You’re getting married! It’s the happiest time of your life! You can’t wait until the big day when you get to stand before all your friends and family and declare your love for each other. You know exactly the kind of wedding you want. You can picture everything in your mind: the perfect location, exquisite décor, designer dress, and mouth-watering food. You can even hear the music of the hottest party band. Then you sit down to crunch some numbers, and your head nearly explodes. You realize there is no way you can afford your dream wedding.
Don’t give up! I’ve planned many wedding during my years as an event coordinator, and I’ve learned a plethora of tips and tricks for cutting back on your budget without sacrificing the look and feel you really want. I’m going to share them with you here, in a two-part series. The first thing you should do is take the time to develop a detailed wedding budget. Decide what aspects are most important to you, and spend the bulk of your money on those areas. Then use the ideas below to save money on all of the other parts of your wedding. You’ll still have your dream wedding, but you won’t break the bank doing it.
Have a winter wedding. May through October is when many people chose to have their wedding. By choosing to have yours off-season you may be able to save money on banquet facilities, lodging, and other vendors.
Have your wedding on a Friday or Sunday. Saturday is the most popular day for weddings; so most banquet facilities charge more to have your event then. You can often save a lot by booking on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon.
Limit the number of attendants and guests. By having more attendants you will spend more on clothing, flowers, gifts and transportation. The more guests you have the more you will spend on catering, cake, alcohol, and favors. Invite only those close to you and send announcements to acquaintances.
Look for a dress at sample sales and outlets. You can often find designer gowns for half of what you would normally pay. Be prepared to do a lot of looking however, since most of the dresses you find will only be available in one size.
Don’t assume a buffet will cost less. You won’t have to pay for servers with a buffet, but guests will eat more. The caterer will also want to keep the buffet stocked so it looks nice, but this means you may pay for food that is not eaten.
Serve breakfast, brunch or dinner at your reception. These meals cost much less than a traditional sit-down or buffet dinner. This is a good option if you don’t mind having your reception earlier in the day.
Have a dessert reception. Nowhere is it written that you have to serve a meal at your reception. Serve your wedding cake and a variety of delicious desserts along with champagne. Just make sure you are clear in your invitations so guests don’t come expecting a full meal.
Limit alcohol to beer and wine. By limiting your open bar to beer and wine you will save money on costly mixed drinks. You can also consider offering one signature drink. No one ever complains about free drinks, even if the selection is limited.
Stayed tuned for the next installment of money-saving tips. Because from “I will” to “I do” I’m here for you.