Budgeting for a wedding is challenging even in the best of times. In times of financial uncertainty – like during a pandemic, for instance – it’s even more so. 

“Many couples are pulling back the reigns on their wedding budgets due to the pandemic. Couples may have lost deposits or are leery about putting down deposits during such uncertain times, which may lead to them holding back on some upcoming wedding expenditures,” says Alexis Eliopoulos O’Mara, master wedding consultant for Unique Weddings by Alexis.

Even in a post-COVID world, weddings don’t come cheap. According to the 2020 Brides American Wedding Study, the average price is currently $28,964 in the U.S. 

Luckily, there are ways to cut your spending without compromising on the beauty or significance of your big day. Here are nine tips and tricks for cutting costs on your post-pandemic wedding. 

1. Reduce the guest list

Need to make significant cuts to your costs? Lower your guest count. Many wedding expenses, like food, drinks, dinnerware and seating, are based on your guest count. So, the smaller the wedding, the bigger the savings. 

Thanks to modern technology, you can still include extended family and friends in the festivities without upping your costs by live-streaming the event.

2. Be open-minded about the date

“Be flexible on your wedding date. 2021 has many 2020 reschedule wedding dates on the books in addition to originally scheduled 2021 weddings, so dates are tight this year. Consider hosting your wedding on a weekday or any day other than a Saturday or holiday weekend to cut bacon costs. Or consider a daytime reception for added savings,” advises O’Mara.

3. Skip guest transportation

With everyone still social distancing, it’s unlikely that guests will want to carpool together to the venue. So, it’s best to go ahead and skip providing group transportation options, like shuttle buses, trolleys or limos. 

4. Cut the wedding favors

While favors for guests are thoughtful, unfortunately, they often end up in the trash by the end of the night. 

Instead, “spend the money on the guest’s experiences at the event and do not worry about what they will take home from the wedding,” says O’Mara.

5. Minimize your rentals

“Cut back on unnecessary rentals. Guests are going to be so happy to get together again for your wedding, no need to go over the top with your rentals. Add a simple accent item such as a colored water glass or a colored napkin or just a simple charger plate and nothing else,” recommends O’Mara. 

6. Buy floral containers in bulk

Another rental worth skipping – vases for flowers. Instead, ask your florist to put floral arrangements in containers you thrifted or bought in bulk. 

“You will save on the cost per container as well as the pickup fee and labor fees at the end of the night. This will also allow you to reuse some of your centerpieces for brunch the next day,” explains O’Mara.

If you donate your flowers to a charitable cause at the end of your reception, you might also be able to get a tax write off for the donation. 

7. Streamline your stationery 

“Rather than printing multiple inserts in your invitation suite, keep the papers down to a minimum and include all the extra information on your wedding website instead,” recommends O’Mara.

If you need to cut costs further, you might consider skipping the printed invitations altogether and opt for digital invitations to save on materials, printing and postage costs. 

8. Choose a flexible venue

With circumstances still rapidly changing, try to find a venue that’s willing to work with you and your budget. Be sure to look at any added fees for rescheduling or food and beverage minimums. Ask if they will allow you to supply the alcohol rather than buying a bar package or if they have in-house furniture that you can utilize. 

9. Budget for emergencies

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to always be prepared for the worst. While paying for a plan b can cost more upfront, it will ultimately be more expensive to scramble last minute if things go awry. 

“Budget for things like wedding insurance, backup rain tents and bad weather transportation even for those close venues that guests would normally be able to walk between on a clear day,” says O’Mara.

©CTW Features