A wedding is truly a special occasion in which love and the union of two souls are celebrated in all the glitz and glam.
Most of us ladies have dreamt of a perfect wedding ever since we first experienced love. However, planning a dream wedding isn’t a cheap affair.
Am I right?… And that’s probably why you’re here (awesome!).
As you’ll soon find out, a wedding is one, if not, the most expensive event that you’ll ever organize. In fact, according to The Wedding Report Inc, Americans spend an average of $30,000 per wedding and this figure has been increasing gradually with each year.
You and I do not want to spend that much!
Fortunately, with the right tips, you can still pull off your perfect day and stay under budget. You and your guests can enjoy a memorable experience without having to break the bank.
As a young budding couple, you definitely have many financial goals, such as down payment on your future home, paying off student loans and others, hence, the last thing you’d need is running into debt trying to throw a huge, expensive and over-the-top wedding.
No! That would not be good.
Not only can this seriously affect your financial goals, but it also strains your relationship.
When planning a wedding, there are lots of factors to consider all of which add up to the overall costs of your wedding or the wedding you are planning, whether it is for your daughter or friend.
In this piece, we are going to take a look at some of the best ways to keep your wedding expenses down while maximizing the experience. A successful wedding on a budget requires combined efforts of all the parties involved. You should seek and accept all the assistance you can get, close friends and family should be a major part of the planning process.
So, here we go…
Top tips on how to plan a wedding on a budget
1. Keep The Guest List As Intimate As Possible
One of the major factors that affect the cost of a wedding is the number of guests. You should realize that taking care of your guests’ needs will take up a huge chunk of your budget. With each additional head at your party, the higher the expenses. What’s more, an increased number of guests reduces the intimacy of your wedding.
You might feel obligated to invite an old friend that you haven’t communicated with for years or a work colleague that you aren’t really that close with, but that isn’t usually a wise idea. Try limiting your guest list to close friends and family members. Consider the people that matter most to you that you wouldn’t do without at your wedding. This will not only make your wedding more intimate, but it will also significantly help to cut down on the costs.
2. Choosing A Wedding Venue
One of the most significant expenses when planning a wedding is the venue. Traditionally, renting a wedding venue is usually allocated around 20% of the budget. However, there are numerous ways in which you can significantly lower the costs of acquiring a venue.
Hold The Reception At Home
You might have overlooked this fact, but your home and outdoors hold so much potential of being an excellent wedding venue. This is especially so if you are holding the event just for close friends and family as discussed in the point above. A well maintained and manicured backyard requires little extra decoration and with just a few touches, it can be transformed into a stunning wedding venue. If it isn’t possible to turn your home into a wedding venue then you can ask your friend if you can use theirs. This helps to eliminate the cost of renting a venue.
Another major advantage of using your home or your friend’s home and backyard as a wedding venue is that the guests can come with their own drinks and food. Many venues do not allow people to come with outside food and drinks. Hence, when you hold your reception at home, you also save on catering costs.
Choose A Venue That Is Licensed To Carry Out Civil Ceremonies
Another way to save on costs is to hold your ceremony and reception at the same venue. Hiring cars and transportation means for your guests to move from the ceremony to the reception venue can lead to significant costs. Hence, it is wise to choose a venue that is also licensed to carry out civil ceremonies.
3. Consider A Weekday Or An Out-Of-Season Date
When it comes to planning a wedding on a strict budget, timing matters. The months of June to August are the peak months for weddings while January and February are the least popular. In addition, Saturdays are the most popular days for holding weddings.
By breaking the mold, you and your partner can realize significant savings on costs. By choosing a weekday or an out-of-season date, you can save as much as $6,000, considering the fact that the average wedding costs $30,000.
4. How To Save On Your Wedding Dress
If you take a look at your local bridal shops, you’ll definitely be astonished at the price of a new wedding dress. Wedding dresses are quite expensive, however, you can still be the belle of the ball even if you are on a budget.
One of the best ways to save on your wedding dress and still be the most stunning person at the event is by renting or buying your wedding dress from a second-hand retailer. There are sites that you can find a pre-owned designer dress at a fraction of the price of a new one. Your guests won’t even realize that it isn’t a new one.
Borrow A Loved One’s Wedding Dress
If the theme of your wedding is vintage, you can benefit greatly from borrowing your mother’s, aunt’s or grandmother’s wedding dress if it has been well preserved over the years. You can also borrow the gown of your sister or friend who’s recently had a wedding, but you also have to consider if it fits you perfectly.
5. Buy Dresses On Sale
Ordering custom dresses for your bridesmaids can be quite expensive. However, you can save on significant costs by buying from stores with dresses on sale. Watch out for mid-season and end-season sales at favorite retailers and you can save as much as 30% on select brands.
6. How To Save On Wedding Invites
With a little computer knowledge, you can save on the costs of wedding stationery and postage. You can make use of websites such as Evite and Punchbowl to send invitations. What’s more, these sites also enable to manage RSVPs which helps to organize your guest list.
