With a $50 billion wedding industry and Pinterest pushing the most beautiful (and expensive) wedding ideas on your feed, it’s easy for brides and grooms to skip the excitement and butterflies and fall straight into panic mode. If you’re in the business of gettin’ hitched and are surprised to discover that a four-hour party cost more than your car, don’t fret. Here are a few quick tips to prevent a financial crisis.
It’s the first of many big decisions. Save some change and pick an outdoor location, like the beach or an open landscape. You can’t pay for better scenery. Have it in a friend’s quaint backyard. Or visit the courthouse with your MySpace Top 8. Chapels in the South are typically gorgeous and affordable as well.
This is a big expense that you’ll thank yourself for if done right. It’s the only aspect of your wedding day — besides the actual vows, let’s hope — that will last. Food will be eaten, flowers will wilt, invitations will be discarded but photos last forever. Even your grandkids will be looking at them. Hiring someone who knows what they’re doing is priceless. Compare prices of photographers you like and pick the one who is the best fit for your style and your budget.
Cake price tags can quickly climb to thousands of dollars. Smaller cakes for smaller weddings are more affordable. Take a trip back to your childhood and ask for grandma’s famous cake recipe and bake it with your family. It will be a very special memory that you’ll share, not to mention hundreds of dollars you’ll save.
The most expensive part of a wedding is getting everyone drunk. Skimp on the liquor and buy in bulk. If people are drinking for free, they aren’t going to complain whether you bought Budweiser in bottles or a keg of craft beer. If they do, find better friends. If you want wine in the mix as well, buy a bottle every time you stop at the liquor store or have an extra $10 to spend and then hide it from yourself for your wedding stash. You’ll end up with more wine than you think.
If you’re a bride who wants a specific dress, wait for a semi-annual sale. Sale racks are not frowned upon. Just because it’s not this year’s hottest look doesn’t mean you can’t rock it.
Try on your mom’s dress. It’ll be a throwback, but sentimental and vintage. However, I would pay the extra money to calm down the puffy sleeves or get the shoulder pads permanently removed. Mom won’t blame you either. Also, modcloth.com has some precious casual wedding dresses, depending on how formal you’d like to be.
A well-groomed man in suspenders with a bowtie makes for a thrifty and awe-worthy groom.
Feeding your guests is a high expense. Buffet-style without premium items is a good option for cutting back on spending. You can ask friends and families to substitute a gift for a service and bring their favorite dish for a potluck. You can even think about renting food trucks. Call your favorite taco truck and have them come to you!
Flowers rack up a tab quickly, so buy flowers in season. Add a lot of greenery. It’s less expensive and adds so much to the bouquet. If flowers aren’t your thing, Google the vintage costume jewelry bouquet for an alternative take on traditional arrangements.
Some couples who have a limited budget skip out on a planner, but if you do have a small budget, wedding planners also become a necessity rather than an added expense. Wedding spending is emotional, therefore it’s easy to spend way more than you intended. A wedding planner will keep you on track with your budget and take all of that unnecessary stress off you and your partner on your big day. Added bonus: They’ll also become your friend.
If you love Target, you’ll spend hours registering for gifts. But it’s FREE. Taking that scanner around the store and beeping everything in sight, all while not paying for anything, is oddly satisfying. You get to obsess over table runners, appliances that work properly, and decorations to replace those that were cute in your first apartment.
Find an invite design on Etsy, ask for it to be personalized and take it to your local print shop to make copies. Also, personally deliver save-the-dates and invites to people you see quite often since postage can rack up.
Let your inner crafty person loose and DIY. Hello, Pinterest! Wade through all the basic decorations and find unique DIY ideas that are so easy, your flower girl could do it. Make your own string garland, tin can lanterns, and wood pallet signage. Your flowers will take you a long way, too. Also, print pictures of you and your better half at the drugstore and display them in dollar store frames that you spray paint to match with the colors of your big day.
Ask a friend with a Spotify premium account to DJ the playlist of your favorite jams you make months ahead of time. If you have friends who have a decent, small/unheard of band, get them to play for a stipend, food or beer while they get to do a bit of self-promotion.
- Don’t get married on a Saturday or in an off-season month. A Sunday in January can be whimsical.
- Don’t feel the pressure to spend money on what is considered tradition. Do you.
- Focus on what you’re really there for: a marriage. After saying “I do,” everything else is just extra.