Say “Yes” to the dress, not the distress
Your wedding day, that highly anticipated day you finally get to marry your best friend and start your new adventure as husband and wife. But does that fairytale wedding have to be a financial nightmare?
In 2016, the average cost of a wedding reached an all-time high of $35,329! Yeah, you read that right, and that’s just the average! That’s a whole lot of paychecks, and, if you’re paying for the wedding yourself, that can add a lot of financial stress to your new life together. So, can you get the wedding of your dreams without the ginormous price tag? Below are several ways we’ve found that can help you and your future spouse save money when planning for your big day.
Shop ’til you drop.
Sure, that sounds like a no-brainer, right? You shopped around when you purchased your car and home, so why wouldn’t you do the same for your wedding venue and venders, too? You don’t always have to take the first offer you receive. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to find out all those details, just like you did when you started dating your significant other.
Haste makes waste.
Don’t hire more than you absolutely need. Wasted expenditures really add up. Sure, the string quartet would sound lovely as you walk down the aisle, but is it really necessary? If your wedding venue has a sound system, there’s nothing wrong with cuing up your special song on Spotify as you make your big entrance.
Don’t spend it all in one place.
Who wouldn’t want that fancy Cinderella wedding? But, sadly, the royal palace isn’t cheap. Before dropping a fortune on an elaborate venue you may have seen in a movie, consider what features you have to have in a venue before booking your wedding date. If you’re a member of a church, your church will likely be very accommodating of your special day and can provide things they have on hand, like decorations and tablecloths, at no cost. Other venues may require you to pay additional fees for these items or provide them yourself.
The short list.
Yes, it’s your big day, and you want everyone to be there, but all those people really add up financially. Just because you’re Facebook friends with someone probably doesn’t warrant sending them an invite. Think about who you really want to be there before you send out your invitations. The average cost of a wedding guest is over $100, so not inviting those 10 high school pals whose friendships only live on through the world of social media will save you over $1,000.
When it comes to feeding your guests, there are several things to consider. First, the time of your reception. Afternoon weddings are a great option because they allow you to serve hors d’oeuvres during the reception rather than shelling out for a full-course meal. Your local supermarket can save you hundreds on platter trays over a catering company. Second, scrap the seating chart and allow your guests to choose where they want to sit. Surely, none of your guests will end up sitting alone in a dark closet somewhere, but this will help save you the added expense of making place cards for everyone.
Put a cork in it.
Who doesn’t love popping the bubbly at a wedding? But that little bottle of wine you curl up with on the couch each Friday night can really get expensive when you’re serving it to 150-200 guests. By not having an open bar at your wedding, you can save yourself thousands of dollars. Soft drinks, coffee, tea, and water are great low-cost drink options to offer your guests. You can still make alcohol available at your wedding, but allow your guests to pick up their own tabs.
Have your cake and eat it, too.
We’ve all seen those beautiful eight-tier wedding cakes on the Food Network with all the intricate piping around the edges and unicorn tears for the icing, but it’s hard to spend another $1,000-$1,500 on top of the dinner for your guests. Many couples have started using cupcakes as a way to defray the cost of dessert. But, wait! We’ve got something even better. Doughnuts! Who doesn’t love doughnuts?! They’re small precut individual cakes for each of your guests, at a much lower price. Serving doughnuts to a hundred and fifty guests will only cost around $100, maybe a little more if you want to opt for the gourmet kind. And, the other added bonus is they won’t require an additional delivery fee, like cakes and cupcakes will. Google “wedding doughnuts” to see a variety of creative and elegant displays.
Who could imagine a wedding without beautiful floral arrangements? But, they’re expensive. Instead of spending hundreds on real flowers that will die shortly after your happy day, visit your local craft store to save on a wide variety of floral decorations that will be around and can be repurposed long after you say, “I do.”
When it comes time to hire your photographer, do it early in your engagement and make sure to ask questions. Some photographers will include additional services, like a free engagement photo session or the rights to the digital images, in their base price that others will charge an additional fee for. Also, think long-term when or if you order prints. Just because you’re in that magical moment, and the photographer offers a life-size wedding portrait for a mere $4,200 doesn’t mean you’ll want to see it hanging on the wall of your house in a year or two.
Dress for success.
You’re not the only one spending money for your big day. Consider your bridesmaids and groomsmen, who will be right there by your side on that joyous occasion. Sure, it would be nice for them to all be dressed in the same exact thing, like they came off an assembly line, but why make them spend $150 on a dress they’ll never wear again. Let’s face it, you don’t see too many people showing up to work or going to the grocery store in a one-shoulder lace bridesmaid dress or a pink tuxedo with a cummerbund. The best option is to give your wedding party a color and allow them to find a dress or suit in that color range they can afford and is practical to wear both at your wedding and again at another venue that isn’t necessarily the opera.
Yes, it is possible to find ways to save money on your wedding without sacrificing much. But the most important thing to keep in mind as a consumer is to be practical and not emotional when making these decisions.