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On average, an American couple can spend a little over $28,000 on a ‘simple’ one-day event.
Before you start planning vital areas of your wedding, determine the most meaningful and the less essential elements of your wedding.
It’s effortless to mind your budget when you’re ready to explore every alternative option. This will help both you and your partner determine where to cut corners and where to go all out.
Most couples, for example, prefer top-of-the-line food and beverage while others would rather dance to the mixes of the ‘illest’ DJ around. If you’re going to have a wedding with lots of guests, it’s best you make a few drastic cuts.
Some things, of course, are more optional than others.
A notable number of weddings these days skip the flowers, bridesmaids/groomsmen, and the garter toss as well. What matters, above everything, is that you pick the most resourceful elements to keep you and your guests smiling all through.
These major sectors in every wedding contribute to the out-of-the-roof expenditure:
- Food and drinks
- Long guest list
- Wedding attire
- Wedding rings
Today, wasteful marriages in America have become so widespread. Couples nowadays are not sure how to go contrary to the path their predecessors have laid out for them. Approximately 25% of millennials don’t consider themselves as being secure financially.
If you’re planning on getting married on a budget, that’s a smart move – one that is very achievable. Your wedding can be just as memorable, unique, and surprising even on a budget. On top of this, your frugal wedding will set a foundation for a debt-free, happy marriage. Here are a few tips to cut costs on your special day.
1. Cut Costs on Your Menu
Weddings are known to be all about the menu. Catering is more often than not a couple’s most considerable wedding expense, taking up approximately 38% of the entire budget.
You can slash this huge percentage into more than half by avoiding high-brow meals like filet mignon or caviar.
You want to avoid this especially if you’re on a tight budget. As much as you’d want to impress your guests with fancy food, it’s not worth going broke over.
To avoid a heftier bill, don’t offer your guests more than they can handle. Pick one or two tasty dishes, and they’ll serve themselves whichever waters their mouth.
When choosing the style of catering, consider doing something different other than plated dinners. Whether you decide to do it buffet-style or hors-d’oeuvres, it’s all up to you – either way, you’ll be spending less on catering.
Before having a seat-down with your caterer to decide which foods appear on your menu, get some inspiration from your local farmer. Get to know which vegetable or fruit is in season to get it shipped at a lower cost as compared to those that are off-season.
2. Keep the Guest List Short
Tasting cake flavors and popping champagne is fun, but choosing who you want to be there share in the thrill, not so much. Building a guest list is a collaborative effort.
You, your partner and both your parents will play a role in deciding who will grace the occasion and those who will get to hear about it later on. The best drama-free approach is to split the list between you, your partner, and your parents/guardians. Each of you will invite those closest to you, be it friends or family.
There is one rule you should abide by when choosing your guests: don’t invite guests that you can’t spend no less than one minute of your time with.
To do this, you’ll need to ask yourself “Have I seen or communicated with this person within the last year?” If your answer is a downright no, you don’t need their name in your must-have guest list.
If you’ll feel guilty inviting others while leaving out others, have your family and close friends as your guests. This is one of the best ways to keep the numbers down while effortlessly maintaining peace.
Once you get back from your magical honeymoon, go ahead and host a less-involving cocktail party. At this point, there will be no need for a guest list.
3. Wedding Ensemble
Wedding dresses have this notorious tendency of being way too expensive. In 2017, the average bride spent approximately $1,500 on a wedding gown. The amazing thing is that some would go the extra mile and spend ridiculously more than that.
There’s no point in blowing your wedding budget on a gown that will gather dust in your closet for years to come. A simple solution to this is to rent a dress. Rental designer dresses go for a fraction of the average cost. Since most companies have adopted this trend, there is an incredible array of affordable, gorgeous gowns to choose from.
No one at your wedding will care about how cheap or how expensive your gown is. As long as you feel special in the dress you’ve purchased, your marriage is destined to be a blast. If you wish, you can even shop sample sales and affordable wedding dresses on the internet. Sample gown sales of sizes six, eight and ten generally occur once a year.
This would be the best chance to try out stylish but straightforward dresses at throw-away prices. Alternatively, you can check out Craiglist, eBay and other sites for the best deals on refurbished wedding gowns. As getting the delicate fabric cleaned may cost you approximately $250, it’s best you steer clear from dresses with a filthy hem.
4. Think Beyond the Cathedral Halls
Your choice of location can either make or break your initial wedding budget. According to The Knot’s 2016 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a reception venue is $16,107, while that of the site is $2,197. Spending $18,000 and over on the location alone is one thing you can’t do – unless of course, you can afford it.
