A Dream Wedding Without a Nightmare Bill to Pay

If you’re Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, you can afford a fairy-tale wedding in the Big Apple, and make a few bucks off of selling the photography rights, too. But, if you’re not, cost-cutting tips for marrying the person of your dreams may be the most useful advice possible.

Start by gathering tips on cutting costs from several expert sources, such as: Simplify Your Wedding by Allana Baroni, The Portable Wedding Consultant by Leah Ingram or From Something Old to Something New: A Bride’s Guide to Something Unique by Becky Long.

First look for these books in your local public library, which is the first of many money-saving planning tips. And, don’t fail to consider hiring a wedding consultant. It may seem like an additional cost, but these professionals plan weddings for a living, know how to cut costs in your town and have experience working with various vendors.

Meanwhile, keep in mind these tips to make your wedding day one that won’t break your bank account.


  • Schedule your wedding for a Friday or Sunday (or even weekday), rather than Saturday, the most popular day for weddings. Many reception sites will offer lower rates on lower peak days.
  • Think creatively when choosing your site. University halls, publicly owned buildings or a business district restaurant on a weekend may be more affordable.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Book your reception as far in advance as possible. You may be able to negotiate a better price.
  • Consider an off-peak wedding month such as November through April and an off-peak time of day such as morning versus evening.
  • Have the reception in the same place where you get married for one fee.
  • Limit the reception to three hours instead of the usual four.

Food and Drink

  • Serve foods that are in season.
  • Cut down on service personnel by having stationary appetizers instead of passed hors d’oeuvres.
  • A sit-down dinner may be cheaper than heavy buffets; check with the caterers or providers.
  • Go ethnic. A menu featuring Chinese or Mexican foods is generally less expensive than continental fare.
  • Cut back on liquor. Serve only wine, beer and champagne.
  • Consider serving carafes of wine, which are less expensive than pouring bottles.


  • Use flowers that are in season.
  • Bring flowers from your ceremony site to the reception hall.


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