The following is a guest post by Heather Green.
Weddings are expensive. The dress. The cake. The flowers. It all adds up – and fast. With the average cost of a wedding hovering around $25,000, it’s easy to see how you can go broke fast planning your dream wedding. Fortunately, you don’t have to. There are many ways that you can save on your wedding budget if you plan carefully.
Cut Your Count
Every person you invite adds up to more food, more cake, and more decorations. When creating your wedding budget, you can almost think of it as a per-person event. Will your wedding cost $50 per person, $100 per person, $200 per person? Now multiply that by the number of people you expect to invite. It’s easy to see how it all adds up. Prioritize your guest list. Do you really need to invite your neighbors? Your parents’ friends? Your co-workers? If you keep your wedding list to family and close friends, you can save thousands.
Considering limiting your bridal party, as well. Even if your brides maids and groomsmen all pay for their attire (which is traditional), you will still be footing the bill for their flowers, their meals, and their gifts. Consider having only two or three close friends (or even just one!), rather than five or six.
Location, Location, Location
Country clubs and swanky hotels can be popular spots for wedding ceremonies and receptions, but they also cost thousands of dollars to rent. Look for non-traditional venues such as museums, community gardens, lakes, zoos, or the beach. Rental costs should be lower at such venues, and many will come already decorated. (No need to add more flowers to a garden, or create elaborate bouquets on a beach!) If you must choose a more upscale venue for your ceremony or reception, consider a hotel where you can have your ceremony, reception, and invite your guests to stay. You can negotiate a discount for the grouping.
Scout the Local Talent
You don’t have to pay for the hottest DJ in town or find the most coveted baker. Students, freelancers, and young entrepreneurs offer a pool of talent for low cost. Look at local schools or browse newspaper ads for services such as a DJ, a band, a photographer, or a baker. You can interview these people beforehand and ask to see a sample of previous work to ensure that you aren’t sacrificing on quality.
Enormous floral bouquets may be traditional at most weddings, but they aren’t the only option. Paper flowers, floating candles, topiaries, and other non-traditional centerpieces are gaining in popularity, and they can be had for a fraction of the cost. If you can’t stand the idea of not having real flowers at your wedding, you can save costs by making the arrangements yourself, choosing flowers that are in season, or seating your guests at bigger tables, which requires fewer centerpieces.
There are many, many more ways to save money on your wedding. Start by e-mailing your guests what you can: Save-the-date cards, directions to the wedding, information about the registry, and perhaps even the invitation itself. You’ll save a fortune on printing costs and help save the environment. Consider getting married in the off-season (the colder months) or on a day of the week other than Saturday, and you’ll save significantly on venue rentals and vendors. Rent your dress instead of buying it, or look for bargains with sample sales. Consider having a daytime reception, where meal options will be less expensive (think pancakes v. steak).
There are many ways to save – the only limit is your creativity!
Born and raised in North Carolina, Heather Green has worked as a fashion and beauty consultant as well as freelancing for various wedding, fashion, and health publications. She currently acts as the resident blogger for Online Nursing Degrees where she’s been researching nursing entrepreneur programs as well as transcultural nursing programs.