22 ways to save thousands of dollars on your wedding

Weddings can hurt you financially if you are not careful. Here are 22 ways to drastically keep your costs low.

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  • Editor's note: This article was originally published on Anita Fowler's blog, Live Like You Are Rich. It has been modified and republished here with permission.

  • The Wedding Industry is worth a whopping $55 BILLION. The average wedding costs the happy couple and/or parents an average of $28,671 (honeymoon & engagement rings not included). With the honeymoon and jewelry included the average cost is:$37,698!

  • Less people are getting married than ever before (as a nation we are unfortunately at an all-time low). Yet, the Wedding Industry is growing! Even when the recession hit, the wedding industry still came out doing great. Why? Because studies have found that it is a recession-resistant industry. How? Weddings are typically a one-time IMPORTANT event that people save up for. So they capitalize on it. They inflate prices and squeeze you and/or your parents for every penny they can.

  • Below you will find 22 ways to save $27,989.37 on your wedding day, honeymoon, and rings

  • Before I list these ways to save let me say that I LOVE weddings. They are romantic, beautiful, and one of the MOST important life events EVER. I would never promote postponing a wedding or even boycotting one to save money.

  • My wedding was the BEST day of my life. Hands down. No contest.

  • Even though I LOVE weddings and was looking forward to mine with high anticipation, I researched, thought out, and found ways to beat the wedding industry at its game. I had a fabulous expensive-looking wedding while saving $27,989.37.

  • On the following 22 ways you will find the average wedding expenses, how much I paid and how much I saved. (I am using numbers of how much these wedding items cost from the Association of Bridal Consultants on a research study done on January 1, 2014).

  • 1. $178 is the average spent (according to the Associations of Bridal Consultants) on hair, make up, manicure and pedicure.__

  • One of my good friends did my hair. I paid for a manicure and pedicure but used coupons. And I have been studying makeup for years so I did it myself. To save more you could do it all yourself or have a friend or family do is as well. Total: $70 (including the tip). Savings: $108.

  • 2. $1,081 Invitations, Stamps, Thank You cards, Save the Date Cards, etc.

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  • Unless you can find a reasonably priced mail house, addressing, stamping, and mailing out your invites and thank you cards yourself will save you money. Also, getting your photograph and cards printed at a place like Costco will save you considerably. Total for 500 invitations and thank you cards: $850.15 Savings: $230.85.

  • 3. $865 Rehearsal dinners, and/or Wedding brunch

  • These can be done very inexpensively by having them as a potluck style and hosted in a church, large home, backyard, or at a park. If you have it in your budget, you could hold it in a restaurant that offers a discount for large parties. Be sure to negotiate. I have worked in many restaurants so I have come to learn that every banquet price is negotiable. Total: $75 Savings: $790.

  • 4. $1,341 Flowers, reception flowers, boutonnieres, bouquets, and centerpieces

  • You can order bulk flowers wholesale from Costco, Sam's Club, or Amazon, and make your own bouquets and boutonnieres the day before. If you have any craft skill or know anyone who does, making standard bouquets and boutonnieres is fairly simple. Go to YouTube for instructions. You may want to splurge on having your own bouquet done by a professional. Total: $249.98 Savings: $1,091.02.

  • 5. $2,491 Wedding planners

  • Wedding planners are almost never necessary. They can be very useful, yes, but with the average planner costing around $2,000 or more per wedding, it is something that most can do without and come out with a beautiful organized wedding anyway. With the resources online and all the information out there, if you plan ahead, you can cut the planner. Total $0.00 Savings: $2,491.

  • 6. $3,672 Reception location

  • Use venues that the city, county, non-profit organizations, or churches own. They are often significantly cheaper to rent or even free if you or a family member is a resident. They are also usually much more lenient about rules such as bringing in your own food (which saves thousands on catering costs).

  • If you or a family member work at a business or hotel, that would be a great choice for the venue. We rented out the city and county building which was perfect for holding a reception. The best part? It was only $600 for a Saturday night! Total: $600 Savings: $3,072.

  • 7. $8,290 Reception food, drinks and accessories (including all wedding tips)

  • Cater your own reception. If you can, have close family and friends make and bring the same recipes. Even if you supply them with the ingredients, you will save thousands. At my wedding everyone had a sandwich, a drink, veggies, fruit, and dessert for under $2.50 a person. Three hundred twenty-five attended totaling: $812.50 We also had to rent the linens and bring in tables and chairs costing us $600 Total: $1,412.50 Savings: $6,877.50.

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  • 8. $3091 Photographs – Engagement session and wedding, CD, album, and enlargements

  • Photography is one of the most important aspects of a wedding. Don't skimp. Make sure to hire a professional. That said many professionals offer lower cost packages. Perhaps you know a professional that will give you a friends and family discount. Total for engagements, bridal session, enlargements and wedding photographs: $1045 Savings: $2,046.

  • 9. $1,152 Videography

  • This is also very important. You can use many of the tips I stated on the photography section to save in this area. Or if you have a friend you trust, hire them. We had a friend that said he would do it for free if we flew him in. Total: $350 Savings: $802.

  • 10. $321 Wedding sign in book and guest favors

  • Assign your bridesmaids a job to complete. They are there to support you. You could kindly ask one to create a cute sign in book for guests, another to create a little hair bow for the flower girls, another to manage the guests (telling them what is happening), another few to create inexpensive thank you favors for guests. Delegate the inexpensive tasks. Your bridesmaids will most likely graciously accept. Total: $0.00 Savings: $321.

