photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/95942851@N00/6254593975″>Shannon</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
You’re engaged! Congratulations! How’s the planning going? If you’re like most, you may find yourself astonished about how pricy your dream wedding can be. The average wedding costs roughly $30,000 dollars to pull off. That is, it costs the un-frugal-minded couple $30,000. But, as financially-savvy couple, you know that just because it costs this much for the average couple, it doesn’t mean your dream wedding has to cost you that much. With a little research, you’re sure you can pull it off for much less. And so, here you are: you’ve landed on this page looking for those little-known gems. Well, we have them. Here are 16 ways you can save big on your wedding without compromising your dreams.
Tip #1: Become your own wedding planner.
Planning your own wedding can be a great way to save on expenses. But, you’ll need a few essential skills to ensure that this approach will really lead to savings. First, you need to know how to negotiate. Some of us suffer from fear of negotiation but, for those who don’t, negotiating down prices is a huge asset. Next, you must be sure that, even under stress, you can remain friendly and courteous to those you deal with. This is because many service providers will offer better prices to those they like. So, no matter how tempting or how stressed out you are, make it a point to explicitly appreciate those who are part of your wedding planning process. Lastly, to save money as a wedding planner, you must be able to take a creative and organized approach to problem solving. Sometimes, what you imagined may be too expensive for your budget. But, if you look at what options you do have even while sticking to your budget, you may be surprised to find something even better than you previously imagined.
Tip # 2: Prioritize your expenses.
With $30,000 at stake, it’s important to decide which wedding features are must-haves and which ones you might be just as content to do without. To do so, simply create a list of must-haves and can-do-withouts. Now, just because you’ve decided there are some features you can do without doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep them in mind if you would at all appreciate them at your wedding. These can often be negotiated into other bundlessome. For example, you may be able to negotiate a veil into the price of your wedding dress at no extra cost. The trick here is to keep your can-do-withouts in their proper place in your budget. This means that, under no circumstances will you allow yourself to be talked into paying exorbitant prices for these dispensable items.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/52048340@N03/5973963491″>Time Change (205/365)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Tip #3: Time is money.
Just like some businesses take advantage of the 4th of July weekend to hike up gas prices, there are certain peak wedding seasons that mean big wins for businesses and big losses for couples in love. Namely, June and November are popular months to get married. Avoiding these dates can save you a bundle in booking venues and more. Likewise, getting married on Saturday is going to mean you pay higher prices for bookings. The best time to get married is on a weeknight or on Sunday, during wedding off-seasons, as early in the day as possible and during holiday seasons.
And, best of all, by booking your wedding hall right before a holiday, you may be able to take advantage of some beautiful pro-bono decorations. For example, most churches decorate elaborately for Christmas. So, booking your wedding right before Christmas may get you a magically decorated hall for your big day without all the decoration expenses.
Tip #4: Keep your guest list short but sweet.
Let’s face it, not everyone you ever came in contact with is going to value an invitation to your wedding. And, while it may be great to invite everyone you’ve ever worked with to your business launch, doing so at your wedding simply isn’t necessary. Keeping your wedding guest list to A-list only is a great way to ensure that your wedding day is filled with the loved ones who will most cherish being there. And, it will win you some sometimes unbelievable savings. For example, Bankrate.com reports that most banquet halls and caterers tend to charge per person. They suggest that, by cutting your guest list in half, you can easily slash a large portion of your wedding costs. So, as a rule of thumb and to make your wedding memorable for each guest, don’t invite any more than you can reasonably spend 5 minutes with during your reception.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/68574102@N00/1460380375″>Favors</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Tip #5: What about wedding favors?
Many frugal-minded couples in-love nix the wedding favors all together. After all, even if your party favors cost $2 each and you have $150 guests, you’re likely to spend $300 on something that most guests will either leave on your finely decorated reception table or throw away in time. But, if you want to offer your guests a delight without breaking the bank, here are a few tips.
- Create wedding favors that can double as decorations. For example, you might include ordering flowers with bulbs still attached so guests can take home your arrangements and plant them. Or, how about setting small candles at each place setting for a cozy candle-lit atmosphere. Then, encourage guests to take them with them to light their homes.
- Check your local dollar and bargain stores. Many couples find elegant favors for penny’s a piece at cost-conscious establishments such as Dollar Tree. Often, you’ll find that such stores even carry overstock items from more expensive retailers that are perfectly suitable for party favor items at a fraction of the cost.
Tip #6: A little negotiating never hurt anyone.
Like public speaking, many of us carry with us a fear of negotiating. We think that it is impolite or will make a beneficial relationship turn sour. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. The trick is to find a win-win compromise that will benefit both parties. For example, you may negotiate down the price of your wedding dress if you agree to purchase all of your bride’s maids’ dresses from the same retailer. In this way, you cut down on your costs and you bring in more businesses for the retailer you’re negotiating with—definitely a win for both parties. Just remember, when negotiating, look for the benefit of all or don’t make the deal. And, be courteous to all participants no matter the outcome.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/49196479@N08/5656451870″>Butterfly</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Tip #7: Become a social butterfly.
Social media platforms offer great resources for to-be newly-weds. Not only can you gather great money saving tips from Facebook pages such as The Knot, but many of the businesses represented will offer exclusive savings to their audience member’s only. For example, you may be given the chance to enter into sweep-stakes, print coupons and partake in limited-time sales. But, more often than not, you must join relevant social media pages to take advantage of such offers. So, look locally and online for businesses that you will likely do business with during your journey to the altar and join them online to receive their updates and offers.
Tip #8: Sales are a girl’s best friend.
