The average wedding in the US cost nearly $28,000 in 2012, according a survey conducted by The Knot.
I’ll give you a minute to pick yourself up off of the floor after reading that figure.
Just to give you some perspective, $28,000 is about the same as a year of college at some schools or the cost of a pretty nice brand new car.
While you could spend that much on a wedding, you can just as easily not.
There are plenty of ways to cut costs on your wedding day, without having the event seem poorly planned or unexciting. Many of these ways to save on wedding day planning make use of modern day technology, such as smartphone apps and the internet, to help you cut costs.
Skip the Paper Invitations
Beautiful wedding invitations printed on paper can be costly. You need to pay to have them printed, then pay for postage for the invitations and the reply cards.
In today’s world, they can also be a bit of a inconvenience.
When my cousin got married two years ago, she had to send out her invitations twice because the post office lost them the first time. She ended up spending twice as much and the invited guests ended receiving two invitations in the end.
Instead of going the paper and mail route, one of the best ways to save on wedding invitations is to send them electronically.
Websites such as Evites let you send free invitations. If you have money in the budget for invitations, a website such as Glo offers monthly or yearly packages for your invitations.
Let Your Bridesmaids Rent Their Dresses
Nearly every woman has some ugly bridesmaid dress languishing in her closet.
If the guys get to rent their tuxes, why do the women have to pay full price for a dress they will wear once?
Luckily, bridesmaid dress rental services are becoming an option.
Little Borrowed Dress is a company that specializes in bridesmaid dress rentals.
You pick the dresses you want your bridesmaids to wear a few months in advance. The bridesmaids receive the dress in the mail two weeks before your wedding.
The company will send two sizes for the price of one rental, just in case one dress doesn’t fit. After your wedding, the bridesmaids send the dresses back to the company.
Rent Your Rehearsal Dinner Dress
You not only want to look great for your wedding day, you also want to look great for the rehearsal dinner.
As with the bridesmaid’s dresses, you can rent a dress for yourself for the dinner.
Rent the Runway is a company that allows you to rent beautiful designer dresses and accessories. You pay around 75 percent less than the cost of purchasing the dress to borrow it for either four days or eight days.
A rental service is a great way to try out fun looks or try a new designer without paying the high price.
Who Needs a Wedding Planner?
Hiring a wedding planner will drive the price of your wedding way up.
A tech-savvy, modern way to DIY to save money is to download an app that helps you keep track of all the details of your wedding, from the vendors to the guest list.
Wedding Happy is an app for iPhone or iPad that lets you create tasks and plan your wedding without hiring another person. Even better, the app is free.
Long gone are the days when hiring a DJ meant having someone bring in a few turntables and fancy sound equipment.
Many DJs work off of iPods or other MP3 players these days, which you most likely own yourself. Instead of paying a DJ by the hour, spend $1.99 to download My Wedding DJ , an app that runs on iPod Touch or iPhone.
With the app, you can program playlists for your entire wedding.
Be Your Own Florist
Flowers can add to the cost of your wedding considerably, especially if you choose fancy flowers from a high end florist.
For example, Calla lilies and peonies tend to cost twice or three times as much as roses or daisies.
One of the easiest ways to cut costs on your wedding day is to purchase cheaper flowers and arrange them yourself.
If you aren’t comfortable in your floral arranging skills, you can get an app for that. Florista isn’t free, but it will teach you a new skill you can use long after your wedding day is over.
Get Creative with the Meal
Do you need to serve your guests a formal, three-course meal on your wedding day?
The answer these days is no.
The meal you serve at your reception can be whatever you want.
If you are looking to cut costs, schedule your wedding for the middle of the day and have a cocktail hour themed reception.
You can still serve drinks, but instead of a formal meal, serve appetizers and snacks. You can also hold your reception in the afternoon and serve a lighter, cheaper lunch instead of a pricey dinner.
Buy Someone Else’s Wedding
Sadly, nearly a quarter of a million weddings are canceled every year.
The couples who planned those weddings might have already put down deposits on venues for the ceremony and reception.
If you want to save money, a service called Bridal Brokerage can help you find a reception venue, ceremony venue, or other vendors for a fraction of the original price.
When you work with the company, you agree to purchase the contract that another couple originally had.
They might not get the wedding they had dreamed of, but at least they’ll get some of their money back. And you’ll get a decent discount.
Kelly Anderson is a financial planner who blogs about financial advice you can use in your everyday life. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.