Money Saving Weddings: A Magical Wedding On A Budget

Saving Money On Your Wedding

It’s no secret that weddings are very expensive.  In fact, Americans spend close to an average of $27,000 on a wedding, according to The Wedding Report.  With a little creativity, however, it is possible to plan an unforgettable wedding even if you’re on a tight budget.  Money Saving Quest is here to help.

Let me begin by saying that it is best to first decide what is most important for your wedding day.  Try not to cut back on these things but do so on everything else.  Are pictures most important?  How about the location?  Sit down with your soon to be spouse and start listing out these items on paper.

“The point is to be married to each other, not debt.”

 

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 Alcohol
  • Limit the open bar selections.
  • Don’t spring for premium brands.
  • Serve beer and wine only.  Maybe even champagne for toasts.  This will be cheaper than a full bar.
  • Consider boxed wine.  You can pour the boxes into other drink dispensers (no one will ever know).  Consider shopping Walmart for the cheapest options.
  • Consider having a dry wedding.

 

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Cake

According to Bridal Guide, the average wedding cake cost $466 in 2014 (not including delivery and cutting fees)

  • Order a small, decorated cutting cake (one or two tier) for photos.   Then serve sheet cake to guests.
  • Keep the cake add-ons simple.
  • Consider cookies or cupcakes instead of a cake.

 

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Date/Time

  • Schedule the wedding in off-peak times (low demand seasons). When there’s less competition for dates, you can have more negotiating power for a better rate. January and February weddings (excluding Valentine’s Day) are typically the least expensive.
  • Choose a day other than Saturday. Friday and Sunday nights cost less than Saturday nights.  Weeknights are cheaper options, too.

 

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Dress (Attire)

  • Consider renting or borrowing a dress.  Purchase used from a second hand store, as chances are, it’s only been worn once.  Look on OnceWed.com, eBay, Craigslist, or Tradesy for used gowns as well.
  • Shop sample sales for cheap wedding dresses.  These sales typically happen once a year and are a great opportunity to find designer dresses at low prices.  

 

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Favors

  • Skip the favors.  It may be wise to skip the favors all together and donate to a charity instead.

 

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Flowers

According to a survey conducted by The Knot, the average couple spends $2,141 on flowers.

  • Do it yourself.   Make your own centerpieces by ordering wholesale flowers from places such as freshroses.com.
  • Check out Costco.  They have a variety of wedding flower packages at huge savings that can be shipped right to your doorstep.   However, keep in mind that Costco’s flower department is not an official florist so there may be limitations in what you can order. 
  • Stick to just one or two kinds of flowers in your bouquets and arrangements.
  • Buy flowers that are in season.

 

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Food

  • Compare buffet vs. sit-down pricing.  Ask your caterer which are the least expensive entrees and whether a buffet is cheaper than a seated dinner.
  • Limit the number of entrees.   Perhaps one meat, one chicken, and one vegetarian selection.
  • Try a combination plate. Eliminate a choice of entrée to save on your food bill.
  • Be creative.  Think outside of the typical wedding food options.
  • Make it a daytime reception.  It is always cheaper to to serve lunch than dinner.  You’ll want to time your wedding away from a full meal, if possible.

 

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Guest List

*Perhaps the best way to save money on your wedding is to limit the guest list*
  • The price difference between 150 guests and 100 guests is significant.  Each extra person means higher catering costs (per person charge) and more centerpieces, rentals, etc. you’ll have to purchase.
  • Don’t feel obligated to let single people bring a date.

 

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Invitations (Save-the-dates)

  • Skip the save-the-dates.  They’re fun, but not necessary. 
  • Otherwise, email your save-the-dates to save on postage costs. 

 

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Photography/Videography

  • Most photographers offer packages based on the amount of hours of work.  If possible, send the photographer home early and pay for an hour less of service at the end of the party (some guests may have already left).
  • Many photographers offer an assistant “second shooter” in their standard contracts, but others offer it as an option and charge extra.
    • If you’re expecting fewer than 100 guests, you can get away with having only one photographer present.
  • Choose a promising photographer who is just starting out.   Many talented photographers are still building their portfolios and offer lower rates.

 

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Entertainment

  • Skip the lighting package.  This includes uplights, spotlights, and other extras.
  • Shop for packages.  Many entertainment companies will give discounts if you sign up for multiple services (such as a DJ and videography)
  • Hire a band or DJ who can do both the ceremony and the reception.
  • If you’re having a photo booth, consider creating your own.   Set up a simple backdrop and provide some fun props.  Guests can use their phones or personal cameras to take pictures.
  • Skip the DJ and use your monthly Spotify subscription for background music.

 

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Transportation

  • Ask for non-wedding limo rates.
  • Hire a car through Uber or other ride-sharing services.

 

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Venue

  • Consider a nontraditional venue.
  • Find a venue that doesn’t require you to use their vendors.
  • Have your ceremony and reception in the same place.
  • Check out Airbnb for possible venue locations.

 

Related:

> What Should I Spend on a Wedding Gift?

> Free Wedding Dresses for Military Brides & First Responders

> It Costs Minimum Wage Workers More than Two Years’ Salary to get Married

> Getting Hitched? Here’s How Much the Average Wedding Cost Last Year

> Rent the Runway – a site that lets you rent designer dresses at a fraction of their cost

> 6 Ways to Save Money When Attending A Wedding

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