Over the last five years as an officiant, I have seen a slight trend toward creative ways to save money. All couples want the day to reflect their taste and style, and their marriage to reflect who they are as a couple. That said, some of my couples have come up with some great ways to meet those goals.

1. One tremendous way to save money is to skip the engagement ring, or as some couples have done, both wear your chosen wedding ring on your right hands until your wedding day whereupon you change them to your left hand.  The reasons to skip an engagement ring are as varied as the couples choosing to do so.  Some women don’t want a ring if their male partner isn’t going to get one.  Others find the tradition anti-feminist.  For some, of course, it’s a financial issue.  What I hear in those situations the most is that they both realize that the expense of the ring will be drawn from their future to a certain degree.  A marriage is a blending of many things, and for some it’s the first time finances are merged. When a couple is about to save toward a down payment, a honeymoon, or their education, a ring expense can seem unnecessary.

2. Destination weddings! I used to think of a destination wedding as much more expensive than hometown weddings, but have learned otherwise. Usually, the list is dropped to nearly half of who would have come otherwise and while the couple tends to spend money on helping very close family members get to the wedding, the cost once they are there is drastically dropped.  A solution to feeling like not everyone is there who should be is hosting a picnic or low key party with pictures from the day for all to see when you return home.  Another benefit to destination weddings is that if your budget has been reduced by the lack of guests, you can put more funds toward the other things that matter to you, bringing vendors you have fallen for with you, or spending extra nights at the destination.

3. Making the rehearsal dinner for immediate family and wedding party only can save money and also allow you to spend time with those closest to you before being surrounded by potentially 75% of your wedding guests who have flown in.  As an out-of-towner (and depending on the time of my flight!), I am sometimes relieved that when I get in I can just crash or explore the new area with my husband.  What tends to happen in these situations is that friends who would have typically gotten together at the rehearsal dinner might all head out to their own dinner or drinks, sometimes joined later on by the bride and groom.

4. Speaking of your wedding party – one way to save money (for you and your potential party members) is to not have a wedding party. This is a shift I have seen the most of. It is a way to save your closest friends and family money, and yourself in terms of gifts.  Money isn’t the only reason not to have a wedding party; sometimes the politics of it all just feel like too much, and so many brides have been in wedding parties that ended one friendship between the bride and an attendant that it doesn’t feel worth the risk.  In my experience, friends still come together to do the group events that help you shift into the wedding spirit like a girls trip or a shower.

5. Borrow a friend’s wedding gown or veil.  My dress was used once besides my own day and my veil was used two or three times. It felt great to see it worn and get more use!

Have a great wedding!