Weddings On A Budget
One of the first things you should do is open a separate bank account for your wedding expenses. This way you will know exactly how much you have and how much you need.
Create a budget for your wedding. A budget is crucial. If you do not have a budget, you will undoubtedly end up paying more than you anticipated. Set a budget and stick to it. They are many ways to cut costs and still have a beautiful wedding.
Establish a budget for each category of your wedding. This will help you determine where to allocate your funds.
Categories to consider:
Wedding Gown – include alterations as they can be costly
Shoes, veil, garter, make-up, hair
Tuxedo/Suit, shoes, hair
Other categories may include:
Marriage license & Officiant, Invitations, Flowers, Music, Venue, Food and Beverage, Wedding Cake /Groom’s cake, Music, Photographer, Decorations, Favors, Wedding night accommodations, Transportation, Gifts for wedding party, Rehearsal dinner, Honeymoon
Make a list of wedding needs and wants:
E – Essentials
N – Needs
W – Wants
D – Don’t need but want
Take care of the essentials and needs first, and then you can concentrate on the wants. Wants are nice to have but they won’t have a major impact on the outcome of your day. An example would be to rent a luxury car in place of a limousine. The savings are substantial and you will look just as great stepping out the door of a Cadillac.
Easy Saving Ideas
You can save a lot of money and watch you wedding fund grow quickly if you follow these tips:
•Make your lunch instead of buying it
•Don’t spend money on high priced coffee like Starbucks
•Set a limit for coffee break spending
•Limit the amount of money you spend on eating out and entertainment
•Put a set amount of money in your wedding fund each week – consider it a bill that has to be paid
•Have your income tax return and bonus money etc.deposited directly into your wedding bank account
Discounts and Incentives
Off peak pricing is a great way to save money. If you get married in off peak season or on a weekday you can save money on venues and many other suppliers. Many venues have special off peak specials. You can save on the reception as well as hotel accommodations. Ask other suppliers if they have off peak pricing.
Consider the cost of postage when purchasing invitations. You pay postage by weight and size. Determine the cost by having your invitations weighed at the post office.
Print your own invitations. You can buy prepackaged invitations that you can print yourself.You can use postcards instead of stationary. You can buy post cards on-line.
Save money by designing your own using templates or by sending them electronically.
Wedding Gown & Bridesmaids Dresses
Save on your wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses by buying in off peak season. Many companies have sales on gowns and dresses in the fall. Look for opportunities to buy your dress at wedding tradeshows. Companies sell their end of season dresses at drastically reduced prices. These are usually cash and sales and usually not refundable so if you plan on buying this way, ensure you have someone with you to help you make the right decision.
If you don’t have to have a new gown, you can get some good deals in consignment shops. You can save money by making your own veil or borrowing a veil from a friend or family member. Your veil could be the “something borrowed” item.
Groom & Groomsmen
Look for package deals for the groom and groomsmen when renting. You can save money by not renting shirts. If the men aren’t wearing tuxedos, they could wear the same colored suits and have matching ties.
Flowers can be very costly. Consider making some or all of your arrangements. You can purchase flowers from a local green house and make your own bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces and arrangements. Seasonal flowers are less costly than flowers that have to be shipped in from a warmer climate. If using a florist; shop around. There can be a wide variation of prices between florists.
Ceremony & Reception Venues
If you are a member of a church, the officiant may perform the ceremony for an honorarium.
Consider using city buildings, resorts, museums and art galleries.
A rural venue is typically less expensive than a city venue.
Consider reserving a restaurant for smaller receptions.
An outdoor wedding and reception is lovely and less expensive than indoors but always be prepared with a tent.
Beaches, parks and poolsides are great locations for outside weddings.
If possible, borrow whatever you can. Vases, punchbowls, candleholders are some items to consider borrowing. You can make your own bows and centerpieces and have a friend or family member do the decorating for you. Rent décor from party rental stores instead of purchasing it.
Shop dollar stores and craft stores for decorations such as candles, candleholders, glass bowls, vases and ribbon.
Keep décor for outdoor receptions simple. Use natural beauty to enhance your décor.
Be creative with your favors. Homemade items are less expensive and are becoming more popular. Purchase wedding favor candy and chocolate at bulk stores where possible. Try to buy favor boxes and organza bags in bulk. Attach a name tag with your guest’s name to the favor to save money on place cards.
Keep your food requirements simple. Food that requires more prep time will cost more. Caterers, generally cost less and have more choices available than a reception hall. Many reception halls will not allow you to bring in your own food as they make a tidy profit on the food. If choosing a reception hall of this nature you can expect to pay upwards of $100.00 per person. Typically, you pay separately for each course. Limit the number of courses and serve the wedding cake/groom’s cake as dessert to cut the cost.
Wedding cake prices vary with different bakers. Shop around and try to get a basic price. Most will tell you it’s too hard to give you a price, but if you give them an idea of what you are looking for, they should be able to give you a ball park. Be prepared to pay a minimum of $400.00 for a 3 tiered cake.
As with catering, the more detail, the more costly. To keep cost down, choose a simple clean design. Ribbon and flowers are a nice alternative to costly sugar flowers; and are just as beautiful. You can use ribbon around the layers in place of beading or other fine detail which will lower the cost. Real flowers can also be used in combination with sugar flowers and ribbon.
Rent a cake for display purposes and photos and have sheet cakes made to serve your guests. With this option, you could have several different flavors of cakes.
Groom’s cakes are becoming more popular in Canada. Usually, a groom’s cake is the groom’s favorite homemade cake. If you can get someone to make the groom’s cake, it will not only be less expensive than having it professionally done, it would add a nice personal touch as well.
You can save on the rehearsal dinner by serving a home cooked dinner which is usually a big hit. You could have pot luck where everyone brings something or even order pizza. Who doesn’t like pizza! You don’t always have to have dinner. Depending on the time of the rehearsal; the meal after, could be brunch, appetizers or snacks.
DJ services are usually less expensive than live entertainment depending on how many musicians are required. Use the same musical options for both the ceremony and the reception. This saves paying twice for your music. Whatever option you decide on, you will have the opportunity to choose different styles of music for the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and dancing.
You can make your own wine with a special wedding label. Many venues will allow you to bring in homemade wine to serve. They may charge a serving fee, but it will be considerably less expensive than their wine. Most venues mark up the wine up to 100%. Make sure you check with the venue ahead of time to be sure you can serve your homemade wine.
You can save money on alcohol by having a cash bar or buy your own liquor and hire a bartender. Check with the city concerning licensing for serving liquor.
Many couples choose to include wine with the meal and have a cash bar for beer and spirits. Limit the number of bottles of wine that you are willing to pay for; typically, 2 glasses per person.
If you are not having a cash bar, a less expensive way to include alcohol is to serve wine, beer and a signature cocktail. This will save you a considerable amount of money as spirits are the more costly. With this option, choose a white and red wine and 3 to 4 kinds of non-premium beer. Depending on your location, you can purchase kegs of beer for far less than bottles or cans.
As with florists; shop around. Many photographers will offer wedding packages.
Choose the basic; you can always add on later. Once you’ve signed for the higher priced package you may not be able to change to a less expensive option without incurring cancellation chargers.
If you have a friend or family member that is a photo enthusiast you can ask them to take on the photography duties. Most people will be pleased that you have asked them to participate in your wedding. This will be a great savings as you will not have to pay a professional for taking the pictures and you will save on purchasing the pictures as well. Photos you buy from a photographer can be very costly.