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A luxury wedding on a budget: how to reduce cost and still have what guests care about most.

This piece covers options to save money on your wedding, regardless of budget. The key to luxury isn’t about cost, it’s about details.


If you type “How to reduce your wedding budget,” “or “A luxurious wedding on $10,000 or less” into your search engine, you’ll find there’s so much written on this topic – unfortunately, a lot of it is nonsense that can’t realistically be applied, with silly things like “if you’re crafty, sew your own wedding dress to stay within budget!” (You’re an idiot, person who wrote that). We’re not doing that here, the point of this article is to give actual advice on what guests care about, how to increase luxury without cost, and how make your budget go farther, regardless of range. Decision making is difficult, especially when you’re getting conflicting advice from those around you, this should help align your needs.

Tip – wise, we’ll be skipping the obvious ones, like: reduce your guest-list; find a less expensive location, etc as that advice can be found anywhere. Here are tangible tips to stay within your budget and suggestions of where you can cut corners.


Decor &Aesthetic


It really helps to start with a theme. That doesn’t mean creating a board on Pinterest – it means having an idea for what mood or style you’d like this party to be. Once you have this decided upon it becomes your guiding light for decision making and clarifies when to add or cut something.


Venue: It’s really the number one “cost saver” out there for weddings – get a venue that already looks cool or decorated or swanky. You can skip like 90% of the decoration budget this way, especially the excessive use of flowers people seem to adore. Local arboretums or botanical gardens are available for costs around $100/hour. There’s local museums, private clubs, etc that frequently are very beautiful, yet non-traditional venues.
Chargers: It took me a while to even understand what these things are and why. It’s larger plates that go under the main eating plates, they add a nice sparkle and energy, but not one guest will remember them. The memory of the dinner setting, if it ever even enters anyone’s memory, fades first.
Staff Dress: Having our servers, ushers, bartenders, etc dresser up like they’re at a black tie wedding goes a long way. When the server staff is in a tux, the entire reception has an enhanced vibe. So if that’s the wedding style, this will up it nicely.
Flowers: There’s a few options here.
Hitting the DIY route first- stems from Costco or Fifty Flowers cost around $1 per rose, at which point you can make the arrangements yourself: the reduction in cost here is because you’re not paying for the florists time and skill, which is ultimately where the flower budget really goes.
If you don’t want to go that route – tell your florist or planner that you’d like to use a mix of live and synthetic flowers. It’s commonly done and integrating live flowers with good quality “fake” flowers looks very realistic and ends up having the same vibe. It’s a solid plan for bouquets and table decor.
Try doing a theme check – do you need flowers? They’re nice but rather common, consider if it works with your theme concept and if they could perhaps be replaced with lanterns or candles.

Food Experience:

One option, depending on theme, that guests respond well to is using food trucks for catering. Rather than a single caterer, have 2-3 food trucks parked at your venue with different food options. Guests can help themselves to what they prefer at their own time. This works well with rustic or country themed vibes.
Appetizers: a lot of folks seem to think an all app meal will cost less than dinner but that’s not the case with many caterers. You’re paying for the labor and craft more so than food ingredients and good appetizers require a lot of effort. In most instances apps costs exactly the same as a sit down dinner, or you haven’t gotten enough to feed your crowd. Instead of choosing either or, an option is to swap the main salad of your mean with a plated decorative appetizer.


Military: Ask for a military discount if you or your partner is active. If either of  you have been deployed in the past 5 years – Brides Across America will set you up with a brand new, designer, $40 wedding dress
Skip save the dates. Just send invitations earlier. All the issues that arise with rsvps because people forget to respons are still all going to be there regardless of when you send them. Chasing after RSVP’s is just part of the wedding event experience – regardless of when you send them. Spend the “STD” cash on thank you notes instead.
Picking a Friday or Sunday over a Saturday is fine. The idea that a wedding needs to be on a certain day is ridiculous – many Jewish weddings, for example, fall on Sundays or Thursdays. Or have a multi-day wedding, as you can say gathering instead of wedding for the other days, and the venue price drops by over 60%
Cash: A little old shcool but it works – offer cash to some vendors and you might see some discounts there.
So what realy matters? The food, the alcohol, and the entertainment are all that matter. Let me break that down. While most people seem to obsess over the concept that this is the brides “big day” that’s nonsense. This is a party you’re throwing for your community of loved ones. Take care of them first.
Entertainment doesn’t mean hiring someone – it means being clear about what is next and when, and ensuring that guest don’t have long periods of waiting around. That’s usually an issue that arises around the ceremony planning- things being delayed, long wait times, etc. Plan well, let people know what it is ahead of time, and stay on track.
If you start with taking care of the ones you loved, it’ll help decide which items are more important, and where money should be spent.