The average wedding costs $30,000, according to The Knot, and the farther east you go, the higher that number climbs. The most special day of your life is certainly worth investing in, but what happens when you simply don’t have the budget for your dream wedding? How do you decide what to spend on and what to pass on?
The first thing I suggest you do is find a venue. This is by far going to make or break your wedding, but it doesn’t have to break your bank. If you have friends who live on or own a piece of picturesque property, ask them if they will let you use it for your day. Another version of this, if you don’t happen to know country-livin’ folk, is to find a park you love and get a day use permit. The next tip is to reduce the size of your guest list. Yes, you will likely offend someone who wasn’t invited, but guess what. That’s probably going to happen anyway. My advice is to live within your means and have a day to celebrate your love, your commitment and your families. However, sometimes eliminating guests is not an option. If that is the case, consider the time of year and the day you are planning to tie the knot. Winter, Friday and day time weddings can save you money, allowing for your larger guest list.
When it comes to the invites, try electronic vs. printing and postage. It’s not a huge amount of savings, but when you are on a tight budget, every little bit helps.
You’ve heard of cupcakes or pies vs. traditional wedding cake. This is a way to save a couple hundo in reception costs. A way to cut this number down even more is the ever helpful DIY/Pinterest phenomenon. It’s true, a lot of times when you cut the labor costs out of things (besides blood, sweat and tears of course), you can save a lot of cash. Things like invitations and decor can be done tastefully with a group of good friends, wine (just a little of course), snacks and an afternoon of friendship and creativity. Assuming your venue allows the following, have a friend get certified to be your bartender and another pal to offer their culinary skills as a caterer. Beware of this option though. While it is an effective way to cut costs, most caterers will work with you to find a solution to fit your budget and for liability reasons, we definitely recommend using a caterer if you can. Find a student who wants experience DJing (or perhaps has a small side business) to DJ your reception.
The dress. Oh the dress. Wait–and buy it on sale. I’m not saying focus solely on the price, but I bet you can find a flattering style off the rack that will still take the groom’s breath away as you walk down the aisle. And ask your bridesmaids to purchase their own dresses. This is common these days whether you are tight on cash or not.
As a personal opinion, have a long engagement and start planning right away. You’d be surprised the kind of deals you can find when you are not pressed for time and can wait for the best deal. And lastly, enjoy this time even if it gets stressful. It will only be this way once and you will want to look back and be able to smile on it.
Let us know if we can help :).