10 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
Weddings are joyous, exciting and expensive. Unfortunately for many people, the affordable wedding that they expected to have ends up being almost twice as expensive. According to WeddingWire’s newlywed report, couples expected to pay $16,000 for their wedding but ended up spending $29,000.
The reasons? Starting with an unrealistic budget and falling in love with “must-have” items.
But saving money on your wedding doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style or the most important items that you want. Here are 10 creative ways to cut the cost while still having a wedding that you love.
1. Choose Your Venue Wisely
According to WeddingWire data, the ceremony and reception venue is the biggest cost, coming in at an average of $9,000. A venue that expensive can throw off even a generous wedding budget.
Before you sign a contract for a wedding venue, stop to consider other alternatives. There are venue options that come in much cheaper without having to sacrifice style. For example, try a state park, where you can usually find venues (that include tables and chairs) for just a few hundred dollars. It’s an excellent price and you’re helping to support your local state park system.
Or consider booking your favorite restaurant, perhaps the location you had your first date, where you likely will just need to guarantee a minimum rather than pay a venue fee. And as a bonus, your wedding will probably only require limited decor.
Getting creative with your venue selection from the start can help set your wedding budget up for success.
2. Consider Alternative Catering
Catering is the next largest wedding cost, coming in at $6,700. Luckily, there are some creative ways that you can cut those costs. Before deciding on a caterer, work with them to price out multiple meal options (types of food, plated versus family-style) and see if there’s something that can fit within your budget. Try asking about cheaper food options, like sticking with chicken or vegetarian selections or if family-style dishes or a buffet may help to reduce the costs. Also, ask them if skipping the passed hors d’oeuvres in favor of an appetizer table would be a cheaper option.
You might also consider skipping traditional catering and going for something completely different, like a food truck. Not only will you save money, but your guests will also get a fun and different experience they’ll be sure to remember.
3. Pick the Right Date
Two things that can significantly change the cost of your wedding are the day and season you choose to get married.
Often, vendors will offer better rates if you’re not getting married on a Saturday in the peak season. If you really want to save money, consider getting married on a cozy Friday in the winter. You may find that not only does your venue offer a better rental price, but all of your other vendors also offer prime rates for weddings that happen during their slow season.
4. Skip the Invites
Couples now have so many choices when it comes to inviting people to their wedding. You can skip invitations entirely and most people will hardly notice. Consider sending an invitation email with a link to your wedding website where people can RSVP online.
Or, if you want to still send a little something in the mail, send out a save the date card with instructions to head to your website to RSVP and view wedding details.
Invitations and stationary cost an average of $550. Skip them and not only will you have a more eco-friendly option, but you’ll also save hundreds of dollars.
5. Limit Your Guest Count
Because so many things at your wedding are priced per person, limiting the number of people you invite is crucial for saving your budget. This includes your bar, your rentals, your invites and your cake. Cutting 20 people can easily save thousands.
If you’re not sure where to limit your guest list, one idea is having an adults-only reception. Or, limit plus-ones and only invite people whom you see regularly. To avoid confusion, make sure that you’re clear about who is included on your guest list (for example, sharing that it’s an adults-only reception).
6. Cut Back on the Bar
Along with food, alcohol can add to your wedding costs. If you definitely want to have drinks at your wedding, consider a beer-and-wine-only wedding. If you want to expand that but a full bar isn’t within your budget, try offering a signature cocktail or two during cocktail hour.
Limiting the options for guests can save you on the actual alcohol costs and on the number of bartenders you need.
7. Don’t Hire a Videographer
With the average videographer cost coming in at $1,800, removing this from your budget completely can be a big cost-saver. Instead, enlist a friend (or two) to video the speeches and the first dance. You’ll still have a video of the day to watch and you’ll have an extra $1,800 in your pocket.
8. Don’t Shop at Bridal Boutiques
Say yes to a cheaper dress. Before heading to bridal boutiques to try on expensive wedding dresses, shop the regular section at your favorite stores. They may have a white dress that does the job perfectly.
Or, browse through the options for white bridesmaid dresses. You may find a floor-length white gown that looks perfect for a bride for less than $200.
If you’re set on a traditional wedding dress, ask about purchasing a sample gown, which is a dress they use for in-store try-ons. Or, see if you can find the same style second hand on a site like PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com. In some cases, you’ll be able to buy the exact dress you want for 60% less than you’d buy new.
9. Consider Different Centerpiece Options
Flower cost an average of $1,800 – cutting back on the number of flowers that you use offers an easy way to save your budget. Can you use alternative centerpieces like candles, potted plants, or bunches of greenery?
If flowers are on a must-have list, consider buying long-lasting flowers yourself and arranging them in simple decorations. Or, consider buying them online, which may be significantly cheaper than using a local florist.
10. Negotiate with Your Venders
When you begin asking for quotes from vendors, consider the opportunity to negotiate. Some vendors may be open to negotiating better prices when you use them for multiple services. For example, your day-of coordinator might offer basic floral arranging. You may be able to negotiate a discount by booking both.
The Bottom Line
When you’re wedding planning, it may feel as though you’ll never get a hold of your budget. If you need additional money to help you pay for a few things, you can also take out a personal loan.
But remember that a wedding is supposed to be about a marriage, not just the reception that you’re throwing. Starting off a life together on the right financial foot should be the priority. So sit down, create a wedding budget, and figure out what you want to include and what you want to cut.
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