Make a Budget
Before you even begin planning, sit down and determine the budget you can use. Use a wedding planning app like WeddingHappy to help you keep track of all the expenditures you need to plan for and head into the wedding planning process with a realistic idea of how much you can expect to spend.
Pare Down the Guest List
You might feel encumbered to invite Great Aunt Bertha’s best friend Sally, but don’t let decorum get in the way of you having the wedding of your dreams. The more guests you have, the more expensive your wedding will be. Set a number that you know you can afford, and don’t let yourself go over it. Invite the people that you can’t imagine spending your day without, then fill in the open spots with the invites that might be based more on decorum than actual desire to have said person at your nuptials.
Saturdays Are Out
If you want to have a Saturday wedding, you’re going to need to save much more than you originally budgeted for. As the most popular and sought after wedding day, venues and rental services are able to charge steep prices due to demand. Instead of booking that reception hall for Saturday at 5 p.m., consider a Sunday evening ceremony and save hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Extend Your Engagement
The longer you have to plan your wedding, the more likely you are to find deals on everything from the venue to the dress to the caterers. If you’re able to extend your engagement, you’ll find yourself less stressed and able to capture more deals than you thought possible.
Venue Double Duty
If you can find a venue that will serve as the perfect spot for both the ceremony and reception, you can save a lot. Many places will offer deals for double-duty selections, and you won’t have to worry about transporting your wedding party and decorations from spot to spot. If you can’t have your wedding and reception in the same venue, the next best money-saving option is to plan to hold your reception in a restaurant.
Many couples elect to have an open bar at their wedding, but that can be one of the biggest budget killers. You may still choose to serve alcohol, but steer clear of pricey liquors and instead focus on beer and wine (and maybe bottles of champagne for toasting). If you do want to provide liquor, find a venue that will allow you to bring your own and hire an outside bartender to come in and work his or her magic for your drink-friendly guests.
The music selection for your wedding is important; it sets the mood, provides the perfect background noise, and makes for magical “first dance” moments. However, securing the music of your dreams shouldn’t mean breaking your budget. If you don’t want to shell out hundreds to thousands for live music or a professional deejay, consider creating your own music playlist on your iPod in the weeks beforehand. This will ensure you have the music you want to hear throughout the night, and you can always elect a friend to cue up the right songs for special moments, like the first dance or bride and father dance.
Get Married in the Off Season
Yes, there’s a season for weddings, and yes, it does mean higher, most often exorbitant price hikes. Generally, spring and fall are the most expensive seasons although this does vary based on geography. Winter months like January, February, and March tend to be the cheapest.
Saving on Dessert
Food is one of the biggest budget breakers when it comes to weddings. When it comes to dessert, instead of doing a traditional wedding cake that looks pretty but no one truly enjoys (and costs way more than a cake ever should), consider hopping on the bandwagon of a dessert bar. Many brides and grooms are electing to have a single, one-layer cake that they can cut for tradition’s sake, augmented by cupcakes, cookies, candy, and other treats. Forgoing the traditional wedding cake doesn’t mean your dessert can’t be an elegant affair. Order a cake pop bouquet and some beautiful arranged fruit, and accompany it with large jars of candies and cookies from The Cravory—guaranteed your guests will prefer the dessert bar over a traditional slice of dry cake.