6 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding (from a Recent Bride!)

Sat, Sep 8, 2012

Budgeting, Financial Advice

Unless you have been squirreling away money since birth, chances are you don’t have $30,000 to spend on a wedding. The average cost of a wedding these days is between $25,000 and $37,000, which is a huge amount of money that most brides would panic if they thought they had to come up with. You don’t have to spend that kind of money though; it is possible, with some work to get your costs down to a fraction of that amount. I just got married at the beginning of August and I had a destination wedding for a fraction of the average cost. It IS possible, but it took a lot of research and work and compromise. I’ll go over some of the key points I found where there was the greatest opportunity to save a little and how I suggest making the most of your budget.

It is extremely important to establish your budget before you delve into the planning process, doing so will help you to avoid uncomfortable discussions with your groom or family about how much you are spending. If you have a set amount that you, or your family members are willing to contribute towards your big day, then you have a fixed amount and you work within it. End of story.  The kind of discussions that pop up when you start working with vendors, based on pricing can be less than pleasant unless you have a clear and firm amount that you have allotted for each piece of the puzzle and stick to it.

Head my words; this is basic wedding planning 101. Once you have your budget in place, it’s time to get started. The process is full of ups and downs; just try to remember how lucky you are to have found someone. That is what is most important, above all, not cake or flowers.

Be your own Planner
Hiring a wedding planner is a luxury, in that securing one will usually cost you about 20% of your overall budget. It is wonderful to have someone to handle all the fine print and tiny details for you, but if you are the type who enjoys research and planning, and more importantly, wants to have a hand in all the details of your special day, by all means, do it yourself.

I planned all of my wedding with the help of my mother and we had a fabulous time picking everything from the caterer and cake down to the napkins and candles. Brace yourself for a lot of decision making, and put someone in charge as the point person for your actual wedding day to handle deliveries and any set up details while you are busy getting ready.

Pick a Reasonable Venue
Take into consideration all of the costs involved when you are picking the destination for your wedding. There is a lot more involved in the costs associated with your venue than just theceremony location itself. You have to consider if it is a destination wedding, the heightened costs of everything based on the limited options, and you must consider travel and lodging for all out of town guests. I admit to doing this step backwards, I picked an island before considering all other costs, it worked out, but presented quite a challenge.

Have an Intimate Event
One sure fire way to cut down on the overall costs of your wedding is to have a smaller more intimate event. Less people quite simply mean less favors, less food, less chairs, etc. You can figure out you budget per person, what you are comfortable spending and then figure out how many guests you are allotted.  We had a small wedding with just immediate family and one friend each and it still wasn’t cheap by any means.

Dress for Less
These days, you can spend thousands and tens of thousands of dollars on your dress, it can end up being one of your largest expenses; it doesn’t have to be this way. If you are lucky enough to have an heirloom gown in your family, use it, alterations will cost a fraction of what a new dress might cost. There are also hundreds of thrift stores where you can find hidden gems. If you look around there are even places where you can rent a gown for a few hundred of dollars.

Put Family to Work
Don’t be afraid to put your family and friends to work. Is someone in your family or group of friends great at photography, or baking cakes? Does someone really love arranging flowers or are they super handy with a video camera? Using the talents that surround you will help you save thousands of dollars that you can put towards other aspects of your wedding or simply save them for the honeymoon.

Craft your own invitations, your programs, your favors, centerpieces and anything else you can think of. Your craft supplies will come in way under any estimated costs that vendors might quote you. But crafting takes time, so plan accordingly.

Jennifer Ricci works within the financial sector, particularly with student loans (when she isn’t contributing finance article to a handful of her favorite blogs).

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