A wedding is one of the most expensive events most folks ever plan. If you search the best wedding planning sites or the shelves of a great bookstore (they still exist!), you’ll find gobs of advice about saving money on your dream wedding, but how much of it is good advice? I think we’ve pretty much heard it all, from the slightly odd to the downright wrong.
Now, I shouldn’t have to say this, but no…you cannot charge your guests a per-head fee for the wedding dinner. And you really can’t send a bill if someone no-shows, no matter how tempting it might be.
The reality of saving money, of course, is that we all have our priorities. Yours might be music, or gourmet food, or blog-worthy décor.
Recognizing that not every way to save is perfect for every couple, here are several ideas that could help you have your dream wedding without the nightmare price tag.
- Reduce your guest list. The simple fact is that planning a small wedding is more affordable than hosting a huge event. If you want to maximize your savings, minimize your guest list.
- Choose a date off-season, or a wedding anytime other than on a Saturday. High-demand days and times definitely come at a premium price. Being creative with your wedding date can have a huge effect on the bottom line.
- Choose a time of day that doesn’t necessitate a full dinner. Breakfast weddings can be seriously charming and, depending on your selections, may save you on catering and alcohol consumption.
- Explore your options. There are many venues that offer members or affiliates deep discounts as long as you can prove you belong. Use your own memberships at community clubs, ties to your alma mater, or family relationships with private clubs or non-profit organizations and save on your fees.
- Consider a destination wedding. Many destination weddings are actually quite affordable. Resorts around the world have wedding packages and services.
- Do not automatically purchase the alcohol “package”. Statistically, most couples are better off paying per drink. Do the math carefully and discuss your options with your caterer.
- Choose wedding locations that are naturally beautiful to minimize some of the more expensive décor pieces needed to set the scene.
- Negotiate with your venue for accommodations and/or transportation: you can save a decent amount of money on your wedding night accommodations, and a hefty sum if you don’t have to transport yourselves or your guests between the ceremony and reception.
- “Pinterest Perfect” rarely is. Don’t feel like you have to include every detail from every pin, post, or blog. Choose what really reflects you as a couple, and what you can actually afford. DIY those things that you can reasonably accomplish instead of biting off way more than you can chew.
- Hire a professional wedding planner. I always like to point out that hiring wedding planners never guarantees “insider” discounts, although sometimes extra benefits are available. It does help, though, to keep you on financial track and gives you an expert to help you recognize the good savings ideas versus the terrible ones.
Once you set your budget, prioritize together so you know which investments are valuable to you and which you can forego. Don’t let the wedding madness inflate your costs, and don’t sacrifice those things that are most important to you both. Follow these tips, and you can save money and still have the wedding of your dreams. Reach out to us for more helpful tips!