I often find that couples confuse having what they consider to be a “good wedding” the same as an “expensive wedding”. Glamorous, glittering sparkles are great if you plan to impress…and wear sunglasses for the entire occasion; however, if finances are of concern then planning will need to be more diligent. Other couples may just choose to not spend copious amounts of money on their wedding, even if finances aren’t a problem. No fuss no muss right? My favorite example of this is when Miranda and Steve get married from SATC. He is a bartender and she is a lawyer- when they first started dating she offered to buy him a suit for a work dinner she invited him too and it cost $2200…she never lacked money! In the end (opposite to Carrie and Big’s first wedding) Miranda proposed to Steve over $3.00 beers and tells her besties casually over lunch. She didn’t want the big “circus wedding” no bridesmaids, crazy pictures, no white dress…she wants a simple “nothing thing” and only wanted to be with Steve. How sweet, and how very Miranda.
Now mind you, not all brides will take this extreme measure but there are definitely ways you can cut back if you are on a lower scale budget or just don’t want to make a fuss!
Determine exactly how much in total you are planning to spend. Discuss this in depth with your fiancée as you both need to be clear and on the same page. From there, you may find it beneficial to write out exactly what you CAN’T avoid paying for…things like marriage license for example. Knowing exactly what you will have to pay out for will give you a realistic idea of what area’s you can pinch a little in!
If you decide you still want to have your nuptials at a venue but are looking to save, your hole in the ace is what day of the week you set your date on. Most people get married on a Saturday afternoon; however it is not common knowledge that the cost of the venue (plus catering if they provide it) is significantly more expensive than if you were to opt for getting hitched on a Friday or Sunday. The cost of the venue decreases which can leave much more room to allot money to other areas. Or you can ditch the venue and if you have friends or family that have a great property (provided you are getting married in the warmer months) do a backyard wedding. In this instance you not only save money on the venue itself but all the other costs with it- AV, lighting, alcohol license (if the venue doesn’t have one) music equipment insurance since most venues are not insured for outside equipment.
3. Downsize your Guest List
Of course you want everyone to be there to witness your special day, but if you are trying to remain cost effective you may have to sit down and discuss who you both want to attend. Many couples opt for a ceremony with just close family and friends and have an intimate dinner, then open up the rest of the night to everyone. More guests can mean more catering and alcohol which can be costly depending on your tastes. If you do opt for a smaller wedding and outdoor venue, see if friends and family members can contribute dishes that appease all of your guest’s tastes, don’t forget in any case to inquire about food allergies.
4. The Dress
Most brides have had an idea of what sort of gown they have wanted since they were young (ok, so I designed my own at 13 in my sketch book don’t judge me). Brides on a budget or looking for affordable gowns should absolutely go to trunk/wedding shows. Do some research about bridal events and shows in your area and make plans with your bridesmaids to attend! You can find beautiful gowns, even designer ones for significantly less, from there, hit the seamstress and make your alterations. Better yet, if you had ideas on what you like to add you may end up with a partially custom made dress without paying thousands.
It can help to enhance the theme and mood of your wedding, sometimes less is more. It’s nice to go all out with the chandeliers, center pieces, flowers, chair covers, but it can cost a pretty penny depending on how elaborate you want things to be. As an alternative, consider just having a bouquet just for the bride and have the bridesmaid’s carry something else (clutch, same accessory). As well, you can stick to just having a nice centerpiece for each table that really relates to the theme. Check out pinterest boards online, you would be amazed at how many DIY (do it yourself) ideas you can get and for incredibly low costs!
All in all, it is your wedding day and you want to make the most out of it but not come out afterwards with debt and stress. If you have decided to stick to a lower budget, these suggestions will help you save and enjoy your big day overall!