Planning a wedding can be a huge ordeal for many couples and their parents, especially with the average wedding costing tens of thousands of dollars. That is a good chunk of change for a relatively short event. The good news is that not every engaged couple needs to spend this much money in order to live happily ever after. There are many ways to cut corners and have a beautiful wedding that reflects the couple’s personalities, not what is in their pocketbooks.
This is one aspect of the wedding planning that you cannot put off. Waiting until the last minute to book the venue can cost you hundreds of dollars extra, especially in the peak seasons. Some venue owners will reduce the price drastically or even offer you the venue for free if you are one of the first couples to book for the following year.
There are other ways to find free or low-cost venue options. You can have the wedding at a local park or even in your backyard or at the house of a friend or family member. Some people go for an all-inclusive package that includes the wedding, reception and honeymoon.
The warm weather months of summer and spring are popular times for weddings, which also makes them more costly. Instead, opt for a fall or winter wedding. You can also save costs by not having a wedding on a Saturday, which is the most expensive day of the week.
Most women have dreamed about their wedding dress since they were little girls. They may have only one vision of their dress in mind, while others may be more willing to explore less expensive options. Department stores are good places to find wedding gowns for less. You may also want to consider renting a dress or looking for deals online. If a friend or family member still has their wedding dress, you may want to borrow theirs and fix it up a little to make it your own.
Research and buy online
Do not stop at wedding dresses. Everything from supplies to wedding rings often can be found cheaper online.
Not every aspect of the wedding can be a must-have, so work with your partner and discuss what things are the most important, such as the dress you’ve had your eye on or the location of the reception. Once you’ve identified the priorities, you can cut corners elsewhere.
Research other food options
There are cheaper ways to feed our guests than with a seven-course meal. You may want to look into hosting a buffet or having a catering service prepare and drop off the meal. Many couples opt for comfort foods such as chicken and macaroni and cheese. Although it doesn’t seem very elegant, it is a fun and inexpensive option.
In addition, you can opt for a tea or dessert reception. If you have decent cooking skills, you can even try your hand at making some of the dishes yourself.
Remember everyone is out to get your money
Be it the caterer or sales staff, remember that those selling weddings will make the most from expensive choices and will try to pressure you into choosing the costliest option. Not giving into this kind of pressure can be the single best way to keep a handle on wedding costs and your financial future.
Cut the guest list
Don’t feel the need to invite every single person you’ve met over the years to your wedding. More people equals more money because many reception and banquet halls charge per person. This means that even the difference between inviting 150 people or 200 people can be a significant cost. Therefore, you may want to limit the occasion to close friends and family only, and this will allow you to spend time with every guest at the wedding. In addition, remember that those who are not close friends and family probably have other activities that would rather do that weekend anyway.
Channel your creative side
Find ways to handle most of the items yourself, such as the flowers, cake and music. For example, if you enjoy gardening, you may want to plant some flowers early on so they will be in full bloom for the special day. Enjoy baking? Make your own cake. If you’re not so great in the kitchen, there is usually some family member who is. Want your own music without an annoying DJ? Put together a recording of songs you want played at the reception.
You can also make your own invitations if you are handy with graphic design software. Buy some thick paper stock and with a fancy font and perhaps a photo of you and your partner, you can create a professional-looking invitation without the high price. Best of all, nobody will know the difference.
Enlist the help of others
Professional photography and video services can cost a fortune. Instead, have friends and family members take photos and videos of the special day. Most couples know a friend or family member who is good at taking photos.
Skip the bar
Bar service can be very costly. Instead, opt for wine and beer only. Better yet, eliminate the bar altogether or simply have champagne toasts.
The amount spent on a wedding is not proportional to the amount of fun that can be had or the chances of a good marriage. In fact, the financial stress an expensive wedding can cause may actually have the opposite effect. Be frugal with your wedding and save the money for the marriage.