Your wedding doesn’t need to send you and your fiancé into crippling debt. If you’re willing to be a bit flexible, stick to a savvy wedding budget checklist, and make some thrifty choices here and there, you’ll be able to cut costs substantially. And the best part is that doing so won’t affect the overall joy and splendor of your special day.
If you follow our advice and play your cards right, the following tips can help you cut your wedding budget by over $20,000.
1. Skip the Summer Saturday Wedding
When you start planning out your wedding, strongly consider picking a day other than Saturday, which is the most popular and pricey option. While it might seem like the best day for folks to attend, those close to you will make the accommodations necessary to be there on your big day.
Also, getting married in the summer is going to cost you. It’s the hottest season to get hitched (see what I did there?), so if you’re willing to hold your nuptials during the off-season you can save serious amounts of money.
2. Choose a Versatile Venue
When you want to save money, choose a venue that can accommodate both your ceremony and reception. This not only saves money on venue deposits and costs, but also on the transportation and time that it takes to get guests from one spot to another.
3. DIY Decor
Another great money-saving strategy is to buy second-hand décor or plan DIY projects to create a magical venue for your nuptials. Something like building your own wedding arch is a great way to engage and involve the members of the bridal party, as well as to create the atmosphere you want at a fraction of the cost.
4. Strategize with your Catering & Cake
One option if you’re not too particular about the gastronomical elements of your wedding is to host it in the afternoon – between the lunch and dinner hours. It’s estimated that couples spend around $71 per person on food and service at a standard evening wedding. If you’re inviting over 100 guests, you can save a lot of money by not paying for a big meal service.
You can also curb catering costs and save on staffing expenses by using self-serve stations. Or you can serve appetizers instead of a pricey sit-down meal. As for your cake, order only a small, tiered version to use as a table centerpiece, but serve sheet cake to guests and attendants.
Remember: you don’t need to skimp on everything, it’s all about prioritizing. Fun and creative cake designs can be a great way to spice up your wedding if such confections inspire you!
Lastly, consider hosting your big day during the daytime or even the morning. Breakfast and lunch services are always cheaper than dinner, plus in the past weddings weren’t held at night anyways. Embrace history and party while the sun is out!
5. Craft Budget-Friendly Bouquets and Boutonnieres
Instead of spending money on expensive floral bridal bouquets that will wilt and die, create a jewelry bouquet for the bride and her attendants. Many brides ask guests at their showers to bring an old pin or brooch to incorporate into this craft project. Since the average wedding bouquet costs $100 and those for bridesmaids run from $35-$50, this can help you trim down your wedding budget.
Don’t drop money on pricey rose boutonnieres – try snipping fresh sprigs of rosemary, thyme or other herbs for a fragrant, lovely, inexpensive alternative that will look great on any lapel!
6. Send Electronic Invitations
Invitations can get expensive. Consider an alternative that doesn’t cost a dime: e-vites! Electronic or e-mailed invitations are an inexpensive and convenient way to let guests know of your nuptials. The Bridal Association of America crunched the numbers, and found that the average couple spends $659 on their wedding invitations. Some people are even dropping $1,000+ to send out fancier ones.
Don’t want to email your guests? Print your own invitations using a home computer and printer, but keep in mind the cost of mailing them (and the time necessary to do so).
7. Forego Fresh Flowers on the Tables
Skip the fresh flowers often used as centerpieces and use fresh fruit, candles or seashells instead. Gather the bridal party together to create these masterpieces prior to your wedding — and for a fun night before the big day! Head to a nearby discount or dollar store for vases, wreath-rings or trims to make your centerpieces fantastic!
8. Be Your Own Wedding DJ
Want to save a lot of money on your wedding reception? Be your own DJ! With downloadable music and iTunes, there is no reason why any layman can’t create music to get guests up and dancing at your wedding reception. Plus, you will trim your budget without the costs of bands, musicians and professional DJs to deal with.
9. Skip (or reduce) the Liquor
One of the biggest expenses at a reception can be the alcohol. This is why you should skip the booze at your wedding in favor of creative, non-alcoholic options – such as infused waters or fruit juice concoctions. Not sold on removing alcohol from the party? Keep the cost of liquor down by offering a single signature option and only wine or beer to guests. Just because you don’t offer an open bar doesn’t mean it won’t be a blast!
The savings will vary depending on what kinds of liquor and the quantity you would buy for your bar, but know that you can save around $150 per bartender for a typical four-hour event. Also, limiting alcohol options can prevent issues such as intoxicated drivers and underage drinkers from ruining your big day.
10. Keep Favors Simple and Inexpensive
Naturally, you want to give your guests a little gift or token to thank them for attending your wedding. Try to keep your wedding favors creative yet simple. Instead of purchasing personalized goodies from wedding vendors, go to a discount (or dollar) store and buy cellophane bags for sweets, or inexpensive votive candles for guests. After all, they are there to celebrate your big day, and these small remembrances will be valued for sentimental reasons above all else.
The money you save now has the potential to be a nice nest egg for your new life as a married couple. Use these tips and suggestions to trim down your budget thousands of dollars, so you can pull off a spectacular and sentimental event that will be remembered for years to come.
Are you still looking for more ways to reduce your wedding budget? Or do you have any tips of your own for our readers? Feel free to comment below, we appreciate your input! Also, our Facebook and Pinterest pages are updated all the time. Scope them out if you’re looking for additional wedding inspo or ceremony ideas!