10 ways to save thousands on your wedding
Worried that your perfect wedding will break the bank? Here are 10 ways to have a fabulous wedding, even on a small budget. Remember...it's not how much you spend, but how you spend it!
As a young girl, you probably dreamed of having a picture-perfect fairy tale wedding. You planned and practiced and just waited for Prince Charming to come along and sweep you off your feet. He finally did, and now it's time to turn that dream wedding into a reality. But, yikes! When did weddings get so expensive? During all of that childhood wedding dreaming, money was never an object (because really, is there even money in Fairly Tale Land? If there is, it probably grows on trees). But don't despair. By using some (or all) of the tips below, you can create a wedding that's tasteful and elegant, even on a small budget.
1. Budget Bluffing
Set a budget that's slightly smaller than you can actually afford. There are always last-minute expenses that must be met, but if you keep the bulk of your expenses within your predetermined smaller budget, you'll be able to pay for the unexpected costs that pop up.
2. Choose your Battles
Decide what's most important to you, those one or two things you won't compromise on, whether it be your wedding gown, photographer, invitations or cake. After accounting for this must-have, adjust your budget accordingly and try to keep the remainder of your expenses within it.
3. Say it Simply
Invitations can easily cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. For less formal weddings, you can have guests call or email their RSVPs to you, eliminating the need for RSVP cards and their matching stamped envelopes. (Just think: if you send out 100 invitations, you're saving $44 in postage alone.)
4. Who's Who
Sure, it's tempting to invite your second cousin's third grade teacher, but it will cost you. One of the most effective ways you can cut back on invitation and reception expenses is to cut your guest list. Limit your guest list to close friends and family, not people you haven't seen or talked to since 2nd grade.
5. Creative Shopping
Dollar stores, thrift stores and garage sales can provide a wealth of low-cost wedding and reception decorations...and they look like they cost full price!Strands of lights, faux florals, linens, balloons and more can be found for extraordinarily low prices at these stores. Be sure to look after holidays, as this is when items such as these go on clearance or are donated to thrift stores.
6. To Updo or not to Updo?
That is the question.
Does everyone in your wedding party really have to get their hair and makeup done by Mr. Christophe at that exclusive salon? Probably not. If you feel you need a special updo, by all means, go for it. After all, you're the bride. Otherwise, have your bridal party do their own hair and makeup. Chances are, it will turn out better anyway, since they know what works for them. You'll avoid ending up with bridesmaids that look like very formal clowns with shellacked hair, and save some money, too.
7. Time is on your side.
Consider having your wedding early afternoon. There's less demand for that time slot, but most importantly, you can get away with serving just cake and punch or small finger foods at the reception. The occasion will seem more intimate, and your guests won't necessarily be expecting a meal (since the reception doesn't fall during a mealtime). Best of all, you'll save thousands!
8. For Everything There is a Season...
...but it might be more cost-effective to get married during the off-season. Spring and summer are the most popular wedding seasons, and prices for venues rise accordingly. Choosing a fall or winter wedding not only gives you beautiful decorating themes to work with, but also offers more affordable venue options.
9. Party On
Sure, anyone can have a beautiful reception in the ball room of an exclusive hotel. But with a little creativity (think strands of lights, faux ficus trees, candles, etc.,) even the local lodge can be transformed into a beautiful reception location. Remember, the lights are usually dimmed, and your guests are there to celebrate with you, not critique the crystal chandeliers (or lack thereof). Choosing a more affordable reception location will leave you with more money to spend on food, drinks and decorations - or even your new life together.
10. All Dressed Up
If you're like most brides, you already have a picture of your perfect wedding gown in your head. But if you're really interested in saving money, keep your options open. You might be surprised by how much you like other (translation: less expensive) styles of dresses once you try them on. Plus, less-expensive dresses can often be uniquely embellished and still cost less than the whole Cinderella-type dress.