In the wedding planning department, sales can save you many thousands of dollars. Many times, during Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Graduation season, the holiday season and after wedding season, retailers will slash prices. For example, before, during and following Mother’s Day this year, Henebrey’s Jewelers slashed their prices on their most stunning engagement rings by as much as 50%, allowing even the most frugal minded to enjoy the pick of some very expensive diamonds. Likewise, bride’s maid’s dresses will often go on sale after the wedding season ends. And, wedding dresses will go on sale at the end of the year to make room for the coming year’s stock. But, to reap the greatest rewards, you must be patient. The trick here is to plan your wedding at least a year after the proposal. And, immediately after the engagement, make a list of all the items you want to purchase on sale. Then, as the months go by, keep your eye out during peak sales seasons for unbelievable savings.
Tip #9: That’s what friends are for.
Most of us, at some time in our lives, know a great musician, an ultra-creative cake decorator, a talented interior decorator, and a certified justice-of-the peace. And, those friends are likely to wish us the best in our upcoming nuptials. As such, you’ll find that if you aren’t shy in asking, many of them will step in to support your dream wedding, even though they know you’re working on a limited budget. Many of them will even do so as a heartfelt wedding present. So, if you know your network includes talented individuals who can make your big day special and positively memorable, don’t be afraid to speak up. You’ll often find that your loved-ones will be honored with your wish to include them.
A note of caution, though: be careful to assure your talented friends that your friendship is not based on a “yes” to your request. None of us want hard feelings to result from your special day. So, if your friends can’t step in, trust that they have a good reason and begin searching for your next frugal option.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/82757149@N00/1446097778″>Untitled-81</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Tip #10: Roses are red…
Some people seem to think that only expensive purchases can provide elegance. But, that simply isn’t true. For example, just by picking flowers that are in-season, you can save a bundle on floral arrangements. Also, sometimes the simplest arrangements are the most elegant. A single rose can send a more powerful message than 5 dozen. Simplicity is often sweet, sincere and more intimate than an elaborate arrangement.
Likewise, even if you need opt for less costly flowers, the way they’re arranged can mean all the difference. For example, you may include expensive red roses for the wedding party’s table and couple those with similarly red flowers for all other tables. This uniformity in color will undoubtedly grant elegance to the reception while still offering the royal treatment to the newly-wed experience.
Tip #11: The frugal are flexible.
Just as we saw in our floral example, sometimes, if we don’t allow our dreams to become rigid, we can enjoy all their effects without having to compromise our budgets. But, the key here is to remain open-minded and flexible. For example, you may find that by simply asking to be on a stand-by list and giving up some control of the room you will enjoy at your honeymoon destination, you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. In this way, you haven’t given up your priority of a booking a specific honeymoon experience but, by allowing flexibility on the less important details, you can have your dream without breaking the bank.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/59580725@N05/5452015748″>Classic Overlapping Circles Sample Invitation Set</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Tip #12: Go light on the postage.
Invitations themselves can add hundreds of dollars to your wedding expenses, even after you’ve narrowed your guest list. If you think about it, each invitation is likely to cost a few dollars. Then, there’s purchasing envelopes and stamps. With a guest list of 150, you could easily run up a bill of $500+. But, the good news is, even small adjustments can mean big savings. For example, consider sending a post card invitation to cut out envelope purchases all together. Or, if you must send a more traditional invitation, try to keep it to one page to cut down on postage costs. And, for your save-the-dates, consider sending them via email or social media. With these little adjustments, you can slash your invitation expenses by more than ½, saving you hundreds of dollars.
Tip #13: Surprise your guests.
In the same way, you can cut down on paper costs by allowing your guests to be delighted with the surprises of an unanticipated wedding ceremony. Or, if you want a more formal ceremony, you can find alternative ways to provide your guests with program information. For example, you may include an elegantly written and placed large print program for guests to review as they enter your wedding hall. Or, send your programs via email well before the big day. That way, if your guests are interested, they can print it out themselves. If not, you’ve still saved costs that would be better invested in a delectable meal for your guests.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/35034350386@N01/565384201″>DSC04561</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Tip #14: Pretty in white.
As we’ve already discussed, sales are a great way to find your dream gown at a fraction of the cost. In addition, be sure to choose your retailer carefully. While shopping at specialty wedding shops is a popular avenue for finding the perfect dress, department stores often offer great savings on beautiful gowns via their online catalogues. In addition, sites like Etsy, a site for the vintage-minded small business, offers vintage elegance at competitive prices. So, be sure to look around and compare prices, even during the sales season. You’ll be surprised at the cost-effective options if you’re willing to look outside the traditional box.
Tip #15: Where there’s memories, there’s comfort food.
For many of us, an elegant reception dinner is one of our must-have’s. But, if this isn’t the case for you, consider a comfort food buffet. Or, even an elegant dessert. This will allow you to cut costs while still creating precious memories with your guests. After all, the most important part of your wedding is spending time with your loved ones. So, don’t be afraid to keep that the focus.
Tip #16: Cut out the transfer costs.
Booking costs, decoration costs and transportation costs all add up very quickly. So, our last tip: make sure you only have to do it once by holding your wedding and your reception at the same venue. A great way to do this is to conduct your wedding at a public park or the home of a loved one. Enjoy a beautiful outdoor wedding and then set up your reception close by on the same property.
During your special day, your guests likely won’t be focusing on how expensive your arrangements are. They likely won’t remember what campaign you served or the type of paper you chose for your invitations. Instead, sincere guests will be focused on your happiness and the fact that you chose to include them in your most special moments. So, don’t be afraid to pick and choose what most matters to you and stick with it. And, remember, no matter the pressure put on you to keep up with the Jones’s, this is your day and you must do what’s right for you and your future together. Congratulations on your new life together and happy planning!