Everyone knows that weddings cost a lot of money. But did you know that some people actually make money off of their wedding? On Loud Bride, wedding finance topics aren’t taboo. So let’s spill the tea on how they did it.
In general, yes, you can make money on your wedding. Weddings don’t have to cost a fortune and drain your savings. It’s possible to break even or make a profit on your wedding to put towards a down payment on a house or your honeymoon.
Once upon a time, previous generations of brides and grooms expected to break even on their weddings as the rule. A small backyard party with cash gifts from guests was a recipe for success to set a newly-wed couple up for a downpayment or emergency fund to start their new lives together. With rising costs and expectations of what a wedding should be, that has become more and more of a rarity. But it’s still possible to end up net positive instead of in debt after a wedding. Keep reading for how you can do the same.
We asked couples on Facebook and Reddit how they made money from their weddings and got quite a few responses. Some wanted to remain anonymous so we’ve kept their information private. Here are the main ways they made it happen:
Spend Less Than Your Wedding Budget
Many couples have contributions from both sides towards their wedding budget. And that gives them an opportunity to spend less money than they are getting from family and close friends.
One bride from Canada told us that they were able to leverage family gifts and a scaled back wedding to put more money towards their down payment on a house. They received a few generous gifts from the bride’s parents, the groom’s mother and step-dad, and even the groom’s grandmother, who offered to pay for the wedding dress.
“We were planning on having the big wedding where we invite everyone we know, but the cost for that was creeping up…we also want to buy a house in the near future and want home ownership more than a splashy wedding”A bride from Canada
Ultimately, they decided to invite fewer guests in order to put some of the money towards a down payment on a house. So they are in the black for their wedding even before they consider gifts from guests.
This works incredibly well if you have relatives contributing to pay for your wedding in general. If you’d rather use the money towards another expense or investment, do it! I’m not advising you to lie to your family. Be honest with them that you appreciate the gift towards your future as a bride and groom and you’re planning to use it towards your honeymoon, future downpayment, emergency fund, etc. Most of your loved ones won’t have a problem with this.
If you have a family member who is insisting that they pay for a specific piece of the wedding, like your dress or an engagement party or a rehearsal dinner, this can be a little trickier. Approach them with the knowledge of what that would cost and ask if they would be willing to put that money towards a future expense instead. Most of your loved ones will agree that just because they can contribute $10,000 towards a dress doesn’t mean that’s the best use of that money. If you’re willing to find a $2,000 dress and put the rest towards a downpayment on a home, they should be excited about that for you as well.
Have a Micro Wedding
Not everyone has the luxury of significant cash gifts towards their wedding budget. If you don’t, it doesn’t mean you can’t make money on your wedding. Another way to hack your wedding budget is to look at your savings and intended wedding budget and weigh it against an alternative – the micro wedding.
A micro wedding is where you have a lot of the traditional elements of a wedding such as a photographer, wedding dress, and flowers, but drastically reduce the guest list to just immediate family and some close friends. It’s a great way to have an instagrammable day without going into debt. It also alleviates a lot of the stress of wedding planning.
For more information about why reducing the guest list has such a huge impact on the wedding costs, read my post on Wedding Costs Per Person.
Several brides on Facebook mentioned that having a smaller wedding and spending less was good for their wallets and was less stressful. Spending less is a surefire way to keep your costs down and you have a better chance of keeping some of the gifts you received from friends and family members. Instead of sending the check straight to your vendors.
“Courthouse wedding and dinner and drinks for 8 people at a restaurant. It is WAY cheaper- and we are having the MOST fun! We are still getting a photographer but now we are picking the food WE like, the beautiful downtown courthouse WE like, etc. It took away alllllll the stress and now we are just over the moon!”Katie A.
DIY Your Decorations
A lot of couples have attempted to DIY their wedding decor but fewer have thought about how to sell them to other couples after the fact. If you’re able to flip some vintage finds as part of your planning, you could end up with a nice side hustle to support your wedding costs and even turn a profit.
One bride we spoke to refinished church pews for her wedding and ended up with a $700 profit. The rest of her décor sold for 75% of what she paid for it, helping to recoup those costs and contributing to her profit.
“I ended up selling the majority of my wedding decor for at least 75% of what I paid.”Rebekkah B.
But be careful of this approach because not everything will sell for a high price. Rebekkah B. thought the wood arch she paid $250 for would net her more than the $150 she sold it for. She realized later she could have DIY’d it for only $30.
Take a look on Facebook marketplace, craigslist or talk to your local antique store to what items tend to sell and how much. Use this as a guide to see how much you could recoup or make a profit on.
