When You Have to Trim the Wedding Budget

A young Black couple sit and work on their wedding budget together over coffee. The woman is using a calculator and the man is reviewing paperwork.

Weddings have a reputation for being incredibly expensive, and it can certainly be true. Even though there are less costly ways to have a wedding, the average cost for a wedding in the United States in 2019 was $28,000. That number climbs significantly when you only look at Massachusetts, where the average was $43,000. When you have a budget to keep in mind, what’s a couple to do?

This is probably weighing heavily on your minds. Again, it’s a highly personal decision. If you’ve hired a wedding planner, they can help guide you in this decision and may be able to find you deals. If you’re doing it on your own, we have a few tips and questions outlined below to help you get the most bang for your buck.

  • What’s most important? While difficult, you and your spouse-to-be will have to determine what facets of a wedding ceremony and reception matter the most to you both. List all of the components of your wedding and ceremony and separately rank them in order of importance. Compare your lists – if you agree on the ones that mean the least – start cutting there.
  • In/Out of wedding season: You can save money on the wedding date alone. If you don’t have a specific date in mind already that has special meaning to you, then you can save thousands of dollars by choosing a date outside of the traditional wedding “season”, which is typically May-October. Ask your venue when their “season” starts and ends and see if you might be happy with a date outside of that. Winter and early spring weddings have added weather risks, but if you’re planning to have the ceremony indoors or are getting event insurance, this would be a good way for you to cut on costs without having to give up anything you highly value.
  • Day of the week and time of day: Similarly, certain days of the week are cheaper than others. Fridays and Saturdays tend to cost the most, and weekdays are least expensive of them all. The drawback is that your guests might not be able to take the time off of work midweek, so make sure to pick a date that fits you and your guests best. You may also save some money by picking a morning or early afternoon ceremony time. Check in with your vendor on their pricing and availability.
  • In/Out-of-season flowers: If flowers are important to you, you can get the most for your money by picking flowers that are in season on your wedding date. Work with your florist to find flowers you love that are in season so they can be sourced locally. If you want ranunculus in December then you’ll be paying extra to have them shipped in from a warm climate, but winter flowers like amaryllis and tulips should be easier to find and cost less.

    If having real flowers isn’t particularly important to you, then you can save even more money by opting for choices like alternative bouquets, such as ones made out of fabric or paper, or non-floral centerpieces for your tables. For the creatively inclined, the options are endless.
  • Buy wholesale/resale: There are a number of resources available online for buying goods you can use for your wedding, including buying products wholesale and buying items used. If you either don’t mind creating your own bouquets or have experience with floral arranging, you can save some money by buying in-season flowers wholesale. Websites such as preownedweddingdresses.com, stillwhite.com, and borrowingmagnolia.com offer both preowned bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses at a discount. You can find a number of décor options at a steep discount on Facebook® in either their built-in marketplace or through buy/sell/trade groups. Even pre-loved flowers are available from bouquetforaday.com and somethingborrowedblooms.com. If you don’t mind if your dresses or some of your décor isn’t technically pristine, but still looks amazing, then this might be a great option for you to save some cash.


If you’re newly engaged or a newlywed starting to plan out your financial future together, download Hanscom FCU's Your Guide to Money and Marriage. Our free guide walks you through the important financial conversations you need to have to set a solid foundation together and ways to save for and pay for your wedding. Download your copy here.

Your Guide to  Money and Marriage


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About Author

Monica Parks
Monica Parks

Monica Parks is the communications specialist for Hanscom FCU. A millennial who just got her student loan debt under $40,000, she writes about what she knows. You can reach her at mparks@hfcu.org.

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