Many couples are struggling with the rising costs of walking down the aisle. Recent data shows a shift in wedding spending habits: 39% of couples plan to spend less than $10,000 this year, slightly up from 37% last year. Despite these efforts to cut costs, the average price of tying the knot in the United States has increased by 14% in 2024, according to a study from Zola, an online wedding registry and planner. These financial challenges call for creative solutions to manage expenses and create a budget-friendly wedding without sacrificing the magic of the big day. 

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My latest book, How Money Works For Women, is a comprehensive guide that aims to empower women with the knowledge and tools needed to achieve financial independence and security. I’ve pulled the below practical tips from one of the chapters to help couples keep wedding costs under control and have a budget-friendly wedding.

Swap Out Saturday: Saturdays are traditionally the most popular—and therefore the most expensive—days for weddings. Opting for a Sunday or a weekday can lead to significant savings on venue costs. Many venues offer discounts for non-Saturday events, which can free up a substantial portion of the budget for other wedding essentials. This simple shift can help couples afford a more luxurious venue or additional services without breaking the bank.

Sharon Lechter is an internationally renowned financial literacy expert, is a 5-time New York Times bestselling author, entrepreneur, and mentor.

Creative Catering: Food is often one of the largest expenses at a wedding, but there are ways to trim these costs without compromising on quality. Consider a brunch-themed reception featuring options like omelet and crepe stations, Belgian waffles, and fresh fruit. Brunch menus are generally less expensive than traditional dinner menus and offer a unique, charming experience for guests. Plus, a daytime event can often result in lower venue rental fees as well.

Bargain Bar: Alcohol can be another significant wedding expense. Instead of a full open bar, consider limiting the selection to beer, wine, champagne, and a signature cocktail. This not only controls costs but also adds a personalized touch to the drink menu. Additionally, some venues allow couples to bring their own alcohol, which can be purchased in bulk or on sale, resulting in substantial savings.

Cake Creativity: Wedding cakes can quickly become a major expense, especially with elaborate designs and multiple tiers. One way to cut costs is by choosing a smaller, tiered cake decorated with real flowers instead of costly sugar sculptures. To ensure there’s enough dessert for everyone, supplement the cake with an assortment of cupcakes. This approach not only reduces costs but also allows for a variety of flavors, adding to the overall guest experience.

Dress Deals: Finding the perfect wedding dress doesn’t have to come with a high price tag. Shopping early and taking advantage of sample sales and trunk shows can yield significant discounts on designer gowns. These sales typically occur in late spring, early fall, and at the end of the year. By planning ahead and being patient, brides can find their dream dress at a fraction of the cost.

Picture-Perfect Savings: Photography is crucial for capturing wedding memories, but it doesn’t have to be an all-day expense. Booking a photographer for just the ceremony and early part of the reception can reduce costs significantly. For additional moments, couples can ask friends and family to take photos. This ensures professional quality for key moments while keeping the budget in check.

Spin and Save: Entertainment is another area where couples can economize. Hiring a DJ instead of a live band is generally less expensive and allows for a more customized playlist. Creating a playlist of favorite songs ensures that the music reflects the couple’s tastes and keeps guests dancing all night long without the higher cost of live musicians.

DIY Tips: Adding personal touches to a wedding can enhance its charm and reduce expenses. Creating your own invitations, centerpieces, and decorations with the help of family and friends not only saves money but also adds sentimental value to the event. These DIY projects can also serve as bonding activities leading up to the wedding, creating cherished memories before the big day.

Honeymoon Hack: Travel can be a major post-wedding expense, but strategic use of credit card travel miles can help cover these costs. Couples should use a credit card that offers travel rewards and ensure they pay off the balance in full each month to avoid interest charges. This approach can significantly reduce or even eliminate the cost of the honeymoon, making it more accessible and enjoyable.

While the cost of weddings continues to rise, there are numerous strategies to manage expenses effectively and pull off a budget-friendly wedding. By making thoughtful choices and leveraging savings opportunities, couples can create a beautiful and memorable wedding day that doesn’t compromise their financial future. 

Author: Sharon Lechter, an internationally renowned financial literacy expert, is a 5-time New York Times bestselling author, entrepreneur, and mentor. She advised two US Presidents on financial literacy and is a member of the AZ Financial Literacy Task Force. Her books include Rich Dad Poor Dad, Three Feet from Gold, Think and Grow Rich for Women and How Money Works For Women. She loves spending time at her ranch, Cherry Creek Lodge in the Tonto National Forest. From hosting retreats, welcoming visiting guests or just enjoying nature, she loves sharing it with others. Visit for more information.