Before you say, “I do,” you have likely spent a lot of money getting to that point. True, a wedding is a time for celebration and a momentous occasion, but you can have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank if you’re flexible, creative and willing to think outside of the cake box.
Make a Budget and Stick to It
Before you start to look for venues or choose that perfect dress, you must make a wedding budget. Sticking to your wedding budget is easier said than done, but a well-thought out budget will give you enough room to expect “unexpected” expenses, realize your vision and still have an Instagram-worthy wedding day. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and plan your budget around what you’d like to have, but starting with your actual budget and working from there will save you time and frustration, regardless if your wedding budget is $2,000 or $20,000.
Arming yourself with wedding industry knowledge before you set out to plan your wedding budget will help you keep more money in your pocket. Popular wedding website, The Knot, has a budget calculator that helps couples know how much they should be spending on all elements of their big day from wedding attire to reception venues and rentals. Once you know how much you need to spend on the essentials, you can determine how much of the little, non-essential elements you’re able to splurge on.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
On the topic of non-essential wedding day elements you’d like to incorporate, you have to learn not to sweat the small stuff. If you think guests are going to remember your wedding’s monogrammed napkin rings or costly glasses engraved with your name and wedding date, think again. According to financial website, MoneyWise, couples can spend anywhere between $2 and $5 per person for wedding favors their guests will likely never use again after the day of the wedding. And, for a wedding with 100 guests, that can be a cost of up to $500.
While things like stationary, invitations, custom menu cards and programs are important, you don't need to worry about not having the heaviest card stock or paying for designer invitations. Rather, The Knot suggests making a wedding website and putting many of these details there instead of having them printed and included in your invitation suite. Doing this can save you up to $800 depending on what you choose. Consider having a professional chalk menu board created and position it near the buffet area, or smaller versions on each table, displaying what is on offer in terms of food.
Do It Yourself
You can hire a wedding planner to help with every detail of your wedding – for a hefty price. The average wedding planner can set you back $2,000, with established wedding planners charging up to five times this amount. Selecting a venue that offers catering and event-planning services can save you time and money and help take some of the burden off your shoulders for less.
If you start to plan for your wedding early enough, there is no reason why you cannot do much of the planning and design elements yourself. Do you want hand-written invitations or elaborate centerpieces on a budget? You can start early and enlist your bridal party to help. Websites such as Pinterest are full of ideas to help you successfully go the DIY route by providing inspiration and practical guidance for a more cost-effective-yet-fabulous wedding.
Keep Things Seasonal
It’s one thing to have your heart set on a particular wedding element, but it’s also a good idea to think about the availability of certain items. Flowers can eat up a huge part of your wedding budget – up to $2,500 – and selecting rare or out of season flowers will only drive that cost up even more.
Choosing seasonal foods, flowers and even venues will go a long way towards cutting down costs. If you want an outside wedding, but you’re getting married during a location’s rainy season, you could find yourself stuck with a venue that may not be adequate for your needs.
Planning ahead and thinking seasonally will go a long way in avoiding those unexpected costs that gobble up your wedding budget.
- Brides.com: 53 Genius Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
- MoneyWise.com: Married People Reveal the Top Wastes of Money at Weddings
- TheKnot.com: Here’s How to Actually Stick to Your Wedding Budget
- TheKnot.com: The Knot Wedding Budget Planner
- Pinterest: Home
- Brides.com. "Here's How Much the Average Wedding in 2018 Cost—And Who Paid." Accessed June 24, 2020.
- TheKnot.com. "This Is How Much a Wedding Costs on Average, According to Real Data." Accessed June 24, 2020.
- TheKnot.com. "This is the Average Cost of a Honeymoon Today." Accessed June 24, 2020.
- SuperMoney. "How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost—SuperMoney Guide to Wedding Costs." Accessed June 24, 2020.
- TheKnot. "Destination Weddings Can Sometimes Be Cheaper—Here's Why." Accessed June 24, 2020.
- WeddingWire. "Newlywed Report 2020." Accessed June 24, 2020.
- Brides.com. "What Are the Most Affordable Months to Get Married?" Accessed June 24, 2020.
Tara Thomas is a Los Angeles-based writer and avid world traveler. Her articles appear in various online publications, including Sapling, PocketSense, Zacks, Livestrong, Modern Mom and SF Gate. Thomas has a Bachelor of Science in marine biology from California State University, Long Beach and spent 10 years as a mortgage consultant.