Turn A Wedding Skill Into a Business
When going down the DIY rabbit hole, you may discover a new hobby or develop a skill. I myself designed my own wedding invitations and that inspired me to make wedding invitations for other people. Over the years, I’ve made back what I spent on my wedding and more. Other brides have done the same.
One bride we spoke to on Reddit developed a passion for letterpress printing. She intends to create a line of bespoke stationary and make enough money to pay for her wedding and post-COVID wedding party.
“I’m on my way. I purchased a letterpress for my invitations and am now shifting to bespoke wedding stationary since I have it. The plan is to make back the wedding costs to pay for the post covid bash.”Areyouthready on reddit
While not a short-term strategy, you may just find a life long passion and recoup your costs over time.
Make Your Wedding A Branding Opportunity
This requires some planning and outreach. But you could be the lucky bride or groom chosen for a sponsored wedding! You can enter contests, try your shot on a show like Four Weddings, or use your social media following to score some brand deals.
Check out this bride and groom who got married at a Taco Bell in California. As winners of the Taco Bell Love and Tacos contest, the couple knew what they were getting into. The venue, decor, bouquet, attire, and of course the food was all from Taco Bell.
If you’re a fast foodie, there are a number of branded venues where you can have a unique wedding. Denny’s, Taco Bell and White Castle all have restaurants in Las Vegas that offer wedding packages. It won’t be sponsored but it will still be fun and a lot cheaper than traditional wedding venues.
Couples will large followings or industry connections have the opportunity to broker deals with vendors in order to offset the costs of their wedding. This is not an invitation for any bride with a few thousand followers to ask vendors for free stuff in exchange for exposure. If you have a scalable opportunity for a business to reach relevant and qualified leads, consider putting together a proposal that’s mutually beneficial.
For example, a connection who is launching a new brand of tequila would probably love to throw a few bottles your way in exchange for signage promoting the brand as part of your signature drink at a venue they’ve been dying to get as a distributor. Finding these types of symbiotic relationships will take some time and luck but it is possible.
Have A Pre-Wedding Fundraiser
We’re not talking about a Go Fund Me for your wedding… In some cultures it is perfectly acceptable to offset the costs of the wedding by having a pre-wedding fundraiser. A bride from Canada shared the details of this useful tradition on Facebook.
“We have a somewhat unique concept in parts of Canada where you have a fundraiser prior to your wedding to help offset costs. We haven’t had ours yet but we have one planned for March. In our area they’re called shags…Other areas call them stags and does or socials.”Amber S.
According to Wikipedia, this cultural event is popular mostly in Manitoba or Ontario. It is intended to raise money for a couple for their future wedding or honeymoon. “In Southern Ontario it may be called a stag and doe, or buck and doe, and in Northwestern Ontario it is called a shag. In Manitoba, this is often called a social or wedding social with less fundraising pressure than seen in Ontario.” Guests buy tickets to the event for entertainment, food, and drink in order to fund their entrance.
The closest concept we have in the United States is an engagement party. Consider using any cash gifts you receive from the engagement party towards your wedding costs. Or throw a “shag party” of your own. Use language like, “You’re Invited to a Shag Party. Gifts are encouraged to help us offset the costs of our wedding but not required” and have a relative host so it doesn’t seem like uncouth money grab.
Then for your actual wedding, make sure guests know that gifts are not required on the actual day with language such as, “No Gifts, Please. Your presence is enough.” This is great way to get some funding upfront to help with your wedding budget planning without offending your guests.
Start a Side Hustle
If you need to offset some costs quickly, consider getting a temporary part time job or side hustle to earn extra income towards your wedding. Nothing wrong with a little hustle if it means you don’t have to take out a loan or go into credit card debt. Two things you should never do for a wedding.
We got some great ideas on Facebook from brides for short-term side jobs that could help pay for your wedding and more.
- Clean houses
- Sell baked goods
- Sell crafts
- Sell used items (clothes on poshmark, furniture, other household items)
- Uber / Uber Eats or other delivery service
- Dog sitting
- Make Up / Hair styling
- Bartender / waiter
A lot of folks suggested opening an Etsy shop, starting a YouTube channel or blog in order to make money for your wedding. Personally, I would be wary of starting a side hustle like that to pay for a wedding. They take a longer time than you think to start making money. It’s worth it if you’re willing to put in a lot of time to get things up and running and want a longer term job but it’s not a way to get rich quick for most people.
You can check out my free budget guide if you sign up for my newsletter. It automatically calculates what you should spend where based on your budget and guest count and helps you stay on track. It’s like the fairy godmother of numbers.
Did these ideas inspire you to view your wedding as an opportunity instead of drain on your bank account? Share your plans for how you budgeted and paid for your wedding on Facebook in our exclusive, free group: Bold On A Budget Weddings.