Planning low budget weddings: Tips and ideas for ways to cut costs of weddings without sacrificing the elegance of the wedding celebration
Just because you’re getting married, doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on the big day. Lots of couples streamline their expenses and still have an elegant wedding.
According to Conde Nast Bridal Infobank, the average wedding in the United States costs $27,021. That’s a pricey figure and most couples don’t have that kind of cash in their wallets. And taking out a loan to pay for a big expensive wedding isn’t worth it for couples who want to buy a house or finish their education.
Luckily there are many low cost options for brides and grooms. From inexpensive flowers to do it yourself invitations, couples can keep costs down. The first thing a couples needs to consider is how much money they have to spend. Will the money come from the bride’s family, the groom’s family or will it be financed by the bride and groom? Once that determination is made, the couples can budget their expenses based on the amount of available funds.
Since the bulk of a wedding’s costs involve the reception, couples need to set aside about half of their money to cover expenses such as food, drinks, cake and preparing the reception site. They should set aside at least 10% of the budget for taxes and tips. And the rest of the money can be divvied up to cover expenses like flowers, transportation, attire and decorations.
Brides and grooms need to start the preparations early. The more time they have to coordinate the details, the better the chances of snagging bargains. The following ideas are ways to trim the wedding bill and still have an amazing wedding.
• Have your wedding on an alternative day. Most couples want a Friday night or a Saturday day wedding. Ask for prices on a Sunday morning or a Thursday night wedding.
• Choose a venue that doesn’t need much decorating. A beach backdrop is pretty simple as is a local park. During holidays some locations are very well decorated. For example, a hotel at Christmas won’t require much additional lighting or flowers.
• Negotiate with vendors. They may be able to trim costs based on substitutions. For example, a florist may be able to use different flowers in a bouquet to cut costs.
• Get comparison prices on everything. Use the internet to find out approximate prices for services such as videography, catering and disc jockeys, then contact vendors in your area and see if they’ll match those prices.
• Hire friends to help. A buddy can serve as a disc jockey or snap wedding photographs. The work can be done for a humble fee or for free as a wedding present.
• Hire students to help you. Contact local colleges to get a list of music students who can perform at the ceremony and reception for a fraction of the prices the professionals charge.
• Forgo the cash bar which can be perceived as tacky. To control alcohol costs, negotiate a flat rate with the caterer for wine and beer. Most hotels and banquet facilities include a free champagne toast.
• If you don’t want to limit alcohol, host a brunch or breakfast when guests are less likely to drink a lot.
• Get crafty. Assemble your own pew bows, hand wrap flower bouquets and sew your veil with tulle, a pearl trim and hair combs.
• Create your own invitations. Craft stores have lots of low-cost wedding stationary options to help you design and print invitations, envelopes and place cards.
• Consider buying a second-hand wedding dress or search online auction sites for deals on dress samples, or never worn gowns.
• For a casual wedding, buy an off the rack dress at a department store or order a bridesmaid’s dress is white or ivory. The price tags are noticeably lower.
• For favors, buy in bulk. Go to a craft store or a close-out store for bargains on favors such as small picture frames, which double as place cards; votive candles; potpourri sachets; small keepsake boxes.
• Borrow a friend’s luxury car instead of renting a limo. If you do rent a vehicle, compare prices and consider an older luxury car as opposed to a stretch limo. The look is classy and the price is often cheaper.
• Make your own food for the big day or ask family and friends to bring a dish. A pot luck wedding reception will keep expenses down and will guarantee full bellies. Home cooking is a great touch to a wedding reception.
• For your sweet tooth, serve up a simple but elegant cake. Buy sheet cakes from a bakery or a grocery store to supplement the wedding cake.