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Tips for Planning a Wedding on a Budget

Updated on January 22, 2018
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Kate is a researcher who has a knack for planning and executing memorable events of all sizes. From weddings to funerals, she does it all.

So, you are getting married. Congratulations! Being engaged and getting married can be one of the most hands down fairy tale type experiences in a girl’s life, but the wedding process is definitely not all bliss and at times can be somewhat daunting. Especially when it comes to the amount of money it takes to host a beautiful, once in a lifetime, wedding.

From the dream dress to venue and meal options, there is a lot to consider and plan for, but it doesn’t have to be so financially draining if play it smart! Don't worry, I am not talking about a cheap wedding with homemade chairs that crack apart when you sit down. I am talking about the wedding you really want, but at a price that doesn't mean you are hurting for years to come. Sounds good, right?

Statistics show that the typical run-of-the-mill wedding, without all of the extra luxuries, tends to cost a little over $30,000! This number is strictly wedding expenses and does not even include or reflect honeymoon expenditures that most couples need to plan for. That being said, there are many helpful tips and tricks the happy couple can use to reduce costs and plan an elegant wedding on a budget.

Quick Tips! Planning a Wedding on a Budget

1. Pick a wedding theme that can be done affordably.
4. Do things yourself only if it wont add to stress the night before.
2. Make a guest list, then have each partner reduce their guests by 20%.
5. Use a faux wedding cake and have pre-cut slices from a cheaper cake to hand out to guests.
3. Instead of wedding gifts, ask a loved one with a useful ability to help with the wedding.
6. Choose to have your wedding either during the off season or on a Friday and save up to 50% from vendors.

With all the glitz and glam that one can conger up that a wedding must have, some expenses may not be as practical if the happy couple's allotted capital does not line up with their dreams.

This normally may present some degree of strife for those involved in providing the finances for the wedding services, but it does not have to.

The wise often referred to the saying, “Where there is a will, there is a way”, and it really applies here. It is both feasible and affordable for the happy couple to have a magnificent wedding celebration without having to go in debt or take a loan from some not-so-friendly looking characters your husband knows through a friend of his.

Below we will explore some trending and practical ways modern couples are affording the wedding of their liking without going completely broke in the process!

Choose a creative theme that can also be cost effective.
Choose a creative theme that can also be cost effective.

1. Pick a Wedding Theme That Can Be Affordably Executed

There are literally thousands upon thousands of venue and themed wedding ideas. Most of these, realistically speaking, can be pulled off via a fair share of tweaking according to the size, location, budget and specialty assistance that will be required.

For example, a romantic shabby chic white wedding that would typically be held in a cathedral can just as beautifully be mimicked and held in a woodsy location with lots of hanging lanterns and custom decorum.

Try not to get so wrapped up in decorating or other details right off the bat when first choosing a theme. It can get overwhelming very quickly when having to make a wide variety of decisions.

Keeping a planning and idea book set aside for when browsing bridal magazines, blogs, Pinterest pages, and other wedding resources can work really well to keeping things nicely organized.

Make a solemn commitment to only have three options for every decision you have to make. The top three choices of preference are usually more than enough to incorporate even the most intrinsic wedding plans.

2. Adapt the Mindset That Less Is More When It Comes to Guest Lists and Invitations

While every couple wants to do their best not to leave out any family member or friend in an effort to not offend anyone, it is important to keep in mind each person attending actually costs money.

Keeping the wedding party to a minimum is one of the absolute best ways to keep costs down. If you can do this, then the option to swap the saved capital for other specialty services like a popular band or a nicer menu is a possibility.

When sitting with your partner or family and picking your guest list, try to shoot for at least 20% less guests per you and your partners choices. This will cut the amount of people down by 40%! Talk about huge savings with every vendor! Don't forget that most people who attend a wedding will bring along a companion. Remembering this can be a great motivator when determining who can be left out of the invitation list.

So, maybe your fiancés old college drinking buddy may not be the best choice to invest the extra expense on. The bar may be free to him and his date but comes at a hefty price for you and your spouse (not to mention a possible hefty cost in the form of possible embarrassment if he has a few too many)!

Another way to balance out placement and guest issues is to simply invite all guests to the actual ceremony but limit close friends and family for the actual rehearsal dinner and reception.

An outdoor wedding can be a great way to save money while still having a beautiful wedding. Consider a local state park or nature preserve.
An outdoor wedding can be a great way to save money while still having a beautiful wedding. Consider a local state park or nature preserve.

3. Trade Weddings Gifts for Services of a Friend of Loved One

Do you know anyone who you are inviting to the ceremony with a particular set of skills or talents? Does your best friend play the guitar or cook like Gordon Ramsay or Bobby Flay?

