Why does it cost so much to get married these days? Thankfully, my husband and I didn’t break the bank to tie the knot. If money is holding you back from getting married, here are some ways you can save money on your big day:
- Make a budget. You have to start with what you have. If you only have $1,000 in the bank, you’re not going to spend $100,000 on a wedding. Pool your money together, and if you’re blessed enough to have parents who are willing to help you, figure out how much money they are giving you. Have a running list of what you’re spending vs. what you’ve received. Throughout our engagement process, we had money coming in and out of our bank account. We would spend a thousand dollars on the venue deposit, and then a family friend would give us a card with $500 in it, then we would get an influx of checks, money from our parents, and our paychecks, and we’d have to sort through what we needed to buy. For one of my best friends’ wedding, she and her husband had a wedding planning Excel sheet! Whatever you need to do to make a budget, do it. Trust me: if it does nothing else, it will help you feel more in control of your finances during this already crazy time.
- Start with what (and who) you know. We both have big families, and we attend a big church. Someone has to know a good photographer! Someone has to be willing to sing at our wedding. We had friends and family participate in our wedding, which helped to keep the cost down. This is another way for family members to help if they are not able to contribute financially. If your aunt knows a great DJ, florist, or catering hall, her connection to the company may help you get a discount. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you’re getting married, people do want to help you!
- Figure out your priorities. Did anyone miss the centerpieces? I didn’t. We saved a couple hundred dollars on centerpieces that would only serve to block the view of our guests sitting across from each other at their tables. But for some of you, you may need centerpieces, and that’s okay. For us, we spent most of our budget on the venue itself, on the honeymoon, and on the photographer, because those things meant the most to us. We were most concerned about making sure our guests had delicious food and a nice atmosphere, making sure we would have a nice time together alone, and making sure we would have nice memories of the day that would last us for years. Whatever your priorities are, spend the most money on those items, and don’t invest as much in the “extra” stuff.
- Choose buffet style. If your caterer offers buffet style, go for it! Having a server at every table costs extra money, because not only do you have to pay the kitchen staff, but you also have to pay a server to wait on each table. Our guests appreciated the buffet, because the food was always available, and they could get up and talk to people at other tables without feeling like they were stuck in their seats.
- Choose an off-peak time. My brother is getting married on a Friday afternoon. My sister is getting married on a Sunday. We got married on a Saturday afternoon in November. The “peak time” for weddings is on Saturday evening, sometimes Friday evening. Be creative! Sometimes having your wedding on a holiday costs less money, because who would get married on a holiday? But hey, your family is getting together anyway! Research times of the year that are less expensive for a wedding, such as January, March, April, and November.
- Opt out of the alcohol. Again, this is all depending on your priorities, but my husband and I both don’t drink, so we asked to have a dry wedding. Some people grumbled that there was no alcohol, but we drowned out the sound of their grumbling with the sound of 3,000 extra dollars jingling in our pockets. And that’s how we funded our honeymoon!
Whatever you do, it’s going to be great! Don’t let anyone but the two of you decide how you’re going to spend your money.
If you’ve gone through the wedding planning process, what have you done to save money? What do you wish you would have done differently?