How to Save Money on your Wedding: Ceremony and Reception

Image via Tamara Lackey Studio

This post is the third in our series about how to save money on your wedding. The first post about getting started is available here, and the second post about stationery and favors is available here. This post is all about two of the most important things: the ceremony and the reception. It’s short and sweet, but taking these things into consideration can help you save a huge chunk of money on your big day!

In our blog post about getting started, we’ve already discussed planning your wedding for a Friday or a Sunday. Many places will offer you a large discount for not booking on a Saturday. Additionally, getting married in the off season can save you a lot of money as well. Check with ceremony and reception venues to see when their off and peak seasons are.

Consider a non-traditional ceremony or reception site. Places like public parks, B&Bs, or even art galleries will sometimes have lower rates because they are not typically marketed towards weddings. If you’re not religious, or if it’s not important for you to have everyone there for the ceremony, consider getting married at the courthouse. You can invite your close family and friends, and save the reception for the larger party later. You can also save on the cost of hiring a priest by having one of your friends or family members marry you. There are several websites that offer online ordination classes.

For the music at the ceremony, hire music students or teachers, whose rates are usually lower and are just as talented as professional musicians. Additionally, instead of printing out several paper programs to hand out, post one large program on a chalkboard for all of your guests to see. Take a look at some of the examples below!

Image via Style me Pretty
Image via Polka Dot Bride
Image via EaselyDesigned on Etsy

Having the ceremony and the reception in the same place can save you money in several different ways. First, it saves on transportation costs since you will not have to hire a limo or trolley to drive you from one place to another. It also saves on the cost of having to rent out two different venues, which can get pretty pricey. In addition, photographers and videographers usually charge by the hour, which means you won’t have to pay for the time in between the ceremony and reception.

For the reception, look for a venue that already has tables and chairs so that you don’t have to rent them. Tables can be anywhere from $8.00-$10.00 per table, and chairs can be anywhere from $1.00-$9.00 per chair, so saving on these costs can really help! Additionally, finding a venue that has larger tables means you can seat more people at each table, and therefore have fewer linens and centerpieces. Look for a reception venue in the country instead of in a bigger city, since the fee to rent it out may be smaller.

As far as the entertainment and food goes, use an iPod to be your own DJ instead of hiring one. You can make a great playlist with all your favorite songs and not have to worry about someone requesting a song you don’t care for. You could also ask a friend to do it if you don’t want to worry about changing songs on your day. Create your own photobooth with a tripod, digital camera, and a DIY backdrop. We’ve posted some cute ideas and tutorials for backdrops below.

Via Green Wedding Shoes
Via Brides Magazine
Via Style me Pretty
Via Hank & Hunt

Plus, here’s how to make your own photo booth stand that you can hang anything from bunting to ribbons to globe lights on.

Have any other ideas that will save you money on the ceremony and reception? Be sure to leave your suggestions in the comments!


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