Your wedding is meant to be the happiest day of your life. However, the stresses and realities of planning a wedding can quickly start to detract from what should be a joyous time, particularly if you find yourself worried about how you will manage to afford the wedding of your dreams. Given the ever-increasing cost of throwing a wedding, with the average wedding now costing close to $35,000, you are not alone if you are looking for ways to cut back and create your dream wedding without breaking the bank. Fortunately, a beautiful wedding does not have to be expensive. With the right planning, and by prioritizing your budget strategically, you can create the dream wedding you have always wanted without an exorbitant price tag. Here are a few tips to help get you started if you are looking to have your dream wedding on a budget.
Set a Realistic Budget
The first step in planning a wedding without breaking the bank is sitting down and creating a realistic budget of what you can afford to spend on your big day. Once you have a number of what you would like to spend, including a max budget that you can't go over, your next step will be to create an itemized budget outlining what you plan to spend on different components of your wedding such as the cake, the photographer, the dress, and the venue. Take this time to research costs in your area so that you can get a better idea of how much you will need to be prepared to spend on each category. Having an itemized budget from the beginning is critical, as this will help prevent you from getting in over your head. Without a budget, you may start planning your wedding and quickly find that you have blown through your budget only halfway through the wedding planning.
It can also be helpful to sit down with your spouse-to-be and talk about what is most important to each of you in your wedding. For instance, would you rather allocate more money to food? Or are decorations and add-on amenities (such as a photo booth or cigar station) a bigger priority? Knowing what matters most to you going in will help you make informed decisions as you start talking to vendors and comparing quotes. Remember, prices can vary wildly from one vendor to the next, so it is important that you get multiple quotes for everything.
Consider Narrowing Down The Guest List
One of the first things you will likely do when planning a wedding is to create a guest list. However, if you are looking to plan a wedding on a budget, you may want to consider taking a second look at the guest list, as lowering the guest count is one of the easiest ways to save money. The reality is that you can expect to spend anywhere from $100-$150 per person when planning a wedding, so your budget can quickly spiral out of control if you invite too many people. To cut costs, take some time to go over your guestlist again and see if there is anyone you can remove. Remember, it is not considered rude not to give all of your guests a plus one, and it is becoming more common for couples to have adults-only weddings. Not only can having a kid-free wedding keep costs down, but you may find that your friends and family actually enjoy getting a babysitter and having a night out where they can let loose without their kids.
Is Your Date Flexible?
If you have always dreamed of having a fall wedding on a Saturday you are not alone; however, you may want to ask yourself how attached you are to your dream wedding date, as getting married at a less popular time can lead to substantial savings. For instance, getting married on a Friday or Sunday in March will be much more affordable than a Saturday in November. Additionally, if you have some flexibility and don't mind having your wedding on short notice, some venues will offer discounts on dates where there has been a cancellation, but you may have to be prepared to get married in as little as 1-3 months.
Ask Loved Ones To Share Their Talents
When planning a wedding, people often make the mistake of trying to do all of the planning and preparation themselves. However, this can be an extremely stressful, and costly, way to go about things. The fact is that you likely have talented friends and family who would love to be a part of your special day. If you have someone in your life who is crafty, has a connection for flowers, or is an excellent baker, do not be afraid to ask for help. You may be surprised how many of your loved ones would be more than willing to chip in their time and talents at a reduced price, or would even be willing to donate their time as a wedding gift to you.
It never hurts to ask for help, and you may be surprised by how much time and money you will save by getting help with things like centerpieces, decorations, flowers, or even by having friends who are willing to help out with setting up and tearing down on the day of the wedding. Getting your loved ones to volunteer their talents can go a long way in keeping your wedding within budget. Of course, the one place where you likely won't want to cut corners is on important vendors such as the venue, the photographer, and the caterer, as these vendors will ensure your day goes as smoothly as possible.
Your Venue Matters
When creating a budget for your wedding, it is important to remember that you should plan to allocate at least half of your budget toward your venue and catering. When planning a wedding on a budget, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is cutting corners by choosing a less than ideal venue, or by trying to throw a wedding yourself at home or at another do-it-yourself venue. The reality is that while many couples are initially shocked by the price tag of their ideal wedding venue, you do not want to try to save money on the venue, as the venue will set the stage for the entire wedding. If you host your wedding at a truly breathtaking, Instagram-worthy location, guests will not notice if you had to cut corners on decor. The more photogenic the venue, the less money you will have to put into sprucing it up.
Additionally, when considering the cost of a venue, you have to consider everything that is included in that price. Were you to try to throw a wedding in your backyard, or at a venue that is a blank slate such as a park or campground, you will have to provide everything from tables to dishes and even waitstaff. When you choose a quality venue that includes many of the basics in their price, you can end up saving money in the long run. When looking at venues, it is then important that you find out what is included in the price of the venue, what they provide, and if they have partnerships with local venues. Even if a venue looks expensive at first, if a lot is bundled into the price, you will likely end up saving money compared to if you went with a DIY venue.
While planning a wedding on a budget can feel overwhelming, the fact is that having the wedding of your dreams does not have to break the bank. Feel free to contact us for more advice on how you can plan your dream wedding at an affordable price.