Tips for Planning a Wedding on a Budget
The average American wedding cost nearly $30,000 and that’s a big investment. To keep costs down, couples should take a team approach to budget planning and spending. It offers soon-to-be newlyweds great practice with their give-and-take skills, which is something that will come in handy for years to come.
Here are a few ideas on where you can save:
Guest list: Cutting the guest list is going to provide substantial savings. For example, if you haven’t seen someone (yes, even relatives) in over a year — there’s no need to extend the invitation. At $100 a person, taking 10 guests off the list saves you $1,000!
Wedding date: Pick a wedding day other than Saturday. For example, Friday or Sunday food and beverage minimums are considerably less. If planning a destination wedding, consider marrying on a Wednesday or Thursday.
The venue: Have the wedding at a venue that has a caterer, chairs, tables, silverware, glassware, and table linens. If you opt for renting a space and having to bring everything in, it can add up very quickly.
Wedding dress: Bridal gowns can be purchased at dramatic discounts at consignment boutiques, and department stores. Do not be afraid to ask to see samples that have been in inventory for a long time. If you find one you like – ask for the best price.
Favors: Guests typically do not care about taking home a favor and in most cases they are thrown away at the end of the night. Instead, donate the dollars you would spend on favors to a charitable organization.
Flowers: Always pick flowers that are in-season with your wedding; Choose flowers that are open and fuller – this will cut down on the amount; Re-use ceremony flowers at the reception. Large dramatic centerpieces can cost $500 or more – imagine having 20 tables! Consider a variety of centerpieces such as florals for 1/3 of the tables, dramatic candles for 1/3 and a smaller combination of flowers and candles for the remaining tables.
Centerpieces: Take an environmentally friendly approach to reception flowers by providing centerpiece cakes on every table. There is no waste and the end of the night and guests will enjoy getting up and sampling other favors. Centerpiece cakes range from $35 to $100 each and provide huge savings over a one-time-use floral display.
Food: Provide one main entrée to the guests rather than offering multiple choices; Offer two or three different hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour, rather than five or seven; Offer a plated meal rather than buffet. Buffets may cost more per person because the caterer does not want to run out of food.
Drink: Host kegs of beer rather than individual bottled beer. A keg of beer will provide approximately 163 glasses for about $350, compared to 163 bottles of beer at $815.
Invitations: Consider DIY. Doing it yourself is fairly simple with all the design programs available; or leave out engravings and decorative linings to cut down on costs.
Lighting: Lighting is a dramatic and cost-effective way to transform the look of your wedding. Great lighting is simple and will save hundreds of dollars over dramatic centerpieces or linens. Light walls in dramatic colors or points of interest such as windows or columns.
Hire a pro: Consider hiring a professional wedding planner. They typically know the very best professionals for the budget and will negotiate discounts or complimentary upgrades.