Lower wedding budgets are today’s reality. Given a smaller budget, can a bride- or groom–to-be still have the wedding of their dreams? Absolutely. The secrets are prioritizing and being conscientious about what you spend. The ebook Dream Wedding on a Dime; 7 Secrets for the Budget-Savvy Bride goes into detail. Here are a few related thoughts:
- Prioritize wedding expenses. When dreaming of the perfect wedding, there are likely two or three elements you see vividly. What are they? The gown? Decor? Location? The people? Whatever the aspects, these are where you should put your priorities.
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, you will be able to concentrate on the few elements that make the dream a dream, and you will soon forget the more insignificant portions that did not happen as originally anticipated.
Be Both “Penny Wise” and “Pound Wise”
Most of us have heard the phrase “penny wise and pound foolish” as a description for someone who watches every little cent but is wasteful when it comes to larger expense decisions. You can be wise on both fronts! Consistently saving dollars on the smaller expenditures adds up, as does making wise decisions on larger costs.
Here are some ways to go about doing this:
- Pick and choose personalized service providers. The top areas for hiring personalized services are (a) aspects of your wedding most important to you and (b) those that involve projects you do not have the time or available talent to do yourself. Cut costs in areas where you have the resources to DIY (in terms of time and friends or family to help you) and those that are outside the top priority list you made above, in #1.
Before making final decisions, however, evaluate what quality you will give up by having your cousin do the videography or Uncle Walt running an MP3 and speakers. Expertise and experience do matter, so scrimp here with your eyes wide open.
Venue & Catering Costs
There are two approaches to saving money here: guest count and cost for space.
- Choose a nonconventional venue. In recent years, as nontraditional weddings have become more popular, more couples have begun having their receptions in spaces like empty buildings, barns, or the outdoors and many are using the space for both the ceremony and wedding. (For ideas, see 76 Unexpected Wedding Reception Venues.) Depending on the location, this can save on rental fees. Be sure, however, to consider any additional costs for remote locations. Electricity, bathrooms, and a food preparation space are essential. Providing missing amenities can eat into your savings.
- Scrutinize guest count. If you have been researching wedding budgets for long, you have already seen this piece of advice many times. There is a good reason. The number of guests determines many wedding reception costs—the size of the space; the number of table rentals and accompanying decorations; and the required amount of food and drink. Inviting a more intimate group of family and friends allows you to spend more per person on food, favors, and ambiance. Conversely, a larger event requires that you choose less spendy options to stay within budget.
- 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 accordingly.
The Visual Details
There are so many options today you no longer have to rely on a single source for all your wedding products (unless you want to).
- Do it yourself (DIY). Make some items yourself and buy supplies wherever it makes sense. Creating your own easy centerpieces or veil, for example, is perfectly acceptable, as is giving handcrafted and personally meaningful gifts to the wedding party.
- Harness the power of the Internet to keep costs down. Shop online sales, discounts, and low-cost websites. Not only is the selection much larger than what you find locally, but lower priced options are often more plentiful as well.