Regardless if you’re the 18 year old high school sweethearts tying the knot or on your third marriage and in your mid-50s hoping that the third time is the charm, weddings are big deals. This not only in terms of a significant life event but also because of the financial burden it places upon couples. According to an article by the Huffington Post, the median cost is about $18,000.
That’s no amount to shake a stick at. There are ways you can trim the excesses of your special day and while you certainly don’t want to cut those costs by too much and have people branding this special occasion as cheap, there are some go-easy ways to stretch your dollar when it comes to planning your wedding.
Go for Fun and not so much for Glamour
While most women would love to have a wedding fit for royalty, trying to imitate the class, sophistication, and elegance of famous weddings is an uphill climb at best. However it doesn’t matter how much you spend on the wedding, what matters is how memorable you make it for the attendees. While people will certainly remember a wedding on the beaches of Italy, this isn’t a realistic option for most people. Do your best to prioritize enjoyment instead of luxurious or over-the-top.
Stick to Lunch instead of Dinner
Think about the way in which restaurants operate. You can go to a nice place at lunch and pay $10-15 for a quality lunch. Now go there six later and order the same item and you’re looking at paying $18-24 instead. The cost for putting on a wedding depends on the time of day as well. Serve brunch, lunch, or late lunch instead of serving dinner. Since most weddings are 4-5 hours long, wine and dessert should suffice in the evening.
Build your Budget – And Stick to It!
One of the most astonishing facts about the 2014 Winter Olympics that will stick with me was the initial budgetary allocation to fund the games. $12 billion was Russia’s estimation. The actual cost? Over $51 billion. While this is unrelated to weddings or wedding planning, budgets aren’t so different when it comes to funding an Olympics. When it comes to weddings, stick close to the budget.
There can always be more (money spent, decorations, food, drink, guests invited) but sticking to the plan will help enormously when it comes to an expected or actual wedding budget.
Just Invite Fewer People, Don’t Remove Services
Planning for a wedding is much easier when you have a pretty good idea of the number who will show up. When inviting everybody and their brother is when it can get tricky. You can plan for everyone to show up by ordering the maximum amount of supplies, food, drink, etc. but when that number is vastly less than what you planned for, all that excess is likely going to waste (or sent home as leftovers).
Invite the core group of people you want to invite; close friends, family, anyone who you know will be there for you. It’s ok to invite a few more than expected but don’t go too crazy with your invitations. You’re asking to go over-budget and it’s unnecessary.
Rent is Less Money Spent
When are you going to wear that wedding dress or suit again? Rent everything that can be rented. You’ll spend less money now and not have to worry about what to do with the clutter sitting around the house later.
- No holidays (too expensive, for guests and hosts travel and accommodations).
- Sign up on supplier lists, pay attention to discounts and their social media postings.
- Dump wedding favors.
- High quality disposables instead of expensive durables.
- Drive the ’88 Suburban to vendor meetings and not the high-end BMW.
Planning for one of the most important days of your life doesn’t mean it has to be something you’re still paying off 20 years down the road. This is not to discount that this is a big deal for the two families involved. When it comes to weddings I remember the acronym SWSEFM. Save without skimping, (while making it) enjoyable, fun, and memorable. You’ll have a day to remember.
License: Creative Commons
Jenny Franklin is a jack-of-all-trades DIY party planning gal. She loves collaborating with her colleagues and friends about throwing parties and going on walks with her oversized Alaskan Malamute.