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Tips To Cut Your Wedding Expenses

Updated on October 29, 2014
linfcor profile image

Online wedding planner for over 10 years. My goal has been to show everyone the best way to plan their wedding without breaking the bank !

Ideas To Cut Your Wedding Budget

With weddings costing between $25,000-30,000, I set about managing my expenses from the moment I accepted his proposal. I was married on May 7th, 2011. We took into consideration everything we wanted to have as part of our special day and still had the day we wanted while spending under $15,000. And that included a ceremony and reception for 100 with a full buffet meal and an open bar. You can have your wedding just the way that you want it for a very manageable budget.

You can have the wedding that you would like to have without breaking the bank or maxing out your credit cards. It is mostly deciding what the most important part of your day is . For many people, the reception is the significant part of their wedding. If that's the case for you, then focus your budget on your party. The best part of the day is that you have control over what and where your money is spent. But keep in mind that although it is a significant day in your life, your might not want to have an over the edge dream wedding that puts you into debt as you start your new life'

Number one idea to save money at your wedding is to cut your guest list ! Each of your guests had costs associated to them-The price of the food, liquor, cake, ect. Keeping your guest list reasonable, or decreasing your guest list will help every budget line. You have to decide how important each guest is to you as a couple. Do you want quantity or quality, that is the question

The Venue

Where You Have Your Ceremony and Reception

This is one of the highest costs in your wedding budget. There are costs for the church, chapel or synagogue. There are costs attached for other services within the ceremony. The average cost for a wedding ceremony is $500.

No matter where your ceremony is held there are things you can omit to save additional money. One of those things is a ceremony program. If you do decide to do a program, make a one page program on a single piece of paper on your computer. There are so many places to get really nice online graphics on the internet, this should be easy for you.

How we cut our ceremony costs The first thing to consider is to have your wedding ceremony at the same location as your reception. We did this and saved a bundle. Plus the wedding guests did not have to drive to another location for the reception. We used some DVDs including the performance of one of our grandchildren. We negotiated with our DJ to cover both the ceremony and reception. Because we had the one venue, we did not have any limos and saved a lot there too. The venue location did a great job on both ends.

Always consider a package deal if offered. We saved money with our package. It had the meal, the cake cutting and serving, the champagne cocktail and a few other goodies

Use larger tables at your reception- You will have fewer centerpieces and save money

Your Reception Food

The Second Largest Cost Of Your Wedding

Imagine taking 100 of your favorite people out for dinner and drinks ! It won't take long to figure out why the food for your wedding is one of the biggest expenses of your wedding. When you figure an average of $63 or more per head, you can see where this part of your budget can get out of hand.

Omitting any food before the reception will save money. Food during a cocktail hour adds a significant amount to your costs and most of it will not be eaten-put more money into the meal instead of crackers and cheese

Keep your menu simple. The more complicated your menu, the more the cost. Limit your entrees to 2 choices and save more.

How we saved money We opted for a very short timespan where people could get a drink before heading into the reception room. We eliminated the cocktail hour and put more of our money into the meal itself. It made our beverage bill smaller and gave us more time at the reception itself.

Everything Can Be Negotiated-But you have to ask ! Every vendor at your wedding has a little wiggle room. You can work on getting extras and lower prices, but you have to be willing to ask, Overall, we saved hundreds just on working with the people that worked for us

The Photographer/Videographer

Your Wedding Memories Captured

You will want to capture every moment of your special day ! But photographers can be a huge part of your wedding expenses. Most photographers/videographers offer packages that can range between $300-several thousands of dollars. How important are these memories for you ?

Look for a photographer that works out of their home rather than from a studio. They generally have lower overhead and will offer more reasonable packages

What we did We negotiated a package that fit our needs. We opted for an extra photographer and more pictures. However, we also bought a unrestricted CD that enabled us to make copies of any and all the pictures as well as use them in any way that we saw fit. We saved money and were able to make unlimited copies of anything that we liked. We also had a family member use our video camera to make a wedding video for us

Don't waste money on table cameras. They don't generally have enough flash to make a decent picture.

Save Money With Wedding Accessory Sets

When you buy your accessories you save money for sure ! But more than that, you will be creating more bling for every dollar you spend ! Your can theme your wedding accessories and they are sure to be a perfect match !

Your Wedding Rings

Another Major Part Of Your Wedding Budget

You can really spend upwards to $4000-$5000 on just an engagement ring, let alone the wedding bands. It is strictly a matter of taste and how much you have to spend. Be realistic and reasonable on this purchase. As newlyweds there are purchases that will have to be made. You may want to consider how important a big diamond may be.

What we did Since this a second marriage for both of us, we opted to chose all of our rings together. Having that once in a lifetime ring was not that important to us. WE waited for a sale and purchased based on the amount we had set aside for rings.

Flowers For Your Wedding

Adding Beauty To Your Wedding

With a minimum of $2,000, the flowers at your ceremony and reception will be a large part of your wedding budget. There are flowers for the ceremony, pew bows, centerpieces for the reception tables, bouquets, bouquets for the brides, and bridesmaids, flower girls, plus for the guys in the wedding party. This can be a huge part of your wedding budget and can easily add up

What we did I made the bouquets for and boutiners for the wedding party. I made the flower arrangements for the gift table and the candy buffet table. I also made the centerpieces for our reception tables as well as several display pieces. I purchased all of my flowers and craft supplies with discount coupons and they were mostly purchased when they were on sale. I saved several thousands on these projects.