  • 11. $344 Gifts for bridesmaids and parents

  • I asked my bridesmaids to vote on a few dresses they loved and that was their gift from me. Choose a common shoe color that everyone has (black, brown, white). This is so they can wear their own favorite already broken-in shoes. This will save you money and will ensure that they are comfortable throughout the day. Neither of our parents were expecting gifts. They knew we didn't have much money to spend. We wrote them heart felt thank you notes and felt like that was sufficient. Total: $160 Savings: $184.

  • 12. $386 Wedding cake

  • A nice wedding cake is not that expensive to make (unless you go cake boss style). While I do not recommend making your own if you haven't made wedding cakes before, I do recommend searching out and finding the least expensive wedding cake maker that is skilled. Search around go by word of mouth or look on the classifieds for the best deals. Just be sure to taste the cake and see the bakers' work before ordering. Total: $200 (including delivery) Savings: $186.

  • 13. $467 Decorations for the wedding and reception

  • Before going elsewhere, spend at least a few hours looking around in a dollar store or stores that are actually inexpensive. You will be absolutely amazed at what you can find and with a little creativity put together. There are amazing centerpieces that can be made, back drops, and favors for a few dollars. Also, keep an eye on groupon.com for awesome deals on decor. If you are having a vintage or eclectic style of wedding, become a regular shopper at thrift stores.

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  • If possible, choose a venue that you do not have to decorate extensively in. Something that has built in decor, or an outside venue, both lend itself well to this. You will save on flower arrangements, decorations, and other expenses. Total: $70 Savings: $397.

  • 14. $382 Tuxedo rental shoes and accessories

  • My husband was able to rent a Tuxedo and shoes at a reasonable price with the use of a $30 off coupon. You can also look on classifieds or even thrift stores for lightly used like-new-tuxedos for possibly even a better deal. His total was $110.00 Savings: $272.

  • 15. $1,300 Entertainment

  • I asked my maid of honor to create a CD of great songs for the background music and that we would dance to. We brought in a nice sound system that a family member owned and didn't have to pay anything for entertainment. You can also ask talented musicians in your family or friend network to perform. Some of my favorite ideas are having violinists, harpists, and/or a pianists playing in the background of more formal weddings. You can pay amateur musicians a lot less than professionals. For a more relaxing and fun wedding, you can hire a band or a DJ (which is usually less). Just be sure to look around for the best deals. If you have a big family you can see if any of them have talents they can offer as well. Total: $0.00 Savings: $1,300.

  • 16. $1,316 Wedding dress, headpiece and veil

  • Rent or borrow the wedding dress. If you want to buy one, look for major wedding dress sales. Look around and try multiple styles on. Plan and prepare early. The sooner you start looking for a dress, the better deal you can find. I splurged on my dress … I wanted a Maggie Sottero and chose to cut other expenses to have the dress I loved. I did borrow a veil from a friend though. My wedding dress, headpiece etc. cost me $1,500. Total: $1,500. Resulting in a negative -$184.

  • 17. $4,500 Jewelry

  • My husband and I wanted to pay cash for our rings. We didn't want to start our marriage with any debt. So we saved up and searched around. Total $885 Savings $3,615.

  • 18. $70 Marriage License

  • This is an average across the board. But ours was total: $55 Saved: $15.

  • 19. $2,050 Ceremony Site and Accessories and transportation

  • Many ceremonies can take place at the reception venue as part of the package deal. If yours charges an additional amount, you could look into having your ceremony take place at a beautiful park, city garden, beach, and/or church. Total $0.00 Savings: $2050.

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  • 20. $219 Ceremony Officiator

  • Most people don't have the option of a free officiator. If you do, and they have a great reputation for performing the type of ceremony you want to be a part of, then take advantage of their kind offer. If you don't know anyone ask around for referrals. You want your wedding ceremony to be very special and well thought out. Total: $0.00 Savings: $219.

  • 21. $281 Hotel room(s)

  • If you book your wedding at a hotel make sure to negotiate either a really great room rate OR ask for a free room for the married couple in return for booking with the hotel. Most wedding hotel venues will offer this. Total: $250 Savings: $31.

  • 22. $3,700 Honeymoon

  • There are a lot of ways to save on a honeymoon. From choosing all-inclusive resorts and cruises to signing up for credit cards that offer free flights. You can also go to a quaint bed and breakfast that offers great deals. Or keep a good eye on Groupon Travel deals. Choosing a National park may also be a great idea because the hiking and most activities can be done very inexpensively or free. To save even more you could see if family or extended family have a time share or vacation house they aren't planning on using during that time. Or just plan your honeymoon for later in the marriage when you can save up for it.

  • Nothing is ever perfect. Although my wedding day came pretty close to perfect, there were some things I wished had done better. I.E. my bridals video DVDs weren't burned right; therefore we had big flat screen TVs that had nothing playing. And the horse and carriage we were going to drive away in didn't work out.

  • But I was thinking about these things and thought, you know what? Wouldn't it be awesome to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary and rent out the same venue and have a nice dinner and drive off with the horse and carriage? Maybe we could even play my bridals and our wedding photos in a slide show and celebrate. Now I have something to look forward to.

  • Let go of perfect and enjoy your amazing day!

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Anita is a resourceful wife, mother, author, and friend. She writes about a variety of ways to create a rich life (both materially and non-materially) on any income on her blog Live Like You Are Rich. She is also the co-author of "Living a Rich Life as a Stay-at-Home Mom."

Website: http://livelikeyouarerich.com

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