Here are a few affordable venues where you can exchange your vows in: the courthouse, your home, rental hotel, museums, libraries, the list goes on and on. Most of these may not cost you up front.
Once you’re clear on what place you’d like to hold your wedding, think of how it can host the ceremony and reception all at once. Ensure that it has essential amenities such as bathrooms, a kitchen, and proper air/heat conditioning.
If there’s no kitchen in your venue, don’t spend money on construction or renovation. Just hire a nearby caterer who will take care of the cooking at their kitchen. He/she will put the finishing touches on the dishes with little equipment.
Here are other important stuff you should look out for:
Your venue’s alcohol policy
For liability reasons, some places will require your caterer to bring their drinks, which will reduce costs significantly.
Most venues may not offer parking spots, probably because they’re not allowed to have them. If they do, they’ll probably gouge guests with ridiculous parking rates. Get to know the parking charges ahead of time to include it in your budget.
Flowers and decor are considered an extravagant wedding expense. On average, they can go for anywhere between $3,000 – $12,000. If your venue has a natural feel and atmosphere, you can benefit a lot from this.
If your venue is situated in an open area, consider putting measures in place in case of harsh weather conditions. If there’s no backup location, have a tent in place that can shelter all your guests. Tents typically range from $300 – $1,200.
In short, weddings can be held anywhere the couple chooses. Be it romantic or not, let it be a place that you can make lasting memories and happy moments.
5. Plunge Your Knife Into a Budget-Friendly Wedding Cake
Not sure whether to go for a ten-layered cake or settle for a single-layered one? Going for something in between would probably be your best bet. Just cause you’re trying as much as possible to remain under budget, doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice style and taste.
As you go in pursuit of the wedding cake of your dreams, try as much as you can to avoid overspending. You don’t have to do it alone, though.
Above all else, simplicity should be the main ingredient. Stick to a small-scale buttercream frosted confection or instead, a slightly or unfrosted creation, otherwise referred to as the ‘naked cake.’ When decorating the cake, don’t spend so much time on it. The more the time spent designing, (most likely) the higher the price.
Develop a frugal viewpoint when thinking of the best design elements. Try out unique shapes, hand painting, metallic detailing, fondant flowers, or multiple tiers to achieve a steeper price point.
These and more money-saving ideas for your wedding cake will go a long way in keeping your budget intact.
6. Cut Costs on Entertainment
Putting into close consideration that your wedding is one huge celebration, you’ll not want to cut back on keeping your guests entertained throughout. If you wish to blow the roof up – metaphorically, of course – there are more ways than one to achieve this.
Book a Band in Advance
Whether it’s the energy of a 1980s speakeasy or the sophisticated sounds of a classical orchestra, you need a band to express your wedding’s atmosphere in songs. For this reason, you need to book your preferred band well in advance. Doing so will save you not only your precious dollars but time and stress as well.
Take the Stage
Why pay for a million-dollar voice when you have one yourself? If it’s your special day, then you understand the kind of music you and your special one prefers. You can even become the event’s self-hired DJ, mixing up the playlist on your phone. Not only will this performance be personal, but it’ll be free as well.
Involve Your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
If you know nothing about dazzling a crowd, your bridesmaids and groomsmen could be of much help. There could be one or two with angelic voices that you could’ve otherwise ended up paying ridiculous amounts for. If they’re there to support you, they won’t mind doing it as a favor.
If none of these works out for you and you’re keen on booking Maroon 5 or Ed Sheeran, you ought to be prepared to pay top dollar.
7. Borrow Once, Never Buy Yours
We’ve probably all heard the phrase ‘borrow once, buy yours’; when it comes to lessening expenses on your wedding, never take it all too seriously. A simple way of saving money is just not spending it.
As ridiculous as it may sound, borrowing stuff saves you the hustle of budgeting for things you probably can’t afford. The following are some things you can borrow that will make all the difference in your wedding day:
It would be lovely to walk down the aisle and saying ‘I do’ with your mom’s, grandma’s jewelry. Sometimes, ladies, it’s not all about the latest and trendy accessories. Vintage necklaces, bracelets, and earrings can save you up to $250.
Tableware, table centerpieces, decor
For the tableware, your senior peeps will be more than delighted to lend you their china and cutlery.
They’re also sure to have some beautiful material lying around that can work as your wedding reception table centerpieces and decor. Get creative and start matching and mixing things to ensure your wedding achieves that special, personal touch.
As already mentioned, wedding dresses can cost a fortune. On the flip side, it won’t cost you a thing if you accessorize one that has already been worn before. First, be sure to ask of the owner consent before adjusting it to your specifications.
If she gives you the green light, try not to accessorize it too much. Talk to your seamstress or designer to adjust the noticeable areas of the dress such as the neckline, hemline, and bodice details. Adorn the end result with your desired jewelry.
