If you’re planning to get married in 2018, you’ll soon discover that the average wedding costs around $25,000 – and that doesn’t even include the honeymoon! That’s a lot of dough for a couple just starting their lives together. That money could be used for something else, like a down payment on a house, an emergency fund or retirement account. Instead of spending your life savings on tying the knot, consider these six spending tips to keep costs lower and have an affordable wedding you’ll love:
Tie the Knot in the Off-Season
Many potential wedding venues offer lower rates from November through April, so consider planning your wedding during these months to save money. Avoid Saturday weddings, as venues typically price that day higher than the rest of the week.
Hold Your Ceremony and Reception at the Same Venue
Having your reception in the same place as your ceremony is an easy way to cut costs and save time. You won’t pay the extra money to rent space at two different locations, you won’t need to spend money or time decorating separate places, you won’t need to worry about transportation costs between venues and it’s easy on guests who are traveling from out of town.
Cut the Guest List Down
The more people you invite, the more expensive your wedding will be. You should not invite everyone you know. Instead, carefully consider who you want to attend. Start by making an A-List and B-List. The A-list should consist of must-have invites, like your family members and close friends. The B-List should contain people you’d be happy to have at your wedding, but don’t have to be there. Extend invitations to the A-List first. If you start getting RSVPs with regrets, you can send invites to people on your B-List. Here are some additional tips:
- Make Your Wedding Adults Only. Chances are you’ll be inviting people with families and some of them may have multiple children. However, you can choose to keep your wedding adults only so you don’t have to pay more money for kids’ meals and entertainment. If you go this route, do not make exceptions for specific families to avoid hurting feelings.
- Exclude Coworkers. You can cut your list down a lot if you decide not to invite any of your coworkers. If you are friends with a coworker outside of work, or you are friends with your boss, you can make an exception, but don’t feel like you must extend the invitations to work people.
- Keep Plus-Ones Limited. Only offer plus-ones to anyone who’s married, engaged, lives together or is in a long-term, committed relationship for at least one year. Guests who are casually dating don’t need to get a plus-one, with one exception – your wedding party. You should extend a plus-one invite to those who stand up for you on your big day, regardless of their relationship status.
Consider Your Dress Options
You don’t have to buy a brand-new dress for your wedding. There are a few less expensive options you can consider. Here are some suggestions for keeping costs down while still looking great:
- Rent your wedding dress. Chances are you will never wear your wedding dress again so you can save a bunch by renting one for the day and sending it back.
- Borrow a dress. Borrowing a dress that your mother or grandmother wore at their weddings means huge savings. And you’ll get to wear something vintage.
- Consider an alternative dress. You don’t have to purchase an actual wedding dress. Some bridesmaid dresses, for example, can be a lovely substitute with a just few alterations. You’ll spend way less even with the tailoring costs.
- Pay for your dress in full. If you decide you want a new dress, ask your bridal shop if they offer a discount for paying the full price upfront, instead of in installments. You may be able to save a good amount of money by paying in full.
DIY Whenever and Wherever You Can
You and your spouse to be can do a lot of prep work on your own. Here are few tips:
- Make your own centerpieces. Buying centerpieces for every table will cost you a bundle. Instead, create something yourself that encompasses who you are as a couple. Make a centerpiece of antique books topped with a small glass and a single flower. Buy some candles and candle holders and spray paint them to match your wedding colors. Here are some more ideas from mywedding.com.
- Make your own favors. Buying wedding favors can be expensive. Save by making your own. Consider making a CD of your favorite love songs and craft a cover featuring you and your significant other. Buy fortune cookies in bulk online or at a local shop like World Market, use tweezers to remove the old fortunes and replace them with your own messages. Here are some more great ideas from julep.com.
- Make your own invitations. Hit the web to find some designs, fonts, art, and inspiration for invitations and make them yourself. Pick up some card stock paper and print them at home.
- Be Your Own DJ. Drop the DJ costs and set up your smartphone with a wedding playlist. Make sure to check with your venue about how to connect your iPod to the reception space sound system. It’s a good idea to ask a friend or family member to monitor the device, just in case there’s a sound issue.
- Arrange your own flowers. Instead of buying flowers at an expensive flower shop and paying to have them arranged, buy your flowers at a grocery store and arrange them yourself before the wedding. Ask your friends or family to help with setup.
DIY projects will cut down a lot of the costs, but make sure you compare the purchase price of the items above to the cost of buying supplies to make them yourself. You also need to factor in the time it takes to make invitations, favors, etc. If you find yourself having trouble accomplishing these DIY tasks, make sure you have a backup plan.
Ask Your Friends for Help
Take a second to think about what your family or friends might do for a living, or what hobbies they have. There may be a great baker, photographer or crafter in the bunch who would be more than willing to volunteer his or her services as a wedding gift. If you have a friend who is great at public speaking or has a way with words, consider asking her to officiate your wedding. Getting ordained is a snap online if she is willing.