The average cost of a wedding in the United States is well over $30,000 and that is just an estimate on the lower side. Looking for ways to plan a wedding without going bankrupt? Here they are!
1. Start with a budget
Budget planning is the first thing you must do when it comes to planning an intimate and simple wedding. Sit with your family, put your heads together and check the areas where you can save. Basic wedding budget ideas can be obtained from friends or families who have recently tied the knot. You can use the following guidelines and customize the following wedding budget checklist:
Total Budget- ______$
Dress/Shoes/Accessories/Headpiece/Jewelry + Hair and makeup- _______$ (10 % of total budget)
Groom’s attire/Shoes-__________ $ (2% of total budget)
Rings for her and him ________$ (3% of total budget)
Stationery- _______$ (3% of total budget)
Photography/Videography-__________ $ (11% of total budget)
Transportation – ________$ (2% of total budget)
Flowers- _________$ (8% of total budget)
Ceremony (location, officiant fees etc)-_____(3% of total budget)
Reception fees (includes food, beverage, cake etc)-____ $ (48% of total budget)
Gifts and Favors- _______$ (2% of total budget)
Entertainment- _______$ (8% of total budget)
Once you have a budget in mind, tick the items most important to you. You can then change and customize the above wedding budget percentages.
3. Shop for jewelry online
Etsy.com is a great place to find gems, headpieces and dresses for less. You can even pick up secondhand sparklers or heirloom pieces from your mother/mother in law.
4. Get married in the off season
This is the easiest way to plan a wedding on a budget. Snow and ice bring down wedding prices and January and February are great months to get married in. These are the months when service providers and venues both reduce their prices. Whatever you do- avoid getting married on Saturday as prices are highest that day for wedding venues.
5. Beware of hidden costs.
There are hundreds of hidden costs you need to be aware of when it comes to planning a wedding on a budget. Negotiate with your vendors about these costs before signing on the contract. These hidden prices include: band equipment costs (in case your venue is large and your musicians need to arrange for extra speakers), postage stamps for bulky wedding invites, alterations for the dress, VATs and taxes, overtime costs, cleanup and breakdown charges, cake cutting and corkage fees and so on and so forth. Many of these hidden costs can be prevented with due diligence. For example, you can go for light-weight invites or e-invitations to avoid postage fees.
6. Seek offers and ask for specials and discounts
You can get state wise discounts by visiting wedding planning portals like these.
7. Keep your guest lists small
Plan your guest list with great care. Keep it small and invite only those you really care about. This is an easy way to stick to your wedding budget.
8. Get quotes to benchmark typical wedding prices
Do not settle for the first vendor you come across. Do some shopping around and find the best deals on everything from florists, dresses to photography services etc.
9. Negotiate negotiate negotiate
Whatever you do- do not hesitate to ask for discounts. You’d be surprised to know how much money you can save by just asking for a price drop.
10. Seek favors from friends
Have a cousin who is great with the camera? Know a friend who bakes well? Get them to help and you can literally halve your wedding budget. You could even ask your friend to be the master of ceremonies an one to do your hair and makeup.
11. Pay with credit cards to get cash back
Use cards instead of cash transactions to get tons of offers including cash back.
12. Check for deals online as well (web clearances)
From dresses to rings to shoes to favors to gifts: check out deals on online stores for fabulous web clearances.
13. Go for low cost venues
Get married in a barn, bed & breakfasts, church halls, art galleries, the local park, beach, or your own home or have a picnic style buffet to save tons of money on conventional wedding venues. Also, select a venue in a small town rather than the city- a simple tip that can add up your savings.
14. Save on beauty and hair
There are many ways to save on bridal makeup costs. You and your bridesmaids could get free makeovers done at the mall. Do not forget to check with local beauty schools that are always in need of clients for training their students. You could even ask a friend to do your hair/makeup and save thousands. Alternatively, talk to your own hair dresser to whom you have been going for years and ask her to do your makeup and hair for less on sentimental grounds.
15. Go the DIY route
These days you can DIY everything in a wedding thanks to online forums like Pinterest. DIY your cake, stationery, favors, flowers, and even your dress. Going down this route can be a hassle and you will need to enlist help of friends and family (not to mention that you also need time for these things). That said; it is a great way to plan a wedding on a budget.
16. Save on place settings and stationery
Save on stationery by sending free DIY printables. For place settings, you can make your own or use pebbles, shells etc-they look great and you can get them for free.
17. Do not mention the ‘w’ word
Avoid using the ‘wedding’ word when seeking wedding services like flowers. (Say instead it is for a party/celebration). You will be surprised how much you can save on wedding costs by just using this little trick.
18. Serve your own alcohol
Alcohol prices are huge when it is purchased at the venue. So buy your own and set a limit by entrusting the serving to a trustworthy friend/ family.
19. Ask for cash as wedding gift
Word your invitations right and ask family/friends to give you cash instead of gifts you do not need. The money can be used for setting up your new home or even for your honeymoon.
20. Save on transportation cost
Avoid cost of wedding transportation by bargaining with your venue to get you and your guests from the ceremony to the reception. You can even select a venue closer to your reception so you can drive down or walk to the reception.
21. Look for cheap honeymoon packages
You can get great deals on travel and hotel by selecting off-the-grid locations. Here is a great list of affordable honeymoons in US.
22. Pin with caution
Use pinterest with caution because, while the DIY ideas can help you save, you might even feel tempted to go for things that are way out of your budget. So use Pinterest and other social platforms wisely when planning a wedding on a budget.
Use these 22 ideas and easy ways to save big on your Big Day!