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