3 Tips for the Bride on a Budget!
The best advice I can give you is that the guest list and guest count can make or break a wedding. This is true for other reasons besides the budget (maybe your second cousin who always drinks too much or your crazy ex should just stay home...) When you decrease your guest count, not only is your wedding more intimate and smooth, but your budget will go way down! Think about all the things that extra guests come with, more plates, more alcohol, more chairs, more tables, more centerpieces... you get the drift. Some venues even charge per guest or offer lower rates if your wedding is smaller.
Decreasing guest count is my number 1 tip to start saving money on your wedding. You can also consider decreasing the size of your wedding party (dresses, bouquets, hair, makeup and gifts add up). Some of the most adorable weddings I have been to have just had 1 or 2 bridesmaid and groomsmen. Can't choose from a huge group of friends? Just don't have a bridal party stand with you at all! This is becoming a more and more popular and modern choice.
There are definitely items I do not recommend you DIY (photography, for example), but there are plenty of things you can do yourself to save money. Make your own bouquet. Make your own aisle decorations and centerpieces (hey, don't even use expensive florals). You can use candles, vases, greenery, logs, the options are endless. AND then you can resale them after the wedding, unlike flowers. Take it a step further and just make sure your venue is GORGEOUS as is so that you barely even need to bring anything.
While some venues require you use their bar services, if you can find one that has an open vendor policy, you can save a lot of money by buying your own alcohol or beverages (hot chocolate bar or margarita machine, anyone)? Just pay a bartender for a few hours of service and you likely save HUNDREDS of dollars in alcohol prices. Want to save even more money? Stick with just beer and wine.
Make a Plan
Okay, here comes the cheesy advice. BUDGET! Budget ahead of time. You can start this before you are engaged, or when you get engaged. Just as if you were saving for a vacation or a car, agree to put away a certain amount each month for your wedding so when the big day comes, you are completely prepared and not putting everything on credit (starting off a marriage with stressful credit card debt is not fun).
KNOW! Know your realistic budget so you can book vendors and send invitations accordingly. If family is contributing to your wedding, make sure you know about how much or which items they are covering so you can then make a realistic budget for your wedding. And most importantly, no matter how excited you are, do not book a venue or send invitations until this is done. For example, if you know your parents are contributing $2,000, his parents are contributing $1,000 and you as a couple can have $5,000, your total budget is $8,000. So sadly, that venue that costs $5,000 alone just for the venue just isn't going to fit in. A venue that costs $2,000 would be much more reasonable!
The main items to consider are:
- Food/ Drink/ Dessert
- Attire / Rings / Hair and Makeup
- Decor (You can totally DIY this one)
- DJ / Entertainment
- Officiant (have a friend do it for free...)
- Wedding Coordinator
- Photography/ Videography