According to a recent survey conducted by The Knot, the average cost of a wedding is now up to more than $31,000. It’s enough to make you want to elope. Almost. How do you deal with that? What if your parents aren’t helping with the costs or you can’t afford a wedding in that price range? Is eloping your best option?

Whether or not you choose to elope is up to you, but you don’t need that much money to plan a beautiful wedding. To keep your budget at a manageable level, follow these three tips.


Start by making a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Must-haves are those things that are essential to the ceremony and reception. They likely include:

  • A venue
  • A dress
  • An officiate
  • Marriage license
  • DJ
  • Photographer

Nice-to-haves are those things that would be added bonuses if you could afford them, but they’re not essential to the day. These items include:

  • Chocolate fountain
  • Photo booth
  • Ice sculpture
  • Candy table
  • Extra special linens
  • Videographer

What’s the end goal?

At the end of the wedding, what do you want to have happened? You want to be married, and you want to have lasting memories for you and your guests. With those end goals in mind, select the items on your prioritized lists based on how much you have to spend. Would you rather have a more expensive venue if it means having to cut your guest list, or would you be happier in the long run to have the ceremony at your church and invite those 20 extra people? It’s your day, but keep the end goal in mind.

Costs you can cut

Even if an item is on your must-haves list, there are some cost cutting tips you can use. For example, instead of paying to rent a limousine and driver, use a family member’s classic car and have a friend be the chauffeur. The end goal is classy transportation, and there’s more than one way for that to happen.

Be more selective about who you invite. More people require larger venues. More people cost more per head for catering. You don’t have to invite everyone you’ve ever met. It should be an intimate occasion that you share with your closest family and friends.

Instead of hiring a band for the reception, hire a DJ. A professional DJ with add-ons (e.g. lights, photo booth, etc.) costs in the neighborhood of $1,000 while a band will cost you anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000. Additionally, a DJ provides a variety of music, gives you an emcee to make announcements throughout the reception, and has a more controllable volume level.

A note about the Cutting Edge Entertainment business model

You might notice that our DJ costs are less than some of our competitors. Rest assured that savings does not mean less quality for you. We simply have a different business model. We have multiple DJs so we can provide services to multiple events simultaneously. That model allows us to give you a high quality experience at a lower cost. Sometimes you really do get more than you bargained for.

Cut some costs; don’t cut out the wedding! Use the money you save as the down payment on your first house.