Getting engaged should be one of the most exciting times in your life, not the most expensive. According to the market-research publication The Wedding Report, the average wedding costs $29,000.
Even if you've planned a simple wedding, expenses can add up rapidly without your even realizing. While nothing is free, some things are cheap. Check out these 20 tips that will help you keep expenses down and allow you to truly enjoy the big day.
Begin by sitting down with your fiance and deciding what is most important about your wedding. Does a spectacular location matter more than inviting everyone you know, or would you rather have all your loved ones present? Would you rather have the fanciest of decorations or serve a high-end dinner? By acknowledging what is most important to you and your fiance, you'll be able to cut costs or eliminate the factors you don't value as much.
Venues, catering, florists, photographers and other necessary wedding components are cheaper in rural or suburban areas than in large metropolitan cities. A small town or country wedding at a nearby location could be less expensive and more intimate.
3. Combine Locations
Simplify and save by booking the ceremony and reception at the same location. You'll save the expense of a limo to take you to a second location and you'll likely get a discount for the double booking. Many churches have halls that can handle wedding receptions for a reasonable cost, especially if you or a family member belong to the church. If you're going to have your wedding and reception at a hotel, the same standards apply--book together and you will save. As about a discount on rooms for you and your guests for block reservations. Be sure to book rooms months in advance.
4. Avoid the Peak Season
Statistically, most weddings take place May through October. By having your wedding during one of the off months, you could save across the board on limos, flowers, hotels and other wedding necessities.
5. Choose Your Reception Time Wisely
Reception halls charge the highest fees for 7 p.m. on Saturday night. Any other time is guaranteed to be a bargain. Consider Friday night or Sunday morning instead. If late night drinking is important, choose Friday night. But if you're looking for a more laid-back family affair, Sunday brunch could be nice.
6. Network with Other Brides
Talk to other brides who are getting married fairly close to your wedding date and at the same venue. It may be possible to split some costs if you're willing to have similar themes and colors. For example, both weddings could use the same decorations, instead of tossing them after the ceremony.
7. Fake the Cake
A wedding cake can be a real budget buster. A three-tiered cake is more than enough for most wedding. For smaller weddings, use a faux bottom for the two bottom tiers of the cake. No one will be able to tell the difference and it will still look great in pictures. That's all that really matters anyway. For larger weddings, choose the smaller version of your dream cake and then get a sheet cake from the grocery store in the same flavor as the wedding cake. The sheet cake can be cut in the back and served to guests and no one will ever notice. Or you might consider doing something entirely unconventional and serving a non-traditional cake, pie, brownie, etc.
8. Flower Facts
In-season flowers are less expensive and provide a little more bang for your buck when filled out with greens. Stay away from wedding dates near floral-intensive holidays such as Mother's Day or Valentine's Day. The high demand for flowers will drive the costs up drastically. Don't feel compelled to decorate the church with fresh flowers for the ceremony. You and your guests will be spending much more time at the reception, so focus your decorating energies there. Also, people expect churches to be less ornate.
9. Church Decorations
For religious weddings, consider having your wedding near a major holiday. The church will already be decorated, saving you lots of money on flowers. A simple, candlelit ceremony can be romantic, gorgeous and inexpensive. Or large ribbon bows can make a nice substitute for flowers or you might consider combining ribbons with a few select flowers.
10. Dress to Impress
Every bride wants to look stunning on her wedding day, but chances are no one at the wedding will be checking for designer tags on the gown. Cheaper fabrics are almost always available for dress designs. Using those lower-end fabrics can significantly cut the cost. If you're looking for a simple dress design, it doesn't necessarily have to be classified as a wedding dress. You can look for bridesmaid's dresses or check department stores. You can also shop sample sales. Sizes six through 10 are the most common dress sizes. Sample sales are usually held just once a year and are very well attended, so stake out your preferred dress, get their early and grab it before anyone else can. You can also search online for deals on second-hand wedding dresses -- some of which have never been worn. Also, renting a wedding dress is a trend that is becoming more popular and can save thousands of dollars.
