What Can You Do To Make Sure Your Wedding Doesn’t Cost 20 Grand?

By Emma McGowan

It’s mid-summer and you know what that means: Wedding season is in full swing. It seems like everywhere I turn there are bachelorette parties parading around, people smooching in front of elaborate floral arrangements, and hideous bridesmaid’s outfits.

While I myself am not yet at the point where I’m ready to tie the knot, all of this wedding fervor has definitely gotten me thinking about the whole process. Not marriage itself, per se, but rather the ceremony and reception and the dress and…

All of it.

The thing that terrifies me the most is sheer amount of money people drop on these things. When I read sentences like “The average cost of a wedding in the United States is well over $20,000,” both my jaw and my heart drop.

Excuse me, what??

That is just too much money! I’m already in debt up to my eyeballs from getting that sacred college degree and the idea of going even further in the hole just to get hitched seems ridiculous to me. If you feel the same way but actually are prepping for your own “I dos,” here is my number one tip for keeping it all way below the $20,000 line.

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 5.59.16 PM

Forget the registry.

This might sound a little counterintuitive, but bear with me for a minute. The wedding registry was created to help people who were going directly from their parent’s house to living with a spouse. In that situation, you’ve got nothing at all to call your own by way of household goods, right?

In this day and age, there are very few of us who don’t live away from our parents before getting married. Instead of asking your friends to buy you expensive gifts, why not ask them to pitch in however they can? Maybe they’re an awesome cook or prep cook to help the awesome cook or a musician or they love decorating or they have a really beautiful summer home that they’re willing to loan you for the ceremony.

Sit down and make a list of your friends and their skills. See if you can find people to fill these eleven roles and I bet you can get your wedding costs down to a minimum:


__ Baker

__ Cook

__ Photographer

__ Flower arranger/Decorator

__ Musician or DJ

__ Bartender

__ Artist (to design and/or make the invites)

__ Friend who owns an awesome space to throw the party in

__ Caterer

__ Seamstress or awesome discount shopper to help with your dress

__ Hairdresser

If you can manage to fill every single one of those roles, what do you have left to pay for? And even if you fill only a couple of them, you’re still saving some serious cash.

Twenty thousand dollars?? Please!

Photo Credits

Nuno Duarte/Flickr


  1. the loan arranger

    Can you please check your links? Sorry for going off topic but Leave a Reply and the loan arranger keeps redirecting me.

    1. Which links are having trouble with, specifically?

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