Don’t you wish you had the perfect wedding guide to walk you through all the planning? For many people, the challenges quickly become overwhelming, and the wedding becomes an excuse to go all out — to and completely ignore the budget. You invite everybody you love. You pick the most lavish location. You buy expensive food and drinks. And in the end, you rack up a bill over $25,000, which is the average cost of a wedding these days!
But it doesn’t have to be that way for your wedding to be as meaningful and memorable as you’re hoping.
You DON’T Need the Perfect Wedding Guide
You can still have a wedding that’s every bit as romantic and wonderful as one where you pull out all the stops without spending a fortune. In fact, it could actually be better since the money you save can be used towards the honeymoon and building your new life together. Consider a few of these tips to create the perfect wedding guide, so you can forget your financial worries and have fun.
1. Choose an Off-Peak Day
Saturdays are peak event times, so consider having your wedding on a weeknight or a Sunday. There is less demand for these dates, so vendors will often be willing to give you a more budget-friendly rate. The summertime is also very popular for people to get married, which means a lot of vendors will hike up their prices during that season. Spring and fall weddings can also be beautiful, and if you’re going for a white wedding, the snow could paint the perfect backdrop.
2. Negotiate or Barter
Here’s a strength every perfect wedding guide and pro planner brings to the table: Negotiating skills. Negotiating is critical for saving money on your wedding day. And in my opinion, everything is open for negotiation. All you need is a little creativity and the courage to ask. You can barter and negotiate for things like food, drinks, décor and even services. For example you could offer to housesit sometime for the photographer, in exchange for discounted or free wedding photos. Being creative doesn’t have to stop at the planning; finding creative ways to make things fit the budget counts too.
3. Ask for a Little Help from Friends
A great way to save money on your wedding is to ask people for help. Think of friend who’s a musician or singer, find a talented baker, and pinpoint crafty people you know who can help you assemble decorations. They will generally be honored to be a special part of your big day. All you have to do is ask for their skills and expertise – more than likely they will be glad to help. You can even ask for money if you need to. You wouldn’t be the first. If you need help but feel uncomfortable asking, set up a honeymoon registry at a place like HoneyFund and ask people to donate money to facets of your honeymoon rather than buying things for your home. You can even ask for other non-traditional items like money to renovate your home at DepositAGift.
4. Get Creative With the Venue
Cathedrals or landmarks make beautiful locations, but the going rate can easily bust your budget. Instead, look for small churches, parks, national forests, golf clubs, recreation centers and dance halls that could host for a fraction of the price. Better yet, ask a friend or family member to host the wedding at their home or on their land. Rustic barn weddings are becoming incredibly popular, too. A memorable location need only be beautiful and easy to get to. You can make up for the lack of nuance by carefully selecting your décor.
5. Host an Informal Dinner
The food and drinks budget can run in excess of $50 a plate. As a cheaper option, consider having a few of your chef friends cook the food and serve an informal dinner. When everyone pitches in a little here and there, it decreases the overall financial burden on you. However, if you can’t do that, try to avoid a served dinner and look at buffet-style options. You can even check with local delis for a buffet spread instead of a formal, catered dinner. This will keep everybody happy and leave more money in the budget for other expenses.
6. Check Out Online Tools and Apps
The Bride Guide App, is perfect for ensuring each and every detail of your wedding is accounted for, both financially and in a timely manner. The app’s handy calendar and calculator functions are just two of the ways it keeps you on schedule and on budget. By far one of the most sophisticated and professional wedding websites, TheKnot.com offers several free tools for any bride in planning mode. My Budgeter is just one of their fantastic tools that offers budget estimates based on your total budget and number of guests. They also have a great Wedding Shop section with incredible deals on supplies.
7. Try Non-Conventional Methods
Craigslist and eBay aren’t just for everyday things; they can be a great source for getting supplies and items needed for your wedding day at a low cost. For everything from wedding favors, cake toppers, ring pillows and decorations, with a quick search you will find exactly what you need. Just be sure to allow ample time for shipping. Another non-conventional thing to check out is wedding dress rental. Wedding dresses can get expensive fast, and you only wear them once. If you don’t care about owning a brand new wedding dress, check out what’s available in your area by doing a search for “wedding dress rental” online.
What About Wedding Insurance?
Wedding insurance protects your financial investment from circumstances that are beyond your control, and reimburses you for them. For example, if your reception space goes out of business a month before the wedding and you lose the deposit, wedding insurance helps cover this cost. Or if your custom made wedding decorations get lost in the mail, wedding insurance is perfect for that, too.
A basic wedding insurance policy covers loss of photos, videos, attire and deposits, and usually costs anywhere between $155 and $550, depending on the amount of coverage you buy. General liability wedding insurance covers up to $1,000,000 for accidents and costs around $185.
Before you buy wedding insurance, check with your each of your vendors to see how well they’re covered — your reception site or your caterer may already have their own insurance, so you wouldn’t want to pay for additional coverage out of your own pocket.
Be Your Own Perfect Wedding Guide
Your wedding can be as beautiful as you want it without spending a fortune. Keep in mind that your wedding is just one day, but your marriage is what will last a lifetime. Spend your money wisely and for a little extra motivation, consider spending half of what you save on the honeymoon.
The perfect wedding guide or pro planner is going to cost you a lot. Be resourceful. Be creative. Ask your friends and family for help. Before you know it, you’ll be the perfect wedding guide and in a few years your friends will be tapping you for advice on their weddings.
How did you save money on your wedding? What are your best pro tips? Please share with your fellow readers below.