A wedding budget may sound like a lot of money until the costs begin to accumulate. It’s then you realize even what seem to be small expenditures add up quickly. Smart brides take steps to manage the money before costs get out of hand.
(1) Choose either quantity or quality. A huge wedding with a lot of guests or a small event with only closest family and friends? A low budget for the former will require a creative venue choice and buffet or other value-priced choice of catering. Go the latter route and you can spend more per guest and still stay within a limited budget.
(2) Take time for a reality check. It’s too easy to get caught up in the glamour of possibilities and begin to want, Want, WANT!! When the “gotta have it” mode kicks in, take a step back and remember what counts is your relationship with your spouse-to-be and what it means, not the material things. Then take a deep breath and make meaningful choices without breaking the bank.
(3) Evaluate creative talents for DIY. You, your family, and other volunteers can choose to complete pieces of the wedding yourself. Centerpieces, favors, food stations, escort/place cards, the card box, and other decorations are some of the candidates (check out the DIY Wedding Ideas pinboard for more inspiration).
(4) Arrange for professional services as gifts if possible. Even the tightest budget weddings require professional services. Coordinators, photographers & planners, florists, caterers, DJ’s, officiates, and bakers all add value to wedding memories. If you are lucky enough to have any of these in your family or as friends, they may want to offer their services as gifts. Or, someone may offer to pay for one or more wedding professionals.
(5) Split the costs. While more couples are footing the entire wedding bill themselves these days, splitting the bills is still an option. In fact, the latest data shows 13% of 2013 weddings were funded, in part, by non-parent relatives. (Source: The Wedding Report)
(6) Keep track of expenses all in one place, such as with this wedding planning cheat sheet.
(7) earn a return on the money you spend by charging everything to a cash back or other rewards credit card (then paying it off when the bill comes in). Discover, for example, gives you at least 1% back–with 5% back on specific categories each quarter–on everything you charge to the card.
For more ideas on planning a wedding with a limited budget, read Dream Wedding on a Dime; 7 Secrets for the Budget-Savvy Bride.