Have you recently become engaged? Well first off, congratulations! We’re sure you’re feeling the rush of excitement as you start planning the wedding of your dreams; but don’t let the crippling shadow of expenses dampen your mood. Did you know that the average cost of a wedding these days is over $35,000? Who has that kind of money lying around? We’ve got five tips for you that will help you stay cool under the pressure of wedding planning and have the day of your dreams on a budget!
Read The Fine Print
If you’ve already started looking at venues, then you’re probably aware of this horrible thing called fine print. Ah yes, the fine print that dictates what you can and cannot do at a venue, who you can or cannot hire as a vendor for your wedding, etc. Beware of the fine print! When looking at venues, ask if they have a specific list of vendors that you can only choose from. This typically includes DJs, caterers, florists, and photographers. While it may seem nice to have a short list of options, this can very quickly exceed your wedding budget when you don’t have the choice to hire who you want. Read all the fine print before booking a wedding venue so you don’t get locked into any surprise fees or unwanted vendors.
Get Married at a Free Space
To avoid the fine print issue altogether, you can actually get married at a free space! This includes a beautiful backyard owned by a family or friend, the beach, or a park. There are so many gorgeous locations to get married at that will cost you zero dollars. We like that deal! Venues are great if you’re planning on having a massive wedding and inviting hundreds of people, but if you keep the size more intimate, you can easily find a space to get married that is free.
Check Out Consignment Dresses
Ladies, we already know you’ve been eyeing the dress of your dreams since you were a little girl. However, did you know that the average wedding dress costs around $1,500? That’s $1,500 for a dress that you will only wear for 8 hours or less in your entire life. Instead of paying top dollar, check out bridal consignment stores like Brides For a Cause or Nearly Newlywed. You can save hundreds or literally thousands of dollars by getting your bridal gown second hand. They’re usually in stunning condition since wedding dresses are worn for such short periods of time too. If you find a dress that you love in a consignment shop that is a size or two bigger than you, consider getting it altered down to your size and you’ll still spend less than the retail value of your dress. This goes the same for bridesmaids too! The latest trend is for bridesmaids to wear mismatched dresses, which makes shopping second-hand even easier.
Keep the Decor Simple
One of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding is getting to pick out different decorations for the reception tables and area where the ceremony is taking place. Fresh flowers are a beautiful touch that always add color and life to a simple space, but they can quickly become very expensive, along with other decorations. Rather than using floral arrangements on every table, you could substitute them with greenery. It’s much cheaper to use greenery and it still adds a pop of color. You can buy potted succulents in bulk online, or visit your local nursery for a great deal on plants. If you absolutely want real flowers during your wedding, take a look at buying and arranging the flowers yourself. Trader Joe’s offers stunning bouquets year-round for a very low price- typically $3-$5 per bunch of flowers and Pinterest is loaded with tips on how to arrange your own flowers like a pro! As for other decorations, the best way to save money is keep the look simple. Put your personal spin on things and see if you have props/items around your house that would be appropriate at the wedding. Figurines, books, or mementos like framed photos from your favorite dates with your partner could be really sweet touches on guest tables and would cost next to nothing.
Serve Brunch, Not Dinner
Food can add up fast if you’re serving a meal at your reception. Serving dinner can easily cost $50 or even $100 per plate, depending on what you’re serving. An easy way to cut down costs on food is to serve breakfast/brunch items. Eggs, pancakes, bacon, and so on are typically much cheaper than serving dinner items like steak, chicken, or fish. Having a “breakfast for dinner” theme or even holding your wedding in the morning and serving brunch can save you some serious cash! If you love breakfast food, this might be a great penny-pinching trick for you to take advantage of.
Lastly, the most important thing to remember is that you can do whatever you want. It’s your wedding! If you want to wear a cute sundress instead of a fancy wedding dress -- go for it. If you’d rather serve desserts instead of a full meal during your reception too, that’s completely fine. It’s your special day, so do what you and your partner want. Don’t get caught up in the mindset of thinking you have to do things a certain way just because it’s a wedding. If you focus on the importance of the day itself instead of all the little details, you can easily save big and have an incredible day!