Make Your Own Invitations
Bespoke wedding invitations can cost you hundreds of dollars. However, with a quality printer, you can be able to make your own simple and classy wedding invitations. There are lots of templates online that you can modify and print.
7. Make Use Of Your Friends’ Skills And Talents
As discussed earlier, a successful budget wedding requires the active involvement of your friends and family. If someone close to you is a photographer, videographer, DJ, caterer, or musician, then they’ll gladly embrace the opportunity to contribute to your wedding. Hiring the above professionals comes with hefty fees, hence, if you are able to utilize your friends’ skills, then you can save on significant costs.
8. Stock Up On Your Own Alcohol
Alcohol is usually a huge expense during weddings. However, there are various ways you can cut alcohol costs. For example, instead of a full open bar, you can opt to offer just some types of beer and of wine.
You can also choose a venue with a no corkage policy which allows you and your guests to bring their own drinks at the venue. This way, you can buy your alcohol at discount liquor stores which is far much cheaper than the pricey drink packages offered at most wedding venues.
9. How To Save On Decorations
Depending on your decorations requirements, the costs can quickly add up. However, if you are planning a wedding on a budget, there are different ways in which you can save on decoration costs.
Buy On Sale
If you are planning a wedding in the next 12 months, then you can wait for the best time to buy decorations. Stores such as Paper Warehouse and Hobby Lobby have sales year-round.
Second-hand decorations can save you significant costs. Fortunately, there are lots of online stores that deal with used decorations. You can do a search online to find the store that has what you are looking for at a cheap price.
10. Wedding Flowers On A Budget
Wedding flowers are usually expensive and tend to be of little to no use afterward as they are highly perishable. However, there are various ways to do flowers on a budget.
Reuse The Flowers
One of the easiest ways to save on wedding flowers is to reuse the flowers from the ceremony at your reception. However, this option requires a lot of prior planning and coordination for the process to be seamless.
Another way is to incorporate lots of greenery. Greenery not only adds to the overall beauty, but it is also cheaper than flowers.
If possible, you can also choose to use plastic flowers for decorations in some areas to reduce costs.
11. A Photographer Need Not Be Expensive
A wedding ceremony is usually a one-day affair, however, photographs and videos help us relive the moment for years to come. This is why photography is usually an important part of a wedding. Professional photographers are usually expensive, however, with the advancement of modern technology, you don’t necessarily require a professional photographer for quality photos.
If you necessarily require a professional photographer and equipment, do proper research and compare the prices of photographers in your area.
Use Your Mobile Phone
Modern high-end phones such as iPhones and Samsung boast superior camera hardware and software. If you have a friend who is good at taking photos using their mobile phones, then you can have them capture all the best moments.
12. Contact Local University
In addition to the above point, you can also find a talented photographer at your local university if there is a photography school. Such a photographer will come at a very low cost and may offer the same level or even exceed the services of a professional photographer.
If you are in need of live music, you can also easily find a cheap musician at your local art school.
13. Go Local When Shopping
When shopping for different products and services for your wedding event, consider local establishments. Not only are local suppliers and service providers cheaper than their national equivalents, but they also depend on their local reputation to market and promote their businesses. Hence, they will work with you to ensure that everything is seamless and that your needs are met fully.
14. How To Do Catering On A Budget
Couples tend to spend a lot of their budget on catering. With each additional guest, the higher the bills. When on a budget, you can consider the following options.
Do The Catering Yourself
With the help of family and friends, you can consider doing the food preparation and catering yourself. This helps to reduce on costs and staff.
A Potluck Dinner
If done properly, asking your guests to pitch in with a dish is a great way to involve your guests and lower the costs of catering.
Do Not Over Cater
When it comes to dinner and evening food, it is important to not over expend your efforts and budget. This is because most guests may fail to indulge after a heavy meal during the day while others may have other commitments and leave early. The rule of thumb is to prepare evening food for around 70% of your guests.
15. Be Your Own DJ
It goes without saying that music and entertainment are an important part of wedding events. However, rather than hiring an expensive DJ or band, you can use your own or borrow your friends stereo equipment and create your own playlist beforehand.
16. Make Your Own Cake
Cake cutting is a widely known and long-standing wedding tradition. However, a professional wedding cake costs an average of $300 in most places. However, you can make your own wedding cake for a fraction of the price. There are DIY kits and tutorials available online that help even amateur bakers to create complex wedding cake designs.
17. Prioritize On What Matters Most To You
Even if you are low on cash, this doesn’t mean that you need to compromise on everything. There are aspects of your wedding that you can skimp on and splurge on the things that are closer to your heart. Furthermore, it is your big day. Whether you been yearning for a dream wedding dress, venue, decorations or any other, choose what you desire most and prioritize it while cutting the costs on the less important aspects.
Who said your dream wedding has to be expensive for it to be perfect? Don’t be swayed by current trends but focus on yourself and what makes you happy. This is a great way to avoid overspending on things that have little meaning to you. With the above guide, you will be able to effectively plan for a perfect wedding on a budget.