Plan your dream wedding without breaking the bank

Jun 30, 2017 | Real Life

When you’re planning the happiest day of your life, nothing will slow your roll faster than sticking to a budget. And with the average wedding now costing over $35,000 (honeymoon not included), keeping wedding expenses down has never been more important.

Lucky for you, cutting costs doesn’t have to mean cutting corners. Here are 10 tips to help your wedding dreams come true without spending a fortune.

Budget

Before you start planning, set a budget with your fiancé and/or parents and stick to it. This will be great practice for managing expenses when you’re married, or adulting in general.

Focus on what’s most important

Prioritize your spending on the areas that are most important to you and your fiancé. When dreaming of your wedding, what details stand out? The perfect dress, venue, band, cake? Allocate for the two or three things that will have the greatest impact and then look for ways to reduce costs on others.

Plan ahead

The sooner you start planning the better. The closer you get to your big day, the more venues and vendors will be already booked by other couples. By booking far in advance, you’ll have more choices when you shop around and may even score some sweet discounts in the process.

Be realistic

It’s fun to dream about a Hawaiian destination wedding, but your expectations need to align with your bank account. Look up prices before visiting venues, trying on dresses or tasting cakes. Only meet with vendors you can realistically afford, so you don’t end up falling in love with something way out of your price range.

Cut the guest list

With the average cost per guest now well over $200, one of the easiest ways to keep costs down is to limit your guest list. Inviting fewer people will help you save on food, drinks, invitations, favors, centerpieces… literally everything.

Start organizing guests by category. Sort potential invitees into: immediate family, close relatives, friends, family friends, acquaintances, colleagues, etc. Once you’ve set your categories, trim the list by removing whole groups at a time. Say goodbye to friends you haven’t talked to in 5 years and hello to lower costs.

Fri-yay

Saturday is the most popular day for weddings – it’s also the most expensive. Venues will often have big discounts if you tie the knot on a different day.

Monday holiday? Get married on Sunday and leave your guests with their Monday to travel or recover from the reception. Or choose to get hitched on a Friday and give your friends and family a great excuse to leave work early.

Use your friends’ talents

Search your network for photographers, graphic designers, videographers, bartenders and any other service that might come in handy. Friends are usually more than happy to give you a good deal. And don’t worry, they’ll still get to enjoy the wedding too.

Cash back and travel rewards, hello honeymoon

No matter how much you plan, you’re going to spend some money. Find a good credit card with cash back or travel rewards and use the points you earn paying for your wedding to fund your honeymoon.

Control your floral budget

Be up-front with the florist about your budget. Give them your colors and a few guidelines, and let them be creative and choose what works best with your bottom line. Remember, they’re the experts.

If you want to handle the arrangements on your own, choose local and seasonal flowers for the freshest bloom and lowest cost. Your bridesmaids won’t be dancing with their bouquets all night long so you can always use those flowers to decorate something like the gift table!

Hire DJ iPod

It’s never been easier to DIY DJ your own wedding. All you’ll need is an iPod, a speaker system and an energetic friend to assist with intros and emcee duties. Plus, all the available apps and music services make picking the perfect playlist a breeze. Choose a first-dance song, a few mellow tunes for eating and one long playlist to keep your guests dancing through the night.

Have other cost-cutting tips? Share in the comments section below!

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