When thinking about what topic to write on for my blog post this week, I decided to write about something that I personally learned a lot about this year: weddings. My husband & I got married in April and it was an eye opening experience. Of course I knew the cost of weddings were increasing at an exponential rate, but I had no idea how to navigate these treacherous waters and ensure we made it on the other side without incurring debt. Here are a few tips I learned for my own wedding that will hopefully help you along the way:
- Venue: Admittedly, I lack creativity and patience. For me, it made sense to go for an all inclusive venue to cut down on stress. However, if you are better at this than I am, look for a venue that will let you express your creative side and make your own decorations. You can also shop around prices for your vendors to get the biggest bang for your buck.
- Economical floral options: Fresh flowers are often the preference on wedding day, however you can save cost by using silk flowers or even making your own bridesmaid bouquets with fresh flowers you buy yourself rather than going through a florist. Choosing flowers that are in season will also keep your costs down if you are set on a fresh flower look.
- Food & beverage: Do you have a family member or friend that can cater your wedding? Steak dinners aren’t always necessary. Three cute ideas I came across in my wedding search included barbeque, pizza, and food trucks for guests. My grandfather is the best when it comes to baking and he made our wedding cake and all the desserts for the wedding, which saved us a lot in overall costs. For the bar, sticking with beer and wine instead of a full bar will save you money up front and save your friends from having a little too much fun and not remembering their night. If your venue allows you to bring in your own alcohol (many require it), here’s a little pro tip: do NOT tell the package store you are purchasing in bulk for a wedding when initially getting pricing. We made the mistake of disclosing the event at the first package store we visited and saved almost $1,000 on alcohol costs the second time around by being vague and only letting them know it was for a wedding when paying the tab.
- Paper: Invitations are important, but using sites like Minted, Snapfish, and Etsy can lower your overall paper costs by including invitations, thank you cards, and table numbers all in one location. The lesson here is to buy in bulk when you can. The sites also make it extremely easy to design your own invitations when using a template they already have.
- Travel Agent for Honeymoon: A travel agent is a great idea if you are planning on going on a honeymoon out of the country. The biggie here of how they can help is sticking to your budget. We gave our travel agent a set price for the total we wanted to spend for our honeymoon and she stuck to it, even giving us options on where we could stay and how we could get the best airline prices.
- Keep your expectations realistic: In this day & age, it can be very hard to plan a party for 200+ people while staying within a 4 figure budget. In the beginning of your planning, be realistic as to what kind of wedding you want in relation to how much money you are able to spend. Above all, make a budget and stick to it. My husband and I set a budget first thing when starting our wedding planning and were sure to stay within our pre-determined numbers for each category.
Good luck to all of you planning or helping to plan weddings! Reach out for any additional tips on how to save on overall costs for your wedding because let’s be honest, it’s always wedding season.