Everyone is on a budget these days and we all know that weddings can get very expensive very quickly. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can still achieve a gorgeous wedding day even if you’re planning a wedding on a budget (but really, who isn’t on a budget?!). Here are a few of the tips I typically share with my couples to help them stretch their dollar without sacrificing too much:
1) Avoid guest list bloat
There are so many times I chat with brides after their wedding day, and they had wished they kept their day more intimate. Their lists typically grow and grow to the point where they invite people that they don’t know well but feel obligated. To save as much as you can, try inviting fewer people and making the event more intimate. Start simply by lowering your list down by 20%, then another 20%. Then see if you’re happy with it.
2) Location – this is huge!
A big part of the budget usually gets taken up when the venue is selected. Do you have a friend or family member that has an amazing backyard? Ask to borrow the space. If that isn’t an option, rent a vacation home or private estate for something small and intimate (remember to check policies to make sure you are able to have a wedding on the property).
3) Food & Dessert
Have a cocktail reception, but be cost-conscious by focusing on a beautiful display rather than tons and tons of food. You can have stylish butler-served hors d’oeuvres – this will give a high end feel. Presenting food in an aesthetically appealing way creates a unique impression without the added cost – for example, using items such as ceramic teaspoons, shot glasses, and skewers. And let’s not forget the cake, as an elaborate wedding cake can be very pricey. Instead, opt for a small cake for the cake cutting and offer miniature pies, petit fours or family desserts that have been passed down through generations.
Alcohol is also a big expense when it comes to a lot of weddings, and it’s also a big variable you can play around with to cut costs. Instead of opting for a full open bar, you can save money by offering just beer and wine. To upgrade from just beer and wine, offer one or two kinds of mixed drinks as signature cocktails. Depending on your venue and caterer, ask if they’ll let you supply your own alcohol instead of using theirs, which can be a big money-saver (depending on what you are looking for). Look for a discount liquor store in your area, and stock up on the basics: red and white wine and a few types of beer at the very least. If you want to offer a full bar, pick up the standard liquors like vodka, gin, rum, and whiskey, plus a few mixers and soft drinks like sodas and juice. Don’t forget to think about ice, stir sticks, garnishes and glassware! While it’s more cost-efficient to buy beer kegs instead of cases, any leftover beer will go to waste, whereas you can store excess bottles for months. Also, it’s a good idea to overestimate- you don’t want to run out of drinks halfway through the reception!
5) Live musicians
If you’d like live musical accompaniment for the ceremony (and perhaps for the reception), one place to look for lower-cost musicians is your local university’s music department, as well as local bars for live musicians that are trying to get their name out. Contact them and ask if there is anyone who plays a particular instrument or does vocal work and see if they’re available to provide music for a wedding. It can help them develop their resume and save you on this typically pricey part of your wedding.
6) Favors & decor
Pick an option for a favor that can do double duty as escort card holders. For example, vintage honey bottles, specialty sodas, potted plants, etc. Go for chic and simple decor. Vary the height, size or shape of centerpieces – this will create dimension which keeps the eye flowing through the room. Use candlelight to create a rich and romantic look.
7) Skip the groomsmen and bridesmaid gifts
Instead of buying gifts your groomsmen and bridesmaids may not even want or enjoy, consider writing them a special note to say “thanks” instead. If your friends know that you’re trying to have a frugal wedding, they will understand.
8) Don’t have the budget for a honeymoon?
Utilize a honeymoon registry, and use it to help you go on an amazing honeymoon instead of receiving the traditional household gifts. You can register for a trip anywhere in the world and give your guests a special code to login and make a contribution. The money gets deposited in a matter of days in a banking or savings account that you specify.
9) Plan, plan, plan.
When you’re trying to have a wedding on a budget, it’s important to plan ahead. List everything you can think of and walk through these items step by step. The more time you give yourself, the more time you’ll have to find sales, discounts and research other good ideas. And of course hiring a wedding planner will help you a great deal also!
Whether you’re planning a wedding on a budget or you have a bit of wiggle room, these tips are sure to be helpful in all kinds of ways!
Latest posts by Ashley Alphin (see all)
- 4 Ways To Make Sure You Have A Unique Wedding - April 26, 2016
- 9 Tips You Need To Know To Have An Awesome Wedding On A Budget - September 21, 2015