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Easiest Way to Save Money On Your Wedding


Did you know that, according to, the average wedding in the U.S. costs more than $24,000? If you are anything like me, this must seem absolutely outrageous! Imagine what you could do with that money? The ideas that first come to mind are: buy a new car, a down payment on a home, or maybe even invest it for your retirement fund. Even if you would rather use this money for something more long-term, it doesn’t mean that you are willing to have a boring wedding.

Even as a personal finance blogger, I wasn’t willing to elope in Vegas and spend the money that I would have saved on something more reasonable. We still wanted this day to be special and one to be remembered. This doesn’t mean that my wife and I didn’t do everything possible to cut corners and save money.  Our motto when approaching our wedding budget was to have a quality wedding without emptying our savings.

Wedding Dress

One of the largest expenses in planning a wedding is the bride’s wedding dress. There are certainly more expensive aspects to a wedding (venue, honeymoon, catering), but it is up there on the list of most expensive aspects of a wedding. Did you know that some people spend upwards of $5,000 on a wedding dress?  When does anyone wear a dress for a second time?  As someone who got married just over two years ago, I know that it is not uncommon to spend $2,000 for a nice wedding dress.

How We Saved $1600

This doesn’t mean that a frugal bride is forced to wear a hand-me-down or a thrift-store substitute.  In fact, if you are creative enough, you can save thousands of dollars without sacrificing quality.  My wife and I decided to take this route.  We searched the classifieds, but we weren’t looking for a used dress.  While that is another viable option, it wasn’t what we were looking for.  We were searching for someone to make a dress for my wife. 

In the end, we were able to find a retired, part-time seamstress who could make my wife’s dress for a fraction of the price.  We were able to come away with a high-quality dress for under $400 (including materials).  The same dress would have cost somewhere around $2,000 in the stores.  Better yet, the $1600 that we saved by having a dress made went directly into our emergency fund.

Save Now

If you are in the process of planning a wedding and want to make it the most special day of your life without emptying the bank, why not look for someone to make the dress of your dreams.  This choice could save you thousands of dollars and hours of trying on dresses that either you cannot afford or don’t like.

This has been a guest post by Corey from 20’s Finances. Corey has other great ways to save money on his website. Check him out and follow him on Twitter!

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. This is an excellent idea.

    When my son got married, my daughter-in-law decided (smart girl!) she didn’t want to have to worry about spending thousands on a dress, or storing a dress she was never going to wear again, so she rented her wedding dress. It was a gorgeous dress – we have loads of pictures to remember it by, and 99.9% of the guests had no idea it was a rental. And I’m guessing that if they did know, they wouldn’t have cared. If they **had** cared, what were they doing there? 🙂

    I believe the entire rental cost was in the neighborhood of $200, which included small alterations and cleaning afterward.

    It is amazing to me the amount of money people spend on weddings that last a day at most!

    • Wow – that is a great idea as well! Thanks for sharing, gharkness.

  2. I think the biggest place you can save is in the venue rental cost. This is where we paid a quarter of the price for the venue by getting married on a Thursday night.

    It was still a lot of fun, since most people had the next Friday off for the 4th of July. People actually enjoyed the fact that the wedding wasn’t breaking into their summer weekend too.

    I think it is a great idea to have someone make your dress, however that can get expensive if you have elaborate designs and fabrics in mind. Also, if you are planning a fast wedding it may not be an option. I think the gown is the hardest place to try to save money because this is the dress that women dream about wearing since they were little girls. Tip for shopping: set a budget before you go and tell the bridal consultant that it is firm. She will work with you to find something that fits your style and budget. Shopping the samples can be really successful too; usually they will clean the dress and fix any damaged items before you buy it. That way you can get a more expensive dress at a fraction of the cost.

    • Dar,

      Thanks for a thorough comment. I agree that the biggest place to save money is the venue. My wife and I were able to find a great venue for free (through family connections). I still think the wedding dress can be the “easiest” way to save money without sacrificing quality. 🙂 It can be hard to find the right person to make the dress, but with enough effort and time, it is possible. We were able to find someone who was retired (and cared more about helping people than making money), but still gave us a quality dress. We did have a long time to make it. We we able to make an agreement months in advance.

  3. Great idea! I never thought of that. Also, renting a gown–very good idea.

  4. One of the greatest ways we saved money was by hiring a photography student from a local university. We paid $200 plus tip, and got two photographers with professional cameras, training, and had all of the rights to the photos so can print them out very cheaply for the rest of our lives.

    • Amanda, that is a great idea. We were able to do the same thing. We paid $550 for the exact same services. Looks like you got an even better deal than me. Congrats.

  5. My two biggest tips in this area are to print your own invitations and programs. You can buy the stationary kits at Target, and pricing them yourself using a regular laser jet printer. They look great, and you can literally save thousands.

    Also, I would recommend bartering for some services. You can easily do this with photography, videography, cake, and a DJ. If you have a skill that is valuable, you can revert back to the time tested skill of bartering and either get a great deal on these services, or possibly get them for free.

    • Thanks for the comment MoneyforCollegePro. Great tips with the invitations as well as bartering.

  6. This is problem solving 101! You must be creative and look for a solution that is less expensive yet just as satisfactory.

    • Thanks Krantcents. It does take some effort, but is well worth the time.

  7. I wish I had rented my wedding dress. I would have if I had known that was even an option. My husband rented his tux, it’s not like we are against renting or anything.

    We also printed our own invites and got our wedding cake from Walmart.

  8. Ashley, indeed. Great job making your own invites. Many people that I know often regret spending so much money on their wedding afterwards (some won’t admit it though). 🙂

  9. I actually bought my wedding dress at a vintage store. It was only $60 and it was my “something old”..I added a few extras to it to make it my own. My daughter is considering getting married on a day cruise boat. The whole package is less than $2k

  10. Brenda, that sounds like a great way to save money. Congrats.

  11. Excellent point. My own wedding dress wasn’t a “traditional” dress, it was a white bridesmaids dress that cost under $250! It was just right for me. Well Heeled Blog just posted about her wedding dress and she out did me; she found a perfect dress at a department store for $60. Think outside the box is my advice!

  12. I know my fiance is not interested in renting a dress but I am wondering if she could sell the dress after to one of these rental places or on eBay?

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