You just got engaged, so congratulations! What a wonderful time in one’s life. Right now you’re probably beside yourself with excitement and expectation, but if you want to plan a wedding within your means, you’ll have to come back to earth.
In the United States, the average wedding costs $35,329, according to Money CNN. This means that planning a wedding on a budget is a great task and it can be overwhelming enough for you to consider eloping, but don’t jump the gun!
Here are 15 essential tips to help you plan your wedding on a budget without losing your mind:
1. Keep the Guest List Intimate
It’s normal to want everyone you’ve ever met at your wedding, but that’s not a good idea if you’re on a budget. Think of everyone on your list as additional cost, and decide who’s worth it. It may seem harsh to think of it that way, but to save money, you will have to keep it intimate.
2. Ask for Contributions Instead of Wedding Gifts
If there’s musical talent in your family, if you know someone who’s passionate about photography, or if a friend has a catering business, ask them to contribute to your day instead of getting you something. It will reduce costs and be more special.
3. Don’t Rent a Space for Your Ceremony
Renting a space for your ceremony can be expensive, so consider the option of holding it in your own backyard or outdoors, in a public park, the beach, etc.; either way, it will be memorable without spending more than you have.
4. Make the Food Yourself
If you take care of your own food preparations with the help of family and friends, you will reduce expenses. If you feel like you can’t take this on, go to family-owned restaurants in your community and ask them to cater for your big day. Not only will they make it special, they will also give you a good deal.
5. Don’t Go Crazy on Flowers
Flowers are pretty, but they also die very quickly. When you’re on a budget, you will want to keep them to a minimum. If possible, use flowers from your own garden or that of someone you know, or opt for fake flowers.
6. No Gifts for Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
Even though this is considered customary, it’s not at all necessary. You can skip the gifts and write them a special note instead. If your friends know you’re on a budget, they will understand!
7. DIY Invitations or Elegant Evites
If you enjoy arts and crafts or you have a quality printer at home, you can DIY your wedding invitations and save yourself the money. Evites are also a great option when you’re on a budget and you can make them super classy and elegant.
8. Contact Your Local University’s Music Department
If you want live music for the ceremony or the reception but you can’t hire a band, contacting your local university’s music department is a great idea. It’s a win/win for everyone involved because you’ll save money, and the students will get to add something to the resume.
9. Borrow Sound Equipment or Use Your Own
You don’t have to hire a DJ, all you need is sound equipment and a good playlist that you can make yourself. If you don’t have enough speakers at home, borrow them and make sure they’re placed around the dance floor area.
10. Forget About Open Bar
Alcohol is a big expense, so forget about an open bar. You can cut down this expense by offering just a few options, such as beer and wine, or setting up a free cocktail hour followed by a cash bar.
11. Go for Secondhand Decorations
When it comes to decoration and centerpieces, there are many things you can do on a tight budget. One of those things is getting into DIY, shopping for secondhand things, or you can also look for the things you want ahead of time and simply wait for the stores to have sales.
12. Buy the Dresses on Sale or Off the Rack
If you’ve ever watched Friends, then you know what I’m talking about. To save money on your dress and those of your bridesmaids, don’t make them custom. Buy the dresses either on sale or off the rack. You’ll be amazed at what you can find!
13. Rent Tuxedos Together or Buy Suits Off the Rack
The groom and his groomsmen can do the same! They can either rent tuxedos as a group, which will lower the price tremendously, or they can simply get matching suits off the rack. No need to have them custom-made!
14. Keep Your Wedding Bands Simple
If you decided to go the extra mile with the engagement ring even though the budget was tight, then the wedding bands need to be simple. Consider inexpensive yet durable materials such as sterling silver, instead of 14-karat gold, and you’ll reduce the costs greatly.
15. Simple Honeymoon
Honeymoon is all about unwinding and enjoying each other’s love and company while preparing for the next stage in your lives. Instead of planning a big, expensive trip overseas for a few days, stay close to home and take longer so you can really enjoy the break before life resumes.
Planning a wedding on a budget is all about recognizing what corners you can cut and then doing it in a smart, intelligent way. What’s important here is that you don’t stress over this because there’s an alternative for everything; all you need to do is plan, and plan well!