Everyone wants the wedding of their dreams but a limited budget can make planning your nuptials feel like more stress than joy. Luckily that doesn’t have to be the case. Having a less than ideal wedding budget doesn’t mean that you can’t still have the wedding you imagined. Here are six ways to save big on planning your perfect day without falling deep into debt.
1) It’s just a “party”
When you first start calling around for quotes, try to avoid using the word ‘wedding.’ It might feel sneaky, but it can pay off and save you big in the long run. Upcharging for wedding services is an extremely common practice. Depending on the service, the upcharge could cost anywhere from an extra $50 to potentially thousands of dollars more. If you want to keep your wedding budget low, try asking for a quote for a large black tie party instead.
2) Go for inexpensive accents over large decorations.
Everyone wants the elegant fairy tale wedding they see in movies. Normally that means big lights, chandeliers, a huge aisle runner, and enormous centerpieces. Thinking big tends to lead to spending big. You’ll never get your wedding on a budget if you’re stuck on extravagant extras that will hardly be noticed. Instead, create a more refined feeling to the affair and focus on classing up the smaller aspects. Napkin rings can be bought for as little as a buck a piece and long candle sticks, salt and pepper shakers and glassware all contribute to the atmosphere. Plus, your guests will actually interact with these items so they are likely to have a larger impact on your guests’ perception and their enjoyment.
3) Save on paper
The mind-numbing hassle of picking out invitation designs and paper is a nearly universal wedding planning headache. But it doesn’t have to be. You can save hundreds on printing costs and postage by moving your invite system online. That goes double for save-the-date messages and RSVP cards as well. Looking to save on paper even further? Skip the standard wedding programs and have one large display in front of the seating area. There are a number of creative ways you can pull this off, from photo collages to tasteful blackboards. There’s a program option to fit every aesthetic and every wedding budget. Saving on paper doesn’t just help your pocket book but it’s an eco friendly choice as well. Just make sure someone helps grandma click the plus one link.
4) Use a friend or family member as an officiant
Unless you have a family priest, pastor or other religious authority, hiring a wedding officiant can be a surprisingly expensive part of your wedding package. On average, officiants charge around $500 and that price can rise dramatically depending on the season you get married. It rises even higher if the ceremony requires them to travel. Keep in mind that doesn’t include extra food, drinks or anything else they may consume on the wedding day. Lower your wedding budget and make the event more personal by asking a close friend or family member to become legally ordained and preside over the service instead. This will also allow you the freedom to customize the service more and keep your wedding budget in check. Familiarize yourself with your state and county’s rules on officiating a wedding ceremony. In most states it’s legal but you don’t want to find out that your marriage was never legally recognized twenty years down the line. Also, watch out for any embarrassing childhood stories they might bring up at the altar.
5) DIY everything
The last thing you probably want is to add more work when you’re already overwhelmed but you’d be amazed how much fun and how much money you can save by doing it yourself. Start by thinking small, just like your wedding budget. For example, opt for any one of the hundreds of inexpensive, homemade centerpiece options on the internet instead of purchasing expensive pre-assembled versions. Similarly, candle holders also can be purchased cheaply and then painted or crafted to match your wedding’s theme. For bigger wedding budget savings and to get a little more ambitious, replace the huge photo booth rental with a Polaroid or Fuji Instax™ camera. Your guests will have a blast and you’ll have an extra $1,000 to put toward your honeymoon.
6) A Wedding Dress to Impress for Less
Everyone knows the dress has to be perfect, but does it have to be expensive? There’s a number of ways to save on a beautiful wedding dress as long as you’re proactive. There’s a chance the gown of your dreams might already be in your family. With a few alterations, adding a family heirloom can make your wedding even more intimate. If there’s nothing in your mother’s attic worth using, then try exploring the internet. There’s a whole market online that’s been built around wedding dresses. Vintage gowns can add a touch of refined beauty to your service and are a great way to save on your wedding budget. If you want something more modern you can also find tons of dresses that brides purchased, then later returned. Of course saving money doesn’t have to exclude brand new dresses. If you’re more interested in being the first owner of your attire, opt for an off-the-rack design as opposed to a custom made dresses. Pay attention to seasons as well. Just like all clothing, there’s normally huge sales at the end of summer and winter to clear last season’s back stock.
With a little tact and some proactive planning, you can keep that wedding budget low and not have to spend your first married year worrying about debt. Of course saving money is only half the battle, as being financially prepared can always help you down the road. If you’re ready to get started, now is a good time to open a Vantage West savings account to set aside for your special day. If your budget needs extra room, Vantage West has a number of great Credit Card and Personal Loan options too.
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