Let's face it; weddings are an expensive celebration. And if you are on a tight budget, planning a dream wedding can become an even harder task. It requires lots of research, organization, and lots of planning. If proper budgeting is not done correctly, everything will cost a lot more than expected. And you don't want that, right?
The first thing you need to do is decide on your priorities. What's a must to you and what you can live without? Use Google spreadsheets, and write that all down. Having all your thoughts in one place will save you all the stress later. Start first with the question;
How Large of a Wedding Party You'd Like?
This is something that will probably have a major impact on your budget. Discuss with your partner how many guests you'll have. Keep in mind that the more guests you have, the more money you will spend. Also, an intimate wedding is much easier to plan and allows you to be flexible with your budget. Just cutting the list by 15 people could save you as much as $1000.
You have by now set your wedding budget, and you know how big your wedding will be, now is the time to start wedding planning. Here are a few tips on how to save in every aspect of the wedding – from the wedding venue to the food to the decorations.
Backyard wedding [photo: Katrien Sterckx]
Couples usually spend about 50% of their budget on a wedding venue. So choose wisely! Use various resources, check out the forums, read reviews, it will help you narrow your options and not be ripped off. Stay open to possibilities and do some site visits. Always ask what extras are included.
You can also opt for free or nearly free space. How about a backyard wedding? It is perfect for an intimate 'small wedding' with only family and friends. Or a wedding held in a park? Permit for park wedding is far less than a usual venue's rate. You can also always get married at City Hall, which was a super popular wedding location for couples in 2020, due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Finding a less expensive wedding venue can help you save a lot of money.
Have you already picked your wedding date? Saturday is the most popular date to get married, but it's also the most expensive. Rather opt for Sunday or Friday, it will cost you up to 50% less.
Food and Drinks
What type of food do you want on your big day? Is lavish dinner important to you? If you want to save on food, opt for a buffet line. Also, great options for small weddings are food stations or a good barbecue.
If you opt for catering, be careful, they have a lot of hidden fees – from service fee, staffing fee, rentals for chairs, tables, dinnerware etc.
What about drinks? Opt for a limited bar, it is much cheaper than unlimited alcohol. Or even for non-alcohol drinks.
Do Your Own Makeup
Are you confident in your makeup skills? Then do your own wedding day makeup. You will save some extra money on this, which you could spend on your wedding dress.
Here are some tips on how to do that perfectly.
Wedding Dress and Tuxedo
Bride and Groom [photo: Wesner Rodrigues]
Shop on sales! You can get a stunning wedding gown and tuxedo for great prices. There are so many great bridal online shops that offer stunning gowns for affordable prices. At Princessly, we offer beautiful bridal gowns that are under $200! Great, right?! Check out our collection here.
You could also opt for a preowned wedding dress and find the gown from designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Vera Weng for 50 percent of its retail value.
And for the tuxes, how about choosing an elegant suit instead? You will save a lot of money, and look good too. It a win-win.
Another great way to save money! Get creative and crafty and DIY everything you can. From wedding decor such as table numbers, centerpieces, wedding signs, bouquets, favors, photo booth, etc. You can even make your own invites. There are so many amazing free apps where you can design the most beautiful wedding invites, which you will usually pay a lot of $$$. You can send them via email, or print them.
For more inspiration, check out our recent post 17 Creative and Budget-Friendly DIY Wedding Ideas
Beautiful Decor Details [photo: Kelly Jean]
Choose local, and in-season flowers! Not only the blooms will be fresher, but you can also save on transport costs too. In-season flowers are easier to get than ones that are out of season (think all the importing costs!). Check out this great seasonal guide to wedding flowers for more information.
Utilize Your Friends' Talents
Do you maybe have friends that are great bakers?. Or friends that are great crafters? Musicians or DJs? Ask them for help. Those are the people that truly care about you, and we are sure they will want to help you out and play their own part in your planning process.
Bride and Groom [photo:Taras Budniak]
Don't save on photographer! They are definitely worth the money and will make a big difference. You don't want to rely on friends and family for this. What if the photos don't turn out as you imagined? You can't turn back time. Make sure you find a good photographer that will do the editing too. Check out the reviews and portfolios. Some photographers will lower the price if you only want them there part of the time.
According to Brides magazine, the average wedding music ceremony cost in the U.S. comes in at $500. And it has increased over the past few years. So how to save? Hire a DJ! DJs are typically more affordable than a live band. Another option is queueing up an iPod with a speaker, and be your own DJ.