You can also shop sample sales. Sizes six through 10 are the most common dress sizes. Sample sales are usually held just once a year and are very well attended, so stake out your preferred dress, get their early and grab it before anyone else can. You can also search online for deals on second-hand wedding dresses -- some of which have never been worn. Also, renting a wedding dress is a trend that is becoming more popular and can save thousands of dollars.
11. Do-it-yourself Favors
According to SoundVision.com, the average number of wedding guests is 178. That adds up quickly when you're spending upwards of $5 per guest. Consider less-expensive items, such as chocolate kisses instead of truffles or small games like a set of jacks. Ask your friends to come over and help assemble the packets or do this during your shower.
12. Conserve Paper
Think twice before spending hundreds of dollars on a seven-piece, hand-engraved invitation for 200 guests. You'll spend a lot of money and trash a lot of trees. Consider paring the invites down to one piece of paper and ask guests to reply online or be phone. You'll save both on postage and additional printing expenses.
13. Consider a Consultant
The first thing a wedding consultant will tell you to do to save money is to hire a wedding consultant. A consultant will do all the things you need to do, but don't have time to. They will shop around for the best deals and use their network of vendors to get inside deals. While this might sound like the best idea right away, consultants charge about 15 percent of the total wedding budget, so it's up to you to decide if a consultant will cost or save you money.
14. Trim the Guest List
This is often the most difficult tasks you'll face and cause tensions with family and friends. You can cross off guests who might feel obligated to come, but it wouldn't hurt their feelings if they weren't invited. Invite only close relatives instead of everyone in your family. You should be surrounded by the people most important to you on your wedding day, not your dad's business associates unless, of course, he's footing the bill.
15. Keep the Wedding Party Small
You have to buy nice gifts for every member of your wedding party, and that can add up. Also, the entire wedding party attends the rehearsal dinner with dates. Seven bridesmaids and seven groomsmen, their dates, the ring bearer, flower girls, their families, both sets of parents and all out-of-town guests traditionally attend the rehearsal dinner. You can see how quickly that adds to the cost.
16. Work with Your Photographer
Meet with photographers ahead of time to determine pricing for different packages. Most wedding photographers will work with you to develop a shot list. Consider whether you want the photographer to take formal photos, the ceremony and the reception, or could you cut costs by having friends take photos during the reception and just have a professional for the most important shots.
17. Stick to the Schedule
Musicians will charge more if asked to perform beyond the time stated in their contract and limo drivers charge by the hour. If your pictures take longer than planned, it can make your whole day run late. Most photographers prefer to take group shots before the wedding. Keep a close eye on the clock, arrive on time and make sure everyone to be included in the photos understands the time constraints.
18. Downscale Food and Drink
Be honest with your caterer about your budget. Ask for less expensive entrees and or a less expensive buffet that doesn't require waiters. Check with the venue and caterer to see if you can provide your own liquor. Serve wine and beer, rather than stocking a full bar. Also consider only having the bar open during your cocktail hour, then serving an inexpensive wine with dinner. If you plan a lot of toasts, guests can toast with whatever they are currently drinking, instead of the more expensive champagne.
19. Take a Final Look
Once you have a plan, but before putting down any deposits, consider where you can economize. Do you really need choral singers and a string quartet at the ceremony, with a wedding singer and a DJ at the reception? Releasing doves or butterflies or having a candle-lighting ceremony are all wonderful, but may end-up costing a lot of money. Simplicity saves money and, if done well, your wedding may seem more serene and awe-inspiring.
20. Remember Your Goals
Keep in mind the wedding is one day at the start of a life-long commitment. Look beyond the wedding day to the goals you'll have as newlyweds. If you want to purchase a house in the next few years, remember that priority when expenses start to balloon. This should be a happy day -- not the beginning of a long-term debt.
The free Coupon Sherpa mobile app brings hundreds of in-store coupons to your purse or pocket. Learn more and download the exclusive mobile app today.Mobile Coupons
All designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. No claims of affiliation are made about the stores on this site.
© 2013 The Frugals