Congratulations! You are engaged! Doesn’t it feel great?
As the realization of this new relationship status sinks in, you might be super-excited to start wedding planning and that’s when the bombshell drops—crazy wedding expenses! Yes, weddings are expensive. Everything from the venue to the photographer and food can have you straining your bank accounts down to the last penny.
Fortunately, there are several ways in which you can cut expenses and make the most of what you can afford. After all, you do not want to start your marriage in debt. So, here are 10 money saving tips that every couple should consider. This will help you cut a few corners and save some money while budgeting your dream wedding.
Three aspects of the wedding usually fall into one account—food, beverages and venue. Together, these three components will consume almost fifty per cent of your total budget. The easiest way to reduce expenses on venue rates is to book a single venue for both the ceremony and reception. This will not only eliminate the rental charge for an entire site, it will also allow you to save on transportation from one site to the other. Two birds with one stone! If you want to further cut charges, consider hosting the wedding during the off-peak season or on a weekday, when prices will be drastically slashed. An advantage of doing so is also that it will be easier to obtain the venue booking as the competition will be very less on these days. Saturday nights are usually the most expensive option. Get married a day early, or a day late, and you will appreciate how much easier this will be on your pocket. Another intelligent idea we found on Buzzfeed is to host your wedding on a day preceding a public holiday, so everyone gets to have fun late into the night as they are off work the next day, and you still get to save yourself some money.
Three words—Snip! Snip! Snip!
Be ruthless with cutting names off your guest list and your wedding expenses will be reduced drastically. Rather than hosting a huge wedding where you don’t know half the people and have to skimp on the service due to budget constraints, isn’t it better to have a lavish affair with the few people who really matter to you? A direct approach to reducing your wedding guest head count is to omit children and colleagues from the list. Also, not everyone needs to have an invite with a plus-one. Limit the plus-ones to spouses, serious partners and live-ins only. Well, if your parents are paying for the wedding, they may want to invite a few extra people, so handle this as is appropriate in your case.
3.Food and drink
Skip the traditional formal dinner and opt for a wedding brunch or lunch instead. Perfect for a casual wedding, you could cut costs this way. Now, if you want a sit-down plated meal, choose a three course meal over a five-course meal, and it will still go down well. And you can minimize costs by choosing to have your reception at a hotel, instead of at a rented venue. This way you will not have to bring too many things in like utensils, seating arrangements, table linen etc, as it will all be available at the restaurant. You can always find the right dishes to serve on their menu. Most good restaurants have beautiful chairs and tables, and there is no doubt that they are perfect places to dine at. So, help your budget by taking this route. When you choose a restaurant that looks stylish and matches the theme of your wedding, half your job is taken care of. When serving beverages, stay away from the idea of an open bar. Serve beer and wine instead of liquor and add one cocktail drink to complete the list.
4.Wedding Cake—don’t make it, fake it
Well, maybe not the entire cake, but at least the extra tiers! Remember that each tier will add several dollars to the cost and unless you have so many guests at your wedding, why let it all go to waste? Most bakers can create faux wedding cakes which look exactly like the real thing. They usually use Styrofoam layers and cover it with icing and decorations, so it looks like the real deal. So, you can get the look, but for much less cost. There are several other ways to make the most of your cake budget, the details of which we have covered in a previous article dedicated to the subject. Here are some of the ideas in a flash:
- Use a smaller couture cake for display and sheet cakes in the kitchen for the actual service
- Limit the expensive flavors to one or two tiers alone, while using standard flavors for the remaining tiers
- Choose standard shapes like circle and square instead of topsy-turvy and fancy shapes to reduce cake costs
- Decorate with economical options like real flowers, ribbons and easy DIY toppers
- Go for butter-cream frosting instead of fondant and cut the price by almost fifty per cent
- Use half or three-quarter servings in place of full serving sizes to eliminate wastage and cut costs
- Serve cake alongside other desserts in the buffet, instead of at the table. Then, only those who want it will have it and you can reduce the overall order this way
5.Rent your wedding dress or buy it second-hand
If you are not keen on having a brand new wedding dress, opt for a rented one or seek one out second-hand. Vintage wedding dresses are a happening trend, and you can max out on this now. Second hand wedding dresses can be found for as low as half the original cost, even when there is little to no damage to them. There are websites dedicated to this, and you will find plenty of choices to select from. The other option is to rent your wedding dress from a consignment shop or bridal boutique like Best for Bride. Here, you can mostly find the gown in the style you want to wear for a fraction of the original cost and not worry about what to do with it later. With the option to also rent matching accessories like wedding jewelry, veils and headbands, you can achieve the perfect bridal look without hurting your bank balance. All you have to do is place your order in time, collect you dress on the appointed day and enjoy your wedding in it. Return it after the wedding, and worry no more about what to do with your wedding dress. It couldn’t be easier. The third option is to repurpose your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding gown with the help of a talented tailor. Not only will this not cost as much as a brand new wedding gown, it will also give your family heirloom new life. Sentimental and sensible, isn’t that smart? Now, your groom could also rent his tux and the two of you could divert the money saved into a well-deserved treat like your honeymoon.
