You’ve got the ring on your finger and you’re starting to dream about what your wedding day will look like. The only problem is that you’re broke, your parents aren’t going to help, and you can feel your big day dreams deflating. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are many tips and tricks that can help you plan your wedding without breaking the budget.
Plan Ahead- Way Ahead
Once you decide what time of year you want to get married in, set the date for a year from that. If you want to get married in the Fall, set the date one year from the closest fall. Spring? One year from this spring. Planning a wedding way in advance allows you to get the best bargains on the items you need. Stores like Micheals and Hobby Lobby mark items down 70%- 90% off at the end of the season. It’s easy to get everything you need to decorate your ceremony and reception site sometimes for under $100!
Shop Clearance Racks
Believe it or not you can find some fantastic dresses on the clearance racks at bridal shops. Often stores put discontinued dresses or sample dresses on the rack. You can get great deals like 50% off or more just by trying dresses from these racks. Even if you find one that is not quite the right size you can get it altered for less than the price of some other dresses. Also, if you’re not traditional in the thinking that all the bridesmaid dresses have to be the same, you can get your girls some great deals too by letting them pick out of the clearance department. Not being too matchy-matchy can be a great look!
Borrow Anything you Can
Chances are people from work or other friends have had a wedding recently. Just asking around can get you all kinds of free stuff. Letting people know you are working on a budget can open the door for people to offer things they may have. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. This could be an easy way to get bowls for centerpieces or other reception decorations.
Don’t Use Fresh Flowers
Fresh flowers add a lot to the cost of a wedding and don’t last long. Consider using silk flower arrangement (there are some surprisingly beautiful ones that don’t have the 1980’s feel about them). Think of what season your wedding is in and then think of alternatives to flowers. Decorate centerpieces for a fall wedding with acorns, leaves, and pillar candles. Have bridesmaids carry bright colored parasols for a spring wedding. Carry a bible or some type of family heirloom instead of a bouquet. If you’re set on carrying fresh flowers, try to incorporate ones that are in season or work in other berries and things that may be less expensive.
Keep the Wedding Party Small
It can be difficult to choose who will stand beside you on your big day, but keeping the wedding party small can really save big bucks. That’s less flowers, accessories, and gifts you have to buy, not to mention the stress of trying to coordinate a lot of people. Forget about whose feelings may get hurt and choose people that are really close to you like family members or lifelong friends. Sure your college roommates feelings might be hurt, but if she can’t get over it then she wasn’t a good enough friend to have even considered in the first place.
Minimize the Guest List
The wedding guest list can quickly get out of control if you let it. Decide on a number of guests and then stick to it firmly. If you are worried about dealing with people that weren’t invited just explain that you are on a budget and had to keep the guest list very small. They will understand. Stick to family and close friends. Don’t invite coworkers unless they are people that you socialize with outside of work.
Don’t Serve a Full Meal
The days of choosing an entree on your RSVP card are fading. More and more couples are choosing to do less traditional dessert receptions or hors devoures instead. This cuts back on cost and can be a lot less formal if you are going for something a little different and fun for your wedding. Choosing this option can lower your price down to $12 a person or possibly less depending on your caterer. Ask your caterer about budget friendly options, they may be happy to work with you!
Get Married on a Sunday
People commonly choose Saturday for a wedding because they believe it is convenient for everyone, but in some cultures it is considered an unlucky day to get married. Most venues will offer huge price cuts to couples willing to get married on a Sunday- sometimes even %50 off! A Sunday afternoon wedding can be a beautiful event. If people are traveling from out of town, chances are they would have to take off Friday to get there in time anyway, so why not take off Monday instead?
Your wedding should be a day to remember, but by the pictures not the credit card bills that roll in. Starting a marriage off with excess debt is not way to begin a life. Get your priorities in order and decide what you can and can’t live without on your wedding day. Set a budget and start dreaming!