47 Ways to Have an Almost Free Wedding

n this day and age, is it even possible to spend a minimal amount of money on the biggest day of your life? Anything is possible and we can confidently say that yes, one can have a wonderful wedding on an extremely tight budget.   Assuming you are willing tap into your resourcefulness, draw on your imagination and creativity, and think out of the box,  you will be able to have a beautiful day, and save the cash for your life together.
Note: The one thing that there’s no getting around spending money on is a marriage license which varies by state and county. You’ll typically spend between $35-$65 to obtain a marriage license.
1. Join blog giveaways.  There are thousands of blog giveaways daily, and most of them require a very simple “Facebook like” or a Retweet to enter. Spend ten minutes a day joining a handful of contests, and chances are if you join enough giveaways (especially of small up and coming blogs), you are bound to win something.
2. Search for free stuff online.  You’d be surprised at what you can find!
3.  Ask a local florist if you can use their leftover/discarded flower petals. 

Flower petal table decor. Image from The Knot

Flower petals make for wonderful and colorful decorations – from scattering them down the aisle or around a table, to filling up vases with them – the options are endless.

4. Choose a single stem bouquet. Select a single large bloom with a long stem and wrap the stem with some leftover ribbon from your Christmas stash.
5. Find a free location.  Perhaps a public park with  lots of tables and benches?  How about asking a friend/relative to use their home or backyard?
6. Electronic Invitations.  Unless you want to hand deliver printed invitations, you will have to pay for postage. So consider sending a beautifully designed electronic invitation for your wedding invitations and Save the Date cards.
7. Sign up for a free wedding website. Create an official page for your big day for no cost.
8. Find free printables online. You can download table cards, escort cards, menu cards, and even print free wedding invitations.
9. Ask a friend to become an ordained minister and officiate your ceremony.  It’s a simple process, and can be done online.
10. BYOB Food and Beverages. This might go against wedding etiquette, but if you really want free food and drinks, why not ask guests to bring a dish, appetizer or beverage in lieu of wedding gifts?
11. Make friends with a bartender. Ask a local bar to set aside empty bottles, which you can wash, remove the labels and turn into vases or water containers.
12. Borrow a dress. Use one of your own dresses or borrow one from a friend – no one said the dress has to be white.
13. DIY hair and makeup. YouTube has no shortage of hair and makeup how to’s – with enough practice, you can be a makeup pro!
14. Stock up on free samples. Pay a visit to cosmetic counters at department stores and stock up on free samples. Bare Essentials will make you a free trial size foundation, Nordstroms has Sample Saturdays.
15. Visit a bridal shop and look at longer length veils. Most of them have tears/holes and ask if you can have it (if it’s old, they’ll usually want to get rid of it). In return, tell them you will write a great review about the shop. You can cut and tailor the veil to a shorter length to suit your wedding look.
16. Borrow jewelry from a family member or friend. After all, you do need something borrowed right?
17. Wedding Bands. Etsy features an array of craftsmen with great items at very reasonable prices.
18. Tables, Chairs, and linens. Be eclectic with your style and mix and match tables, chairs, and linens. Use your own, and borrow some!
19. Let bridesmaids wear their own dresses. Everyone has a little black dress, or have them wear any solid color cocktail dress they have in their closet!
20. Plates, cups and napkins. If you borrow a few sets of plates and silverware from friends, you can go for a mix and match eclectic tabletop style.  Or, if you are willing to go plastic, Amazon has paper and plastic plates as well as silverware in a variety of styles and colors.
21. Use nature for decor ideas.  Pick lemons, limes or oranges for table centerpieces; or twigs, branches, dried leaves, stones for decor.

Tropical aisle decor, Shower the couple with blossoms, lemon centerpieces

22. Use items from around the house as decor.   Decorate your tables with frames containing pictures or your favorite love quotes, spray paint old jars white, bring an old armoire out for a dessert table. Your options are endless!
23. Collect jars. From mason jars to jam jars to apothecary jars – these all serve as beautiful decor for your table or dessert bar!
24. Crowdsource your photos. We all have a friend or two who is into photography, so ask them to bring their fancy cameras and snap away. Ask them to drop the photos into a free dropbox account.   
25. Get a coupon code (Shutterfly) to make a photo album for your wedding pics. Shutterfly always has great coupons and discounts!
26.Exchange services for advertising at wedding. Some people actually go out and find sponsors – from the dress to the cake to the flowers in exchange for advertisements – either on their invitations, favors or signs at the wedding. It’s not for everyone, but many a resourceful couples do go this route.
27. Make your own wedding playlist on your iPod or MP3 player. Borrow CDs from friends, or sign up for a free Spotify premium account for 30 days (after that it is $9.99 per month). You can find virtually every song, create your own playlists and on the big day, play them in offline mode without needing a wireless connection.
28. Use Pinterest.  Sign up, create some boards, and discover how to keep track of all your ideas and favorite websites!
29. Wear a suit. Forget the tux rental!
30. Grow your own flowers.  If you have the will, time, and space.  Send out save the dates and request your guests to send you a small package of flower seeds. Grow them and by the time of your wedding you will have a nice collection of flowers to use!
31. Visit your local dollar store, flea market or yard sale.  You never know what treasures for your wedding you will find!
32. Become a DIY Queen. You can make just about anything from veils to bouquets to favors. Yes, you’ll have to spend on materials and you’ll need to invest a decent amount of time, but in the end, DIY projects are personal, creative and cheap!
33. Go Get Funding. Yes, there is a website, GoGetFunding.com, where couples can raise money for their dream weddings. You’ll have to reward your sponsors and those who pledge somehow, but hey – it’s worth a shot!
34. Make Your Own Food. This will cost a bit of money, but if you recruit a few extra hands and stick to things that are in season you can make an assortment of small snacks very inexpensively. Family style pasta dishes, stand up weddings with heavy passed appetizers, or a light buffet will work beautifully.
35. Stay on top of Flash Sale sites.  Flash sale sites, wedding or non-wedding related, will have a variety of items for up to 80% off. Flash sales can last anywhere from 1 day to a week, so be sure to mark your calendar if you know of one happening.

36. Keep an eye on Ebay. You never know when someone will put up something fabulous and inexpensive on Ebay.

37. Get to know Etsy. A marketplace for handcrafted goods. And, Etsy even has a wedding section now!

38. Get coupons.  We recommend getting coupons from Michael’s, Joann’s Fabrics, Bed Bath and Beyond.  They will be your best friend should you pursue the DIY route as they are great for all the crafts and materials you will need.

39. Bust out those holiday lights. Add a little ambiance and light up your reception.

Christmas lights hung in strands from trees

40. Capture your guests photos. All guests need to do it download the free app on their iPhone or Android and enter your album code and their photos will save them onto your online (shareable) album and keepsake.

41. Make paper pinwheels out of crafting paper a friend/relative might have laying around. Adds color to your wedding and they are cute!
42. Make items serve two purposes. For example, have escort cards also be the wedding favor.
43.  Find a booze sponsor.  Beverage companies are always promoting new drinks at bars and clubs.  Negotiate by saying you will be serving them exclusively.
44. Register for Walmart or Costco gift cards. If you use it to buy alcohol, you can return the liquor you don’t drink at Costco.
45. Sangria – Even a “two-buck-chuck” will taste good when mixed with juice, sugar and lots of fruit! And your cocktails will look pretty too!
46. Barter for services. It might sound silly, but perhaps offer a few hours of tutoring services to a friend who happens to be an amazing violinist.
47. Paper lanterns. Paper lanterns make for beautiful decor.
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