Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!
But before you embark on the calm seas of marital bliss, you have to navigate the choppy waters of planning your wedding. There are so many details to finalize and so many decisions to make - from invitations, cakes, and flowers to reception sites, catering, and dresses.
And all of this could shatter your budget if you’re not careful.
You want to host a wedding event which will please your guests, but you don’t want to run up a massive debt just as you begin your new life with your husband-to-be. So if you think your wedding plans are going overboard, here are a few tips to keep costs down without sacrificing taste.
Shorten the Guest List
This may take some negotiating with your family and spouse’s relatives, but keeping the number of guests low is arguably the single best way to reduce your nuptials’ bottom line. One option would be to have a small event, then host a larger, more casual (and cheaper) party at your home at a later date and include all of the people you were unable to invite to the wedding.
Email Save-the-Date Notifications
Save-the-date cards are nice, but there are plenty of online services that let you customize similar messages for free. For guests who are not Internet-savvy, you can print out a copy of the notification and mail it to them. Because really – as long as your guests mark you wedding date on their calendars, how they received that information doesn’t matter all that much.
Make Instead of Purchase
There are plenty of items that companies will charge you money to make that you can easily create yourself. Escort cards, menu cards, place markers, and even wedding favor packaging can all be fashioned by hand.
Simplify the Floral Arrangements
When choosing the flowers for your wedding, stick to one or two types of flowers instead of ordering a large variety. Also, consider filling out arrangements with greenery instead of more flowers. Both of these tips will help keep floral costs low.
Look for Flowers at Bargain Prices
This doesn’t require you to sacrifice quality. If you take the time, you can usually find beautiful flower options at a much lower price than the “trendy” selections. Also, look for flowers that are in season when you have your wedding; those will likely cost less as well.
Explore Photography Options
When comparing prices for wedding photographers, focus on the finished products you will get after the wedding. Don’t pay for extras that you don’t want or care about. Also, see if a company will agree to send an “associate photographer” at a reduced rate.
Hire a DJ Instead of a Band
Contrary to some beliefs, DJs are not a gauche choice when it comes to music for your reception. Reputable wedding DJs will dress accordingly and play whichever music you want – for a lot less than a live band. They’ll even emcee your reception activities if you want them to.
Cut the Cake Costs
Instead of a multi-layer wedding cake, choose a one or two-tiered cake for the reception and then supplement it with a regular sheet cake when it comes time to serve it to your guests. Also, stay away from pricey decorative accents (like sugar flowers and unique borders) and fillings (like guava or mango).
Choose a Buffet Instead of a Full-Course Meal
In addition to a substantial drop in cost, buffets give your guests the chance to select exactly what they want to eat. In addition, guests are more likely to mingle in the buffet line; and they can even go back for seconds if there is food left.
Streamline the Alcohol Choices
In many cases, you can skip the full bar option at your reception; this allows you to minimize costs whether you pay for a flat-rate or by-the-drink setup. Consider offering beer and wine only, or perhaps adding a “signature” cocktail that you (or your guests) prefer. You can also skip the champagne toast if your guests aren’t the bubbly-loving type.
Find Off-Peak Deals
Since most weddings are held on Saturdays in the summertime, think about getting married at a different time of year or on a different day (Friday or Sunday ceremonies may save you some serious money). Use this thought process when shopping for wedding-related accoutrements (such as buying pink vases for your May wedding right after Valentine’s Day).
Think outside the Box
Use lanterns or other inexpensive decorative items to complement your flower arrangements and decrease your floral bill. Provide one wedding favor per couple or family instead of per guest. Set up larger tables at the reception to save on centerpieces and tablecloths. These little money-saving suggestions will add up when you get the final invoice.
Employing these tasteful money-saving ideas will help soften the blow to your finances while still providing your wedding guests with a fun and memorable experience.
Henry Mazza is a freelance writer who writes about weddings, fashion and wedding dresses.
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