wedding tips to save money

33 Ways To Save Big Money For A Small Wedding

Ways to save money fo ryour wedding

1. Get Your Friends In On The Action

This doesn't have to be weird like you're asking for free help. These are your friends! They feel honored when they're involved! Throw a small party with some sparkling juice or wine, order a couple pizzas and get the help you need. Make bouquets and floral crowns the night before, get the play list finalized, all of that good stuff.

Quick Tip! If you're friend is owns a business and is a professional hair stylist, makeup artist or photographer etc.. Don't ask them to do free work for you! Their job is just as important and worthy of making money as yours is, it's how they pay their mortgage and get food on the table. Be courteous, if you'd like their input and help, just be a cool friend and ask them their rates and let them know how special it would be to have them there with you.

2. Simplify The Flowers

I know how wonderful it is to have a gorgeous, professionally created bouquet but if this isn't in your budget, be smart, not indebted! Baby's breathe and jute twine bouquets created by your friends is super cheap, simple and beautiful. Check out my Pinterest board for creating simple and beautiful flowers.

3. Brides Maids Dresses Don't Require A Boutique

 Buy summery dresses from Target or Old Navy and dress them up with pretty hair, cute heels or some favorite sneakers or chucks.

4. Hair Doesn't Require A Salon Experience

Simple, loose curls worn down for your brides maid party is totally in right now. It's simple, minimalist and if you have a friend do it for you, it's free! While you're at it, do your own nails and make up too!

5. Go Barefoot

If you're getting married in the sand, skip the shoes and slip on some ballet slippers or a simple strapped sandle for dancing!

beach wedding shoes

6. Skip The Cake

Okay, so by now you probably think I've gone completely nuts. No way! Wedding cakes can cost hundreds of dollars for a cake that lasts about 10 minutes, so if this isn't one of your priorities, you can skip this tradition completely. Simple chocolate dipped strawberries or an ice cream bar is just as adorable and delicious.

7. Skip The Dinner While You're At It

"Has Miranda gone CRAZY?! Don't I have an obligation as the host to feed all these people?" Actually... No!!!!! If you're having a small wedding, play with it, make it fun and memorable. This is your day as a couple. Have a simple champagne toast, then be on your merry way in your "Just Married" get away car!

Black Beach, Silver Bay MN

8. Have Guests Pick Up The Food Bill

This can be done with class at a super intimate wedding. Explain ahead of time that you're dayis going to be as minimal as possible and guests will be picking up their own bill for their meal at a local grille. If you want to provide something for your guests, provide the tip and make everyone's first drink on the bride and groom, then they can pay for the rest. You can leave feeling like a pretty good host without throwing away hundreds.

Quick Tip! These are my favorite restaurants in the area, they are all out of this world! Remember to make reservations and know how many people they can accommodate. If you're having a larger guest list, you'll need to reserve as a reception venue, not just reservations for dinner.
Tavern On The Hill
Duluth Grill
Clearwater Grille & Event Center
Black Woods
Va Bene Beraducci's Cafe
The Kounty Quarthouse
At Sara's Table/Chester Creek Cafe
New Scenic Cafe

9. Back Yard Ceremony & BBQ

Hang twinkly lights, set up your own playlist, have a friend or two bring their grill if you need a few more and have an old fashioned party in your back yard! Make sure to contact your county for the appropriate permits. Click here for St Louis County.

grand rapids mn wedding

10. Rent Suits From Locally Own Establishments

Renting tuxes and shoes can get expensive at from chain businesses, try a locally owned place like Arthur's Formal Wear in Duluth and you'll save a ton and get great service!

11. Spend Money On The Must Haves

If you save money on everything else, this allows you to afford the few luxuries you've really been wanting. Like the dress of your dreams, your long awaited honey moon or the photographer you're desperate for.

12. Choose A Wedding Dress Alternative

Are you into making the whole dress dealio as simple as possible? Buy a simple white summer dress at your favorite store, (Even Target, seriously!) or try on prom dresses at a local bridal store and order it in white.

13. DIY Veil

I'm not knocking gorgeous veils. But these pieces of fabric can cost hundreds of dollars. Buy some combs from your local craft store and the fabric in the fabric in chiffon or tulle and make your own!

14. Elope

That's right. Get a few of your favorite peeps to sign your license and be your witnesses and just do it! (The Duluth Court House is really beautiful!)
Quick Tip! You have to give St. Louis County a 5 day notice to apply for your license, so make sure to get the details before you take the leap. Click here for Marraige License information for St. Louis County. P.S I'll totally sign as a witness!

grand rapids photographer

15. Get Premarital Counseling

Your $115 license from St. Louis County could be $40 if you take 12 hours of premarital counseling. 

