5 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
From a young age, many women dream of their wedding day. They line up dolls as guests, use a blanket as a veil and slip their mom’s costume jewelry on their ring finger. As they grow up, the details start coming into focus: they picture what their dress will look like, imagine the perfect locale for the nuptials and decide which diamond cut is their favorite.
Then, it finally happens. They meet the man of their dreams; he gets down on one knee and she says “yes!” through laughter and tears.
It’s time to put all those years of planning into use. However, most brides-to-be aren’t ready for the reality of having a wedding – it’s expensive! The average total expenditure on a wedding and reception is now over $44,000. Most of the expense goes toward such items as:
- Reception-related expenses
- Florist/event decor
- Ceremony-related expenses
- Rehearsal dinner
- Gown and tuxedo
So, how does the cost-conscious betrothed save a few bucks? Our list of 5 ways to save money on a wedding is a good start to a less stressful and anxiety-ridden day.
- Choose an Off-Peak Time
Wedding season peaks from June-September, so choose a month in the fall or early spring. If you live in a milder climate, winter may be an option for you as well. Wedding vendors don’t get as much business during these months, so they’re willing to provide the same services for less than what you’ll pay in the summer.
Historically, Saturday is the day that most weddings are held, but Fridays and Sundays are gaining in popularity. Think outside the box – and save money – by exchanging vowels on a weekday. Logistically, this is a little more difficult to pull off for most couples. However, if being a bride on a budget is your No. 1 priority, being flexible with the day of the week should be considered.
The time of day also can affect the wedding, at least when it comes to food and drink! Both private and venue caterers typically charge more for weddings that serve dinner – and that includes going the buffet route. This is also when couples end up spending the most for libations. Planning your wedding reception to begin between 1-3 eliminates the need for a full-on spread. Instead, opt for hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail hour. But, make sure you state it clearly on the invitation that dinner will not be served, so your guests can plan accordingly.
- Forego the Traditional
“Traditional” wedding venues, like churches, country clubs and hotels charge top dollar for weddings. Think outside the box. Ceremonies at parks or beaches, followed by a reception at a local art gallery or banquet hall are gaining in popularity because of their affordability. These locations may also allow you more freedom to customize your day, but keep in mind that you’ll likely need to rent chairs, tables, etc.
- Keep Your Friends Close and Your Family Closer
Bigger isn’t always better, so don’t be afraid to keep your guest list to a minimum. Don’t invite your entire Facebook friends list to your wedding – narrow it down to people you interact with in real life. The rule applies to family as well. If you haven’t spoken to your second cousin Olivia from Omaha since the family reunion 15 years ago, leave them off the guest list. The same goes for friends/coworkers of your parents. You’re not obligated to have anyone at your wedding you don’t know personally – regardless of what anyone tells you. This is your wedding, not a networking event.
- Minimalist Fashion Is Always In
Gowns and tuxes can take up a huge chunk of a wedding budget only to never be worn again. Until recently, only grooms had the option of renting a tux, while the bride was left with a couple thousand dollars’ worth of fabric and lace sitting in storage. Now, brides can rent wedding gowns thanks to services like RenttheRunway.com. However, if you’re not comfortable doing so, you can always channel your inner Duchess of Sussex and go with a minimalist look.
Another hint: Use your venue as your fashion compass. If you’re saying your “I do’s” on the beach or at a park, consider wearing a dress without a train. You may only wear it once, but there’s no need to destroy or damage it.
- Follow Your Gut
Your day is about you and your fiancé – not your best friend, mother or future MIL. Don’t let anyone talk you into extravagances you don’t want. Many brides feel obligated to agree to things because their mom likes it or changes part of the color scheme because their BFF hates baby pink. The same goes for the menu, flowers, décor and, yes, the guest list. If your gut is telling you to go with beef, not chicken, baby pink tablecloths, rose centerpieces and second cousin Olivia stays in Omaha – so be it.