One of the first realities when planning a wedding on a budget is discovering IT’S EXPENSIVE! But can a bride- or groom-to-be still have the wedding of their dreams? Absolutely.
The secrets to budget wedding planning are two-fold. (1) Rank what’s important to you and (2) be conscientious about what you spend. Here are seven ways you can do this.
1. Prioritize Wedding Expenses
When dreaming of the perfect wedding, there are likely two or three elements you imagine. What are they? The gown? Decor? Location? The people?
Whatever the aspects, these are where you should put your priorities.
First, take a minute and decide what, exactly, are the pieces of the wedding day of most important to you. Now, decide to make these your planning focus.
With this mindset from the start, you will be able to concentrate on the few elements that make the dream a dream. You will soon forget the other parts that don’t happen as you at first anticipated.
Be Both “Penny Wise” and “Pound Wise”
Most of us have heard the phrase “penny wise and pound foolish.” It is a description for someone who watches every little cent. Yet is wasteful when it comes to larger expense decisions.
You can be wise on both fronts! Saving dollars on several smaller expenditures adds up. As does making wise decisions on larger costs.
Here are some ways to go about doing this:
2. Pick and Choose Where You Will Hire Service Vendors
The top areas for hiring vendors should be:
(a) Aspects of your wedding most important to you, and
(b) projects you do not have the time or available talent to do yourself.
Cut costs in areas that are outside the top priority list you made above, in #1.
Also, save where you can DIY. Remember to factor in the time and stress factors when choosing what to do yourself.
Before making final decisions do a reality check on what quality you will give up. Your cousin’s videography skills or Uncle Walt’s speakers may be a bit too sub-par compared to the pros.
Expertise and experience do matter, so scrimp here with your eyes wide open.
3. Choose a Nonconventional Venue.
As nontraditional weddings have become more popular so have unconventional spaces. Couples are having receptions in spaces like empty buildings, barns, or the outdoors.
Be aware of hidden costs. Remote locations may be missing electricity, bathrooms, or food preparation areas. Providing for these missing amenities can eat into your savings.
Also, think about avoiding the cost and logistics involved with two venues. Consider using the space for both the ceremony and wedding reception.
For ideas, see 76 Unexpected Wedding Reception Venues.
4. Scrutinize Guest Count
I know, you’ve heard that before! There is a good reason.
Guest count determines many wedding reception costs. Square footage, table rentals, number of decorations, amount of food and drink, to name a few.
There are two approaches to saving here. (a) Fewer people or (b) cheaper food.
(a) Invite an intimate group of family and friends. You can spend more per person on food, favors, and ambiance.
(b) Invite everyone you, your partner, and all your parents want at the wedding.
The party will be a larger event. But it also means you will have to choose less spendy options to stay within budget.
5. Choose Lower Cost Food Options
Serve a generally lower cost buffet, for example, or have only the entrees catered. Another idea is to ask each person in your family cook their specialty for your wedding.
Some choose to skip a sit-down meal and serve drinks and hors-d’oeuvres only. I even read of one wedding that had an all-dessert reception.
Whatever your approach, be sure to note it on the invitation so your guests can plan their meals for the day.
For more ideas on keeping the food situation under control, read 23 Ways to Save on Wedding Food Costs.
The Visual Details
There are so many modern options. The days of relying on a bridal store for your products are long gone.
6. Do it Yourself (DIY)
Make some items yourself and buy supplies wherever it makes sense. Create your own easy centerpieces or veil, for example. Or give handcrafted, personalized gifts to the wedding party.
If you like the idea of making your own veil, watch and read my five-part Make a Veil tutorial. It’s easier than you may think.
7. Harness the power of the Internet to keep costs down.
When I first wrote this post e-commerce was a new thing. So “shop online” was a more earth-shattering tip. Now, buying online is pretty much a given.
Amazon and Etsy are two go-to sites to look for supplies and gifts. Not to mention the dozens (hundreds?) of wedding dress sites. And almost every retailer has a corresponding website to buy their products.
The part that some people miss is the advantage of digital savings methods. There are ways to automatically get more savings or rebates by using the right methods.
Read Five Wedding Shopping Savings Tips for more details on saving through online shopping.