Are you planning on getting married sometime in the near future? If you are, congratulations! This is a big life step that you and your partner decided to take together. This also means that you are probably planning a wedding ceremony. Weddings are custom celebrations where you’re basically inviting every person you (and your parents) know! These ceremonies can be an enormous expense, and you don’t want to start off your marriage in debt from a wedding, especially if you are still on the student loan rollercoaster. But, good news! There are ways to have a fabulous wedding without breaking the bank.
First, set a budget and stick to it
The first step to planning a wedding is to create a budget. To determine your budget, you and your fiancé need to assess how much money you can set aside from your incomes, what you have already saved, and contributions from your family or loved ones. These factors will establish the total amount you can spend on all aspects of your upcoming nuptials. Now that you’ve determined how much money you can spend, you’ll need to figure out how to properly break down this budget into categories so you don’t overspend.
Do you really need to invite that person?
Now that you’ve set your budget, you’ll need to figure out how many people will be attending your wedding. This part can be tricky because you want everyone to be included, but you also have a budget to stick to. You’re going to be spending a large sum of money on each individual person that comes to your wedding, therefore, you need to select your guest list wisely because the more people you invite, the more you’re going to spend. Making the guest list is a collaborative effort not only between you and your fiancé, but also with both sets of parents. Decide who is a ‘must’ for the guest list and then who is a ‘maybe’. If there are some people you are going back and forth on inviting, or you’re over capacity on your list, here are some things to consider:
1. Don’t let your single friends bring plus ones. This might make them annoyed at first, but seriously do they need a plus one? Unless they specifically request that they’re able to bring a plus one, invite them solo. The guest will understand and you will also be saving money.
2. Tell your friends, or even your family members, with young children that there are no kids allowed. Kids can be an expensive hassle as wedding guests. Telling people that there will be no kids at your wedding is an understandable rule.
3. Don’t invite someone just because they’re friends with your good friend and they sometimes hang out with your circle. This is your wedding not a Saturday night at the bar, they don’t need to be invited.
4. Don’t invite people you work with to avoid conflict. If you invite one person from the office, you’re going to have to invite more people than you budgeted for. The easiest way to get out of this is to just play it safe and don’t invite people from work.
Pick a practical venue
After finalizing your guest list and how many people will be attending, you can pick a venue suitable for that number of people. Sometimes a cheaper venue isn’t practical for the number of people you have. They might tell you they will be able to accommodate 200 people, but can they do it comfortably? Yes, you are trying to save money on your wedding, but you don’t want saving money to have it be a tacky affair.
Consider the location and accessibility for your guests as well. You’ll want to consider if there’s a hotel on-site or nearby for traveling guests to stay at. If there’s not an onsite hotel, you’ll have to consider transportation to and from the venue in your budget.
It’s important to see what is included in the price of the venue. Do they include catering and a cake? Will they include a DJ and photographer? These are all questions that need to be asked before putting a deposit down on a venue. For example, if you want a specific photographer, you may be willing to spend more than on the one provided by the venue.
The time of year will also affect the price of your venue. Picking an off-peak time of year to get married at a beach venue can be cheaper than doing so during peak season. Your venue will most likely be your biggest and most important expense and therefore should be selected wisely.
Those little expenses add up
There are many factors that go into the actual wedding day that are a necessity, but they can certainly add up too! Photographers, hair and makeup artists, DJs, and flowers are essential for your wedding, but these can also be incredibly expensive. Don’t forget that there is a higher price tag JUST because it’s a wedding! Get written quotes from all of your potential vendors. You’ll be able to see the bigger picture and options to determine which ones fit with your budget.
You’ll want to shop around these different vendors before picking the one that you’re going to use. Ask your family or friends who have recently married who they used or if they personally know someone who specializes in a wedding service. You might be able to swing a discount if you come as a reference.
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Use an App
There are plenty of budgeting apps that are specifically for planning your wedding. The Knot has a place to save your vendors and even plan your gift registry. An app like this is a great resource because you’re going to want to make subcategories in your budget and keep track of everything all in one place. It can be easy to go over budget in all the excitement, but it’s vital to not let things get out of hand. Try not to be persuaded to put too much on your credit card. You don’t want to start your marriage with huge, and unnecessary, credit card debt.
DIY is a budget lifesaver
If you’re planning a wedding on a budget, you might have to be willing to spend your extra time preparing for the wedding yourself rather than paying someone else to do it. For those of us who don’t have artistic talents, look to some friends or family members that do. Enlist the help of the crafty people in your life for some DIY projects.
Invitations, centerpieces, and favors are all things that can be made yourself. Buying supplies from the craft store and making these items yourself will be ultimately cheaper than having a professional make them for you.
There are so many DIY wedding inspirations you can find online to take ideas from as well. Your guests will appreciate a centerpiece you made yourself just as much as they would a store-bought one. Adding the DIY personal touches can make your wedding more personal to you and your soon-to-be spouse.
Taking some weekends and free time to DIY for your wedding is a superb way to keep your big day budget-friendly.
On your special day, you don’t want your wedding to seem cheap, but you also don’t want to start your married life struggling financially due to wedding debt. Don’t make decisions without really thinking it over first and pricing it out with your fiancé. Leave room in your budget for emergencies or unforeseen problems. Having some extra cash set aside in your budget for these instances will alleviate some of the stress. In the end, this is the day that you have been thinking about your entire life, a proper budget will make it as stress-free as possible – at least on the financial side!