Use more greenery and fewer flowers in all your arrangements and bouquets. Greenery is a lot less expensive.

Your Wedding Attire

Where You Can Save Hundreds

Every girl wants to have the wedding dress of her dreams, but wedding gowns can cost thousands of dollars. When you think about it, it is only worn for a few hours of your life, rarely to be ever seen again. And then add on to that the shoes, the veil, the jewelry and the rest and you can be talking bug bucks. For the men in your wedding party, the suit rental can also add up.

What We DidI found a white tea length dress and added some really nice bling to it. The cost of my dress was under $100 and everyone remarked how nice it looked. The guys in our wedding party were more casual, because of our beach theme. We shopped for them online so that everything matched and saved a bundle

Beverages At Your Wedding

Your Option To Save

Liquor purchases weddings are another major purchase that add to your wedding costs. No matter if you are going dry or not, you will need to supply your guests with something to drink. Most venues will supply beverages with your meal like coffee, tea or soda for any younger guests that you may have. But since, more than likely, your party will be going on for several hours, you will need to supply beverages for your guests.

What we did The best way to budget for liquor for your reception is to allot a specific amount for your beverage service. Ask your venue manager to come to you when that is exhausted to add extra money, if you want to have that option. We were at a country club and negotiated our drinks to be served at members prices. We also specified the beer and liquor that was to be served. Ant top shelf liquor was at the guests costs.

More ways to save on your bar tab is to limit the types of liquor that is served. You could limit your bar service to wine and beer. You could serve a signature drink. You can also limit the amount of time the bar is open.

I am not a fan of cash bars, but if you are planning one, you should inform your guests ahead of time so that they are prepared for the event

Serve beer, wine and a signature drink rather than a full bar. You will save lots of cash

Music And Entertainment At Your Wedding

Another Pricey Cost

The music and entertainment is another budget line for you to consider. Do your homework when you are considering what kind of music to have. If you have the opportunity, go listen to a band or DJ that you might be considering. Check out their website to find the prices and options if you can.

What we did Although specific prices are listed. Negotiate ! We had our DJ do both our wedding ceremony and our reception and we saved a bundle. He did a terrific job keeping our guests on the dance floor.Everyone had a good time

Your Wedding Cake

Another Major Purchase

Wedding Cakes can cost $350 or more. It is not unusual these days for a wedding cake to cost $500 depending on the amount of people you are going to serve ! You can go from very simple to very extravagant and as you move towards the extravagant , your budget starts taking a bigger hit.

What We Did Rather than having a five tiered cake, I opted for a three tiered cake with a hidden sheet cake in the venues kitchen. This saved us a lot of money and our guests never knew the difference.

One thing to consider that when you have a square cake, it generally feeds more people and costs less.

Opt for a cake with dividers to make a small cake look larger

Special fillings will cost you more than standard fillings. The same is true for icing, fondant will cost you more than buttercream.

Save up to 40 % by using ribbon or fresh flowers instead of pricier decorations. We supplied our own shells for the tears between our dividers

Get all costs in writing-preferably in the form of a contract. The contract should specify the date of your event, the services provided, and methods of payment. Make sure that both you and the vendor have signed the contract and you have a copy. Have all contracts with you at the wedding, so that if there is a question, you have your documentation.

Your Wedding Stationary

Beyond invitations, there are reply cards, save-the-date notices, ceremony and reception programs, seating cards and thank-you notes. Your wedding stationary can cost $500 and above.

Single page invites cost less that folded card type invites

Lighter invites will cost less postage than heavier ones

You can save a great deal of money by printing your own invites. Michaels has lots of invite sets to chose from. Most of these sets include everything you need.

Print Your Own Wedding Invites - Save Lots Of Money

Yes, you can do your save hundreds of dollars doing your own wedding invites on your computer. Here's the thing to remember, people, except for you and your family, do not save them ! So why spend $500 or more on wedding stationary that no one cares saves. It's nice to make a statement about your wedding, but with so much to consider, why not save money with invitation kits ?

Save Lots Of Money - Do It Yourself !

It's true that you can save a great deal of money by doing it yourself. Even if you have a short time period to plan your wedding, there are lots of ways to cut your expenses by doing it yourself ! Best of all, if you do it right, you can save money with coupons at craft stores that will help you save even more with 40% off a single item or 20-25% off a total order, the savings really add up !

  1. Centerpieces There are tons of ideas all over the internet ! We bought glass cylinders at the dollar store. I glued shells along the base (some of which I had collected on the beach) Added sand and placed a votive in the center. Everyone loved them and they cost me about $5.00 a piece to do them
  2. Escort Cards Use your computer to print out the names of your guests and place them at the table settings or on a table. We used some shells and filled them with the traditional almonds. Tulle covered them and some ribbon tied it all together. We had them set out on a lovely tray in the lobby area along with a picture of ourselves, They had the names and the table numbers on each. We made one for couples and the rest for the singles. You can make your own and save money !
  3. Sand Ceremony and Unity Candles There are lots of ways you can handle this part of your wedding and save money ! In our case we decided to have a sand ceremony. I found the glass containers that I liked at a local thrift store, I decorated them with shells and bought some colored sand on sale ! Cost about $6.50. Two years later, we still have them on display. You can also use a cake stand and a couple of glass candle holders that you could use later on for your unity candle
  4. Wedding Favors There are so many ways to save on wedding favors. Peruse your local craft store or look online. In our case we made a CD of our favorite songs and bought inexpensive printed labels on line. I decorated the CD cover and everyone loved them

© 2014 Linda F Correa

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