In the eyes of couples, weddings are one of the most important days of their lives, and even the smallest details will forever be ingrained in their minds. But with the average cost of a wedding hovering around $25,000 (and this price does not include the cost for a honeymoon!), is there a way to organize a wedding without having the sheer cost of it be the only thing on the newlyweds minds?
Just below is a concise list of tips and tricks that could help you reduce the cost of planning a wedding by a significant amount.
1. Finding the perfect location
A large chunk of a couples wedding budget is usually given to the venue, but a considerable amount of that money can be saved if you consider the following alternatives: public spaces (e.g. Public parks/gardens), areas friends and family own that you could use for the day (e.g. Restaurants, backyards), and vacation homes (rent is often much lower!). Also consider hosting your wedding on a day that is not part of the usual wedding season(s), and if you are a city dweller, having your wedding in the suburbs could save you some money as well.
Having the ceremony in your own home is another idea that can help with your budget, especially if youre intent on just having a few close friends and family members attend.
If you end up renting out a venue, make sure to ask detailed questions that can help you avoid extra costs. For example, check if the venue requires extra costs for lighting, tables and chairs, and staff.
2. Catering and drinks
When it comes to providing food and drinks, definitely consider handling the preparations yourself, along with the aid of friends and family. Instead of whole meal courses, consider providing guests with heavy appetizers that will often take less time and money to prepare. You can even host a barbecue or a picnic (if your wedding is outdoors) and simply forgo a catering service/traditional wedding meal completely.
If you want to have a catering service, consider family-owned restaurants, as they often provide catering services at much lower prices compared to a catering business.
When it comes to alcohol, consider stocking the bar with your own liquor, or simply moving the reception up a few hours, as guests will tend to drink less during the daytime. If youre going with a bar, stick to serving three to four types of alcohol beer, wine, and one or two cocktails.
3. Reception themes
Consider reception themes that can minimize time and the amount of money spent on decorations, venue, and food. For example, going with a cocktail party reception theme can help you save on decorations (as large table settings can be replaced with simple candles or a small bouquet of flowers), as well as on catering (hors doeuvres will definitely not eat into your budget as much as a full wedding spread).
Consider cutting back on the amount of flowers used as decorations, scale down the sizes of the bride and bridesmaids bouquets, and consider using fake flowers. For table arrangements, ask around and see if you have any friends that have an artistic flair and are willing to help you handle these floral details. Alternatively, if you hire a florist, have him/her design one centerpiece and enlist the help of friends and family in duplicating it for the rest of the tables.
Scour thrift shops for unique decorative pieces, or visit online sites to take a look at what pieces are on sale for low prices. Brides who have already had their weddings will oftentimes put up their decoration pieces for sale at reasonable prices.
5. Dresses and tuxedos (and jewelry)
For bridesmaid dresses, avoid having them custom made. Instead, buy them off the rack and during sale periods. For even better savings, consider having your bridesmaids wear dresses of their own in the color(s) that you want. Brides themselves should give second-hand wedding dress sites a try, or go through the sale racks at bridal stores.
For men, renting tuxedos as a group can save some money, or simply forego the tuxedo route and have groomsmen (and even the groom himself) don suits/formal wear from home.
To save on jewelry, stay out of high-end stores and focus on either affordable stores or simply using your own (or a friends/family members) pieces.
6. Makeup and hair
There are several ways to avoid spending a large amount of money on professional makeup artists and hair stylists. For both hair and makeup, consider visiting local beauty and cosmetology schools students may do your hair and makeup for free as part of their training. Additionally, if you have friends or family that are skilled in these areas, ask them for help! Dropping by the makeup counter at your local department store and asking for a free makeover on the day of your wedding is also a great alternative.
Doing your own makeup and hair is also a way to cut back on costs, but only if youre willing to do the work on your special day, of course.
7. The guest list
Sure, you can start big, but start whittling from there on. Keep your guest list small stick to close friends and family members. That way, not only will you save money, but youll have a nice, intimate wedding to remember.
8. Photographer/videographer(s) and music
Check in with local art schools and see if there are any students or fresh graduates who are willing to shoot your wedding for a fair price in exchange for padding up their portfolios. Likewise, music schools/departments are a good place to search for musicians. Friends and family members who are skilled in these areas will often prove to be a great help.
When it comes to the dance floor, forgo a professional DJ and stick to good speakers and your own playlist.
9. Wedding invitations and party favors
For wedding invitations, consider creating your own invites by either purchasing invitation kits and using a high-quality printer or simply writing out the details by hand. If you are familiar with individuals who are good at calligraphy or arts and crafts, enlist their help in personalizing your invitations.
Similarly, customize your party favors by putting something together by yourself. This can range from an assorted bag of candies or a personalized CD commemorating the special day.
Instead of a limo or a fleet of cars, consider a party van or look up wedding packages that car rental companies offer. Always remember that white limos will cost you extra as compared to black/silver ones. If you have to travel from the reception venue to the ceremony, have a different car pick you up an idling car will quickly rack up hourly rates.
Better yet, request help from friends or family! Odds are, you wouldnt even have to pay for the service or the vehicle(s).
Wanting to go with a lavish wedding is the dream of many couples, and such dreams are oftentimes shattered by the sheer amount of money required. But it is entirely possible to have a stunning event thatll keep your bank account intact simply follow these tips, and you can have an unforgettable day for a fraction of the average cost.