So you're getting married. Congratulations! You're committing to spending a lifetime with another person who you love and who makes you feel absolutely magical. And you get to throw a big party to celebrate it! There's so much to do to get read, and nothing puts a damper on the excitement like a stringent budget.But it doesn't have to. You can still have the day of your dreams without going into debt by following these easy ways to save money on your wedding.
Of course, the price tag is by no means the most important aspect of your wedding. It's about you and your significant other’s vows to one another and your celebration with your loved ones. And we all know money doesn't buy happiness., but it does buy beautiful bouquets and dazzling dresses.
So yes, you are going to spend money on your wedding. But you don't have to cost you five years' salary. In fact, with certain adjustments, you can have a wedding that you love without having to sell everything you own to afford it. I spoke with Katie O'Malley Maloney, owner of Katie O. Weddings and Events to ask for her advice on staying under budget. Here are some of her best tips.
1. Set Your Budget First
"It's hard to have fun planning your wedding if you don't know your budget," Maloney says. Knowing how much you have to spend will help you make decisions based on what you can actually afford. Maloney suggests taking your family out to dinner to celebrate your engagement, and then asking what they plan to contribute. It may be awkward, but it is important to have an accurate view of your funds. Once you know your spending cap, the next step is to find your venue. Ask for the minimum price before you even go and see the place, that way you won't fall in love with a place out of your price range. If you want to save money, this is a necessary first step since your venue and taking care of your guests (food and drink) will take up the majority of your budget.
2. Control Your Guest List
Speaking of guests, want to know Maloney's number one tip? Manage who you invite. "Your guest list drives your budget," she says. The number of guests you have is directly proportional to what you spend; the more people that come, the more it will cost you. If you guest list way exceeds your budget, figure out the must-haves. Then whittle down from there. Be candid but careful when it comes to relatives, as you don't want to start family disputes over not inviting someone your parents believe should be there.
3. Consider The "Off-Season"
An effective way to save money without sacrificing too much is to book your wedding during the regional off-season. For example, if you are getting married in the Northeast, open your mind to having the event between January and March. By getting married at a less popular time, you'll often get a discount on your space. So although you might not have a perfect weather, you will be able to have more people, or even a nicer venue.
4. Opt For A Brunch Wedding
Another way to get a lower price on a space you love is to hold the event earlier in the day, as it gives you negotiating power that a Saturday night wedding won't. It will also save you money on food and drink, since you don't necessarily need a full bar and can serve a less expensive meal. And having an "elegant, glammed up" brunch event will make your wedding "unique and fun" all while saving money, says Maloney.
5. Don't Rush
Maloney suggests you start planning your wedding about two years out. Starting later will put you in a time crunch, giving you less time to consider alternative, budget-friendly options. And being able to spread out your deposits over a longer period of time means you might end up having more to spend.
6. Consider A Wedding Planner
It's a common misconception that wedding planners or coordinators are a luxury, says Maloney. Hiring someone to help out can end up saving you money in the long run. They can help you to navigate your budget so that you spend things proportionally and don't end up going way over budget.
7. Use Your Friends
"Vendor pricing spans the spectrum," says Maloney, so these smaller expenses can quickly add up. She suggests calling on loved ones to help you out. For example, officiants cost around $450 whereas having a friend get ordained is way cheaper. Not only will that save you money, it will also make the ceremony more meaningful and personal. Another way to call on your friends is by asking your musically-talented pals to perform during the ceremony instead of hiring musicians. All you will have to spend is the money to buy them a thank you gift, and more often than not they will be grateful for the opportunity to contribute to your special day.
8. Think Outside The Flower
"Flowers can be a big investment," says Maloney. So if you're not committed to a bouquet of peonies, consider a less expensive option. Maloney suggests non-perishable centerpieces, like glass globes which you can get at a dollar store, or even utilizing candlelight instead of flower arrangements. One of the best alternative centerpieces that she's seen? Antique books. How beautiful does that sound!
9. Recycle When You Can
There are a lot of DIY brides out there, and if you are crafty, you go girl! But if you don't consider yourself to have those skills, you can benefit from other's abilities. The Wedding Consignment community on Facebook provides a forum where brides can sell their decorations and other leftover aspects from their big day. You can find good deals on beautiful items. And then, you can sell anything you don't want to keep after your big day to get some cash back.
And don't forget: what really matters is that you create a celebration that you love, and that you enjoy the process of planning it. Budget is, of course, a restriction you have to take into account, but try not to stress out too much over it. You'll be able to create a meaningful day with whatever you have to spend. Because — at the base of it — it doesn't matter what your centerpieces look like or if your invitations are perfect; what matters is that you and your fiancee get to celebrate your love for one another with the people you care about most.