Weddings can take a big slice out of our personal budget. The average wedding cost $29,000 last year, more than double the 1990 average, according to Wikipedia. You can trust that your wedding guests (at least the ones who love you) would prefer that you put most of that money towards a down payment on a house, student loan payments or into sound investments. If you followed our advice in our first Simple and Elegant Wedding Budgeting post, you know roughly what you have to spend. And which parts of the celebration are most important to you and your fiancé and therefore, are worth spending on.
You should definitely get going down the (virtual shopping) aisle to find smart ways to save money and manage your expenses on the less important elements of the Big Day. And, drawing from the list below, you’ll probably find ways to spend less.
Flower Girl-sized Suggestions
- Print your own invitations.
- Make your centerpieces and favors.
- Make your veil, ring pillow, and other accessories.
- Create a CD of music instead of hiring a deejay to play at the reception.
- Substitute a personalized collection of music or pictures or a video for more expensive, and likely less memorable, favors.
- Use balloons instead of flowers to decorate.
- Donate your wedding dress and accessories as a tax deduction.
- Drop the extras. Among Family Education’s smart wedding cost saving tips are their suggestions to stay away from bubbles, favors, and embossed napkins.
- Have your wedding on a Friday or off-season.
- Serve brunch or appetizers instead of a full dinner.
- Buy your dress from the donation center
- Share the cost of decorations and rentals with the couples that are using the same facilities before and after your ceremony
- Consider buying versus renting; table linens may actually be cheaper to buy than to rent.
- Consider borrowing versus renting or buying. Family members and recently married friends have often saved special cake knives, toppers, or even a dress from their own weddings. They may be honored to have you want to include them in your Big Day in this manner.
Mother of the Groom-sized Suggestions
- Limit the size of your wedding
- Buy your own beverages, if your venue allows it. Offer limited options instead of a full bar. Limit choices to wine and beer, with champagne just for the wedding party.
- Be careful about choosing a “destination wedding” to save money. Many couples end up throwing a reception back home for guests who couldn’t make it. You’ve just doubled your wedding expenses.
- When requesting quotes from vendors, avoid the “wedding upsell” by describing your event as a “family gathering” rather than as a “wedding”.
- Always negotiate with vendors; ask for discounts for paying upfront.
Take Tips From Those Who Married Frugally
To help you with your wedding budget planning and to inspire you to adhere to your personal budget, here are additional ideas on how to have a wonderful wedding from people who’ve hosted their own frugal events:
- The Wedding under $5,000. Make your own wedding gown, have a family member handle the photography and make the cake, and serve lunch instead of dinner.
- The Wedding for $5,786. Have the men wear suits instead of tuxes, print your own invitations, and keep the wedding inexpensive for your attendants, too.
- Radical Wedding Tips. Rent your dress, fake the wedding cake, marry in a park.
- Tie the Knot on a Shoestring’s Top 10 list says Barter! And avoid the month of June.
- How to Save Money on Your Wedding Ceremony and Reception Use local college musicians, and stick to your Big Day schedule to avoid additional charges by vendors
- Frugal Bride Check all vendor contracts to see if they already include gratuities.
If you recently tied the knot for less, please share your best tips with other “-to-be’s” here.
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