Weddings are unquestionably expensive. Even if you’re trying to be frugal, it’s easy to find yourself with a ballooning budget. Here are 12 ways to save for a wedding.
Weddings are unquestionably expensive; the average cost of a wedding in the US is $26,645. Anyone who’s planned and paid for one knows how quickly costs can add up.
Even if you’re trying to be frugal, it’s easy to find yourself with a ballooning budget. So how can you make sure you stay within your wedding money plan, whether it’s $2000 or $20,000?
Wedding planners can be expensive, and budgeting experts have lots of DIY suggestions that can save your hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
1. Mind the essentials
Focus on elements that best represent the bride and groom. It’s easy to feel like you need a million favors for every guest, but those small extras add up, and your guests won’t remember them. They’ll recall the setting and the time spent with friends. They’ll notice, too, if you go overboard and don’t capture what’s best about you and your new partner.
2. Choose an affordable date
You’ll have more time to save money - and get more organized - if you book your wedding far in advance.
Off-peak and low-demand dates can help you save. Consider a workday, or postpone it until fall or even winter to avoid the high months of spring and summer.
By avoiding peak wedding season, you can save a lot. With a wedding in November or March, you could get discounts on everything from the venue to the flowers.
3. Make your own invitations
Invitations can be pricey, and when they come from a wedding shop or stationary store, they don’t always look so distinctive. Try designing your own. Start with templates online, then make it all yours. Work with a local printer or pick up card stock from a craft store and print them yourself.
4. Embrace compromise
Whether it’s the venue, the first dance or the guest list, it’s critical to have open and honest discussions about your wedding day early on. The more clearly you can communicate your expectations, the less likely you’ll face budget problems down the line.
Last-minute changes almost always cost money. Making time for each other and understanding your different priorities can help keep your budget in line.
While you’re planning, remember to schedule date nights, too, where talking about the wedding is strictly forbidden.
5. Rethink your ideal engagement ring
More couples are making financial decisions together, and with the high price of wedding rings, a joint decision can mean a lot of savings.
A less expensive ring can be as beautiful as any other, and many couples are opting for simple understated bands.
6. Combine all of the events into one
If you’re on a tight budget, avoid renting extra venues or making extravagant arrangements for pre- and post-wedding events. Consolidate the experience. Focus on making the day special.
7. Instead of gifts, ask for contributions
Wedding registries are a great way to set up your new household. But it’s also an opportunity to get creative and ask for more experiential gifts.
Ask for contributions to your honeymoon - or for any future trips or special occasions. Wedding expenses can be a big drain on your savings, leaving honeymoons postponed or scaled back. When you set up a “honeymoon fund,” friends and family have the opportunity to support and celebrate you outside your home and long after your wedding day.
8. Send out electronic invitations
There are many websites that let you send invites, manage your wedding guest list and track RSVPs. They’re custom-built for weddings, usually with personalized templates..
Still not ready to go 100% paperless? Try emailing your save-the-date announcement and use conventional paper and postage for the actual invite. This is a great way to save on stationery and mailing costs.
9. Buy a sample gown
Most wedding dresses are made to order, but a sample dress can help a bride save a lot of money.
Available sizes are often limited, but it’s worth asking and looking over the selection. They’re often offered at a deep discount, and dry cleaning and spot cleaning can make almost anything look brand new.
10. Ask friends to help with flowers
Weddings are big business for florists, and they can take away a lot of stress from the day. But you can also save a lot by buying from local wholesalers and recruiting friends to make simple arrangements.
11. Simplify the reception
If you’re hosting a reception, cake, food and bar costs can really add up. Shop around. Start with something minimal, then embellish it yourself.
A seated dinner is almost always the most expensive option. If you’re working with a caterer, ask for buffet stations or heavy hors d’oeuvres.
An open bar can be expensive too, especially a full one. Try limiting your options to beer and wine, and see how much you can save.
12. Save on photography
Look for a wedding photography package that doesn’t include albums or hard copy prints. You can opt for digital files, which are easy to post and share online, and print a few later, if you want. You can also limit the number of hours your photographer and videographer are present.
Getting married is a milestone event, but the wedding is only the first part of the journey. Saving ahead and budgeting smart can keep you from relying on credit cards and other debt. Think creatively, bring friends and family into your process and focus on what’s most authentic for you and your big day.
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With a postgraduate degree in commerce from The University of Sydney, Pranay has his finger on the pulse of the finance industry. Breaking down complex financial concepts is his forte.