When planning a wedding and finally tying the knot, it is important to not let budgets and imaginations run wild. Every bride and groom wants to make sure that day is perfect and is one to always remember, but no one wants to end up with wedding debt. Now with more and more parents not footing the bill, it’s on the young 20-something couple to take it on. And with the average price of a wedding in 2012 eclipsing $25,000, we thought it was time to take a step back and look at how you can plan an amazing wedding day without spending more than $5,000.
When trying to save money on a wedding there are some key costs to consider: the venue, the guests, the invitations, the outfit, the food, and the cake.
The most important rule of real estate is always LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! The same can be said of weddings. Everyone has dreams of being married in that white pristine chapel on a perfect sunny day. Or of being married in a giant marble estate. But with costs of renting venues starting already in the $10,000 range, why not opt instead to be married on a beach, or a botanical garden, or even under the stars in a field? It is easy to find great places near you that are beautiful and can even make your wedding more unique than any other. By simply getting a park permit or even just asking permission, you drop the cost of your venue from the $10,000′s+ to $1,000 or less.
A really easy way to keep costs low is to limit the total number of guests you invite. With most venues charging a “per plate” catering fee, the smaller the party size the less you pay. This is a case where size does matter. An easy way to limit guests is to start small with the bare minimum of who you need to invite (i.e. immediate family and just three close friends for the bride and groom). From there the total number of guests can spiral out of control as people bring friends and family into the mix. A good rule of thumb is if they didn’t wish you a happy birthday or a merry Christmas for the past two years then they aren’t close enough to wish you happy anniversary either. Big lesson here is to start small. You can always add more guests but you can’t uninvite them no matter how much you hate your new mother-in-law. By cutting the total party size down from 100 guests to a more manageable 50 or from 200 guests to 100 you easily and quickly cut your wedding costs in half.
One of the most unexpected expenses is the wedding invitations themselves. Ranging in price from $5 to even $10 an invite the more guests you have, the quicker the costs rise. Consider sending out and making the invitations yourself! This allows you to save money and gives you and your beau some time to reconsider everyone you are inviting to your wedding. If you can’t spend two minutes writing them a personal card then why would you want to spend two hours with them on your special day? By doing the invitations yourself you can drop the cost of them from $1,000 for 50 or a 100 invitations to just $100!
A gown by Monique Lhuillier or Vera Wang is what every girl dreams of, but who want’s to spend $5,000 + on a dress you are only ever going to wear once? It will cost you more than month of rent! Why not look for a slightly more nontraditional dress in the $1,000 price range that lets you be unique and still look fabulous on your wedding day. For the grooms it is still ideal to just rent your tux since this allows you to customize it and get the perfect fit so you look great in the wedding photos you show your grand kids one day. Easily drop your wedding clothing cost from $10,000 to under $2,000.
The food and drink at a wedding can really make or break the whole event. By opting out of fancy run of the mill caterers who charge high price per plate rates (up to $100+ a plate!) you can instead order food from your favorite restaurant and make a really special and memorable meal of all your favorite dishes. Perhaps you and your special one had a great first date at Sophie’s Cuban, or love Calexico! Why not hire them to come cater your big deal? You will save a bundle and have people go home feeling full and enjoying a unique and special meal. Of course the other big expense is alcohol. Consider a place that is BYOB and lets you bring in the drinks of your choice. This way you can avoid the markup they will charge you at the venue and the best part is you get to keep the leftovers! Save a bundle by hiring out your favorite restaurant to cater the big day and by bringing in your favorite drinks for your guests to enjoy!
Aside from the rings and ceremony itself one of the most important parts of a wedding is the cake, and as such it is also quite expensive. Wedding cakes can range from $500 to $1,000, and for something that you normally just get a bite of, that doesn’t sound like a great deal unless it’s a cake made of gold! A really easy solution is to buy the smallest size wedding cake to make sure you have one there and have some of it to save for your one year anniversary. For the rest of the guests go to your favorite baker and buy your favorite normal cake for them. This way your guests get something yummy, you still get your special cake on your special day, and you also save a bundle. By doing this you can easily save hundreds of dollars from your wedding day costs.
I hope that these tips help you in planning out your special day. Remember, just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean it is cheap or not right. You can create a unique and amazing wedding all while saving a bundle! Let us know if you found these tips helpful or have some suggestions of your own in the comments section below!