You’re getting married in 2017! Congratulations! Now you just have to figure out how to pay for the big day. The average cost of a wedding is more than $20,000, making it one of the most expensive events in people’s lives. If you don’t have that kind of money, you may want to plan your wedding on a budget. Believe it or not, you can do that and still have a fantastic day at the altar. Here are a few tips:
Make a Realistic Budget
Create a budget before you make your first purchase. Research everything you dream about for your wedding, and then meet with retailers, venue owners and caterers to get printed price lists. You want to know how much everything will actually cost before you sit down and create a realistic budget. When you have done your research and figured out how much you can spend, then you can start selecting which wedding elements are most important to you for the big day. Make a priority list to keep you from overspending. If you find you need additional funds to make your special day a reality, consider talking it over with your parents or other relatives to see if they might be willing to help with the wedding costs. Everything you save now can be put toward upcoming goals you may have as a married couple, such as growing your family.
Find an Affordable Wedding Venue
Wedding venues can be expensive, but you can save a lot of money by getting married on a weekday, by finding a place outside a big city, and by choosing a date during the year where venue costs are lower. If you want to plan your wedding on a budget, know that January through April will typically yield lower-priced packages. Just keep in mind that the winter and spring months increase the risk of inclement weather. Consider an indoor-only ceremony or choose a flexible location with indoor and outdoor areas.
Save on Reception Food and Drink
The best way to save money on food and drink is to provide your own. You’ll have to recruit your family and friends to make that possible, and you should not try to make meals that are too elaborate. If making food doesn’t work for you, consider serving appetizers instead of a full meal. Find a venue that allows you to bring your own alcohol since the bar tab is usually one of the most expensive parts of the reception.
Hire a Rookie Photographer
It’s important to have a photographer or videographer to document your big day, but you don’t have to pay top dollar for a studio. Find someone who’s just getting started with their photography career to take pictures for less.
Keep Music Costs Low
Hiring a band or a DJ to perform at your wedding can be expensive, but you have other options. Create your own playlist for the ceremony and the reception and have a friend play the music on your iPod. You can also hire a student musician, or enlist a musical friend or family member to perform.
Make sure you don’t go too crazy decorating your wedding venue by keeping your costs in check. Be smart about the types of flowers you select. You can also repurpose them throughout the wedding. Consider making your own centerpieces and decorations. You don’t have to spend much to make your venue look great and you can have a lot of fun doing it.
Spend Less on a Wedding Dress
The ability to plan your wedding on a budget requires smart shopping, particularly when it comes to the big expense of the dress. Get on bridal shop and designer mailing lists so you will be notified of upcoming shows and sales. These events tend to offer significant discounts on gowns, shoes and other accessories. You don’t even have to buy a traditional wedding dress. You can save quite a bit of money by purchasing a pretty bridesmaid’s dress and having a tailor make a few alterations, for example.
Create Your Own Wedding Invitations and Favors
Your wedding invitations can also be done inexpensively by creating and printing them yourself, or providing your own card stock to a printer. You could also go all electronic and send email invitations to family and friends. Wedding favors are traditional thank-you gifts for your guests, but you don’t have to buy expensive items. Make something yourself, like a CD of your favorite love songs.