Although many of us have childhood dreams of large fairytale weddings, those dreams are quickly crushed when we grow up and realize the true costs associated with planning a wedding. However, there are ways to achieve your dream wedding without breaking the bank. Check out these tips to discover what aspects of your wedding you can save on!
1. Forget the Wedding Planner
While planning a wedding without a professional might sound like a lot of work, today’s technology makes planning a wedding simple. There are tons of free mobile apps to help you organize your wedding planning timeline, keep track of your guest list, discover local vendors and more, one of the most popular being The Knot. Pinterest is also a great resource for planning tools and inspiration. Additionally, most wedding venues have their own planners that are usually more than willing to lend a hand.
2. Get Your Dress for Less
Rather than going to some upscale bridal shop for a dress you can’t afford, consider bridal consignment. Many secondhand wedding dresses are in pristine condition, either worn once or never worn at all. A quick Google search will show you any local shops that specialize in pre-owned wedding gowns. Or, you can shop online at websites such as Nearly Newlywed or Stillwhite. These dresses are much more affordable options and just as beautiful!
3. Go Paperless with Invites
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on invitations that will one day end up in the trash, send electronic invites with free online invitation websites such as Evite. Most of these websites also track RSVPs, which is one more thing off of your plate.
4. Choose Your Date Wisely
“Wedding season” is typically May to October, meaning this is when most couples choose to get married. With these dates in high demand, venue prices are more expensive. Choosing to have a wedding “off-season” will likely cost less. Additionally, Saturdays are the most popular (and most expensive) days to get married, so consider having a Friday or Sunday wedding to save.
5. Get Artificial Flowers
Of course artificial flowers are going to be drastically cheaper than the real thing. There are quite a few Etsy shops that provide artificial flower arrangements that look just as great as fresh blooms. Plus, these will last forever – no need to spend on preserving your bouquet!
6. Buffet Over Seated Dinner
Seated plated dinners are usually the most expensive options with venues and caterers. Go with a buffet for dinner, or even inquire about setting up themed food stations around the room.
No, we’re not talking about having your guests bring their own booze. Some venues allow you to supply your own alcohol, which is usually cheaper than having the venue supply it. Plus, you can return whatever is unused and unopened.
8. Shorten Your Cake
The more tiers on your cake, the more it will cost. Choose a two or three tier cake for display and to cut, then have sheet cakes in the back to serve your guests. If you like the multiple tier look, ask your baker to make the bottom few layers fake.
9. Limit Guests
An easy way to limit guests is by only inviting those 18 and older, if you don’t have any significant younger children in your family that you really want at your wedding. Another way to limit guests is by not giving everyone the option of a plus-one. Only invite your guests’ significant others if you know them personally or socialize frequently.
10. Make Your Favors a Donation
Instead of spending money on favors that, let’s face it, are sometimes useless, let your guests know that in lieu of favors you are making a donation to a charitable organization that means something to you. Your donation amount should be whatever fits into your budget.
11. Borrow Decorations
Ask any friends or family members that were recently married to borrow decorations from their weddings, such as centerpieces, signs and other accessories. Facebook Marketplace is also a great place to find used wedding décor for cheap.
12. Limit the Photographer’s Hours
Shaving off a few hours of your photographer’s time can save you more than you think. Ask him or her to stay for the ceremony and the first half of the reception. After the cake is cut and the guests are busy on the dance floor, you likely won’t need photos of the rest of the night.