Ways We Saved Money On Our Wedding:

Weddings can be expensiveeeee. 

The biggest costs for a wedding are usually the venue, food, and alcohol. If you’re on a tight budget, the best thing you can do is save in these areas by finding a less expensive venue that allows you to bring your own food and alcohol (you can find a much less costly options this way instead of being confined to the venue’s provided options at their provided cost).

We opted for the venue of our dreams & they were all inclusive. But we still did minimize costs in a few areas that no one really missed:

1. Mostly Digital Invitations

We did not mail out Save the Dates – we just texted people to not make plans on our date. And we didn’t even mail out invitations to most people haha.

Realistically, I figured that most of our guests would end up throwing a physical invitation in the trash. Therefore spending money on that paper & mailing out said paper out didn’t seem like the best investment. 

So instead, we prepared a wedding website with all our wedding information on it. And then we emailed out that link with the below message:

Caili Chung Utah Wedding Photographer


We decided to avoid mailing out physical wedding invitations & instead keep things as digital as possible. Please consider the below URL your formal invitation haha. All information & RSVP can be found at that link. It’s phone-friendly but easier to read on a computer 🙂 


Please let me know if you have any questions. We’re looking forward to getting together all of our favorite people <3 


Caili & Igor”

Additional notes that we included in the email depending on who we were sending it to

  • “We are also hosting dinner on DATE-BEFORE-THE-WEDDING for out-of-state guests at LOCATION at TIME. If you’re able to make it and flying in the day before, we would love to see you as much as possible!”
  • “We also are doing brunch in on Sunday morning (DATE AFTER THE WEDDING) with all our family at LOCATION at TIME.”

Click here to read about what to include on a wedding website

Digital RSVPS were also much easier to track than a physical one! And more convenient for our guests as well.

However, we did print 25 physical wedding invitations. Two of these we saved for the photographer’s detail photos. And the rest were mailed to

  1. grandparent-generation invitees who would not only expect a physical invitation & struggle hard with the technology of a website haha
  2. Guests who do save physical wedding invitation/other pretty paper forever

This significantly cut down on the total cost of inviting people to our big day 🙂 

2. No Bridesmaids & Groomsmen

This decision made sense for us relationally – we didn’t want to go through the process of having to choose certain friends & exclude others. But it also made sense for everyone financially. 

We did not have to pay for any friend’s hair & makeup, bridesmaid bouquets (these are not cheap!), boutonnieres, or gifts. And our friends did not have to pay for matching outfits either! 

My best friends still threw me a bachelorette party. And Igor still went on a guys trip/bachelor’s party with his best friends, too. 

I invited a few of my best friends to get ready with me on the morning of the wedding. And I still bought my closest friends “bridesmaids presents” just because I wanted to. But Igor, who doesn’t enjoy or care about coordinating things like that, did not because that was more simple.

3. Repurposed Flowers

My priorities for the wedding were 1. all our guests having a fabulous time and 2. photos of everyone having a fabulous time. So while I love gorgeous flowers, they don’t last long & weren’t something I was willing to spend as much money on, relative to other things.

We hired a florist for the bride’s bouquet, groom’s boutonniere, and four floral installations on the ground during my ceremony. After I was done taking family photos, my bouquet became a centerpiece at the sweethearts’ table. And the floor installations got moved to decorate the sweethearts’ table & dessert tables.

5. Less Cake

We had over 100 people attend our wedding, but our cake was only big enough for 50 servings.

We did this because:

  1. We’re not the biggest cake people anyway
  2. We offered other desserts like pistachio creme brûlée and cheesecake mousse
  3. It’s easier to keep a cake moist and delicious when it’s smaller
  4. Often, there is so much wedding cake that is leftover and ends up wasted
  5. Cost less $

6. Skipped Party Favors

No one missed them! Seriously, I can’t tell you how many wedding I’ve been to where there are so many party favors leftover at the end of the night!

7. Being Intention About Who We Invited

Your guest list is the biggest contributing factor to how much your wedding costs. Here are a few traditional wedding things that cost more money per individual person who attends: 

  • How many invitations you need to print
  • How much mailing out said invitation costs
  • Amount of hor d’oeuvres you pay for
  • Servings of dinner you pay for
  • Servings of cake you pay for
  • Alcohol each person consumes
  • Once your guest list hits a certain number, you may need to hire additional bartenders/other staff to serve so many people
  • Our venue provided silverware, plates & glasses for us – but if your venue doesn’t, then renting/preparing those
  • Same with chairs & tables

And luckily, Igor & I were on the same page – we weren’t interested in inviting acquaintances. We wanted to be surrounded by people who not only, uh, knew us but actually loved and cared about us. And vice versa. 

–> Planning a wedding can be overwhelming! But I gotchu 😉 After going to so many events as a photographer, I’ve got plenty of recommendations and experience with everything wedding-related. Click here to learn more about the Caili Chung Photography Wedding Experience <3

For Brides


Ways We Saved Money On Our Wedding:

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