According to TheKnot.com’s Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding in 2013 was $29,858. This is apparently the highest budget ever; 14% of couples spent more than $40,000 on their wedding, and 24% had no budget at all. As wonderful as having a huge budget, or especially no budget at all, sounds, it’s practical to remember that your wedding usually takes place on one day, but you may be paying for the price tag for many months or even years. There are other more practical ways to spend the extra money, but for some people, a big and expensive wedding fulfills a life dream. If you are hoping to plan a wedding on a smaller budget, you will have to be particularly careful when you plan. Here are five tips that will help you not only cut costs, but stay in the confines of a small budget.
1. Keep it small
Some people choose to have a big wedding and cut costs in other ways, but keeping your wedding small will help you to stay in a small budget in multiple ways. Only inviting close family and friends means that you will pay less for food (as food usually is charged per person), and you can also potentially save money by renting a smaller venue, paying for less decorations, setup, and even party favors. As tempting as it is to invite a huge amount of people to your wedding, instead of spending the money, take some time to really evaluate your list. You might feel obligated to invite some people, but try to determine who you really think you will still be close to in a few years. Also, consider cutting out coworkers completely; that way you will have a smaller guest list and won’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
According to WeddingVendors.com, in addition to the financial savings, having a small wedding can result in less stress, provide a more intimate experience, and potentially even give you more choices for your reception, food, and most everything else, because you will have less guests.
2. Choose your reception site wisely
Hotels and country clubs are often an expensive place to have a wedding, but they are also popular choices. Try to think outside the box instead of simply sticking to a place that you think your friends and family would expect. According to The Knot’s survey, couples try to give their guests an experience, either by providing extra entertainment, or providing a morning-after brunch. However, you don’t have to spend a ton of money just to provide an experience. Choose a place that shows off some aspect of your relationship. If you both like to be outside, consider a state park, or pick a restaurant that you both enjoy. Or, if you really want to have your reception in a hotel, look for one that doesn’t require you to pay just for the space: Some hotels will reduce or cut the rental fee if you use their food service, or if you fill a certain amount of guest rooms.
3. Consider an unusual time of day or day of the week
It’s no surprise that many people choose to get married on a Saturday, but choosing a less popular day can save you money. You also might have an easier time negotiating prices with various vendors, and not just for the reception site. If you choose a day that fewer other couples will fight you for, you can potentially see a decrease in the cost of almost every aspect of your wedding. The downfall of choosing a Sunday or weekday wedding date is that you may have less people who can come, but if you want to stick to a small budget, this might actually be a plus.
You should also consider having your wedding and reception in the morning or at lunch. You may save a lot of money by doing this as well.
4. Ask for help
If you want to stay within a small budget, it is absolutely essential that you ask for help. If you had a fair amount of money but wanted to cut costs, you could simply pick a less well known photographer, or use some pretend flowers instead of real flowers. However, if you don’t have much money to spend, asking for help will allow you to have many of the aspects of a wedding that people want, without paying nearly as much. Ask a friend or family member to be your photographer, or provide live music (or even make your playlist for you), or even bake your cake or make your invitations. If you can, consider borrowing a wedding dress or suit instead of paying for one. As long as you choose friends who truly have talent in the area you need assistance with, your wedding guests don’t ever have to know.
You should also consider doing whatever you can yourself. Pinterest has many ideas for DIY Weddings.
5. Remember that your wedding belongs to you alone
While your wedding day should really be about you and your partner, many couples get sucked into the competitive aspects of having a wedding. Some people have more available funds, and there is nothing wrong with keeping your wedding budget small. If you and your partner enjoy a small, intimate and relaxed setting, invite your guests to be part of a potluck instead of providing food. This will depend on what type of experience you want at your wedding, but don’t assume that guests need to be pampered and given a full meal in order to be happy.
As fun as it is to be a guest at a wedding, the special day is supposed to be about you. You could spend $50,000 dollars on a wedding, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your friends will have any more fun than they would if you spent $10,000. Many guests want to be there to celebrate you, and may actually be more impressed with personal touches than anything else.
You can certainly cut costs on any wedding, no matter your budget. However, if you have a set budget, and it happens to be small, your best bet is to try to do as much as you can yourself or with the help of others, and to think small, instead of trying to cut costs as you think big.