Odd Ways to Save on Your Wedding Day

by TTMK on June 6, 2013 · 10 comments

The following post is by staff writer Melissa Batai

The average wedding in 2012 cost a whopping $28,427 according to the wedding website, The Knot.  Nearly 20,000 brides were surveyed to reach that number, and keep in mind it doesn’t include the honeymoon!

On average, the brides spent $1,211 on their wedding dresses and $560 on cake.  The engagement ring averaged $5,431.

As someone who got married a little over a decade ago and paid $5,500 for a wedding and reception for 175 guests, all I can say is WOW, that’s a lot of cash!

In many areas of the country nearly $30,000 would be a 10 to 20% down payment on a house!

If you have the cash to run through, it makes no difference to me if you pay that much for your wedding.  The problem is that many couples are still saddled with student loan and credit card debt and can’t afford such a grand affair.  Some even need to resort to draining their bank accounts and taking out loans to pay for their big day.

However, many retailers are jumping on board to offer frugal alternatives to some of the items that make weddings so expensive.

Would You Buy a Wedding Dress at Target?

If a bride has watched Say Yes to the Dress for years, my guess is that she would want to spend big bucks for her dream dress.  But for others who think it’s a bit silly to spend thousands of dollars on a dress that will be worn for one day, there’s now another alternative.

Buy a wedding dress at Target.

That’s right.  Target just launched a line of wedding dresses that range from casual dress that are knee length or tea length as well as longer, more formal dresses such as their rouched dress.  The rouched dress is the most expensive item at $129.99, while some of the shorter length dresses are $69.99.

Target also offers bridesmaids’ dresses ranging from $17.99 to $49.99.

I got my dress at a bridal store for $130; after alterations, it was less than $200.  Still, I only wore it for one day, and it’s been in the dry cleaning box since then.  If a bride doesn’t have the money for a big wedding, cutting back on the expense of the wedding dress would make sense because it’s a dress that is usually only worn for a few hours.

Would You Buy Your Wedding Cake at the Grocery Store?

Let’s face it, often wedding cakes cost a lot of money, but their taste leaves a bit to be desired.

If a bride doesn’t want to spend a grand or more on a fancy (though often tasteless) wedding cake, buying one at the grocery store may be an alternative.  Good Morning America states that “wedding cakes are a $74 billion industry.  Now, supermarkets are actually hiring people who are inclined to decorating cakes.”  One couple GMA interviewed bought their wedding cake from the grocery store Farm Fresh for $316.

Our cake was made for free; it was a gift from my aunt, an amateur cake decorator, and it tasted great.  If I hadn’t had that option, I would have definitely bought the wedding cake at a grocery store.

My Questions for You

Would you buy a wedding dress at Target or a wedding cake at the local grocery store to cut costs?

What cost cutting measures did you take to keep your wedding expenses under control or did you just decide it was your big day and you were going to have it just the way you wanted it?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily @ evolvingPF June 6, 2013 at 9:55 am

We made several major cost-cutting choices and still spent around $30k! We had homemade wedding cake, which I’m sure it tasted better than anything professionally made, no matter the source. I did want a bigger, more structured wedding dress than the ones offered by J. Crew (and probably Target, now) so we spent a bit on that, but still much less than average. The other big ones were not hiring a DJ (we borrowed sound equipment and set up a playlist on a laptop), not serving alcohol, having one reception in a public building and one at our parents’ home, serving BBQ, and having our invitations printed at Kinko’s (designed by our parents). (More details and pics are in my link.) Even with all that we still spent a ton of money, mostly on catering and rentals!

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TTMK June 6, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Thanks for sharing! One point you made, about not serving alcohol, is an especially good yet underrated one in terms of saving money.

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Edward Antrobus June 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm

I can’t imagine spending $500 on a cake!

We spent $200 on our wedding and reception. I’m surprised that people find a supermarket cake surprising. Supermarkets have been hiring cake decorators for more than 20 years.

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TTMK June 6, 2013 at 9:25 pm

$200? Wow, now that’s a remarkably inexpensive wedding and reception!

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Grayson @ Debt Roundup June 6, 2013 at 9:56 pm

There are so many ways to save on a wedding. I helped my friend decorate their wedding and reception and they did it on a tight budget.

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Matt Becker June 7, 2013 at 8:11 am

Great ideas. Our wedding was not quite that high but it was still incredibly expensive. Lucky for us my wife’s parents paid for it, but that also meant they had some input on making it a little more extravagant than we might have chosen otherwise. If we had been on our own, we definitely would have made more of an effort to keep costs down. It really doesn’t require a ton of money to make a commitment to your spouse and celebrate with some friends and family.

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Khaleef @ Faithful With a Few June 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Hey Melissa, I paid about $5,500 for my wedding as well (that was 7 years ago) 🙂

I never would have thought that Target carried wedding dresses or that you could get a cake from a grocery store (we had ours made by someone as a gift).

I would definitely do both of those things in order to save on a wedding, especially since we are in debt and we so when we got married!

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Thomas | Your Daily Finance June 8, 2013 at 8:45 am

Save on a wedding? That was big for us. We did the court house got a cake from Publix and had dinner with just two friends. One of the best days of my life. No need to spend a lot of money I was thankful that I got married to the one I love.

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Brent Pittman June 8, 2013 at 11:01 pm

In our area of the country $30,000 is 1/3 to 1/4 of a house! We did a lot ourselves with the help of family: family, invitations, decorations. Location was free and dress was $100. The biggest expense was photographer with was about $1K.

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funancials June 9, 2013 at 2:11 pm

If I knew how much was spent on our wedding, I think I would puke. What I don’t know can’t hurt me.

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