If you're newly engaged or just beginning your wedding planning journey, FREEZE! Stop where you are and read the ten tips below. Because whether your budget is $5,000 or $50,000, there is absolutely no reason to overpay to create the wedding of your dreams. Am I right?
To get you started, here are ten ideas to help you save big:
Cut the guest list - The quickest way to shave dollars and cents off the cost of your wedding is to scale back the guest list. If you only invite 40 or 50 of your closest friends and immediate family (as opposed to going big with a 200+ guest list), you can pull off a Platinum-grade experience even with a very modest budget.
Find a "free" venue - Do your parents, grandparents, soon-to-be parents-in-law, etc. have an amazing outdoor space big enough for say, a wedding?! Everyone loves a good outdoor wedding, and tying the knot at a venue that's special to the bride or groom always adds to the enchantment of the day. Plus, you get to save the hefty venue rental expense!
Head to the courthouse - If you're a no-fuss kind of girl who has little relish for the spotlight, remember one thing- there is no rule that says you have to have a big production of a wedding! And if you head to the City Hall, the little white chapel, or elope with just a few of your nearest and dearest, you could probably get away with spending less than $1,000 on your wedding!
Maximize your Something Borrowed - Every bride needs a special "something borrowed", so use it to your advantage! You could borrow an amazing gown, all your wedding jewels, or decorations and "rentals" from your most design/style-savvy pals.
Lighten the caterer's load - If the venue you book doesn't have a high catering minimum, you may be able to save big by playing chef or recruiting loved ones to make a few of the dishes you'll serve at the wedding. Cocktail hour appetizers, the soup, salad, or bread, and sweets for the dessert bar, are all viable courses you could DIY.
Plan it like a party - They say that when you put "wedding" in front of any product or service name (venue->wedding venue), the cost immediately goes up by 10% or more. So thinking outside the tight wedding box is a wonderful way to make your budget stretch!
Do it during the day - Remember back in college, when you'd wake up, get dolled up, then head to an all-day drinking extravaganza (celebrating anything from a football game to a frat not getting kicked off campus)? Why not do something similar, except WAY classier and more refined, to celebrate your I Do's? Daytime weddings are a steal compared to the cost of getting hitched in the evening!
Leverage your connections - Have a bestie in a great cover band, or a good family friend who's an amazing graphic designer? How about a sorority sister who's never met a craft she doesn't like? If so, see if they'd like to help with your wedding! They'll be flattered, and will surely cut you a deal on the price. They may even offer up their services as a wedding gift! Just don't forget to pay proper thanks!
Don't be married to a Saturday - Get it? Lol... Seriously though, if you can snag a coveted holiday weekend wedding date (like the Sunday before Memorial Day), the cost of your venue (and possibly other vendor services) will drop substantially. Click here to see the full calendar of Federal Holidays.
Remember that a little sweat equity goes a long way. So whether you do some of the stationery work yourself (printing, packaging, addressing the invites, for example), or create DIY centerpieces so you can scale back on fresh flowers, don't be afraid to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty!