Whether it’s buying the rings, giving your guests a sumptuous lunch, employing wedding video editors, hiring a band, and more, you can put together a great wedding that doesn’t put you deeper into debt with little extra care.
Establish your budget
Let’s start with the basics. If you want to stay on budget, you’ve got to have a budget to start with. But it’s not enough to just pull a number out of the air. Take stock of your present financial situation and evaluate what your funding sources are. For example, will you be paying for the wedding yourself, or will the family be assisting? Scout them out and see how much financial assistance they may be willing to provide. Then consider some of the factors that will help you determine a rough estimate of the cost.
- Guest list size – Simply put, more costs equals more expense. Decide at the start how big you want your wedding to be.
- Venue – Popular wedding venues can be expensive. Evaluate the different options available in your area.
- Date and time – Peak times of the year can fetch premium prices. Examine whether there are cost savings at different times of the year for venues you’re interested in.
- Style – It goes without saying that a formal wedding with a full bar and sit-down meal will cost a lot more than a less formal event.
Staying on Budget
Now that you’re in the ballpark and you’ve established a preliminary budget, you’ll need to be careful to keep costs from spiraling out of control. Here are some great suggestions to help you.
- Use an accounting system – If you’re not an accounting wizard, and don’t want to put together your own spreadsheets, search online – you’ll find any number of wedding planning websites that have handy online tools that you can plug your numbers into.
- Look out for hidden costs – Be sure to check out the fine print when lining up services for your wedding. For example, will your wedding video editors charge to post your video online for you, or charge you a high cost for extra DVD copies of the wedding? Does your caterer’s estimation include taxes or local fees? Dig deep, so you don’t find yourself going over budget because of costs you didn’t anticipate.
- Anticipate overages – No matter how well you plan, the unanticipated can always occur, whether it’s events running over time, unexpected guests, or any matter of unanticipated occurrences. Always add in a percentage of your budget to cover these situations. A good rule of thumb is to add 5-10% to your budget just in case.
Some handy tips for saving on your wedding budget – the big-ticket items
Sooner or later you’ll need to make the hard decisions on how to shoehorn your wedding into the budget you’ve settled on. But before you grab your red pen, it helps to know some of the most common ways to cut down on expenses.
Guest list – We mentioned it before, but it bears repeating. The single easiest way to lower the expense of your wedding is to limit the number of guests. A smaller wedding means you can use a smaller venue, and all the dynamics of food, drink, and entertainment is simplified. And don’t forget, this counts for the wedding party as well.
Printing costs – It’s easy to get caught up in selecting fancy, multi-colored invitations when you visit the stationery shop. But the extra details can quickly add up to extra costs. Keep it simple and classy, and remember that you’ll save money on postage with smaller invitations as well.
Photography and videography – Having a high-quality record of your special day are important. Resist the temptation to have your wedding video editors talk you into an elaborate multi-camera extravaganza that’ll blow up your budget. Even better, if you have a college or university nearby with a film school, see if you can enlist a student videographer to do the photography and videography. You’ll avoid the high cost of professional wedding video editors, and you’ll probably get an excellent product as well.
Substitute less expensive floral arrangements – Wedding florists will often try to sell you their most elaborate and rare floral arrangements. Look for an in-season locally grown alternative to some of the pricier options, and you can save a significant amount in your budget.
Skip the band, hire a DJ – There’s nothing quite like having an excellent band at your wedding, but it can be a major expense. And besides, a good DJ will have all the tunes you’re looking for ready to roll at a moment’s notice.
Simplify the menu you serve – While an elaborate sit-down meal might be nice, don’t think that it’s something you need to do. Depending on your guests, they may be just as happy with well-prepared heavy appetizers, wine, and local craft beers, as they would be with a steak dinner and a full bar.
Save on transportation – Sure, having a stretch Hummer transport you and your guest around can make a splash, but you’ll get there just the same with a few Town Cars.
It’s your day, after all
Read too many bridal magazines, and you’ll go away convinced that you need to spend in the tens of thousands for your wedding. But don’t fall into the trap of spending a pile of money because you think everyone expects you to. Set your budget and create the wedding you want. Who knows, you can save the extra money for a house payment or a great honeymoon!