Where You Can Actually Save Money On Your Wedding
Going to the chapel ($4,587) and we're gonna get married!
The average cost of an American wedding is a whopping $26,645! Let's be real, if you're still paying off student debts the last thing you want to do is add thousands more to your monthly loans. There are some ways to reduce your budget when planning a wedding without cutting corners on quality. Here are a few ideas that could save you thousands of dollars.
AirBnb Your Venue
Wedding venues can cost up to 45% of your total budget. Instead of heading to a traditional venue, consider perusing AirBnb or other apps that rent out spaces. You will want to make sure you get the correct permits and that the location allows you to set up the décor you need, but you can find a one-of-a-kind place for far cheaper than your local catering hall.
Rent A Place That Can Double As Lodging
Whether it's working out a deal with the hotel so that guests can save on rooms or renting a private residence where you and your wedding party can crash, finding a venue that doubles as lodging can save a ton of money. This tip from Buzzfeed's community is great for out-of-town guests who will be more likely to come if their expenses are cut.
DIY Your Photo Booth
Instead of renting an expensive photo booth, consider making your own! Simply setting up an iPad on a tripod and letting your guests pose with crafted props is honestly just as fun as a formal rental. A program like Sparkbooth allows you to customize the borders and you'll get to keep it for future parties!
Get Married On An "Off" Day
Reese Rowe of Herban Feast Catering and Events tells Brides.com that one way to save thousands of dollars is to book your wedding on a Friday night or Sunday wedding, rather than a Saturday. She also says those off-days often mean your food and drink will be cheaper, too.
Get A Caterer From The Suburbs
Rowe also suggests seeing if there is a caterer in a smaller but nearby city, as food prices could be much lower. Buzzfeed's community also suggested seeing if family and friends are willing to help out on delivery costs by picking up stuff for the wedding. If someone is from a suburb you can order food from or will be passing through, you could save hundreds of dollars without seeing a cut in quality.
Save On The Bar
First, don't offer a full open bar. If you offer hard liquor, offer a few signature cocktails and that's it! Also, if the venue allows you to use outside vendors, consider hiring a bartender just for their service and tools but getting the liquor wholesale yourself. Another option is to simply get a few kegs and simply serve beer and wine, as it will run cheaper than most hard liquor drinks. (image via StyleMePretty)
Keep It To One Location
Instead of going from one location to another between the ceremony and reception, consider finding a venue that can be used to host both! This will help save on moving costs or having to order double the amount of chairs. Simply have a cocktail hour to entertain guests as you have the room reset and you won't have to worry about anyone getting lost because their GPS led them to the wrong place.
Work Your Connections
This brilliant tip from Buzzfeed's community is to work the connections to see if someone has a venue up their sleeve you can either use or get a steep discount on. They give the examples of someone working at a university, as faculty often can get discounts, or if someone works at a park that would be the perfect backdrop. If you are considering renting a private residence, someone on your guest list may have the perfect home to host.
Buy Faux Flowers
Flowers can be one of the biggest costs at any wedding, with some wedding planners estimating spending thousands of dollars on them. One solution to cutting some spending is to buy fake flowers. While a lot of faux flowers look cheap, there are some companies that put together pretty convincing arrangements with silk flowers. Afloral makes gorgeous bouquets, like the one above, that you could use for your bridesmaids or yourself that will look amazing in pictures and save you $$$.
Cut Your Guest List
At the end of the day, wedding costs are often dependent on the number of people who are attending. So if you are staring down a massive budget no matter what you do, really consider if you need to invite everyone on that guest list. Sometimes it's tough because other members of the family want a say but it is YOUR wedding. A good compromise is to keep it intimate at the ceremony but still celebrate with others in some other way, either at the reception or even renting out a bar (sometimes that can be free). It will greatly reduce the cost to only have you nearest and dearest at the wedding.
If you are reading through all these tips and still just seeing dollar signs everywhere, remember you don't have to have a traditional wedding. You can always make an outing of going to the courthouse or just effing elope and have a party when you get back. You're getting married to spend your life with someone else, not to throw a party!