The memories that you make on your wedding day with your significant other, family, and friends are priceless. There is a reason that couples say that their wedding day is one of the best days of their entire life! Making the wedding of your dreams a reality often involves a lot of financial planning and number crunching. Creating and sticking to a wedding budget is all about setting your priorities and using your money wisely. The Lightner Museum is here to help! We’re sharing a few of our favorite wedding cost-saving tips.



Be Flexible With Your Wedding Date

Did you know that the wedding date that you choose can have an impact on your overall wedding cost? Here at the Lightner Museum, our pricing is based on your event needs, as well as the day of the week and the time of the year.  Many other vendors also vary their pricing based on peak and off-peak demand times, so make sure to do your research before picking your date!


Look for Special Booking Offers from Vendors

Every now and then, vendors offer special booking offers, such as discounted rates on packages or additional upgrades. It never hurts to ask if there are any specials that you can take advantage of. Everybody likes more bang for their buck!

The Lightner Museum often has specials available for booking. Contact our team, or check out our Specials page to ask about our current offers!


Hire a Wedding Planner

There is a reason that many wedding venues (including the Lightner) require that you hire an outside wedding planner. Not only does your wedding planner make sure that every detail of your wedding day goes off without a hitch, but they can also end up saving you a few extra bucks at the end of the day. Wedding planners spend years building relationships with other vendors and often receive special pricing breaks on certain services. Sometimes planners also have decor items like chargers, candles, signage, and other items that you can rent for a minimal fee, rather than having to purchase these items on your own (and probably never using them again)! Besides the more tangible wedding cost savings that a planner can assist with, they also save a huge amount of time–and time is money, right? On the big day, you can rest easy knowing you and your honey can spend all your time together while your coordinator handles the rest!


Wedding portraits in side courtyard of the Lightner Museum

Chris Glen Photography


Choose a Venue With Flexible Catering Options

With certain venues, you can be locked into using a single in-house caterer. Did you know that these caterers often have a much higher price per guest than if you were to use an outside caterer? Here at Lightner Museum, we have an absolutely fabulous list of catering companies for you to choose from. This allows you to compare prices and options on your own, and find a wedding caterer who best meets your needs and taste buds.

Make sure to ask your caterer about the benefits and drawbacks of the different types of food service. The pricing of buffets, stations, and plated meals can vary depending on factors like the number of guests, the quantity of servers, the number of tables, and the variety of menu items chosen.


A Vibrant and Simple Wedding

Photographer: Monarch Studio, Catering: Chef’s Garden


weddings savings tips

Photographer: Sarahdipity Photography, Caterer: D’Vine Cuisine


Host Your Wedding Ceremony and Reception in the Same Location

Hosting your ceremony and reception in the same location can lower your wedding cost in several ways. First, moving 100+ guests and vendors from one location to another in a short amount of time often requires that you rent additional transportation, which can rack up a few hundred extra dollars. Some vendors charge an extra fee when the ceremony and reception are in two separate locations.

Another cost to consider when hosting a ceremony and reception in different locations is the additional decor and rentals that may be needed. Certain rental items can’t be moved from the ceremony venue to the reception venue–especially if time is tight–which means that you will have to make sure you have twice as many available. Additionally, hosting your ceremony and reception in the same venue often means that you can save on costs by repurposing floral arrangements and arches as a part of your reception decor.


Wedding reception at the Lightner Museum | Kristen and Mike | A Love Story Written in the Stars

Photographer: Agnes Lopez Photography, String Lights and Rentals: St. Johns Illuminations


wedding ceremony inside the Lightner Museum

Photographer: Agnes Lopez Photography, String Lights and Rentals: St. Johns Illuminations


Take Advantage of Sweet Savings on Your Wedding Cake

If you have a large guest count, consider doing a smaller display cake and having a large sheet cake in the back that can be served to guests. You can also talk to your cake baker about options for displaying a “dummy cake” – a beautiful cake on the outside with foam or other non-organic filler on the inside. Dummy cakes can often be 10%-20% off of the cost of a real cake. Another way to save on cake costs is to use organic flowers in place of sugar flowers, which can be labor intensive. You can also think outside of the box and look into other sweet options as an alternative to a wedding cake. To reduce their wedding cost, we have had couples serve yummy treats like doughnuts, cookies, cake pops, or cupcakes instead of the traditional wedding cake.


Wedding reception at the Lightner Museum | Kristen and Mike | A Love Story Written in the Stars

Photographer: Agnes Lopez Photography, String Lights and Rentals: St. Johns Illuminations


A Vibrant and Simple Wedding

Photographer: Monarch Studio, Desserts: Creme de la Cocoa


Choose a Venue That Needs Minimal Décor

During your venue search, you may find yourself deciding between two options: a venue that is beautiful on its own and uses a larger amount of your budget, or a lower budget venue that needs more decor to make it fit your vision. It can be easy to underestimate the cost of items like draping, lighting, furniture, and elaborate floral displays. These costs can add up quickly!

We don’t mean to brag (okay, maybe we do!) but Lightner Museum is just so beautiful that you don’t need to break the bank to make it look incredible on your wedding day. Many of your rental items are also included with the venue rental fee.


wedding savings tips

Sarahdipity Photography


*Pricing and special offers are subject to change.

**Military and student discounts cannot be combined with other offers.