50 wedding cost-cutting tips from real brides
Buy, don't rent
It’s no secret that weddings can be very expensive. Who better to give advice for sticking to your wedding budget than the real brides who have been there? Whether it means pulling out the craft scissors with your hubby-to-be, brushing up on your best bartering skills, or opting for locally-grown flowers instead of a florist—these
Video: How to make a wedding budget
"When I got a quote for more than $500 to rent linens, I went on Ebay and purchased what I needed for less than $250. And we're going to resell them after the honeymoon!" —Brittani P., Jacksonville, Fla.
Find a smart substitute
"Instead of a bouquet, I carried my favorite book wrapped in something borrowed—a friend's blue-embroidered handkerchief. I called it my 'book-quet.'"
Bing: Bouquet alternatives
—Emily L., Los Angeles
"For the rehearsal dinner, we threw a casual outdoor barbecue for just our families, the officiant, and the bridal party. Keeping it low-key and super-small meant we had more to spend on the wedding itself."
—Shannon M., New York City
Bail on the ballroom
"Get creative with your wedding venue. We married on a 1920s theater stage, then had a reception upstairs. Everyone raved about how different and fun it was. And it only cost us a few hundred bucks to rent the whole thing."
Bing: Unique wedding venues
—Samantha S., Harrisburg, Pa.
Make yourself beautiful
"Instead of hiring a makeup artist, I'm going to go to a department store for a free makeover, then use what I learn to do it myself."
—Emily C., Sterling, Ill.
Get married by a pal
"A friend from high school officiated at our wedding. He got ordained through the Universal Life Church for free!"
—Swan C., New York City
Shop at home
"We're having a nautical wedding, so we're using a bunch of décor that we already own, like lanterns, seashells, driftwood, and model ships."
—Mandy C., West Palm Beach, Fla.
Try the barter system
"The church where we married let us use its wedding ministry for free in return for my volunteering at other weddings. The ministry did everything—decorating, flowers, catering, and coordinating. We saved thousands of dollars, and the day was so much less stressful for everyone."
—Bekah S., Fairbanks, Alaska
Cut it out
"Every week, I clip coupons for decor and DIY supplies at Michaels and Hobby Lobby. We still have a year of deals to go!"
—Lindsay C., Martinez, Ga.
Skimp on stamps
"We chose postcards for our save-the-dates. It saved us money on postage and envelopes!"
—Kelly N., Omaha, Neb.