Weddings are notoriously expensive: The average couple spends close to $30,000 on their nuptials these days.
But one of the most important events of your life doesn’t need to be the most expensive. Savvy fiancés can save on a wedding by splurging only on their top priorities and keeping costs low in other areas.
Here are some of the easiest ways to keep costs down when planning a wedding.
- Get married in the offseason.
If you’re undeterred by Wisconsin winters, you could save big by planning your wedding for January instead of June.
Fall is by far the most popular—and the most expensive—time of year to get married, according to data from The Knot. On the other hand, December, January and February tend to be cheaper, as long as you avoid holiday weekends, such as New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day.
- Look beyond Saturday nights.
If you’re flexible on the day of the week that you celebrate, you could save lots of money on vendor fees and venue rentals by getting married on a Sunday or even a weekday.
Just remember, getting married on an off day might make it harder for some of your guests to attend—especially those who work the next day or need to travel to be at your wedding.
- Shop smart for wedding attire.
One episode of “Say Yes to the Dress” might leave you wondering how you’ll afford a wedding dress. Luckily, finding the perfect attire doesn’t truly require a limitless budget.
Check local bridal shops for sample sales and off-the-rack sales. Buying a dress off the rack instead of to-order means you get to leave the shop with your dress in hand, plus you score a deep discount on the retail price.
You may also want to consider hand-me-down wedding apparel from parents or family members, which can be both economical and meaningful. If you’re aiming for a timeless vintage look, skip expensive formalwear shops and head to local thrift stores or online boutiques to start your search.
- Pick your priorities.
One of the fastest ways to rack up a huge bill for your wedding is by making every detail a priority. If you’re willing to compromise, you could save a lot of money.
Do your research to see how wedding costs break down across categories. The reception venue and catering tend to be the most expensive line items, eating up more than half of many couples’ budgets. Then you can easily spend thousands of dollars on flowers alone, and thousands more on photography, videography, and a band or DJ.
Talk with your partner to decide which elements matter most on your wedding day. If your heart is set on catering from your favorite food truck, find savings elsewhere by choosing simple centerpieces, silk flowers over fresh flowers, or digital invitations over paper.
The key is to keep your list of top priorities short and find room to compromise on other wedding expenses.