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10 Tips to Cut Your Wedding Expenses
Saving money might not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning for a wedding. Your mind is filled with romantic thoughts, with excitement, and you just want to share the good news to everyone.
It is natural to want the best of everything. After all, it’s once in a lifetime, and for some ladies it’s something they dreamed about since their childhood.
After the vows have been exchanged, and all the guests go home, reality sets in. You might be left with a credit card bill that takes months (or even years) to repay.
I know because I’ve gone through this myself. I had my wedding at the most expensive hotel in town, with a grand ballroom dinner. The bill for my wedding could have paid for a small car!
Fortunately we also did receive a lot of gifts (in cash), and that helped to pay a portion of the bill. But it was still a financial setback, and not the best way to start my marriage.
I would like to share with you some ideas and thoughts to cut down your wedding expenses.
First of all, you really have to sit down and think about the wedding’s objective. Essentially, two people come together, make their vows in front of witnesses, and are pronounced man and wife.
Who is the wedding for? The answer is, the wedding should be for yourself and your spouse.
- Should you invite everybody you know?
- Do you need to spend $x on item y, because everyone has it for their wedding?
- Is it really true that you need to spend a lot of money to have a beautiful wedding?
- Is it really worth spending lavishly to impress your friends, or to look good in front of people you may not even like?
- Should you give in to every demand and ‘must-have’ suggestions from family members?
- Should you be trying to have the 'best' or 'most amazing' wedding among your peers?
If you can make a decision to stick to the basics, then you will realize that many things are just extras.
2. Eliminate Wastage
Save money by eliminating unnecessary wastage. Waste can happen several ways. It happens when you buy too much, for example over-estimating the number of guests, or your rent a bigger hall then necessary.
Waste can happen when you don't plan (read next tip), and you have to pay money to re-do things. Waste can even happen when you have to involve tens of people running all over town busily doing errands for your wedding.
Some ways to eliminate wastage are:
- Plan ahead
- Read reviews and do research
- Ask for experienced advice
- Communication and co-ordination
Having a proper plan for your wedding budget. List down expenses that are necessary, and try to set a limit for those items. Remember, a higher budget does not mean a better wedding event.
Some items to include in your plan are:
- Schedules for important appointments
- Contact information of all parties involved
- Budget and actual expenditure
- To-do list
- Backup plans (e.g., a backup plan for an outdoor wedding)
A plan will also ensure that you don't forget any minor detail, and you don't leave important purchases to the last minute.
4. Be Resourceful
If you have an entrepreneurial streak within you, then use your talents to your advantage when planning for your wedding. By being resourceful, you save money because you don't have to pay others to make use of their resources.
You could find a way to get your wedding sponsored or generating some income. We see examples of this at celebrity weddings:
- Dresses and jewelry are sponsored by designers.
- Photographers (from tabloids or magazines) pay to take exclusive pictures of their wedding.
- Door gifts are sponsored.
Perhaps you could think of something similar in a smaller scale.
Another aspect of being resourceful is to do things yourself. Some ideas for DIY are:
- Buy flowers wholesale and arrange your own bouquets and corsages.
- Print your own wedding invitations or send online invitations
- Do decorations yourself
- Sew your own wedding gown
- Become your own wedding planner
- Have your wedding at home
- Recycle and re-purpose items
- Look for used items
5. Ask for Help
Don't be too embarrassed to ask for help. You may not want to trouble or be a pest to others -- but you may be surprised how eager some of your friends and relatives are to become a part of your special day. They will feel honored!
The worse that could happen is they say no, and you have to ask someone else.
Here are some of the ways you could get help from your friends and family:
- Wedding photographer
- Wedding band
- Wedding planner
- Borrowing stuff (e.g. cars, equipment, makeup, clothes)
6. Be Honest
Be honest with your family members and future in-laws. There are some things that they may pressure you to do, and you might not be able to afford it.
For example, they may want you to have a grand wedding, to beat their friend's children, or to do it better than a neighbor.
You have to be honest with them about your budget.
If you keep quiet, then they may think that you can afford it. You won't be happy with yourself (and with them) when the bill arrives.
You can also be honest with your future spouse. He or she may want something that you can't afford. Discuss openly, objectively and come to a suitable compromise.
7. Ask Questions
Before paying for any product or services, make sure you ask questions. You need to know exactly what you are paying for.
Examples of questions to ask:
- What am I paying for?
- What is included? What is not?
- Do I have to pay extra for anything?
- What are the penalties?
- Is there a discount?
- Is there a cheaper alternative?
- Do I really need this?
Always shop around and look for several opinions before making a decision.
8. Get Creative
Use your creativity to make your wedding an event to remember. It isn't necessary to spend a lot of money to have a beautiful or fun wedding.
All you need to do is brainstorm and come out with some ideas, and use anything that is practical.
Some ways to come out with creative ideas are:
- Use brainstorming method. Throw out as many ideas as you can within 15 minutes, and don't pause to judge or evaluate.
- Use mind maps.
- Surf wedding blogs and websites. For example, read this article on 50 great ideas for outdoor weddings.
- Wear different hats. Think about your wedding from different perspectives and viewpoints. You look at it objectively, emotionally, positively, negatively, with a planning perspective, etc. Spend 5 minutes for each hat.
9. Be Realistic
Be careful not to lose touch with reality. All the love and romantic feelings could carry you away to a fairy tale or fantasy land.
You have to be realistic (and again, honest) about what you can and cannot afford. If you are not being realistic, you could:
- Think of wild justifications (and crazy math equations) to make purchases you can't afford
- Over-budget (or fail to budget) and over estimate your financial ability
- Lose track of your spending
- Spend money unnecessarily
Don't start your marriage stuck in a deep hole of debt and financial troubles!
It is natural for everyone to want to have their dream wedding, but that may not always be possible.
10. Look Ahead
My final tip to save money at your wedding is to look ahead. Your wedding, important as it may be, is only one day of your marriage. Just a few hours compared to the rest of your life together.
Some things to come are:
- Honeymoon expenses
- Money to start a new home
- Children college funds
- Retirement funds
By looking ahead, you will realize that you can't spend every single dollar you have on your wedding.
I hope you've found some practical ideas in this article.
Feel free to share your tips to save on wedding expenses in the comments.
Good luck in your wedding planning, and may you have eternal bliss, and find true joy in each other!
Photo by: ace10414