Let’s face it: you’re not the first person to tie the knot. Married friends or family won’t mind lending you a couple of their items from back in the day. The more stuff you borrow, the less you spend buying new ones.
Pick Any Other Day, But Not Saturday
To be clear, weddings on a Saturday are just too pricey. Budget-savvy couples must do what they can to cut costs, even if it means skipping Summer Saturdays as their wedding day. Why? Since tying the knot on the last day of the week seems to be everyone’s cup of tea, the prices often sky-rocket a great deal.
Do something different (and cheaper) for your wedding. An excellent way to stick to your budget would be to schedule your wedding for a Friday night or a Sunday morning. Plus, you’ll get to book your preferred reception site on short notice.
What would be more enjoyable than partying the night away on a Friday night or prolonging the romantic affair on Sunday? Having a wedding in-between the week may be a tad tricky (and awkward) for some, but it’s totally worth it.
There’s a vast difference in price compared to when doing it on a Saturday. On weekdays, most venues offer more dates, along with a mid-week discount.
9. Save Big on Wedding Invitations
If you’ve been part of an organizing committee at some point in your life, then you understand the massive amount of cash that goes to save-the-dates and invitations. The latter generally forms the first impression that your invitees will have on your forthcoming occasion.
Here are a couple of great ways to save big on wedding invitations without compromising the finished product:
Consider the paper to be used
To give your invitation a high-cost look, go for heavier paper stock, or one that has a unique finish. Heavy papers won’t cost you as much as finer ones. You’re bound to spend extravagantly more on exceptional papers and extra on cutting the paper to size.
Do it Yourself
The internet is full of tips and tutorials that you can follow to design and embellish your own. As you do this, make sure to use high quality (but affordable) print paper. Avoid using put-off fonts like ‘Comic Sans’ and settle for a more attractive font that summarizes your wedding’s theme.
As much as you would like to send a heartfelt personal message via a physical card, you’re bound to spend more on it. Paperless cards provide a fast and affordable means to get your message across to friends and relatives from far and wide.
Though it’s a splendid idea, gorgeous invitations were not invented for the sole purpose of putting a dent in your wallet – not at all.
10. Rings Rings Rings
Rings are significant investments that could take quite a huge chunk of the cash. Though they’ll be with you for the rest of your life, they’re not worth the risk of plunging yourself into debt. The following are tips to find a lovely and quality ring while sticking to your budget:
Compromise on the diamond’s clarity
The price of a ring can go down significantly if there are scratches, dimness, or general imperfections on its diamond. Rather than going for the high-end (classified as VS) diamond, settle for an SI diamond instead.
Just make sure that the inclusions don’t interfere with the ring’s structural integrity.
It doesn’t have to be diamond
Your ring’s main stone can be anything far from a diamond. Weigh your options with your fiancé and settle for affordable gemstones such as sapphires or aquamarines that are equally, and sometimes, more beautiful than a diamond.
If you have your eyes set on a diamond ring, purchase a white topaz ring as it bears the look of a real diamond.
Buy what you can afford
Most men purchase a ring that’s way beyond their financial capability to impress their wives-to-be. In real sense, getting engaged should never be a mind-wrecking affair. If her feelings are genuine, she’ll look at the value of your love rather than the price of the ring.
The moment you get engaged, rings make more sense in your life more than they ever have before. Most ladies picture their ring fingers with a perfect, 2-carat diamond ring with a platinum band finish.
If you’re one of them but on a budget, you’ll have to settle for something equally perfect that will not bruise your budget in any way possible.
Custom make it
If you need something unique, you could opt to do it yourself! Find a skilled jeweler and work together to create a gorgeous ring. It’s possible to do this on nearly any budget.
Whether or not your custom made ring your custom-made ring has a diamond, your sweetheart will likely value it for its creativity and thoughtfulness.
Wrapping It Up
As much as weddings can be fun, magical and full of happiness and love, they can also be time-consuming, money-sucking events. Don’t switch to panic mode when planning your wedding.
These simple tips have covered every significant area of every wedding; food, music, dress, etc.
It’s up to you to consider what you need and what you don’t. Your dream wedding can still be a reality even without pricey foods or items. Having a frugal wedding not only saves you money but also allows you to try out something different away from the norm.
As you prepare to exchange your vows, remember that it’s not all about the money. Rather, it’ s a celebration of your affection for each other. Spend little on your wedding day and enjoy each other’s company for a lifetime.
Material items come and go, but the affection you feel for each other, the memories, and the invaluable time is what really matters.
You’ll be surprised at how amazingly the big day will unfold.