Planning your wedding on a budget can feel like an impossible task. Once the engagement celebrations have died down and you can start to focus on arranging everything from the catering to the music, you’ll notice the costs quickly add up.
The average cost of a wedding in the US is around $19,000 according to some reports, and the UK doesn’t fare much better, with most weddings coming in at around £17,300. That’s a lot of cash to spend on one day, and it doesn’t even factor in the expenses of a post-wedding honeymoon.
Fortunately, you don’t have to give up on your dream of a perfect wedding if you don’t happen to have several grand waiting in your bank account. There are plenty of great ways to reduce the cost of your nuptials, without compromising on an amazing experience.
If you’re going to plan a wedding on a budget, the first thing you’ll need to do is figure out how much you have to spend. The more information you have here, the better prepared you’ll be. Sit down and make a list of all the money you currently have to spend on the wedding, as well as how much incoming cash you’ll be able to dedicate to your big day.
Are you going to be getting any help for your wedding from family members? Has anyone contributed anything to cutting costs as part of your engagement presents?
Your wedding is one of the most important days in your life, so it’s likely you’ll feel some pressure to plan something elaborate.
However, it’s important to remember it’s also just one day. Don’t get yourself into debt by setting aside more cash for your wedding than you can reasonably afford to spend. Create a realistic budget and try to stick to it.
There are a number of different expenses associated with any wedding, from catering to vehicle costs and even photography. If you’re not properly organised, it’s easy to overlook certain costs. The best way to make sure you don’t miss anything is to make a list.
You can create a simple excel sheet or google doc and share it with your partner. It’s also worth asking some friends and loved ones if they can think of anything you might’ve missed during planning. Having a list of things you need to pay for will also help you to divide your available money into different sections, depending on how important each thing is to you.
Some of the things you should include on your expenses list include:
- Wedding planner fees and professional support
- Photography and videographer costs
- Flowers and decoration for the wedding
- Alcohol and food
- Transportation to and from the wedding
- Venue hiring costs
- Ceremony expenses
- Dress and tux
- Entertainment (music etc)
The chances are your venue, catering, and dress are likely to make up the largest portions of your budget. However, it’s up to you if you want to swap things around, such as getting a second-hand dress and spending more on entertainment.
DIY solutions are one of the best ways to have a wedding on a budget. The more you can do yourself, the less you’ll need to pay for professional support. For instance, you could consider creating your own table centrepieces by buying a few materials from a hobby shop or decorating some cheap succulents or fake plants.
You can also create your own wedding favours, depending on how much time you have, and how creative you can be. There are plenty of great options to explore here, including making your own DIY wedding decorations with paper and faux flowers.
One of the most effective ways to save money on your wedding is to create your invitations and save the dates yourself. There are plenty of printing companies capable of producing huge quantities of your design for a relatively low price, and you can find all kinds of free design software online.
You can use the same strategy to create place cards for your reception tables, and you can even design your own signs, too.
As mentioned above, the venue for your wedding is likely to be one of the biggest expenses on your list. If you have your heart set on a particular location, it’s worth thinking about how you can cut costs. For instance, having a wedding in the “off season”, such as during the winter, can be an excellent way to minimise expenses.
If when you get married is more important to you than where, you can save some cash by looking at alternative venues. For instance, you can host a small wedding at a house if you know someone with a lot of space in their yard, and essentially get your venue for free. Alternatively, you could look to hiring outdoor areas and set up big tents to keep costs low.
If you’re marrying during the summer months, an outdoor wedding can be an excellent way to soak up some rays and take advantage of the weather. The money you save on your venue can go towards other parts of your wedding.
While most people will want some entertainment available on their big day, you can end up spending a lot more than you’d think on a DJ and live band. It’s much easier and cheaper to create your own playlist using your smartphone or a laptop and hook it up to a set of speakers.
Most venues will have a sound system you can connect to, and this way, you’ll be able to have complete control over every song you play at your wedding. This can be an excellent way to make your soundtrack personal to you and your partner.
If you’ve already paid for a wedding organiser to help out with the day, they can also assist with making sure you have the right songs tracked up for important moments, like when the bride is walking down the aisle.
Finally, as tempting as it is to invite everyone you’ve ever met to help you celebrate your big day, more people means more expense. A huge guest list will mean you need to hire more space, make more wedding favours, and pay for extra catering.
Take the time to sit down with your partner and decide who you really need to be there with you on your wedding day. Close family and friends should be the most important people on your list. The smaller your group is, the more likely you can take advantage of smaller venues, like someone’s garden in your family.
Having a wedding on a budget doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. All you really need to do is think a little more carefully about what really matters to you and your partner. This way, you can assign the right amount of cash to each part of your wedding, based on the level of importance each element has.
Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.