Your wedding day is, without a doubt, the most significant event you’ve ever planned and experienced, and it’s an occasion you’ll want to look back on in years to come with as much fondness as possible. It is, therefore, something you’ll be planning for weeks and months before the big date, and you’ll want every aspect to fall into place while also not leaving you in a mountain of debt.
The average wedding in the United States now costs the princely sum of $28,000. Of this total, around $10k covers the wedding reception venue, and the wedding dress would cost around $1000.
However, these are not the only big-ticket items. Anything you want to buy suddenly increases in cost just because you add the word ‘wedding’ into the equation.
You may have to spend upwards of $2500 on a wedding photographer and a similar amount on flowers. The cost of a wedding band may set you back as much as $4000, and a DJ would be around a quarter of that sum.
If you are willing to spend a great deal, just the invites might cost as much as $500.
Usually, the reasoning used by those planning and paying for a wedding is that the event is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and, therefore, no expense should be spared. However, this isn’t a sensible plan unless money is no object to you or you are lucky enough to marry an individual whose parents are more than willing to share or cover the costs.
There are ways to cut the costs of your wedding without this seriously impacting the experience, and here are some tips to consider ahead of the big day.
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All About Location Location Location
If you want to reduce unnecessary costs associated with your wedding day, then there is one area you can address. Hiring a venue is almost always the most significant expense you’ll hit on the day, so why not consider having your wedding at your house or that of a family member or friend who may have a suitable size house and garden?
Though if you hire a venue, a lot of the additional arrangements are taken care of, such as food and drink; however, the costs are usually upwards of 50% of the total you’ll incur on the day, so why not think about your options?
Wedding Ceremony and Reception At the Same Venue
Try to save costs by having the ceremony and any reception or party at the exact location, as this will be a great way to reduce your spending. This way, you can cut and perhaps even eliminate the need to cover the travel expenses for your guests, and the overall planning of your special day becomes more accessible.
You’ll remove some logistical nightmares from your wedding plans, and your guests will thank you as they won’t have to move from point a to point b and even, in some cases, point c, leaving them free to enjoy the experience almost as much as you!
Another expense that might end up being very high is that of the wedding jewelry you might be wearing. While you will want to splash out on the wedding rings themselves, why not look more astute and bespoke with any other items you wear on the day?
One great way to do this is with personalized jewelry, a stylish angle to take and one with real statement value. Custom-made jewelry is trendy right now and very much a fashionable trend.
You can gift a piece for your partner ahead of the day or get an item for yourself, like a necklace, bracelet, or even a ring.
Be Creative With Your Wedding Photography
One great way of covering the costs of a wedding photographer may be to encourage your guests to take the photos, which they could then upload and post on a ready-made website that celebrates the occasion. This is a great way to make the whole experience more interactive.
Additionally, if you want to cover a fraction of the usual cost of a wedding photographer, you can hire one just for an hour or two (to capture the key events) and not for the whole day, which is when the prices start to mount up.
When is a Wedding Dress Not a Wedding Dress?
One of the significant expenditures at any wedding is the bride’s wedding dress. There is a good reason for this, not least because the bride-to-be may have been thinking about this day for their entire life, but also because you want the day, event, and occasion to be a waking dream.
However, there are clever ways to reduce the cost of wedding dresses. Firstly, why not consider shopping for a wedding dress at a non-bridal boutique? So this means finding wedding dresses at outlets and stores where it’s an item among many others that are on sale.
One reason for doing this is because bridal stores and shops will always add a premium to their dresses, and another is to approach the buying of a wedding dress from a more financially viable avenue.
Secondly, you may find a dress that is perfect for the occasion but isn’t necessarily what you might call a ‘wedding dress.’
Drop the Rehearsal
The costs of running a wedding rehearsal can be prohibitive, and in many ways, it’s something that isn’t necessary. A rehearsal dinner could cost as much as $2500, and what’s the point? Just so that everything runs uniformly? Where’s the fun in such a planned, organized and stale event?
Dropping any rehearsal from the agenda will save you a great deal of money, and in all likelihood, you won’t notice the difference on the big day.
If you have to conduct your wedding at a purpose-built location, you can cut costs by having the event on a weekday. The costs of wedding venue hiring are much higher on weekends and in certain months of the year. So book an off-peak slot, and you should save quite a chunk of change.
Cut the Guest List
It used to be a sign of luxury and a badge of honour to invite as many people as possible so that you could boast about the large audience enjoying your wedding. However, in this day and age, the more intimate and personal a wedding is, the more enjoyable an occasion it truly is.
So, for instance, don’t invite everyone at work, just those you know well. Also, there’s no need to invite every member of your extended family, especially if these are people you’ve not seen in years.
Again, trimming the number of guests can have a tangible impact on the overall costs of your wedding. So when you are penning the invites, be brutal and honest in your assessment of everyone on your list.
And one additional way to keep your guest list down to a manageable amount, cut and limit the plus-ones.
Don’t Have a Free Bar, Consider Encouraging People to Bring Their Alcohol
Those who come to your wedding will expect to be fed and watered. Now, if you want to keep costs down and the options are between reducing your spending on food or alcohol, you should consider dealing with the latter.
A free bar can mount up, so either limit the amount of free booze you offer or outright consider telling your guests to bring their own, which they may prefer.
Reduce Unnecessary Costs
Do you need to send out personal invites when an email directing guests to a ready-made website or social media post would do the same job? Does your wedding budget need that additional cost of an abundance of fresh flowers?
Think about each line item on your wedding budget and try to root out wholly avoidable ones.
Organize and Compare
Be diligent in your planning. Shop around, research, and ask for tips and suggestions from friends and family who have recently married. Open a spreadsheet and approach the whole event in a workmanlike fashion. Know your budget and stick to it.
No one wants to go on a honeymoon while worrying about the state of their bank balances after the hangover of the wedding day subsides.
Encourage Gifts Of Real Use
One of the significant benefits of getting married, apart from committing yourself to a loving partner for the rest of your lives, is the gifts you’ll get!
One way to mitigate the cost of your wedding is to make a wedding list or registry full of items that are of actual use as opposed to the downside of getting items that have little or no value (in any sense of the word).
Think carefully about what you’d benefit from in terms of the items you place on your wedding gift list, as they may come in handy, especially if you are moving to a new apartment or house.