You’ve got the ring and set a date, and now comes the fun part…wedding planning! And if you’ve already begun, you’re probably aware that a wedding can be one of the biggest expenses in a couple’s life. Cost of Wedding reported that the average wedding now costs over $26,000! But have no fear, you can still have your dream wedding, even if you don’t have a dream wedding budget. Here are some tips on how to plan your wedding while keeping down the cost.
1. Only invite people who truly care about your marriage
Our first tip is to be selective with your guest list. Remember what a wedding is truly about – making vows in front of people who will be there to support your marriage to demonstrate your commitment to each other. Most venues charge per person, so this is one way to cut down on the overall expense you’ll incur. You can cut out specific groups all together, like kids or co-workers to help avoid any political uncomfortableness.
2. Save money with DIY elements
You can still create the wedding you always wanted by getting creative. Try your hand at arranging your own flowers. You can also DIY your own wedding favors, or even be your own DJ by renting your own speakers and plugging in your playlist.
3. Ask your friends or network for referrals
If you prefer a live band or DJ, ask your friends – there are a lot of musicians out there willing to help at a lower cost than a traditional wedding DJ or band. You can also find a local photography student or friend who’s willing to work for a fraction of the cost of a traditional wedding photographer.
Network to find referrals so you can try to get the friends and family discount! You can also try to barter or trade if you have any skills that you could offer to help out with their business.
4. Book off-season to get a discount
Many venues lower their prices when they are in their off-season and raise their prices when they are in their busiest season. It’s simple supply and demand. The beauty of this move is that if you book off-season (let’s say a lovely fall or winter wedding), you can give your friends a break from not having to attend and shop for a series of weddings in one short time period.
Also look for less traditional wedding venues, like a park, art gallery, or the beach – something that has some meaning to you. Keep in mind that if the space doesn’t have tables and chairs, you’ll need to add that cost in to give yourself a true apples to apples comparison.
5. Book your wedding any day other than Saturday
The day of the week that you choose to book your wedding can also impact your cost. Saturday is one of the most popular days to hold a wedding, and also the most expensive. If you choose a venue that can hold both your ceremony and reception, you can save both time and money. Your vendors that you’re paying by the hour won’t have to drive back and forth between venues.
6. Buy flowers in-season
Buying flowers in season can bring down the cost significantly. Try to stick with one or two types of flowers that are currently in season, and opt for bigger flowers that stand out to reduce the amount you spend on arrangements.
7. Go paperless to save money on your invitations
A new trend that’s popping up is the option to go digital with your invitations. Many people are now creating wedding websites where they share their wedding story and photos and allow people to leave comments and well wishes. One wedding I was invited to asked people to send money as their wedding gift to help pay for the couple’s honeymoon, and provided a link to their online fund to make it easier for their guests. This will help you save on paper/stationary costs and allow you to organizing your guest list with ease.
If you can’t let go of the traditional paper invite system, skip ordering custom invites and order a DIY printable from a number of websites out there and customize certain aspects to make it your own. If you have a friend that’s artistic, they may be able to create an amazing and custom invite for you too!
8. Create a signature drink
Instead of offering a full bar at your shindig, opt to create a signature wedding cocktail that shows off your personality as a couple. This will help bring your theme to life, and can help you cut down on the cost of multiple bottles of alcohol. Some people even set a time limit on their open bar for the first hour or so, and then move to a cash bar for the later hours.
Saving money on your wedding doesn’t have to look cheap. Use your own creativity to create the wedding of your dreams. That way you won’t start off your marriage in serious debt, and can save money for a down payment on a house instead. Keep in mind what a wedding is really all about if you start having a bridezilla moment – it’s a party to celebrate your love and commitment to each other. It will be over so fast – so enjoy each and every moment!
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