Instead of them buying you a toaster oven as a wedding gift, why not ask if they would be interested in providing music or contribute a delicious food item to the menu.

A lot of times, due to the level of commitment and care family or friends have to us, they end up doing a bang-up job just as good or better than paid professionals who are less distant and offer a stamped-out product or service.

Our friends and family members careers can be great resources to a wedding reception. For instance, your aunt may not be a professional florist, but she does work in a grocery store where she gets 35% off purchases with an employee discount. Most grocery stores employ at least one professionally trained florist to arrange flowers. What a terrific way to get a floral bouquet professionally made without the lofty price tag!

4. Do Things Yourself Only When It Is Not a Daunting Task

Can you imagine staying up all of the night before your wedding to make sure the food is fresh or arranging elaborate table decorum? How will you possibly get any beauty sleep for the pictures you and your family will be looking at for an eternity? You certainly do not want your future children or grandchildren asking why your eyes were so red and buffy!

Assign daunting and time-consuming tasks to others unless it saves you more than $300. The task performed must be worth your effort when sacrificing the money saved.

One perfect DO It Yourself wedding project that can save up to $500-$600, is wedding invitations. There are some really terrific and innovative printing computer software programs that can be just as beautiful as professionally made invitations. Some even offer DIY 3-D kits that can be a fun way of sending memorable and original invitations to mark the occasion for half the cost.

Cricut Explore Air 2 - A DIY Cutting Machine for all Crafts, Create Customized Cards, Home Decor & More, Bluetooth Connectivity, Compatible with iOS, Android, Windows & Mac, Mint
Cricut Explore Air 2 - A DIY Cutting Machine for all Crafts, Create Customized Cards, Home Decor & More, Bluetooth Connectivity, Compatible with iOS, Android, Windows & Mac, Mint
My husband and I decided to make our own invitations using a home die-cutting machine. We bought ourselves a Cricut machine. What is a Cricut? It's like a printer that connects to your computer but instead of printing it cuts, scores, and draws. This machine is capable of making some extremely unique, very personalized wedding invitations. After your wedding the Cricut can make amazing custom "Thank You" cards for your wedding gifts (saving you even more money) and you can continue using it for birthday cards or any other project you can think of. My husband and I bought the Cricut and a few supplies and saved over $100 on invitations alone. Plus our invitations were incredibly unique and we have been using this machine to save money since!
Modern day faux wedding cakes look exactly like the real thing. Even up close!
Modern day faux wedding cakes look exactly like the real thing. Even up close!

5. Use a Beautifully Decorated Faux Wedding Cake

This is a very popular option now that is trending with the younger generation especially. A professional cake with all the trimmings can cost upwards of $500 or more. There are many specialty store sites that offer faux cakes that look amazingly real (even up close).

They are perfect for staging pictures and guests ogling over without the expense of a professional baker and having a faux cake completely eliminates any possible cake disasters, such as kids sticking their fingers in it or someone dropping it!

The guests will never suspect a thing, if you have pre-made plates with a much cheaper store-bought cake ready to be served after the pictures. Another trick if you want a more authentic experience, is to have a much smaller cake made for just the pictures and cutting ceremony and serve the store-bought cake to guests.

6. Timing Is Absolutely Imperative to Saving Money

Having a wedding during the time of the year and day of the week when you do not have to compete with other people’s schedules or seasons can save you a serious amount of money.

It is likened to booking a vacation with a resort agency on the beach in October as opposed to the prime months of June or July. Saturdays are of course, the top day that people choose to celebrate a wedding.

Opting for a Sunday or Friday even, can cut vendor prices right in half. Time of the day also matters greatly. An evening meal will require servers and wait staff, but if you opt for a heavy hors d'oeuvres menu instead, you will eliminate the staff expense altogether.

These are the most commonly overlooked expenses that can break your wedding budget!
These are the most commonly overlooked expenses that can break your wedding budget!

Having your dream wedding without all of the costs that are usually associated with it is absolutely achievable these days. Gone are the days of Bridezilla demands! Well maybe not gone, but they are much less common.

There is just simply no need to have to leave your guests feeling bewildered at a cheaply done event when you apply the strategies mentioned above to stay within a modest budget.

After all, a man and wife joining together for the rest of their lives is a beautiful thing to be celebrated in and of itself. Plan it smart and you just may have enough money left over for an amazing honeymoon relaxing on the beach with your brand new partner for life!

Help Other Wedding Planners!

What are your best tips for saving money on a wedding? Leave your ideas in the comments below to help others!

© 2018 Kate Daily


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