Planning a wedding is tough and can easily break the bank. Even if you’ve been saving for months, it’s easy to faint when you see how much your wedding will cost. Here are some clever ways to stretch your wedding budget – plus some reminders about where the bulk of your budget should go!
What Not To Skimp On
The venue is probably the most important part of the wedding (besides the actual vows, of course!). You do not want to cut corners on the venue because you want to ensure the best staff and volunteers are on hand during your wedding. A lot of museums are doubling as wedding venues today. When you use a venue that normally functions as something else, ensure you find the right staff and amenities to accommodate your needs. A lot of brides forget to find a place that has a full working kitchen for the caterer to make hot, fresh food.
Do not cut corners on your wedding photographer. Wedding photos are different than lifestyle photos, so be sure to do your research on photographers prior to paying a deposit and hiring one. Your wedding photos will hang on your walls for decades to come, so make sure you hire the right person for the job!
Maximizing Your Budget
3. Digital Invites
Instead of printing hundreds of paper invitations and spending money on envelopes and postage, go digital! You can create a graphic and text it to all your guests, or you can send it to them in an email. For the older guests who might not know how to RSVP online, you can still send a paper invite. Going digital can actually help you become more organized, as some invite programs will automatically create a spreadsheet for you that you can use to keep track of headcounts and other details.
4. Eliminate Party Favors
Most brides no longer give away party favors. That isn’t to say that you can’t do them, but if you’re planning on a budget, don’t provide any favors. You can send a mass email announcement out to all your attendees thanking them for celebrating with you, or you can send them personal texts or call them. If you want to give a token of appreciation to some of your closest attendees, consider a meaningful personalized gift.
5. Go Buffet Instead of Plated
Plated dinners, while personalized to your individual guests, are hectic for the reception wait staff and also cost extra. Go with a buffet option instead, but make sure your caterer provides cutlery and plates and busses the tables for you! Some restaurants that offer catering options don’t include those services in their catering packages.
6. No DJ
You can create a playlist and designate an acquaintance that you know won’t stop their playlist managing duty to go drink and talk with friends as the person to run the music instead of hiring a DJ. Make sure you have a plan for who’s going to announce toasts, make bridal party introductions, remind about last call, tap tables for food and announce the send-off, especially since those are the main duties of a DJ.
Instead of buying decor that you’ll never use again, rent it! Hire a decorator who already has a stockpile of decor items to decorate your venue. While it might seem like a large cost at first, you’ll realize that the fifteen baskets you bought to hold the floral centerpieces actually serve no purpose for you later. If you still decide to purchase your own decor, enlist the help of your bridesmaids, friends and family to help you decorate. Have a yard sale or post ads for the items online to make some money after using them on your wedding day.
8. Bridal Party Gifts
Sure, you should show your bridal party some thanks for sticking with you during the chaos that is the wedding day. Save on their gifts by avoiding designer materials and find personalized, practical groomsmen gifts and bridesmaid items. Think of things you know your bridal party will use in their everyday lives.
9. Small Guest List
Even though your mom insists your Great-Aunt Edna must be at your wedding because she was at the hospital when you were born, if you haven’t seen her in ten years, don’t invite her. Depending on your vendors, each guest can cost around $250 to host. Save on unnecessary expenses by only inviting people you know will show up and participate in the festivities with you. If someone is going to get upset that you didn’t invite them, despite not talking to you for over a year, then did they really deserve to be there in the first place? If you still feel bad for not inviting everyone, have an intimate ceremony with close family and friends, then have a larger reception, or vice versa.
10. No Bachelor(ette) Parties
You don’t have to go all out for any pre-wedding parties with the bridal party. Avoid the unnecessary costs of travel, food and hotel expenses, and eliminate the bachelor and bachelorette parties from the itinerary. If your friends still want something done for you, then they can host it on their own dime and arrange everything.
11. The Cake
Avoid the expensive cost of a wedding cake with a cutting tier for you and your spouse instead of many tiers for all of your guests. In fact, look into doing a dessert bar or cupcakes instead of sheet cakes or anything that will require a staff member to serve cake for you.
12. The Champagne
Sure, champagne toasts are traditional. But, who’s going to provide the champagne and pour it out to guests? Most caterers don’t provide toasting flutes or automatically include champagne toasts in their offered packages. Avoid the unnecessary cost by having a ‘What’s in Your Glass’ toast, where guests toast with whatever is in their glass at the time of the event.