The hardest part of having the perfect wedding has been accomplished – finding “the one.” The dating period is finished, and you are engaged! All the visions of the far-off day of your wedding have suddenly become a reality and are much closer. This is so exciting, but then you realize that one thing you never thought of was how to pay for it. This is one of the best days of your life, yet the thought of how expensive it is going to be is making it stressful. It doesn’t have to be this way! Weddings can be done with less expense, and still be beautiful, elegant, and just as special and exciting.
Set Your Budget
The thought of planning a wedding is a daunting task, and adding in a budget seemingly only complicates matters. However, setting a budget is an important first step because it will act as a guide. It will make the decisions you make easier because you will be clear on just how much you can spend. It will be easier to say no to things that simply cost too much, and give you freedom to say yes to things within your price range. Do this early, so you can get started on the fun stuff!
Think Outside the Box
One characteristic of a completely traditional wedding is that it is expensive, so try to get out of the mindset of making everything perfectly traditional. Clear your mind of what a wedding has to be and concentrate on what you want it to be. It’s a day to celebrate you and that special someone and the commitment you have made to each other. You may still want a wedding that has a traditional look and feel, but you also may find yourself wanting something a little different. Once you have a clear idea of what you want, you will find it easier to only spend money on what you care about, and less on the things that don’t matter as much.
Ask for Help from Friends
Do you have a friend who recently got married? Ask to borrow some wedding supplies. A lot of things bought for a wedding are only used once, so many people will be glad to help. Even if your friend’s wedding looked a lot different from the wedding you want, there will likely be some things you can use. They may have some staple items like white tablecloths, white bows, or candles. Look through their collection with an open mind and creatively use what they have. Everything you can find a use for saves you money.
One interesting idea from The Simple Dollar is to ask friends for wedding help in lieu of gifts. Do you have a friend who is a talented photographer? Do you know an expert at making cakes? Best of all, do you know a wedding planner? These people have the talents for which you will otherwise pay. It may seem difficult to ask, but think about it this way. They will be doing their hobby for you on your special day, and they won’t have to search the town with your registry for a gift. It’s completely win-win. As an added bonus, this will give you some extra time with friends surrounding your wedding giving you more wonderful memories of this day. Imagine, in years to come, seeing the wedding pictures and remembering the fun time you had with your friend, the photographer, while getting your pictures taken, or remembering the laughs you had while getting fitted for your dress with your friend, the seamstress.
Shop at Discount Stores First
I know what you’re thinking. You don’t want your wedding to look cheap. Of course you don’t, but you will be surprised just how nice some of the decorations and other wedding supplies look at discount stores. Maybe you won’t want to get your most prominent items there, but there are some low key items that you can save so much money on here. Think about silverware, plates, vases for centerpieces, and so much more. Think about all the “extra” things that you don’t feel like you should have to spend money on, and these are the things to search for at discount stores.
Look for Sales
Starting early is the key to this tip. For those items that you did want to get from the nicer, high-quality stores, find the items you want and check often for them to go on sale. Also, look for coupons in the mail or email, and take advantage of them when you can. Does the store you like send out a monthly sheet of coupons? Go to the store every month and purchase what you can at a discount. A lot of money can be saved in this way.
Trim the Guest List
This is the one you did not want to hear, but just ask yourself if there’s anyone you are inviting only because you feel like you should. Maybe this isn’t the case. Maybe everyone on your list needs to be there, but it’s worth giving your guest list a second look. This tip is going to be left pretty open-ended. Just consider who you would enjoy having, and who would enjoy being there.
Look for Dinner Options
A catered, three-course dinner is not the only option for a reception dinner. If you are set on having it catered, consider a buffet as an option. These are often cheaper than a plated dinner.
There are endless other possibilities though. Many times family and friends can cook just as well as caterers, and this is especially possible if you are open to a buffet option. Another option is to not have a traditional dinner, but simply have hors d’oeuvres while guests mingle and talk. This option comes with added bonuses too. Guests will be more likely to get to know one another, and not everyone will need a table, so a couple small tables here and there, and some cozy seating areas will require a smaller reception area and therefore cost less money. Try to forget the “rules,” and get creative with options for food. The key is to simply be sure your guests have a good time.
These are just a few tips for creating the perfect wedding on a budget. As you can see, a cheaper wedding doesn’t have to look cheap. There are many ways to save without compromising the look and feel you want. Be creative and plan early to make your day special without breaking the bank.