At $27,000, the cost of the average wedding is as much as a down payment on a home. Unless you’re lucky enough to have parents picking up the tab, chances are you will be trying to cut corners somewhere!
Everyone wants to have a special and memorable wedding, and it is possible without forking over a year’s college tuition or even taking on more debt.
If you want to have the perfect wedding and still be able to buy a home and save for retirement, here are the top 10 ways to save money on your wedding.
Wedding coordinators are expensive and may also be overrated. If you have the time and the skill, planning your own wedding can be both a money saver and a fun way to bond with your future spouse. Seating charts, choosing colors, and menu tastings can be enjoyable as long as you are both interested and don’t feel rushed.
If you need some help, use online planning tools like the planning tools from The Knot, or ask friends and family you trust to give ideas and pitch in if needed. Sometimes wedding coordinators have really good contacts and can save you money on catering and reception, but the cost of a wedding coordinator can reach up to 15 percent of the overall wedding budget. Do the math and figure out what works best for you and your partner.
2. Flowers, Flowers, Flowers
Flowers are one of the most visible, but also most expensive parts of a wedding. Make sure you price different types of flowers and choose something within your budget. Talk with your florist and utilize the less expensive parts of the bouquets such as greenery and smaller, decorative flowers.
A friend of mine planned her wedding for midsummer and her mother actually grew all of the flowers in their garden. They put the bouquets and decorations together by themselves and it was one of the most amazing flower displays I have ever seen at a wedding!
3. DIY Party Favors
Making your own centerpieces and favors can really help the budget. Sometimes simplicity is the best way to go, and handmade items such as placeholders can help to make people feel special and more at home. If you have a lot of guests a handmade place card says “I thought of you when I made this and I am honored you are part of my day”.
4. The Dress
It has to be said: not everyone needs a designer dress, especially since they tend to come with a designer price tag. If you are on a budget spending more than 10 percent of the budget on one item of clothing does not make a lot of sense. There are a lot of places that can make designer style dresses at a fraction of the cost. No one is going to be looking at the label on your wedding gown and let’s face: you only wear the thing once!
5. The Reception
Usually about 46 percent of the overall wedding budget is spent on the reception location rental and the food. This means if you can negotiate a good price on both the reception rental and the catering you can really cut your budget.
Most wedding businesses have a “season” and the price can change drastically from June to September. Having the wedding “off season” can save you some serious dough. Also, feel free to play catering companies against each other. While the hourly rate for servers may not be negotiable the price of food and linen rental certainly is!
You do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on your wedding invitations. Most people have a computer and software powerful enough to design elegant invitations. Use them to your advantage and make the invitations you want at a price that makes sense.
Not feeling creative? Another affordable and really great way to make invitations is to commission a local art student to design and produce your invitations. Art students are cheaper than a professional wedding invitation service, and you can help an aspiring artist to get some much needed exposure. Your wedding invitations are sure to be unique, memorable and affordable!
Or, simply shop online. WeddingPaperDivas.com is one site that provides unique, high-quality invitations and thank you notes for a fraction of the price of local stationers.
One of the most common mistakes people make when planning a wedding is to overestimate the amount of desserts needed. Between dinner, cocktails, and wedding cake, most people will not be eating a huge amount of desserts. Get an accurate count of your guests and make sure that the size of the wedding cake and the amount of desserts are proportionate.
There are a lot of choices when it comes to music for your wedding. Live music tends to be more expensive than a DJ, but music is one of the most important parts of the wedding. Discuss what kind of entertainment you want to have with your partner and shop around for the right entertainment at the right price.
If you have your wedding in the off season and you get pricing from more than one band or DJ, chances are you will have some room to negotiate price. Much like the catering company, the entertainment people have some leeway in what they charge.
9. The Wedding Party
A large wedding party can really put a dent in your wedding budget. Don’t get pushed around by friends and family who want to be a bridesmaid or a groomsman. It is your wedding, and only you and your future spouse should be dictating the number of people in your wedding party.
If you each want five, then find a way to make it happen on a budget. If you only want a maid of honor and a best man, then that is what you should have. Regardless of the number make sure you shop around for best prices on clothing. Bridesmaid’s dresses can be incredibly expensive. The fewer bridesmaids, the fewer bridesmaid’s dresses.
Unless you want to pull Uncle Jim out of the Koi Pond during cocktail hour, consider alternatives to the open bar policy. It will save you money, but it also might save your wedding! Many people choose to have an open bar for only one hour. Other people have complimentary wine and beer but charge for beverages with hard alcohol.
One way to save money is to buy the wine from a wine dealer in bulk and negotiate a rate. Most catering companies will charge an “uncorking fee” for wine that you supply yourself, but the fee is negotiable and depending on how much you paid for the wine the uncorking fee may be worth it!
What About You? Are you planning a wedding and looking for ways to save? Or have you already tied the knot without spending a fortune? Let us know your tricks!