16. Hire A Photographer for A Few Hours

When my parents and grandparents got married they only took a few precious photos. Weddings were simple. Film and developing was a huge cost for a lot of people, every shutter press counted.
Now a days, you can hire a photographer all day and receive hundreds of images that may never get printed for years..... or ever! Hiring a photographer that is willing to minimize the amount of hours covered will save the best moments for professional photos, less photographs to print and in turn, keeping more money in your pocket.
Quick Tip! Not all photographers can minimize their hourly coverage, so make sure to meet with your potential photographers and have clear communication and respect for the packages they offer.

17. Invite Less People

Invite the most important, closest friends and family and you have yourself a simple, more inexpensive wedding immediately.
I offer 2-3 hour photo coverage for weddings that have 25 guests or less. Let's chat and we can go over details!

Black Beach MN

18. Send Paperless Invitations

Remember that time you used to call people to tell them something? Haha, okay but srlsly guys. You could use this to your advantage! Plus, when your wedding is super small something like this is super duper easy and free!

19. Request Digital RSVP's

Include your email and phone number to keep track of RSVP's. It's not traditional, but hey, you're not the traditional type, are ya?

20. Make It A Secret

First of all, secrets are fun. Secondly, once you announce your wedding date, you might get a ton of uncalled for self invites from well intention-ed folks. Skip the hurt feelings and having to break the hard news to the extended family you don't know or friends you don't want to invite and keep your ceremony a super-duper secret until the big day comes! Then once you're done, all they will have to say is "congratulations!"

21. A Stand Up Ceremony

Short ceremonies don't require chairs! Skip renting and let everyone stand up!
Quick Tip! Remember to keep disabled and elderly folks in mind, you may want to have a few chairs reserved for them.

Park Point Duluth

22. Skip The Tux

Jeans or dress pants are just fine for a casual ceremony! Black tie might be traditional but hey, you're a free spirit, right? Play it up with colors and texture and you can have a handsome lookin' bunch.

Silver Bay MN Photography

23. Make Your Own Playlist

Keep your phone, laptop or MP3 player charged and plug it in to some speakers for a fun and free experience!

wedding tips

24. Set A Budget

Pick a number and stick to it! If you can't afford it, don't buy it.

25. Save

This might sound elementary but if you don't have the money for the things you want, you'll be hopping with both feet into debt before you're even married. Saving money saves you stress and guilt. Buy with cash, not credit.

26. Prioritize

Pick the most important stuff and spend wisely. For me, it was the dress and the photographer. For my husband, it was the food. Make sure to have open communication and prioritize.

27. Register For Gift Cards

Getting cash and asking for stuff you actually need does save you big bucks in the long run.

28. Make a Free Wedding Website

There's a few places you can choose from, The Knot has a free wedding website to quickly share details with guests and keep track of RSVP's.

29. Choose Simple, DIY Decor

Fabrics, twine, greenery, hand painted boards, photo collages and items hand picked from nature are simple and affordable.
Quick Tip! Instead of choosing to decorate every single space or every single seating area etc... Pick a few spots for cozy, designed nooks to save yourself time and moolah.Check out my Pinterest Board for Simple Wedding inspiration.

30. Pick A Backdrop You Love

Use nature or an outdoor setting that is beautiful on it's own, and you won't feel the need for a lot of detailed decorations. Nature itself + the people you love is worthy enough! 

Park Point venue

31. Don't Give Into Pressure

Loved ones and .... other people... Are all going to have a lot of ideas about what you should or shouldn't do. Don't. Listen. To. Anybody. Except the one you're getting married to. Don't feel pressured to do this or that, or get married here or there. Confide in your betrothed only and decide together.

32. Choose A Location You Know And Love

Serene and quiet surrounded by tall pines? An adventurous hike in your wedding garb? Instead of making a decision on beauty alone, find a location you already have history and ties with. Kick the materialistic cravings to the curb by filling your soul with sentiment and nostalgia, not stuff.

33. Do What You Want

This is your LIFE! Your WEDDING! There are no rules.


It's me, Miranda! I became a bride in 2015 and enjoyed a simple wedding at Hartley Park in Duluth, Minnesota. I enjoy long walks on the beach and...

Just kidding. I enjoy chocolate and wine nightly with my husband. Especially enjoy it when the kids are asleep... Go to sleeep....

I photograph casual ceremonies, elopements and intimate weddings with 25 guests or less. Does that sound like you? Totes McGotes! Contact me and we could make a perfect match!


Taken by Bailey Aro Photography on my wedding day

Taken by Bailey Aro Photography on my wedding day

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