Whether you’re saying your “I dos” at a country home setting or an elegant indoor venue, the fact is that weddings are expensive. You don’t want to start your wedded bliss in debt so it pays to stick to a budget and make do with what you have. However, you also want to plan the perfect day that fulfills the wedding of your dreams.
How do you create that delicate balance between sticking to a budget and having the perfect wedding? By knowing which techniques will help you save money. Read on to find out what these techniques are, and what else you can do to save money when planning your big day.
Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
Even if you’re working within a set budget, it does not mean that you would have a cookie-cutter wedding that is not at all personalized. In fact, it’s paying attention to the small details that will add that personal touch to your wedding. This does not have to cost much at all. To give you an idea, take a look at our top ways to save money on your big day:
Deciding on the wedding planning timeline
You said yes to the marriage proposal, and now the planning phase starts. Before ironing out the individual details, the first thing you need to decide on is the timeline for the actual planning. Here are the pros and cons of having a shortened or lengthened wedding planning timeline:
1. Short Wedding Planning Timeline
The typical timeline that couples give themselves to plan a wedding is 11 to 12 months. Can you shorten this timeframe? Definitely! Take a look at the pros of having a shortened wedding planning timeline:
- You can simplify the details of the wedding.
- You can take advantage of last-minute deals.
- You can streamline the process of planning the wedding to cut expenses.
- You will not get sucked into a whirlpool of planning an elaborate wedding.
Perhaps the only disadvantage is that you need to make lightning-quick decisions if you have a short timeline for the planning phase. Other than that, from a budgeting perspective, having a short timeline will help you manage your expenses better.
2. Long Wedding Planning Timeline
On the other hand, you can go for the long haul and have a prolonged wedding planning timeline – say, more than one year, and still be able to stick to your budget. The benefits of going for a longer wedding planning phase are:
- You can take advantage of seasonal sales.
- You can ask the suppliers for early bird discounts.
- You can choose a bargain wedding venue.
- You can take your time in cutting the guest list, and deciding on the other details of the wedding.
As long as you know what your budget is, you can make a long wedding planning timeline work to your advantage.
Choosing the date of the wedding
Next comes choosing the exact date of the wedding. Take a look at a few quick facts that will guide you for this step:
- Saturday is the most popular day of the week to get married. Choosing any other day than this will instantly save you money because of a lower demand.
- Except for Valentine’s Day and the days approaching the holiday season, you can save 20% to 30% off your wedding costs by getting married on November, January, February and March.
There are also seasons of the year and specific times of the day when it is less expensive to hold the wedding ceremony and reception. By saying your “I dos” during the off-peak times, vendors and suppliers will give you more negotiating power.
Choosing the wedding ceremony and reception venue
If you have a specific church in mind or a favourite restaurant where you would like to hold the ceremony or the reception, why not conduct both there? Let’s say that there’s this beautiful church where the couple spent their childhood years together.
If you can, look for a venue right outside the church where the wedding reception will be held. Holding the ceremony and reception in one spot will not just cut the travel time, but also save you money because the vendors and suppliers who are being paid by the hour will not charge you as much.
Finalizing your guest list
A good rule of thumb to follow when finalizing your guest list is that you should be able to spend at least one minute with each one of them without tiring yourself out. With 300 people, you’d need more than five hours as a couple to spend just one minute with each guest who took their time out to spend this special day with you. This means that the shorter your guest list is, the more intimate it will be because you’d get more time with them.
Another big plus for cutting short your guest list is that it keeps the reception costs down. Even if the difference is just 50 guests, you can save thousands of dollars on the per-person charge from the caterer, restaurant or banquet hall who will prepare the food.
Making your wedding Instagram-worthy
After the honeymoon, the only souvenir that you will have of your big day is the pictures and videos. How do you make the wedding ceremony and reception Instagram-worthy? Again, it’s all about paying attention to the small details and personalizing everything.
When it comes to saving money on wedding video and photography packages, look for professionals who offer the best packages based on the number of hours that they will work. Talk to former brides and ask what their photo and video packages looked like.
You can also consider hiring a student as a second point-of-view photographer. If there’s someone in the family who dabbles in photography, you can ask him or her to take pictures of your wedding details for free so that only need to hire the professional photographers during the ceremony and reception itself.
What about the flowers?
To save money on flowers, you can incorporate more greens than blooms. Having an assortment of blooms can also cut your budget in half. For instance, peonies or daisies are a fraction of the cost of roses.
Based on the color scheme or theme that you have, you can choose cheaper floral arrangements. Buying blooms which are in season and making your flowers do a double function – to be used during the ceremony and the reception – will save you a lot in the long run.
Knowing what to serve your guests
Everybody loves an open bar but the cost of the individual drinks and spirits can take its toll on your budget. What you can do instead is have a signature cocktail ready for the drinking guests to enjoy. Or, instead of having an assortment of beers, have a cheap brand of beer and table wine ready – which you can buy in bulk.
For the food, the first thing to consider is the time of day that the ceremony will be held. Evening receptions will typically include a sit-down dinner which will be costlier than a daytime reception where you can serve snacks and appetizers. You can also opt to include comfort food items on the menu rather than sophisticated dishes which will turn out to be more expensive.
If you must serve a full meal with an appetizer, main course and dessert, talk with your caterer about the possibility of serving plated meals over buffets. Vendors will usually charge more for buffets than plated meals simply because they have to cook more. You also need to be firm with the number of guests that you have, otherwise you would have to pay for extra food.
Choosing the wedding stationery and favors
If you’d like to have traditional wedding stationery as invites, look for cheap material and design a single page rather than a multiple-page invite. For the wedding favors, you can make a deal with the baker of your cake to make you a batch of small cupcakes which you can distribute to guests as favors.
Don’t bother printing save-the-dates anymore, simply e-mail them to your friends or post them to social media sites – just make sure that the viewing is limited to those who are included in your guest list. You can also print your own place cards, menu cards, escort cards, etc. There are downloadable templates that you can print online.
Saving money on the other details of your wedding
Instead of hiring an actual DJ for your wedding, download an app that will allow you to play a pre-selected number of songs during different parts of the wedding ceremony and reception. If you must hire a band, choose a smaller one instead of a full band to save on costs.
Make sure that your wedding cake has just the right size for the number of guests that you have. For the bridal dress, you can check out the sample sales offered by designers at fashion houses, and compare the costs of ready-to-wear bridesmaids’ dresses with tailored ones.
With these tips, you can save a lot of money while planning your big day.