You and your partner have taken the plunge. You’ve decided to tie the knot! While there’s sure to be a lot of celebrating in your future, it’s important to start planning now for the big day in a big way.
However, many couples don’t realize how much the general public spends on weddings. According to wedding planning website TheKnot.com, the average cost of a wedding in America was roughly $30,000.
For many people, the cost of a wedding can be burdensome, both financially and emotionally. A lot of stress and anxiety can come from wedding planning and can make couples wish they had spent the money on other things, like a house.
Many couples choose to scale down their wedding while still planning a memorable day, which can also mean scaling down the wedding budget.
Here are some tips for planning a fun wedding while on a small budget.
Determine Your Wedding Budget
Before you plan your venue, invite guests, or even choose your colors, it’s important to determine how much money you have available to you for your wedding.
Many couples plan their wedding a year out or more, which gives them plenty of time to save if they haven’t already done so.
Keeping your wedding savings separate from your general accounts may be a good idea if you’re planning far in advance, so set aside time to factor this into your regular budget when you decide to tie the knot.
Depending on your family’s customs, your personal preference, and your relationships with other people on either side of the family, there may also be the parents’ finances to consider.
Sometimes, this means the parents have a say in what happens with their son or daughter’s wedding, so keep that in mind as you determine what you can spend.
Once you have your budget, find out what the cost of key items will be, such as a caterer to provide food for the reception, or a DJ to entertain your guests.
You might ask for quotes from friends, but picking up the phone and calling for quotes can also give you the answers you want. Keep track of all of the quotes you receive with a wedding notebook, as it will help you decide the best course of action to take.
If your budget is going to include other items, such as wedding outfits, use the maximum price you wish to spend to avoid under-budgeting.
Once you have the list of approximate costs and your budget, it’s time to do a little math and see if you fall short and, if you do, decide together what needs to be cut or what you can do yourself.
Since you’re on a small budget, it’s important to be open-minded. Talk with your partner and anyone else who has contributed funds to see what your spending limit is, what they might want to compromise on, and where you can find common ground on items you may or may not want.Before planning all your #wedding details, it's important to set your #budget! Click To Tweet
Compromises, DIY, and Being Flexible with Wedding Planning on a Budget
Now that you and your partner have decided what’s necessary, what’s not, and what you can be flexible in either making or doing yourselves, it’s time to dig in and plan your big day. I highly recommend to get photo booth from Inside Out Booth, the memories are what lasts so don’t forget that.
Below are ideas for some common, higher cost wedding items and solutions for budget-strapped couples looking to plan a fun wedding on a budget.
According to statistics about the costs of weddings, food expenses at the reception (which can factor in bar service as well), can be as high as $6,000 for one wedding. For couples on a budget, food can be a prohibitory cost, but it’s often expected at the reception.
To save money on food for your wedding, consider making it yourself! Request help from relatives who are handy in the kitchen or have experience cooking for large groups, and make the food ahead of time.
Catering your own wedding is an easy way to keep guests full and happy. Buffets are a great way to feed a large number of guests without having to worry about providing table service, which would be an additional cost at an upscale wedding venue that caters for you.
Not sure you want to provide a large cake at the wedding, but still want sweet treats for your guests? A candy bar is a great way to satisfy the sweet tooth without putting a dent in your budget.
Provide guests with treat-filled bowls and bags to put their goodies in. You’ll save money on providing a gift bag, and they’ll go home happy with their favorite candy!
Other ways to incorporate sweets into your wedding without fearing leftover cake might include an ice cream sundae bar; a chocolate fondue fountain with fruit and sweets to dip into it; or using cupcakes rather than a whole cake as dessert.Save money on food at your #wedding with these cute and simple #DIY ideas! Click To Tweet
Are you planning to decorate your wedding yourself? Since all of the prep and planning is just for one day, avoid paying for items you’ll never use again.
Ask friends or family if they have wedding decorations left over from their weddings you can use in yours. Borrowing items is a huge money saver! It can help you avoid rental fees, as well as the liability and cost of paying for damaged rented items.
You can easily make your own supplies through guides found online, such as tutorials on websites or from Pinterest, or wedding guidebooks. Get other members of your wedding party involved in the decorating and DIY projects, and you’ll not only save money, but make memories while doing so.
Do you and your partner have a place that is special to you that can host your wedding? If this place is low cost or free, you can save a lot of money!
Many people choose venues they can have the ceremony and the the reception at to save guests the drive time, and save themselves the hassle of dealing with multiple locations.
Depending on your wedding theme and the weather, an outdoor wedding can be a great way to celebrate without compromising fun. Many parks, farms, and other outdoor spaces offer charming locations for weddings, and as an added bonus, the fresh air is free!
Are the seasons going to be a problem for your venue? If you plan to get married when it’s colder or in a rainy climate, there are still low cost options available.
Some American Legion and VFW halls offer their venues at reduced rates compared to other reception halls. Depending on your plans, you may have to have the ceremony in one place and the reception in the other, but it’s an option many people don’t consider when planning their wedding.
It’s often customary to provide thank-you gifts for the people in your wedding party, or the people who helped you bring it all together. Gifts can be costly and unexpected if you didn’t plan ahead.
To avoid spending hundreds, get creative and make your gifts or find a low-cost way to thank your helpers for making the day fantastic.
For men, gifts like cuff links can add a personal touch without taking too much out of the budget. For women, a gift such as a small clutch or a charm bracelet can be an easy way to show your appreciation.
Other Money-Saving Ideas for Weddings on a Budget
Still need to cut costs, but want a fun wedding? Here are a few more ideas:
- Trade Favors with Friends – Do you have a friend that’s excellent with organizing? It may be worth asking them to help you plan your wedding. Got a friend who can bake a cake like a pastry chef? Enlist them to make your wedding cake. There are many creative ways to involve friends in your wedding, and if you need to trade favors with them to do so, you should.
- Shrink Your Invite List – Many of the costs associated with weddings stem from the invite list getting out of control. Perhaps your parents insist you invite all their coworkers, or your partner must have an old college buddy come for the big day. To avoid your costs ballooning out of control, stick to a small invite list and keep stress at bay as you plan your wedding.
- Avoid Unnecessary Expenses – It might be challenging due to peer pressure, the wishes of other family members, or society’s view on the “perfect” wedding, but foregoing expenses you don’t need is healthy when your budget is small. Services like videography or a photo booth can be costly, so work with the bare minimum and give yourself some breathing room when insurmountable costs seem to pile up.
It’s possible to have a fun wedding without lamenting how much you spent for just one day later on. With a little creativity, flexibility, and know-how, you can still plan a great wedding on a budget.