Marriage is about creating an eternal bond between you and your partner. With this idyllic picture in mind, it is surprising that weddings sometimes feel like a contest for the most pompous ceremony, which then often forces couples to start their life together in debt. In today’s blog we will discuss how to organize a beautiful wedding that will be remembered for its splendour, not for its financial burden.
1) Set Your Budget
It is possible to organize this special day without blowing your budget, so before you enter the planning stage, assess your financial means honestly and stick within your margin. No wedding justifies that you go into debt. If you only have a budget of $500, you can still host a stunning, memorable ceremony! The more glamorous you desire your wedding to be, the earlier you should start saving for it. In this case, you could create a separate “wedding account” and put money aside that will be used only for wedding-related expenses. From your original budget, deduct a 10% “buffer” to account for unplanned expenses, such as a higher-than-expected restaurant bill.
After you have determined your budget, make a list of what’s important to the both of you and a list for things you could skip or compromise on. If it is a must for you to have professional photographs of your special day, you could save on the music by creating your own playlist. Is a sit-down dinner really essential for YOU or would you only consider it to make family and friends happy? Rank your priorities in order of importance so you can eliminate any unnecessary spending. This will help you to stay within your budget. Remember that this day is YOUR day and the priorities you set should reflect that. Once you’re clear on what’s important to you and what you can compromise on, you can break down your budget and plan YOUR event.
3) Pick a Date
Many venues and services charge extra on weekends and holidays. Therefore, it may be a good idea to chose a day during the week for your wedding. This could also help with the challenge of booking the celebrant of your choice and suppliers, because their schedules often fill up quickly for weekends. Having your wedding off-season might also help to cut down your cost and give you room to negotiate.
4) Limit Your Guest List
Accommodating the needs of your guests can consume a big part of your budget. If you’d like to keep your costs low, keep your guest list as short as possible and be selective. Also keep in mind that your guests expect that you will spend some time with them. Hence, try not to invite more people than you can reasonably expect to spend some quality time with.
This is definitely an area where you can save a lot of money, especially if you have a creative side or know someone who does. And who says that you have to send them via mail? In the 21st century your invitation might even be sent via email — for free. If you prefer going down the “traditional route”, however, and decide to send paper invitations, you can craft your own and/or ask some talented friends for help.
The venue is often one of the most expensive components of any wedding. If the venue is lower down on your priority list, you could cut down your costs significantly. There are many creative choices, as you don’t have to have your reception at a popular and expensive restaurant and it pays off to look into alternatives. You could even decide to skip the sit-down dinner and instead opt for a cocktail party with bubbly and appetizers or a sit-down lunch at a small venue.
7) Wedding Attire
Realizing that you and your partner will probably only use your wedding dress and tuxedo once, can save you a lot of money. Instead of buying a $2,000 dress and tux for that special day, you could opt for renting a gown or buy a pre-loved one. More talented individuals could even create the gown by themselves, which has the additional benefit of really matching your taste.
8) Flowers and Decorations
Your special day could be a great occasion to show off your creative side and green thumb. You don’t need to be a florist to have an eye for flower design and as long as you know what end result you wish to see, you could create great decorations with the help of some friends. Don’t want individual flower bouquets for each table? How about buying a big bouquet of roses and sprinkling their petals across the tables? Another alternative is to coordinate with other couples who are getting married on the same day at the same venue and then split the costs.
One of the biggest expenses at any wedding is probably the reception. Replacing the traditional sit-down dinner with a cocktail party could cut the costs significantly, but also choosing a buffet over a pre-selected, multi-course dinner could reduce your spending. Organizing a BBQ or asking your guests to bring cakes and desserts to share could be another fun way to avoid big spending in this area.
Covering all alcoholic beverages can often drive up your price significantly. Getting a rough estimate from a restaurant about how much should be budgeted on wine and other alcoholic beverages can help you circumvent an undesired surprise. Another alternative is to advise the restaurant staff that you will cover only certain beverages but exclude, for example, hard alcoholic beverages.
The costs for a wedding cake can be significantly higher than you might think. If the cake is lower on your priority list and you decide to save money on this component, you could decide to purchase a regular, white or creme coloured sheet cake to serve as a wedding cake. Having this kind of cake decorated simply but elegantly by the bakery could cut down your costs by a few hundred dollars. If you’re not a cake-lover at all, you could even ask some of your guests to each bring one. The assortment of cakes will then make all your cake-lovering guests happy while you just saved a few hundred dollars.
For music enthusiasts, saving on this component might be non-negotiable. If you’re one of them, you may want to budget a few hundred dollars for hiring a professional DJ. Others might see this as an opportunity to save. If you have little money to allocate, you could decide to put together your own play list, ask a talented friend to perform a few pieces on their instrument of choice, or see if you can find an unknown local band to entertain your guests.
12) Photography and Videography
Most couples put wedding photos on the “must have” list and many allocate a big part of their budget to this area. If you have some talented friends or family members, however, you can save a bit of money here. Sometimes, your family members or friends would be thrilled to capture your event for posterity and create a professional-looking wedding video with free or cheap softwares, such as Wondershare. Art school graduates are also often happy to take breath-taking digital wedding shots and release the files to you for a small fee.
Remember that getting married to your “one and only” is what matters most, not the wedding ceremony itself. Keeping this in mind will save you a lot of time, stress, and ultimately money.
Your Post a Note Team
Image courtesy of kongsky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net