It’s a moment many soon-to-be brides and grooms fear: looking over the numbers and realizing they’re dangerously close to the maximum of their wedding budget – or worse, over budget.

“Budget busting” happens during the wedding planning process pretty frequently, so if you’re planning a wedding now, you’re not the only one thinking about it. But don’t worry yourself into a panic, because there are some ways to cut back and avoid derailing your budget.

The event specialists at Crystal Gardens Banquet Center work with budgets of every size, and they have seen some of the most common budget busters couples spend money on. With this experience, they gathered a list of budget-cutting guidelines, and some tactful ways to scale back and save money before the wedding.

A Few General Guidelines

  1. First thing to keep in mind: what you can cut back on will depend on where you are in the wedding planning process.
  2. If you’ve signed a contract and paid a deposit, you can’t back out just to save money. There are other ways to cut back!
  3. Trust the professionals — in this case, wedding planners or your vendors. Ask for their advice, because they may help you find ways to scale back by re-prioritizing the budget.

Budget Busters

Try scaling back on….

Paper materials and postage

Think about skipping printed paper materials like programs, place cards, and menus. If you’re battling your budget, these become things you don’t need. While it’s a nice touch, your guests can find their table with a displayed seating chart, and they don’t necessarily need to know what’s on the menu.

Crystal Gardens- Howell, MI - Budget Busters

Think of things you can do digitally and online — like creating a wedding website to post things like the menu, and the details of events, lodging, and transportation. Guests can even RSVP on your website, or by email. This saves a ton of money on postage.

Cake and desserts

Get a small cake to cut as a couple and serve guests a variety of small desserts. Or, do an alternative specialty dessert, like a candy buffet or a donut wall. If you want to have a big cake as your main dessert, order a few less servings than expected guests — there’s almost always cake leftover.

Crystal Gardens- Howell, MI - Budget Busters


The best way to save money on flowers is to make every arrangement multi-use. Repurpose them by taking the “wow” piece from the altar and putting it at the escort card table. Take your bridesmaids’ bouquets and place them in empty vases around the room. Simply shortening the centerpieces can save you a ton of money, too. Tall centerpieces on average cost approximately 50 to 60 percent more than shorter ones. Eliminate height of the floral displays, and accent with intimate candle lighting.

Crystal Gardens- Howell, MI - Budget Busters

As far as affordable flower choices go, roses are reasonably priced all year long, and carnations are one of the most cost-effective flowers available. Ask your florist to fill your centerpieces and bouquets with natural fillers and greenery, like fern and pine.

Crystal Gardens- Howell, MI - Budget Busters


Search the internet and Pinterest for centerpieces you can make yourself, specifically with fairly-priced items, like burlap, mason jars, natural wood, candles, real greenery — you don’t always need flowers to make beautiful centerpieces. Look for resale items from places like antique stores, thrift shops, and online marketplaces.

Crystal Gardens- Howell, MI - Budget Busters

Rehearsal Dinner

The main focus should be the wedding day, not the rehearsal dinner. Don’t feel the need to make it a big affair. Keep it strictly to those who need to be there—like the wedding party, family, flower girl and ring bearer. Catering a big meal isn’t necessary, either. Have a potluck and save the fancy meal and celebrations for the day that matters most.

Crystal Gardens- Howell, MI - Budget Busters

Keep an eye on these budget busters as you plan your wedding, and use this list as a guide if you need ideas on ways to cutback. If you need more wedding planning resources, read more of our blogs. Or contact us today to start putting together your dream wedding! You can reach our event coordinators by email or phone at 877-545-1002.