6.Make the most of sample sales and trunk shows
If there is time left for your wedding, you needn’t go wedding gown shopping already. Keep your eyes and ears open for sales and trunk shows and you could pick up a dress at a better bargain. Or, browse through the sale and clearance section of websites like Best for Bride and make your pick from the dresses listed there. If you aren’t too particular about wearing a specific gown on your big day, why not make the most of your wedding budget by choosing the best choice within your means from these listings? The same could apply to your bridesmaids dresses too. Look for any bulk discounts and use it when choosing the dress. They will appreciate your concern, and nobody at your wedding need know that these were picked up at a sale.
7.Try alternate bouquets
Cut flowers are expensive and not environment-friendly, so spare the pain and still have fabulous wedding bouquets and décor with alternatives to original flowers. Bridal and bridesmaid bouquets using silk flowers and paper flowers are very beautiful and attractive. Similarly, you can vary your décor using fruits, candles and other easy-to-find accessories and still have a fantastic and unique wedding design. You could even consider succulents and potted plants for your wedding décor, and these could be used again either in your new home or gifted to the party guests to take home with them. Now, if you must have flowers, go for the seasonal and local variety and you can save some cash this way too. Ask your florist for what is within your budget and leave her to weave her magic with it. Or, if you are up for the challenge, make your bouquets on the day with what you find at your local grocery store. The price of the flowers you get there will be far less than at a flower shop, and this means you can find more flowers for your budget. Imagination is key, and it is not difficult to create splendid centerpieces, bouquets, aisle decorations and even venue décor using craft supplies from thrift stores, provided you know how to work around them. You can also use the same flowers that were used at the ceremony venue for the reception, and cut down on associated costs. All it takes is a quick move of the pieces from the first location to the second, and I am sure nobody is going to mind it.
8.Go bargain hunting for your wedding favors
Personalized wedding favors created exclusively for your wedding are stylish and special, but not absolutely essential. The true meaning of wedding favors is to gift your wedding guests a small and sweet memento for their valuable presence at your wedding. This can be anything you deem fit for this purpose. It can be homemade cookies, brownies you had your baker add to your cake package or preserves that you bought on sale.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be in fancy packaging! It just has to be thoughtful and your guests will appreciate the gesture. Our suggestion is not to be too specific with your ideas and there will be hundreds of bargains out there, waiting to be snatched. Visit the sales and discount sections of wedding favor websites, and book a deal that falls within budget. This will give you a good bargain for the money you can spare. You can always customize it with a few craft supplies that can be found on sale, and you will easily have a personalized wedding favor in no time. Consider printing out your own monogram or wedding stationery using free fonts available online, and you can also save on expensive labels and tags for your wedding needs.
9.Hire and buy local
When choosing a caterer, booking your band or buying flowers think local and it will save you loads. Plus, you will already know what is best in the area and can make a wise and informed decision accordingly. Go with seasonal fare for your menu and the cost of your food will go down. Should your band have to travel from out-of-town for the reception, remember that you will be paying for their effort to travel this far for your function. Go with the local favorite instead, and you are certainly going to get a better bargain. Like we mentioned earlier, flowers that are flown in from elsewhere will cost more. So, think of whether it is actually worth the added cost. Wouldn’t you be able to achieve a similar effect by substituting it with something local? If so, isn’t that better?
10.Choose your transportation wisely
You do not need a limo, vintage car or even horse and chariot to drive you away from the venue. You can make a grand entrance or get away in any other car dressed up for the event. All you need is to use your creativity to dress up the car with some wedding paraphernalia, add a “Just Married” sign and you are good to go.
Hopefully, you now have enough tips to have a great wedding day without it costing you dearly. For more wedding tips and advice, continue visiting us on Best for Bride—your one-stop destination for everything bridal.