Either wedding guest count or how much you spend per guest must be limited to stay within budget (if you are like most of us). Chances are, however, you’ve envisioned a “personality” for your wedding that must also remain intact. Scroll down for ideas on how to accomplish both.
You likely expect your wedding’s ambiance to be either gregarious and full of merry making or more demure and conversational. Quashing the traits you’ve pictured could put a nightmarish tint to your dream wedding. If you really want to have all of your large circle of friends at the wedding or have your heart completely set on a sit down gourmet meal, you can still stay within budget by choosing to focus on one or the other (but not both!) and curtailing the opposite. If you are not sure which route to choose, ask yourself these questions:
1) Is it more important (a) to have a large reception or (b) for your guests to feel personally pampered?
2) Do you see your wedding as more like a (a) party, with extended friends and family, or (b) special gathering of your “inner circle?”
If the (a)s are more appealing, you want a big, party-like wedding with a lot of people. If the (b)s are more attractive, you prefer a more quietly social, intimate wedding. Which you want will drive your decisions every step of the way.
Money-saving ideas for five aspects of your wedding.
The venue, menu, dessert, drink, and photography & videography choices are all important considerations when it comes to the event’s atmosphere and how you will perceive that Big Day. Some different ideas, depending on your preferences above, are below.
The (a)s tend to be more suited for “big party” weddings, in which case you will need to focus on controlling your per-person costs. Thus, these are options that will get you more with less money.
The (b)s tend to be more appropriate for an “intimate gathering,” where you can spend more per person. This means inviting only a small group to your wedding. When planning, focus on the core aspects of a product or service that make it feel upscale and limit the more frivolous options, so you can make more premium choices without breaking the bank.
(a) If a typical reception hall (VFW, banquet facility, etc.) is not right for you, go for an unexpected, but affordable venue. Barns, rural fields, gymnasiums, and warehouses that can hold a lot of people at a low cost per square foot are all options.
(b) Consider a restaurant for your reception, with a sit down dinner served in courses. This allows a more opulent setting, but allows you to save on extras like décor, space rental, and wait staff.
2. The Menu
(a) Choose foods that are filling yet inexpensive, like pasta and rice dishes, as entrees. Guests will feel satisfied while you avoid breaking the bank on per-plate costs.
(b) Choose the chef’s specialty as the entree and opt for lower-cost sides (if needed). Focusing on one or two showcase items helps give a posh ambience to the meal.
(a) Have a spread of desserts homemade by family and friends. It’s an economical way to have a large-volume dessert table without correspondingly high cost. Spread the tasks among your bake-loving helpers and the burden will fall heavily on no one’s shoulders.
(b) Have a small, but lavishly decorated, wedding cake just large enough to feed your guests—beautiful, upscale, and economical.
(a) Set up a self-serve drink station—stocked with alcohol you bought—with only beer, a red and white wine, and signature drink. This allows you to shop around for the best prices and, possibly, save on volume. One caveat: check with your venue to make sure this is allowed and there are no “corkage” fees for bringing in from the outside. The latter could erase your savings.
(b) Offer served drinks from pre-determined options chosen to fit within your budget. This prevents unexpected costs due to overshooting usage from an open bar.
5. Photography and Videography
(a) Hire an experienced photographer with good equipment to take a few core pictures. For the rest, set up a photo-sharing app or Instagram hashtag for your guests to upload the photos they take. You still get some professional shots for your formal albums, yet have captured memories from the entire day.
(b) Have your photographer and videographer document your whole ceremony and reception, then limit the size of the packages and special effects or other editing options you purchase. This approach gets you a full package without having to pay super-premium prices.
By using these guidelines to choose cost-cuts based on your wedding’s personality you can have the big party or intimate gathering of your dreams!