When many women get engaged, they immediately start mapping out their dream wedding. Some go Pinterest crazy, or they cut images out of magazines to create a dream board. This part of the planning process is fun; however, when these future brides do some investigation, they may find that their dream wedding is way over their budget.
When I first started planning for my wedding, I too came up with a dream wedding wish list. Then I looked at what my fiancé and I could contribute and what my parents could put in. I quickly found out that some of the grandiose things I wanted to have, I could not afford. However, instead of giving up on my dream, I started to trim my wish list and I worked with my wedding planner to find budget friendly ways to achieve my vintage wedding without going into debt. Having a dream wedding on a budget is possible, but you have to plan carefully. Here are some tips on how to save money on your big day.
1) Sit down with your fiancé and come up with a budget. If there are any family members that you feel can contribute, contact them. Your budget will guide your decisions.
2) Identify your wedding must haves. Think about what you enjoy when you go to weddings: is it the food, the entertainment, the décor. Talk to your fiancé about what is most important to the both of you, and rank your priorities on that list. It may be that great photography and videography is a top priority. You’ll want to spend more money on your priorities, than on details that do not mean much to you.
3) Use the talents of your friends and family. If you know someone who is great at photography, plays the flute or has a knack for design, ask if they will lend you their talents for free or at a reduced price. The only drawback to this is if something is not done right, it may cause major tension.
4) Decide on whether or not to hire a wedding planner. Some brides forgo a wedding planner because they want to plan and design their wedding, or they think a wedding planner is too expensive. DIY does help some brides save money. However, when making this decision, consider the size and scope of your wedding. If you are having a huge wedding with lots of details, planning everything by yourself may be unrealistic. Seasoned wedding planners can help you save money by finding the best venues and vendors within your budget. They can negotiate prices, and many have strong relationships with vendors which can lead to additional discounts. The amount of discounts you receive by using a planner may more than cover the cost of the planner.
5) Have your wedding at an all-inclusive venue. These venues may include food, decorations and a wedding planner or a day of coordinator. This will save you thousands of dollars.
6) Think creatively about your venue. Maybe have your wedding at a restaurant with a beautiful courtyard or in a renovated loft. Also, if you pick a venue that is visually stunning, like a ballroom or an outside garden, you may have less need for décor.
7) Keep your wedding guest list low. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a tight guest list if you are on a budget.
8) Have your wedding off season, on a Friday or Sunday, or earlier in the afternoon. Many venues give discounts if you have you wedding at times that are not as popular. This may translate into thousands of dollars.
9) Bargain Hunt. Go to discount stores such as Hobby Lobby, Home Goods or a local flea market and see if you can find anything you can use for your wedding. Think about buying things such as vintage picture frames that you can reuse in your home. Also consider looking at on online at stores like etsy or a website where you can buy used items such as www.tradesy.com.
10) Cut down on stationery. If you are having a buffet, you may not need menus for each guest. You can simply place a sign on each table or a sign at each buffet station with the menu options. Also, consider not placing a program on each chair. Pass out programs to those who really want one. Maybe have your gift boxes double as escort cards. Be creative.
11) Cut down on decorations. Every table at the wedding may not need flowers. Mix it up and place candles on some of the tables. Also, consider reusing decorations from your ceremony in your reception.
12) Look out for trunk shows and wedding dress sales. Sign up for emails from your favorite designers or bridal salons and check out their websites. Note when trunk shows are in town and you may save up to 15% on your wedding dress. Also consider buying a pre-owned wedding dress or rent one.
13) Borrow as much as you can. If your mother has a veil that you love, wear it. If your friend has art that you can display for cocktail hour, use it.
14) Limit the bar. See if your venue will allow you to bring your own alcohol. This will save you a lot of money. If not, consider having just a beer and wine bar, serving a signature drink or closing your bar an hour before the wedding ends. This will help you save money and help ensure your guests get home safely.
15) Ditch the traditional wedding cake. Many couples are serving cupcakes and doughnuts in lieu of a wedding cake. If you are not attached to the idea of having a cake this may be a money saving option for you. If you want a cake, consider a fake cake. The bottom tier can be real for the cake cutting, and you can keep sheet cake in the back and serve it your guests. Your guests will never know and you can save hundreds of dollars.
16) Save on transportation. If you can have your ceremony and reception in the same place this will cut down on transport costs. If the hotel that you are getting ready is across the street from your venue, consider walking to your venue. It will make for great pictures. Also carpooling is an awesome way to save money.
17) Get the lowest vendor package. Many vendors. such as photographers and videographers offer several packages that increase in price. You can always select the lowest package, and add on items such as a album or prints later when you have more money.